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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Lewis M. Bish

The earliest experiences of Mr. Bish are of a care-free life on his father’s farm in Scotland county, Mo., where he was born in 1855. He well remembers the journey to Iowa when he was a child of six years, the family then settling in Bloomfield, Davis county, whence three years later they again started westward, this time with California as their objective point. The journey was made overland with horses, in three months and twenty-one days, the party consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Bish and Mr. Bish’s five sons and two daughters. The mother of these children had died during the infancy of her son Lewis; she was a native of Ohio. The father was a native of Virginia and died in California at the age of eighty-three years.

Although Lewis Bish was about nine years old when he came to California he had had little opportunity for an education, and indeed after coming here the migrations of the family for a time militated against any satisfactory accomplishments in this line. In 1871, when the family removed to Oregon and remained seven years, he had an opportunity for continued study and it is needless to say that he employed his time to good advantage, the schools of Ashland, Ore., being considered as high class as any in the state. When Mr. Bish returned to California in 1879 he came to Santa Rosa and for a time was in the employ of Pleasant Wells, but soon afterward leased the ranch which is now his home, on Rural Route No. 6. Here he has seventy-five acres, all of which is income-producing, a part of the ranch being in hay, corn and fruit, while on the remainder he raises poultry on a large scale for the market. The prosecution of his own private interests does not consume all of his time, however, for as a live, active and interested citizen of his community he has given considerable time and effort toward the development of public improvements. None of these have been of more widespread benefit perhaps than the telephone line which he was instrumental in having established through Rincon valley. He has also served efficiently on the school board of his district, and has been an indefatigable worker in the cause of education as he has in fact in every cause that is of an uplifting and beneficial character.

In 1891 Mr. Bish was united in marriage with Miss Bertha Norris, a native daughter of California, born in Sonoma county in 1874, on a ranch adjoining the one on which she now lives. The eldest of the four children of this marriage was Alta Lynn, born in 1892, and educated in the public school of Santa Rosa. Rena Marie, born in 1894, is now (1910) a second-year student in the high school of this place. Lewis M., born in 1898, and Charles M., born February 14, 1901, are both students in the public schools. Politically Mr. Bish is a Republican. A very genial, considerate and tactful man, he represents first of all the successful rancher, and in no less degree the citizen of whom any community might be proud.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011