L.A. Aqueduct Centennial 2013

Who was Samuel Bishop?

Categories: Moments In Eastern Sierra History

The city of Bishop was named for Samuel Bishop, who settled on his San Francis Ranch, three miles west of the present city, in the fall of 1861.

Who was Samuel Bishop?

Samuel Addison Bishop was born in Virginia on September 2, 1825. He headed west in search of gold in 1849, arriving in Los Angeles in October. Bishop served as an Officer in the Mariposa Indian Wars of 1851, and in 1853 found himself at the Fort Tejon Reservation, where he was the only judge of the Courts in that region.

In 1859, he and his partner, General Beale, contracted to construct a military wagon road between Fort Tejon, California and Fort Smith, Arkansas. That partnership dissolved in 1861, and on July 3, he, along with his wife, brother-in-law, three cowboys, and a few Indian herders, headed for Owens Valley. He arrived 51 days later with 600 head of cattle and 50 horses.

After a brief 18-month stay in the Valley, Bishop and his family moved south, where, in 1865, he participated in the organization of Kern County. He was elected as one of the first Kern County Supervisors in 1866. After only one term as supervisor, Bishop moved to San Jose, where he was instrumental in the construction of that city’s first trolley line. He lived there until his death on June 3, 1893.

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