Daily Alta California, Volume 1, Number 103, 29 April 1850
REPORT FROM THE SELECT COMMITTEE
On the Derivation and Definition
of the Names of the several Counties
of the State of California, &c.
SANTA CRUZ. — The name of this County signifies “holy cross.” The word cross, mystically speaking, is derived from the gibbet, which the Greeks, Romans and other nations used to erect in that form, for the purpose of executing guilty slaves or persons of low condition. After the crucifixion of Christ the cross was sanctified, and has, since that period, been the distinguishing sign of the Christian religion.
The County of Santa Cruz is probably the richest in the State, as regards timber and irrigated soil. The mission of Santa Cruz, from which the County derives its name, was secularized in 1834, and has now a growing population. It is situated at the north of the bay of Monterey, and possesses an anchorage. Three vessels of ordinary size have been launched there.