Independence History


While there had been a large settler presence to the east side of the Owens Valley in the now long gone towns of San Carlos and Bend City – near Kearsarge Station – the area around Independence was first settled when a detachment of U.S. soldiers moved into the valley in June 1862. On July 4th 1862 they came to Oak Creek just north of the present town and established Camp Independence “in honor of the day” according to Lieutenant-colonel George Evans. Camp Independence went from a flag pole and accommodations dug into the ground to eventually a fully bonafide fort complete with a wooden commanders house. With the continued settler presence in the region, and the Piutes moved on or subdued, Fort Independence was abandoned in 1877.


Independence has been the county seat of Inyo County since its formation on March 22, 1866. The present Courthouse is the fourth one to serve Inyo County. It was accepted November 8, 1921.

One of the great Judges in Inyo Counties history was William Dehy. Dehy served as Inyo counties district attorney in 1898 and as a sixth district superior judge until his death in 1949. Dehy also received the honor of having a park named after him.

William Daniel Dehy
William Daniel Dehy

For more about the history of Independence visit the Eastern California Museum.

Information obtained from:Inyo 1866-1966 sponsored by the Inyo Board of Supervisors, Chalfant press.

Historic Legends of Inyo County Fred Cook, California Traveler, Inc.