PARISH, Samuel Bonsall

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PARISH, Samuel Bonsall (1838-1928), was a noted amateur southern California botanist. Parish was born on January 13, 1838 in New Jersey. He was graduated from New York University in 1858 and worked as a teacher before serving in the Civil War for four years. Parish bought a ranch near San Bernardino, California with his brother in 1872.

Although he had little formal training in botany, Parish developed an interest in the flora of the San Bernardino region which was relatively uncataloged at the time. His plant collections, including many new species named for Parish) led to correspondence and collecting trips with noted botanists such as C. C. Parry, Asa Gray, Edward Lee Greene, and C. G. Pringle. Parish's wife, Mary Eliza, kept a scrapbook of the botanical visitors to the ranch.

Parish's herbarium was sold to Stanford University in 1917 and his library was sold to Pomona College in 1920. Samuel and Eliza Parish then moved to Berkeley where Samuel was appointed Honorary Curator in the University Herbarium. Their house, as well as Parish's unpublished manuscripts and papers, was lost in the Berkeley fire of September 17, 1923. Samuel Bonsall Parish died in Berkeley on June 15, 1928 at the age of 91.


Parish collected on:

  • San Clemente Island (1885)
  • Santa Catalina Island (1898, 1906, 1916)



Island Collections~
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Catalina Island S. B. Parish CAS February 19, 1898 CAS-74006 Crossosoma californicum Plants
Santa Catalina Island S. B. Parish CAS March 31, 1906 UC-195335 Cercocarpus betuloides var. blancheae Plants
Santa Catalina Island S. B. Parish CAS March 31, 1916 A-344751 Quercus dumosa Plants