AMASA WRIGHT BISHOP
BISHOP, Postmaster of Oakland, is an old resident and prominent citizen, having
been in this city for the past twenty-three years. He was born in
He sought his
fortune in the mines, as did nearly all new-comers at that time; but it did not
require a great length of time to convince him that that calling was not for
him. He returned to Marysville and for
eight or nine months was engaged in the saddle and harness store of John W.
Moore, one of Marysville’s best citizens.
Early in January, 1860, at the request of Mr. Moore, he went to Red
Bluff, Tehama county, to take charge of the same
business for his brother, C. A. Moore. While in Marysville he was a constant
writer for the press, and after locating in Red Bluff
was a steady contributor to the Marysville Appeal
and also to the Red Bluff Beacon. At the solicitation of leading Republicans
and anti-Lecompton Democrats, he gave up his position with Mr. Moore and
started the Semi-weekly Independent at
Red Bluff, the first paper issued oftener than once a week north of Marysville,
and the first paper to take the dispatches – first of the Pony Express across
the continent and afterward the telegraphic dispatches. The first paper was issued
In the fall of 1860 he was appointed deputy
District Attorney of Tehama county; and, the District Attorney leaving the
State soon after, he exercised that office until the next election. Tehama county was at
that time one of the firmest Democratic strongholds in the State, only
thirty-nine Republican votes having been polled in 1859. At the presidential election of 1860,
however, through the untiring labors of Mr. Bishop and the influence of his
paper, the Independent, this vote was
increased to 242 for Abraham Lincoln, the remainder being divided between
The next year, 1861, Mr. Bishop accepted the nomination of District Attorney from the Republican convention, and worked with so much energy and efficiency, visiting nearly ever voter in the county, that he beat the nominee of the combined Democracy (Breckenridge and Douglas) by seventy-six votes. In 1862 the Republicans carried the county, electing its full ticket. Such was the change in public sentiment; and the credit of that change was due in a great measure to the personal work of Mr. Bishop. At the session of the Legislature of 1863-64 his services were recognized, and he was chosen Assistant Secretary of the Senate by acclamation, and served during the session. The same year the Democratic paper, the Beacon, succumbed, and was bought by Mr. Bishop and merged in the Independent.
In 1865 Mr.
Bishop sold his paper and devoted his time to his profession, holding at the
same time the position of Collector of Internal Revenue for the division
including Tehama, Colusa and
In 1884 he formulated the plan and organized the Mutual Endowment Association of Oakland, which has proven a success, having paid to members during the past seven years over $200,000 in endowments, death claims and disability benefits, furnishing a profitable investment for savings as well as life and endowment insurance. At the city election of March, 1887, at the earnest solicitation of the citizens of the Fifth Ward, Mr. Bishop accepted the nomination for Councilman, and was elected; and on the assembling of the new council he was unanimously elected president of that body, and served in that capacity two years. In May, 1890, he was appointed Postmaster of Oakland by the President of the United States, which office he now holds, to the satisfaction of the people generally, having in the short time of his incumbency made many important improvements in the postal service, and has many more inaugurated, which, with the assistance of the people, he will carry out during his term, in hopes that the culmination of his labors will be a new postoffice building creditable to the city.
Mr. Bishop has
always been active in politics, but he has never stooped to deceive or forfeit
his integrity, ever holding that honesty should prevail in politics as well as
in the business affairs of life. If he
could not support a man, he was ever free to tell him so. When he does support a man at all, he does it
with his whole might, mind and soul. A
friend he never forsakes; and if he has an enemy it never troubles him or disturbs
his feelings. His motto has ever been
the golden rule. It would be impossible,
it is true, for a man to be active in politics and publish a strict, terse,
incisive party paper and not make enemies; yet Mr.
Bishop has probably as few enemies as any man in
works are all of a high order. A
Mr. Bishop is a member of all the Masonic bodies and a past officer of most of them, as well as a past officer of the order of United Workmen.
Few persons in California have a more extensive acquaintance than Mr. Bishop, and those who know him best most appreciate his integrity of character, firmness of purpose, honesty of motives and upright life, while all admit his ability as a terse and forcible writer, a man of general information, well read in the law and a useful citizen.
© 2005 Marilyn R. Pankey.