Early Bishop
(Samuel Addison Bishop, pictured)

Samuel Addison Bishop came to Owens Valley during the summer of 1861 after a 51 day trip from Fort Tejon. He made his camp at a location a short distance west and south of the present city of Bishop and later built a house at that location. He named his holdings the "San Francis Ranch." He was a Virginian, born in 1825; a California Forty-Niner; judge at Fort Tejon; and, partner of General Beale in the cattle business. His residence in Bishop was of a comparatively short duration and his closing years were spent in San Jose. Bishop Creek is also named after him.

All pictures and text on this page from "100 Years of Real Living" by the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, 1961, unless otherwise noted.
Thanks to Rich McCutchan for loaning me the out of date publication.

See USE NOTICE on Home Page.

 Chronological History of Owens Valley
by Al Gagnon


An armature for one of the first generators in California Electric Power Company's Bishop Creek hydroelectric system being hauled by a 20 mule team.
(Calectric collection)


Laborers at work on a redwood flowline which carried water from Bishop Creek to Plant #2. This picture was taken while the plant was still under construction.
(Calectric collection)


Oxen being used in the logging operations at Sawmill Meadows west of Benton near Adobe Valley. The logs were used to provide timber for the mines located at Blind Springs Hill and elsewhere in Owens Valley .
(Douglas Robinson collection)
 owens valley

Inyo County map from the late 'teens and early 'twenties, before there was any U.S. Highway 395 on the western side of the valley. A time when names such as Poleta, Biglow, Black Canyon, Alvord, Elna, Citrus, Francis, and Owenyo actually meant something more than just a ghost of the past.

 pony express

Rev. Andrew Clark: The first minister in Bishop. Andrew was born in Allegheny County, PA on July 14, 1832. During the Civil War he fought for the Union during the battle of Shiloh. In 1865 Andrew moved his family, by covered wagon to Owens Valley. He organized the first church society, the Baptist church, of any kind east of the Sierra Nevada in January of 1869. His long missionary trips north and south of Bishop originated the term "Gospel Swamp."

Interior view of the Inyo County Bank (the "Watterson Brothers Bank").
[L to R]: Mark Q. Watterson, W.W. Watterson, A.D. Schively.

(Fred Steuttig collection)

Willie (Bill) A. Chalfant .
(Elma Crosby collection)


The Valley View Hotel in Bishop.

Carol Stephens writes:

I have enjoyed viewing the photos of early life of Bishop, California. My family first settled in Bishop about 1885.

My Great-great uncle was Allen Matlick who built the Matlick House. I have a photo of some relatives standing on the porch of the house.

My grandfather, Leroy Matlick, and his brother, Earl Matlick, worked in a tobacco and candy store in Bishop about 1917. I have photos of the interior of the store, a photo of the outside of the Bishop Post Office and a 2 picture panoramic view of the valley, taken by my Great Grandmother, an amateur photographer.

My Grandmother moved to Bishop and worked in the hotel in 1917 until she married my Grandfather only 2 weeks after they met.

I was reading through my family history again. The newspaper clipping regarding the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Al and Minnie Matlick, it was a 1929 article which appeared in the Inyo Independent.

Also, my Great Grandfather, Samuel Matlick, moved his family to Bishop in 1908 and bought a farm near his brother's farm. Only a small piece of the foundation remains in the middle of a field.

July 2004

Myrtle Matlick Autobiography
[Courtesy of Carol Stephens]

Cerro Gordo  

Early Big Pine  

More Early Bishop


Mary Austin


The Carson & Colorado Railroad in Owens Valley


 High Sierra Pack Stations

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This page was last updated on 25 August 2017

(Drawing by Ernest Kinney)