Source: INYO 1866-1966, '49er Bishop Gave The Town Its Name, page 8-9,
Sponsored by Inyo county Board of Supervisors, 1966.
Samuel Addison Bishop lent his name to the northern Inyo community and
the creek nearby but for nearly a century thereafter very little was
known of the founder.
It was learned that he, his wife and some cowboys had driven a herd of
cattle to the vicinity in the mid-summer of 1861 after a 51 day drive
from Fort Tejon. They found the location much to their liking and ideal
for their cattle with an abundance of tall grass and sweet water.
It is recorded that a habitation was built a short distance west and south
of the present town and the holdings were given the name of San Francis
The advent of the Civil War and business changes caused the stay of the
Bishops to be of a short duration.
When planning took place for the celebration of the city's centennial a
fortunate contact was made with the George S. Bishop family of Palo Alto
and it was through the research of the grandson and great grandson that
the background of the illustrious Samuel was made known.
His was a colorful life from his birth in Albemarle Country, Virginia on
Sept. 2, 1825, through the years of his schooling in Missouri, where
besides acquiring a knowledge of the three R's he became adept in
blacksmithing and millwright work, to serve him well in later years.
With the discovery of gold in the West the call of adventure and wealth
led him to join a party headed in that direction on April 15, 1849.
The course set was to Santa Fe, along the Colorado River to the outskirts
of El Paso, Texas and later to the Territory of Arizona.
Hardships of travel caused him to abandon his oxen and wagons at the
future location of Fort Yuma and proceed a distance of nearly 700 miles
to Los Angeles, arriving there Oct. 8, 1849.
After a short stay and before his finances were completely depleted, he
journeyed on to Mariposa and Stanislaus counties where placer mining was
making history. Here he suffered a reversal when flood waters were to
erase the dams and other construction necessary for the recovery of gold.
His first contact with the military happened when he volunteered with
Company C in the "Mariposa War". Here he served with distinction as
company sergeant in the unit which was credited with the capture of
Chief Yosemite and a major part in quelling of the Indian disturbance
of that period.
He was known to become associated with Gen. Beale in conflict with
Apache Indians, in government contracts and stock raising.
The building of Fort Tejon became a certainty when Bishop deeded a
square mile of land to the site. A provision in the deed caused the
land and buildings to revert back to Bishop when the post was abandonded.
It was about this time that thoughts of the establishment of Kern County
became active and Bishop had a part in the planning and served a short
term as supervisor.
Changing his residence in the late '60s he was connected with the San
Jose and Santa Clara horse car railroad, president of the San Jose
Savings Bank, operated silver mines and was prominent in lumbering,
winery and agricultural operations.
Sam Bishop had a fondness for pinon nuts and his untimely death was
caused by the lodging of a pine nut kernel in the appendix vermiformis,
a small intestine which had no known function. Inflamation had occurred,
and despite an operation performed by leading surgeons, Bishop's life
ended far from the battlefields. His death was in June 1893.
His wife, Frances A. Bishop, two daughters and a son survived him. His
widow passed away in 1923.
Samuel Addison and Frances Ella (Young) Bishop Family