Place:Inyo, California, United States

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source: Family History Library Catalog


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Inyo County is a county on the east side of the Sierra Nevada and southeast of Yosemite National Park in the eastern-central part of the U.S. state of California. Inyo County includes the Owens River Valley; it is flanked to the west by the Sierra Mountains and to the east by the White Mountains and the Inyo Mountains.

Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Continental United States, is on Inyo County's western border (with Tulare County). The Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, the lowest place in North America, is in eastern Inyo County. The two points are not visible from each other, but both can be observed from the Panamint Range on the west side of Death Valley, above the Panamint Valley.

The county seat is Independence. In 2010, Inyo County had a population of 18,546.

Contents

History

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Present day Inyo county has been the for thousands of years of the Mono tribe, Coso people, Timbisha, and Kawaiisu Native Americans. They spoke the Timbisha language and the Mono language with Mono traditional narratives. The descendants of these ancestors continue to live in their traditional homelands in the Owens River Valley and in Death Valley National Park.


Inyo County was formed in 1866 from the territory of the unorganized Coso County created on April 4, 1864 from parts of Mono and Tulare Counties. It acquired more territory from Mono County in 1870 and Kern County and San Bernardino County in 1872.

For many years it has been commonly believed that the county derived its name from the Mono tribe of Native Americans name for the mountains in its former homeland. Actually the name came to be thought of, mistakenly, as the name of the mountains to the east of the Owens Valley when the first whites there asked the local Paiutes what the name of the mountains to the east was.

The local Paiutes responded that that was the land of Inyo. They meant by this that those lands belonged to the Shoshone tribe headed by a man whose name was Inyo. Inyo was the name of the headman of the Panamint band of Paiute-Shoshone people at the time of contact when the first whites, the Manly expedition of 1849, wandered, lost, into Death Valley on their expedition to the gold fields of western California. The Owens Valley whites misunderstood the local Paiute and thought that Inyo was the name of the mountains when actually it was the name of the chief, or headman, of the tribe that had those mountains as part of their homeland.

"Indian George", a fixture of many of the stories of early Death Valley days, was Inyo's son. Indian George's Shoshone name was "Bah-Vanda-Sa-Va-Nu-Kee", which means "The Boy Who Ran Away", a name he was given when he became terrified of the whites and their wheeled wagons and huge buffalo, none of which the Shoshone had ever seen before when they came wandering down Furnace Creek Wash in December 1849. In 1940, when Bah-vanda was around 100 years old, JC Boyles, a Panamint Shoshone who had become educated, came back to the Panamint Valley and interviewed Bah-Vanda at length about the early days of his life, including the events of 1849, and it is in this interview (which can be found in February 1940 issue of The Desert Magazine) that Bah-vanda refers to his father, Inyo.

In order to provide water needs for the growing City of Los Angeles, water was diverted from the Owens River into the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. The Owens River Valley cultures and environments changed substantially. From the 1910s to 1930s the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power purchased much of the valley for water rights and control. In 1941 the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power extended the Los Angeles Aqueduct system further upriver into the Mono Basin.

Natural History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Inyo County is host to a number of natural superlatives. Among them are:

Timeline

Date Event Source
1866 County formed Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1866 Court records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1866 Land records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1866 Probate records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1870 First census Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1873 Marriage records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1880 No significant boundary changes after this year Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1905 Birth records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1870 1,956
1880 2,928
1890 3,544
1900 4,377
1910 6,974
1920 7,031
1930 6,555
1940 7,625
1950 11,658
1960 11,684
1970 15,571
1980 17,895
1990 18,281

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