Her name was Bridget, but she was known as Biddy. Biddy Mason is one of the most consequential people ever to live in San Bernardino, a slave who became free, and, improbably, wealthy.
Do you know her story? Not enough do. Here’s an abbreviated version.
Born into slavery in 1818 in Georgia, Mason was acquired by a Mississippi farmer who, with a caravan of other Mormon converts, traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1848.
Three years later, some 450 Mormons volunteered to start a colony in San Bernardino, including Mason’s owner, Robert M. Smith. They trekked across the Mojave Desert, with Mason again walking most of the way, driving the animals and cooking…