Josie Bishop Claim and Grave Site
Josephine Stevens Whitehill Bishop was dubbed “Radium Queen of the Mojave” by the media after her discovery in 1936 of radium-bearing ore on one of her claims above Jawbone Canyon. She was born in Silver City, New Mexico, in 1875. She taught school and married Herbert H. Bishop in 1896, eventually bearing him seven children. Josie and Herbert went their separate ways and Josie became a prospector in Kern County.
In the 1930s, Josie Bishop settled on this site where she later discovered radium. She appeared at the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair and on Ripley’s Believe it or Not in New York. Though her discovery was worth a considerable fortune at the time, wealth from her discovery, and the fame that came with it eluded her. The only compensation she received from her claim was a total of $50.
Josie died in an auto accident in 1951 and is buried on her claim next to son, Charlie, who died of tuberculosis in 1948. The graves and former claims are now on public lands. A monument dedicated to this pioneer woman stands in front of Jawbone Station.
You can find this Discovery Point via GPS at N35.3800, W118.0510, or in section G-7 with the Jawbone Canyon OHVMap, Ed. 14.1.
Dedicated to Ed Waldheim
Founder of the Friends of Jawbone (FOJ)
Friends of Jawbone is a non-profit corporation under section 501(c)(3). If you or your business would like to support Friends of Jawbone, please click here.
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Doug and Katie Varner
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