San Benito County was established on February 12, 1874, from the inland portion of Monterey County. The city of Hollister was chosen as the county seat. The county grew so quickly that in 1887, additional acreage, including the New ldria quicksilver mines, was acquired from Merced and Fresno Counties. The boundaries have remained unchanged since 1887. San Benito County is 1,396 square miles – 893,440 acres.
The first San Benito County sheriff was B.F. Ross. Sheriff Ross served the county from 1874 to1877. He served a second time from 1884 to1887. Since then, the county has grown rapidly. In 1880, the population was 1,000; by 1980 it grew to 23,005; and today the population is over 50,497.
The San Benito County jail was built in 1874. The jail (pictured above) was located upstairs and housed up to 50 prisoners in shared cells. The original building remains today, however, a new jail facility was built on Flynn Road which opened November 1992.