John W. Bost (1867-71)

Photo of John W. Bost

John W. Bost was born in Cabarus County, North Carolina in 1834 and emigrated to California from Mississippi in 1850, at the age of 16. He traveled to Calaveras County, working as a miner until he left for the Bay Area and began working as a surveyor and civil engineer, although it is unlikely he ever received formal education in these professions.

In 1867, he was nominated for the Surveyor Generalship of the State, and following a successful campaign assumed that office in 1868. Re-elected in 1870, Bost ran for a third term in 1871 but was defeated by Robert Gardner. While Surveyor General, Bost served as ex-officio member of the Board of Tidelands Commissioners along with Governor Henry Haight and State Controller Robert Watt.

In 1874, Bost ran unsuccessfully for San Francisco Harbor Commissioner, and in 1878, he was once again elected County Surveyor for Merced County. Bost also served as a member of the State Assembly for Merced and Mariposa Counties during the 24th session of the Legislature in 1879-80, and again from 1884 to 1886.

Nothing is known of his later life apart from the fact he died in Modesto on January 5, 1893.


Surveyors General

The following include a short biography, photo of, and the annual reports from each Surveyor General, documenting some of the activities and observations of the Surveyors General, and record the early geographical development of the new state.