[Research and Report done by Richard William "Bill" Bishop, great-grandson, November 1962. San Jose, California.] Samuel A. Bishop Samuel A. Bishop was born in Albermarle County, in the State of Virginia, on September 2, 1825. After living in Virginia for ten years, he moved with his parents in 1835 to Montgomery County in Missouri. Here Mr. Bishop attended school and lived with his parents. In 1846 the Bishop family moved from Montgomery to Callaway county in Missouri. Even though Mr. Bishop was brought up as a farmer he became very interested in mechanics at a very early age in his life. As an example of this interest he built a mill in Callaway. In the mean time he was working at several other trades which included: wagon making, engine construction, blacksmithing and a multitude of other useful trades. Around that same time the world was shaken to its foundations by the discovery of gold at Sutters Fort in California. Mr. Bishop was not to be left out in this wild excitement. His slogan during this period was "TO THE LAND OF GOLD." During the day gold occupied his thoughts and by night his dreams. Mr. Bishop then left for California. He left from Callaway County on April 15, 1849 on his little trip across the plains in oxteams and wagons. The route that Mr. Bishop took was that by way of Santa Fe in New Mexico, next he followed the Colorado River to a point near El Paso, Texas. From there he followed the trail that Cook had previously used. On this trail he continued to Tucson in the Arizona Territory. From Tuson Mr. Bishop continued on to the Gila River to a point where Fort Yuma stands near the town of Yuma in the Arizona Territory. Mr. Bishop had to abandon his wagons and his ox teams. From here he had to carry his provisions of blankets, food, pick and shovel over the scalding Mojave Desert on his back. Finally, Mr. Bishop arrived foot sore and tired in Los Angeles on October 8, 1849, three and one half months after leaving Callaway County in Missouri. Here at Los Angeles he only remained a short time when in the early part of 1850 Mr. Bishop left on his journey to the Mariposa Mines by foot carrying his needs on his back. Shortly Mr. Bishop arrived at the Mariposa Mines with one hundred pounds on his back. Altogether, his trip took him seven hundred miles on foot from the Gila River to the Mariposa Mines. In the summer of 1850 Mr. Bishop found himself in the area of the Stanislaus and Merced Rivers. During the summer he spent most of his time building dams to get at the wealth that laid in their beds. In the fall of 1850, the turn of events and the weather played against Mr. Bishop for in the month of September heavy rains struck the area and changed the slow moving currents into raging turbulent currents. Thus washing away Mr. Bishop's many painfully constructed dams along with his hopes of opening up new unlimited supplies of wealth. This didn't stop Mr. Bishop, he continued on to the Mariposa Mines. At the mines he hoped to continue his long search for the precious gold ore. Unfortunately, trouble was in the making and the Mariposa War soon broke out between the Indians and the settlers. Mr. Bishop was soon found turning in his pick and shovel for a rifle and bayonet and he was one of the first men to enlist in the war. On February 10, 1851, Mr. Bishop was to be found in the battalion trained by James Burney under the command of Major James D. Savage. The battalion was divided into three companies A. B. and C. Company A was under the command of Captain John Kirkwood, Company B under Captain John Bowling, and Company C under the command of William Dill. Mr Bishop was elected orderly sergeant of Company C. Whenever Company C was underarms and Captain Dill was not present Mr. Bishop was acting commander of Company C. After organizing, the entire battalion at once moved quickly in the pursuit of the hostile Indians. Quickly, a small band of the Indians was taken on the Merced River, then followed the rest of the Indians into the Yosemite Valley where he took the great Indian Chief Yosemite prisoner himself. It is fairly important to realize now that this was the first entry of white men into the Yosemite Valley, so this war lead the Battalion under Major Savage into this now world famous resort area. After this action in the Yosemite Valley the troops were mustered out of service, and the following discharge given to Mr. Bishop: "State of California" "Mariposa County" "This is to certify that Sergeant Samuel A. Bishop was mustered into service of the State of California as a volunteer in Company C, of California Battalion, commanded by Major James D. Savage, on the tenth day of February, 1851, and has faithfully performed the duties of First Sergeant of Company C, to this date; and that he is honorably discharged. Given under our hands this first day of July 1851." "William Dill, Captain Commanding Co. C" "M.B. Lewis, Mustering Officer" After the Mariposa War Mr. Bishop engaged with his old commander James D. Savage and L.D. Vincent Hailer with the position of mechanic and general manager of their business. In 1852 Major Savage was killed in a vicious argument with Major Harvey and Mr. Bishop became a partner in this firm along with Dr. Leech and Company, which was at the time in the business of Indian Traders. They were doing their trading at the time in the Indian Reservation established by the government on the Fresno River. Near there is a monument constructed for Major Savage. This monument is located about 12 miles east of Madera on the River Road. Here Mr. Bishop had complete charge of the Indians until General Edward F. Beale was appointed by President Filmore to be Superintendent of Indian affairs in all of California. In the following year General Beale was getting ready to move the Indians to the San Joaquine River. To help him, the General hired Mr. Bishop to lead the Indians. At about this time the notorious outlaw Joaquin Murietta and his friend Lieutenant Three Fingered Jack were out making the state fear their names. These fearless criminals were finally stopped by a group lead by Captain Harry Love. This group was responsible for the death of the two outlaws. As Captain Love's men approached the river opposite the Indian ranch, Mr. Bishop brought them across the river by boat. He then presented Captain Love with a 10 gallon keg of whiskey to preserve the head of Murietta and Three Fingered Jack's hand. In December of 1853 Mr. Bishop again moved the Indians, this time to Fort Tejon located near Tejon Pass, otherwise known as the Grapevine to many travelers of Southern California. In 1854, Mr. Bishop with Indian help raised a large crop. At this same time Mr. Bishop and General Beale formed a copartnership in the business of raising stock and buying land. The name of the company they owned was Bishop & Beale and it continued for several years. During that time Mr. Bishop was Justice of The Peace, Notary Public and also "Judge of the Plain", all at one time at Fort Tejon. He was always trying and making friends and always helping out people the best he could, and was a very good friend of the Indians of that area. In 1854 Mr. Bishop met Alexander Gody who was the scout and a friend of the well known General Freemont and Kit Carson. Mr. Bishop and Godey then went into business together. Their business was to include the job of supplying provisions to the army troops at Fort Tejon. In the year of 1859, Mr. Bishop and General Beale signed a contract with the United States government to build a Military road from Beale's Crossing on the Colorado River into and through the Arizona Territory and on into the New Mexico Territory. This was the first road of any kind through this area which was at that time one of the ruggedest areas in the country. The Indians, mostly of the Apache Tribe, were so hostile and devoted to stopping the expansion of the white men that the United States Troops [were used] to keep these wild Indians under control. The Government troops were sent from San Francisco around Lower California and up to Fort Yuma by Steamer. From Fort Yuma to Beale's Crossing they went by light draft steamer. At Beale's Crossing a year previous to this, a group of immigrants were massacred by the Indians of the area, so the troops hoped to be attacked then instead of having to fight out on the desert where the odds would be against them. Mr. Bishop was informed about the troops and the support they would give to Mr. Bishop. So he planned and made arrangements to arrive at Beale's Crossing at the same time as the troops from San Francisco. Thus, when Mr. Bishop and his party crossed the Colorado River he would have the troops for support in case of an attack by the Indians. Mr. Bishop, unfortunately, arrived at the crossing one month before the slower moving troops who were coming up the river by boat. So Mr. Bishop was forced by quickly diminishing supplies to cross the river without the support of the government troops. When Mr. Bishop lead his group which consisted of forty two men, twenty camels, a few wagons and pack mules across the Colorado River the group was attacked by Indians and forced back to the bank. Mr. Bishop then led his group back to Bear Lake which was two miles from the river. Here at the [river] a defense was set up in the following manner: all the wagons were drawn up into a line about fifty yards from the shore of the lake and parallel to it and thus hastily constructed a defense of a moderate height to turn back almost any attack from the plain in the direction of the river. In the rear there was Bear Lake and to the flanks there were two ditches four feet deep filled with water. In this large enclosure there was much security for life and property and an abundant supply of fodder for the animals. At this point the group armed itself with rifles, shotguns and revolvers prepared to meet their unknown enemies. Soon Mr. Bishop's group of forty two men was attacked by a full fifteen hundred Apache Indians. In this fight the odds were 36 to one against Mr. Bishop. The odds are three times steeper than those at Little Big Horn which eliminated General Custers famous fighting groups ... the odds there were 10 to one. The Indians attacked and were met by a withering fire. On each of the following mornings the Indians renewed their attack and finally on the seventeenth day there was no attack. In place of the attack came a flag of truce into Mr. Bishop's camp along with a request that a Council of War be held. After the Armistice was signed and the Council held, our hero was allowed to continue on his way east, building the militry road which Rt. 66 soon followed until he came to the San Francisco Mountains near Flagstaff in the Arizona Territory. In the San Francisco Mountains Mr. Bishop met with his partner General Beale. While in this area a spring was named Bishop Spring after Mr. Bishop. The next step for Mr. Bishop was to retrace his footsteps until he came to Beale's Crossing. Here, at the crossing, he met with the troops that had come from San Francisco to see action against the Indians. By the time the troops had arrived there was no need for army protection. This slight mistake had cost the United States Government half a million dollars, and [had left] the Indian fighting to Mr. Bishop alone. When Fort Tejon was constructed in 1854 it was believed that it was constructed upon public land but it was actually on the Castic Grant which was owned by Mr. Bishop and a Mr. Packard who lived in Santa Barbara. Instead of tearing down the fort and constructing it elsewhere, Mr. Bishop deeded the U.S. Government one square mile on which the Fort Tejon was located. The deed stated that the fort was to be used for military reasons by the government and that when the fort was abandoned all the land and all of its imporvements would be returned to its original owner. When an Indian dispute broke out the government troops at the fort were ordered to the fight and thus left the fort abandoned. The land and buildings were then given to Mr. Bishop as stated in the deed. Mr. Bishop then found himself in possession of a ready made town. On the post was found a hospital, jail, stores and many homes with no one occupying them. With his keen intelligence which led him to great fame, Mr. Bishop conceived the idea of forming a new county out of the northern portion of Los Angeles County, and eastern part of Santa Barbara County, and the Southern portion of Tulare County, thus creating a need for such buildings as courthouse, jails, hospitals, etc. Mr. Bishop planned to donate his buildings as the county seat of the new county that was to be formed. His next step was to start a petition to form this new county, and of course the idea of this ready made county seat helped get signers easily. Next, Mr. Bishop took the petition before the state legislature. In the mean time, Mr. Bishop went into ranching, after the outbreak of the Comestock Load in Nevada. To make it more convenient he established a branch of his ranch and stock operations in the Owens Valley, on a creek which was to be named Bishop Creek near Bishop, California, which is now in Inyo County. Around that time a group of Indians attacked a group of white settlers in the area, killing some and burning some of their homes. The legislature in 1865 passed Mr. Bishop's petition for the new county because of the support behind it all of the people. Later in the year the government of the county was organized and elections for offices were held, and the establishment of the county seat. In the meantime, an important mining find broke out at Havilah and the people started to leave the fort in great numbers to head for the mining fields in the hills near the Kern River. So, at the time of the elections the city or town with greatest number of people would be the county seat, and due to the mining boom, Havilah was the largest and any hope for the fort as the county seat was gone. Mr. Bishop was elected one of the county supervisors for the new county. This county was named Kern County, after the Kern River which ran through it. In the fall of 1866, Mr. Bishop resigned from office and returned for a visit to the Atlantic Coast. Mr. Bishop took up his residence in San Jose in the month of April in 1867, on his return to California with his family. After this date Mr. Bishop started his well known career in the San Jose area. In the month of February 1868, he and a few others were granted a franchise to build the San Jose and Santa Clara Horse Railroad. Two years later, in 1870, he became interested in the San Jose Savings Bank, and afterwards became vice president for many years of that institution. In 1870 he also became the owner of the San Jose Institute and Business College which was located on First Street. Mr. and Mrs. Freeman Gates were his instructors. One year later in 1871, Mr. Bishop received a franchise from the Mayor and the Common Council of San Jose to construct the First Street Railroad. Next, he was president of the San Jose Homestead Association when it was organized to purchase lands in East San Jose and lay them out into lots, he then lengthed the San Jose and Santa Clara Horse Railroad into the new area. Soon, he purchased interests and became a director of the Butte Flame and Lumber Company (now called Sierra Lumber Co.), who have enormous factories in the Sierra Nevadas, in Plumas, Tehama, Butte and Shasta counties. In 1876, he and six others purchased the Stayton Quicksilver and Antimony Mines which were located in the mountain area that separates Fresno and San Benito Counties. Although that area is very rich in these minerals the mining has been stopped, due to the low price in these minerals, and the high cost of their mining. Mr. Bishop was a member of the Masonic Lodge as an Arch Mason, he was also a member of the Odd Fellows Club, a life member of the California Pioneers, also a member of the Santa Clara County Pioneers. He was married in 1856 to Frances E. Young in Los Angeles. Frances Young was the daughter of William and Amanda Young, and they had three children, two daughters and one son.
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