CA-KER010 Josephine Stephens Bishop


"Josie" was born on June 18, 1875 in Silver City, New Mexico to Harvey and Harriet Whitehall. At 19 years old, she taught school in Pinos Altos, New Mexico. She married Herbert Hall Bishop on March 4, 1896, bearing him seven children. The Bishops moved around the country for several years, finally separating in 1920. While living in Long Beach, Josie began her short acting career and mined this area for gold and silver. After acquiring numerous claims, Josie finally hit pay dirt in 1937 by discovering the richest Radium deposit known at the time. The media gave her the name, "Radium Queen of the Desert" and Josie's fame spread worldwide. As a representative of Kern County and the mining industry, she toured the nation, appearing on various radio shows and in many publications. The only wealth she ever got from her big strike was fifty dollars. Josie Bishop died in an auto accident on July 12, 1951. She is buried at her claim, approximately five miles North of this spot.

California Point of Historical Interest KER-010

Dedicated October 11, 1998 by the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, Peter Lebeck Chapter 1866, Billy Holcomb Chapter 1069, Slim Princess Chapter 395

Today in Marker History


View more information