September 23, 1821 - Jumuba (Fort Benson)


The above plaque is titled, Fort Benson, however it probably should be named, Jumuba, instead.

Jumuba is not a familiar name, but it has been involved in San Bernardino Valley history from the prehistoric through the mission, rancho, Mormon, and post Mormon eras.

Jumuba was the Indian rancheria (village) at a group of three springs on the West side of Hunts Lane, between Redlands Boulevard and the railroad tracks.

In 1821 Fathers Payeras and Sanchez traveled from San Diego to San Gabriel seeking new mission sites. The diary of Father Sanchez includes observations made in the San Bernardino Valley on September 23, 1821, and the first written mention of the Jumuba rancheria

Six years later, trapper Jedediah Smith and his party camped at Jumuba for more than a week in 1827 while supplies were being assembled.

After the San Bernardino Mission Rancho was granted to the Lugos and Diego Sepulveda in 1842, Jose Maria Lugo built his adobe house near the three springs of Jumuba.

Several pioneers squatted on land, which they hoped the Mormons would not claim.  One of these was Jerome Benson, who settled at Jumuba in 1856.  Benson was ordered to move, but he refused.  He and other Independents fortified Benson's adobe barn with a cannon and it was dubbed Fort Benson.  However, the fort was never attacked and Benson remained at Jumuba.

Ambrose Hunt and George Cooley arrived in the area in 1857.  Hunt acquired the Benson property and proceeded to develop it into a very successful farm.  (Hunt's Lane is named after Ambrose Hunt, not Jefferson Hunt.)

About the time the Freeway was built, the whole area was bulldozed, destroying trees and the three springs.  In 1957 the House Grain Company bought the land, built a grain elevator and on Hunt's Lane built an office and a truck scale.

The above plaque was preserved and remounted beside the office.  The site is registered as State Historical Landmark #617.