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County Development and Education in Idaho
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Idaho | No Comments
I will now take up the progress and condition of Idaho. Ada County was created out of Boise in December 1864, with Boise City as the county seat. The location of Fort Boise on the 5th of July 1863 was the immediate cause of the location of the town, which followed on the 7th. But before either of these were founded, on the 3d of February of the same year, Thomas and Frank Davis and Sherlock Bristol took up a land claim and built a cabin on a part of the town site as subsequently located, where they had a vegetable garden. The town was laid off by C. Jacobs and H. C. Riggs, and incorporated by a company of seventeen men, including several officers of the fort,1 who had it surveyed and a plan lithographed, as I have mentioned in another place, for the use of the legislature, to induce that body to make it the capital of the territory, as it did.2 It prospered notwithstanding some contention as to ownership, which was settled by the government issuing a patent to the mayor, in 1870, of the town site, to be held in trust him until the territorial legislature should prescribe the mode of the execution of the trust, and the disposal of the proceeds.3 It had 300 inhabitants when it became the metropolis of Idaho, and a population in 1885 of 2,000.4
Among the first to take up farms in Ada County were Thompson and McClellan, who also kept a ferry on Boise River at Boise City. They located their claim May 28, 1863. S. A. Snyder, T. McGrue, L. F. McHenry, Samuel Stewart, the Purvine brothers, and Mooney took up claims the same year. Little was expected from farming by the pioneers; but land that in 1877 was a wilderness of artemisia was soon covered with fields of golden grain; and some of the finest orchards on the Pacific coast sprang up in Ada County. The agent which wrought this change was water.5
During the period between 1876 and 1886 extensive orchards were planted in the Boise Valley, some of which produced from 25,000 to 40,000 bushels of fruit annually, few failures occurring in twelve years. L. F. Cartee at Boise City had a vineyard in which grew forty varieties of grapes.6
Stock-raising was carried on to a considerable extent in Ada County. Fine breeds of Cattle were imported, and from 500 to 2,000 grazed upon the grassy uplands.7
I have been thus particular in the description of one county in order to show of what other counties are capable, according to their altitude, extent of valley land, and facilities for irrigating benchland.
With this in view, a brief mention of the others will convey all the information requisite to an understanding of the early condition of the territory.
Bear Lake County, the small southeast corner of the territory, previous to 1872 was supposed to belong to Utah. It was first settled by a colony of Mormons under C. C. Rich, and was called Rich County. The establishment of the boundary of Idaho by survey threw the greater and better portion of Rich County into Idaho, together with its industrious and thrifty population, and it was considered as a part of Oneida County until its separate organization in January 1875. The first settlers were, like most of the Mormons, agriculturists. But their earlier efforts at farming were failures, owing to frost and grasshoppers, which together took the greater part of their crops for several years. The altitude of Bear Lake Valley is 6,666 feet, from which elevation came the frosts. The grasshoppers were a periodical plague. But by making hay and raising stock the settlers prospered, and little by little overcame the worst of their difficulties.10
The early history of Boise County has already been given in a previous chapter. Its principal wealth long continued to be mines.11 The upper Payette Valley proved the choicest farming region in Boise county.12
In Cassia County were found a good soil and climate, but the valleys were small and elevated. Upper Goose Creek had the choicest body of farming land in the county. Raft River Valley, thirty miles long by ten wide, contains fine meadowlands. A settlement was made at the head of the valley, called the Cove. With irrigation the sage lands produce well. Like Bear Lake County, Cassia raised wheat, oats, barley, and potatoes for market, in abundance, and grazed large herds. It had mines, though not much prospected; also one gristmill and three sawmills.13
Custer County, named after General Custer, cut off from Alturas and Lemhi in 1881, proved inconsiderable as an agricultural region. There was a fine valley, forty miles long by from five to fifteen miles wide on the upper Salmon River, furnished with wood, water, and grass in abundance, and numerous small tracts of agricultural land along the streams, but the county was preeminently a mining country. In 1866 or 1867 a party of prospectors from Montana, headed by one Richardson, penetrated to that branch of the Salmon, which they named Yankee Fork, because the party consisted of New Englanders. They did not remain long in the country, which was at the best inhospitably strange and remote. In 1873 D. V. Varney and Sylvester Jordan found their way to Yankee Fork and located some placer mining claims, naming Jordan Creek branch of that stream. Four years later the great discoveries were made in quartz, of the Charles Dickens, Charles Wayne, Custer, and Unknown, which led to the hasty populating of this rich mining region, among the most famous districts of which are the Kinnikinick, Bay Horse, and Custer. Bonanza City was laid off in 1877.14
Idaho County, organized under the government of Washington in 1862, began its career as a mining district through the discovery of the Florence and Warren diggings. The placers at Warren were among the most lasting and best paying in Idaho.15
Kootenai County had almost no white population until the building of the Northern Pacific railroad brought people there to perform the labor of its construction, between 1880 and 1883. The Coeur d’Alene Indian reservation occupied most of the southern portion, extending as far north as the Spokane River, and the head of Coeur d’Alene Lake.16
Nez Percé County, an agricultural rather than a mining district, early became settled by farmers.
Lemhi County was set off from Idaho County January 9, 1869, assuming $700 of the parent county’s indebtedness. A change was made in the boundary in January 1873, the western line, south of Salmon River, commencing at the mouth of the Middle Fork, thence southwest along the divide between the Middle and South forks to the line of Boise County. The published maps do not give the actual boundaries, the county lines very generally being unsurveyed. The early history of Lemhi County has been given.17
North of the Clearwater are rolling table-lands having an altitude of 2,500 feet, with a deep, black, alluvial soil, well watered, and exceedingly fertile. This is a great wheat-producing region. On the south side of the Clearwater, between the Snake River and the Nez Percé Indian reservation, and south of it, is a tract of lower lying and warmer land of superior quality. One township south of the Clearwater, with two fractional ones, raised, in 1883, 30,000 tons of wheat. Fruit also does well. The winters are short and mild. At Lewiston, along the river bottoms, and in low and sheltered localities, grapes, peaches, and apricots of a large size and fine flavor are easily raised. The staple productions of Nez Percé County are wheat, barley, flax, hay, and vegetables.18
Oneida County, the southeast corner of Idaho, was early settled by Mormons, being organized by the legislature of 1865. It occupied a large extent of territory, about one quarter of which was taken up by the Fort Hall Indian reservation. The resources of Oneida County are varied. It has two agricultural districts of great fertility and considerable extent, the Malade and Cache valleys, aside from the fertile lands adjacent to Snake River, which extends for 100 miles along the northern and western boundary of the county, and gathers its many head waters into the main stream within these limits.19
Owyhee County, organized by the first legislature of Idaho, and once regarded as the chief silver-producing region of the country, long retained its eminence as a mining region. Though never an agricultural county, it had much good land on Jordan, Reynolds, Sinker, Catherine, and other creeks, and in the valley of the Bruneau, where some fine farms were made. But the chief business has been stock-raising.20
Shoshone County was the first part of Idaho mined and settled. It was soon abandoned by its mercurial population, attracted by gold discoveries elsewhere. The whole region is elevated and broken, except on the plains near the junction of the North Fork with the Clearwater, where there is a body of fine agricultural land, which was rapidly settled. There were extensive forests of fir, pine, cedar, spruce, and hemlock on the mountains and the bottoms of the streams, to be rafted down the Clearwater to mills and market.21
Washington County was laid off along the Snake River for a hundred miles, commencing at no great distance south of the mouth of Salmon River. The country is much broken, the valley of the Weiser being the largest body of farming land in this district. Lower Weiser Valley had 25,000 acres of fertile bottoms.22
Surveys of the public lands in Idaho began in 1866, when L. F. Cartee was appointed surveyor-general, with his office at Boise City. The initial point of survey was fixed on the summit of a rocky Butte, standing isolated in the plain between the Boise and Snake Rivers, on the parallel of 43° 36′ of north latitude, distant nineteen miles from Boise City, in the direction of south 29½° west. Congress, in 1864, had appropriated $10,000, under which the contracts were let for establishing the standard lines.23
Of the social condition of Idaho, it is indicative of the character of its permanent residents that they have been from the first a reading community and that more books of the better class may be found in the homes and camps throughout the territory, than in many towns of a like population in the older states, east and west. Lemhi County are as intelligent and refined a class as can be found anywhere; and similar statements are made concerning other counties. Twenty newspapers were published in Idaho in 1884. Owing to the fact that the 16th and 36th sections granted by congress to each state for common-school purposes cannot be sold until the territory has become a state, Idaho, like every other territory, has been compelled to support its schools as best it has been able. The annual revenue for schools, derived from the interest on escheated estates, grants or bequests made for the support of the schools, and from a tax on all taxable property of not less than two mills or more than eight on the dollar, has amounted to $25,000. The tax collectors and county treasurers received no fees for their services. The territorial comptroller was ex-officio superintendent of public instruction, serving also without salary.24
Little had been done in 1886 by the government for the improvement of Idaho. Its public buildings were yet to be erected, its military roads to be constructed, and its rivers made fit for navigation. Petitions have been repeatedly offered by the legislature for these objects. In due course of events they must be granted. That so much has been done by so small a population against great natural obstacles in the building of wagon-roads is an illustration of the energy of the inhabitants. Stages were running to all the mining towns almost as soon as they were located. Railroads were early advocated.25
Such was Idaho twenty years after settlement. Without markets or manufactures or transportation, it had to pay out the riches dug from its mines for the necessaries of life brought to its doors at enormous expense in the “prairie schooner,” the old-fashioned Pennsylvania freight-wagon.
The Northern Pacific railroad, which so suddenly populated and developed eastern Washington, and helped to develop eastern Oregon, performed no such service for Idaho, merely crossing the Panhandle as far north as Pend d’Oreille Lake. That it assisted in bringing to notice the mines of Coeur d’Alene district was true, and that later it sent off branches to these mines and to other parts of the Panhandle was also true. But the road which relieved central and southern Idaho of the state of lethargy into which its business was falling, and which brought population and mining capital to the territory, was the Oregon Short Line railroad, constructed by the Union Pacific Company. Traversing the territory from east to west, through its most inhabited belt of counties, it communicated to the dormant nerves of these isolated communities a shock from the thought batteries of the great world, rousing to action the brain and muscle lying idle. The taxable property of the territory, which in 1884 was $15,497,598, was three years later $20,441,192, mining property, in which the greater amount of capital was invested, being nonassessable. The population, which in 1884 was 75,000, was in 1887 over 97,000.
The forward impulse given to the prosperity of Washington revived in the northern counties of Idaho the project of annexation to that commonwealth, which, it was believed, would soon arrive at statehood, and whose constitution, adopted in 1878 by a vote of the people of the Idaho Panhandle as well as of Washington, included the counties north of the Salmon River range of mountains. In this form the Washington delegate, Mr Brents, advocated in congress the admission of Washington, and its legislature in 1881- 82 passed a memorial for an enabling act, including this portion of Idaho.
The politicians about this time saw in this subject opportunity for a party issue, and seized upon it, making it the point on which the election of 1882 was lost and won, George Ainslee, democratic candidate for congress, opposing, and T. F. Singiser, republican, advocating it, Singiser being elected by a majority of nearly 3,000. In 1884, however, the democrats having put an annexation plank in their platform, returned to power, and Singiser was defeated, while John Hailey was elected to congress, and secured the passage of a bill for annexation, which passed both houses, and only failed to become a law by the failure of the president to sign it.26
In 1886, the parties returned to their former relative positions in Idaho,27 although Hailey, democrat, was supported by the Panhandle republicans on his record as an annexationist, he receiving a majority of 536 in the northern counties; and the people of Nez Percé county, by a vote of 1,679 to 26, expressed themselves in favor of being joined to Washington; but Frederick T. Dubois, republican, who gave a pledge not to oppose annexation, and to use his influence for the suppression of polygamy among the Mormon population, was elected by a majority28 of 426. But the interest in annexation began to decline with the increase of population and the revival of industries, giving hope of statehood for Idaho at no distant day, and that for which a majority had more than once voted began to be denounced as a scheme “born in local jealousy and petty spite, fostered by political hatred and party spleen, and advocated by many political jobbers and tricksters,” and as “thoroughly distasteful to a majority of the people of Idaho, and repugnant to the best interests of the territory.”29
It was in harmony with the restrictive acts affecting territories, passed about this time, that congress should say that no law of any territorial legislature shall be made or enforced by which the governor or secretary of a territory, or the members or officers of any territorial legislature, are paid any compensation other than that provided by the laws of the United States. This law, the result of the recklessness of long past territorial legislatures, came at a period in the affairs of Idaho when the duties of the governor were truly onerous, and the practices of legislatures had so much improved that the people were willing to make the pay of the executive commensurate with his services, and consistent with the dignity and requirements of his position. The salaries of judges of the Supreme Court were also beneath the value of the services performed with the expenses attached to them. Besides, the business of the courts demanded the establishment of another district, and the appointment of another judge. Idaho had collected and paid into the national treasury an amount largely in excess of the sums appropriated by the government to pay the federal expenses, covering also the many defalcations of federal appointees during twenty-two years. Governor Edward A. Stevenson, appointed in 1885, mentioned this fact in his report to the Secretary of the Interior, together with the further one, that no officer appointed from the people of the territory to a federal office had ever defaulted.30
About 1884-5 there was reached a distinctly forward tendency in territorial affairs. In 1872 the indebtedness of Idaho amounted to $132,217.71; in 1885 there was a surplus in the treasury over its bonded debt of $5,546.30. After years of dissension concerning the capital, the legislature of 1884-5 had established it permanently at Boise City, and appropriated, with the consent of the people, eighty thousand dollars to erect a capital edifice, the city devoting a whole square to a site, the building, of brick, being constructed with every modern appliance, combining elegance with convenience, furnishing not only legislative halls, but offices for the territorial and federal officials, a supreme court room, library, and judges’ chambers. An appropriation was made by the same legislature of $20,000 for the erection of an insane asylum at Blackfoot,31 which was subsequently enlarged at a considerable additional cost. The expense of maintaining the institution was about $17,000 per annum.
In the matter of a penitentiary, the territory still paid annually about $18,000 to the United States for keeping its prisoners in a federal building which was located two miles east of Boise City, and which Governor Stevenson pronounced a “disgrace to great, rich, proud, and humane government”; and where the prisoners were “clothed, fed, and crowded into cells without any employment, and only kept there by the shot-guns of the- guards,” the wall surrounding the penitentiary being built of inch boards set up on end. This, too, while there was a quarry of excellent stone immediately adjoining the premises, where the prisoners could have been profitably employed in getting out material for a prison, combining security with some regard to sanitary conditions. The governor proposed that the United States should furnish $20,000 to pay for extra guards, and purchase the necessary iron, lumber, and tools, when the territory would put the convicts to quarrying stone and building a penitentiary which should be a credit to Idaho and the general government.32
Other government buildings in Idaho there were none, if I except the United States assay-office at Boise City, which cost about $100,000. For many years it was of little use. It cost the government so much to send out its bullion – the producers having to pay the fee – that the office received only a small proportion of the gold dust and bullion produced in the territory. In 1886 an arrangement was made with the Pacific express company, by which they were sent to the mints either at San Francisco or Philadelphia free of express charges. The business of the office for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1886, was 7,910 ounces, valued at $122,046.61; but in 1887 it was 32,954 ounces, valued at $446,641.66; and for the year ending June 30, 1888, it was estimated the business would reach $1,000,000.
Boise City had a court-house, erected at a cost of $60,000, which occupied a square; and another square was devoted to the use of the Independent school district of Boise City – a district organized under a special charter granted by the territorial legislature, and which was independent of school officers, either territorial or county. It had a board of trustees, with power to examine and employ teachers, disburse moneys, and transact all business necessary for the maintenance of the schools in the district. In addition to the county apportionment, a revenue was collected from escheated estates, and from a special tax. This was a graded school system consisting of primary, intermediate, grammar, academic, and high school departments, and from its text-books seems to have been of a high order of public school. Lewiston, also, had its independent school district and system in four grades. The territorial condition handicapped the cause of public instruction by withholding the school lands from sale until the attainment of statehood, the school money having to be drawn from the people by taxation, for which reason no great advance could be expected before the territory became a state. Idaho will have much and valuable land for school purposes. In anticipation of soon coming into possession of these lands, the legislature, in January 1889, passed an act locating the university of Idaho at Moscow, in Latah County, and appropriating $15,000 with which to commence its foundation.33
Turning to the condition of the mining interests of Idaho in 1889, it appears that there has been an important increase in the yield of the mines from 1884 to 1889, the product in 1885 being $5,486,000; in 1886, $5,755,602; in 1887, $8,905,136; in 1888, $9,245,589; these figures being from conservative sources.34 Other authorities35 claim ten millions in gold, silver, and lead for 1888. The actual amount reported for 1889 of gold and silver was $10,769,000; of lead, $6,490,000; of copper, $85,000 – making a total of $17,344,600 as the product of the mines for this year, while $120,000,000 is claimed as the amount of the precious metals which Idaho has given to the world since mining began within its borders. The territory in 1889 stood fifth in the list of bullion-producing commonwealths. Besides the precious metals, the abundance of iron, copper, salt, sulphur, mica, sandstone, limestone, granite, and marble distributed throughout the territory offered a profitable field to capital and industry.
About 16,000,000 acres is the estimated amount of agricultural lands in Idaho, 600,000 acres of which in 1889 had been brought under cultivation, by an expenditure of $2,000,000 in irrigating canals. Experience had proved that when irrigated the soil of Idaho produced all kinds of cereals and vegetables and all the fruits of the temperate zone in almost unexampled abundance and unrivalled excellence. Farmers had come to prefer the irrigable lands, for, water being brought upon them, they were more constant in their productiveness than lands depending upon rainfall. Irrigation thereby became a subject of vast importance to agriculturists, who eagerly studied the various plans from time to time proposed by government agents and commissioners for some generally practicable solution of the question which thus far has been little illumined by their observations.36
There were 2,000 miles of irrigation ditches in the territory, and schemes on foot for constructing canals which would cost several millions, for reclamation purposes, and to bring arid lands into market, either as agricultural or grazing farms. Even stock raising, which is a leading industry in Idaho, will be greatly promoted by the reclamation of waste lands. Much has already been done to improve the stock of the breeding ranchos, the total value of animals of all kinds on farms being set down at $11,882,196.
A movement looking to the closing out of Indian reservations by allotting land in severalty to Indians had been begun, and promised good results. The Fort Hall and Bannack reservation, comprising 1,202,330 acres, contained 525,000 acres of first class, easily irrigable land, the remainder being good grazing land, with some portions rich in mineral. The Indians, for whom all was reserved, numbered 1,700 men, women, and children. If every individual should receive 160 acres, there would still be left over a million acres. The Indians on the Fort Hall reservation had made some progress in agriculture, 380 of them cultivating small tracts, on which they raised a variety of farm products.37 The Lemhi reservation contained 105,960 acres, which was held for 548 Indians, who cultivated 258 acres.38 The Nez Percé reservation embraced 746,651 acres of the best agricultural land west of the Rocky Mountains, and not excelled by any portion of the union for soil, water, timber, and all natural advantages. It was held for 1,227 Indians – men, women, and children. About 300 families cultivated small farms, raising grains, fruit, and vegetables.39 This tribe had been taught almost continuously for fifty years, and were, when first known, superior to all the other tribes west of the Rocky Mountains. Indian Agent George W. Norris, in his report to the governor of Idaho in 1888, remarked concerning this people that they took little interest in education beyond a desire that their children should learn to speak the English language; and that their ambition was bounded by a demand for the fires, beds, clothing, and subsistence furnished during the winter by the government. In his opinion, land should be allotted to them individually, and secured by patent, and they be compelled to labor, instead of being dependent upon the bounty of the United States, whose creatures have taken from them about all that they once possessed. Their increasing wants would lead them to dispose of their superfluous lands, and thus the reservation question be amicably settled; but to open reservations to settlement before the allotments were made would alarm the Indians and lead to trouble.
The fourth Indian reservation in Idaho was the Coeur d’Alene, in which was contained 598,500 acres, held for the benefit of about 500 individuals. A portion of this territory was rich in minerals, and was in actual possession by a mining population. Steps were being taken to secure its relinquishment by the Indians, who jealously guarded their rights under their treaty with the United States. The Coeur d’Alenes were Catholics, and were far behind the Nez Percé in intelligence.
Still another reservation was that of the western Shoshones, comprising 131,300 acres at the head of the Owyhee River, and occupied by about 400 Indians. These were wild Indians who cultivated no farms.
Thus there were within the boundaries of Idaho 2,884,731 acres of the most valuable, agricultural, timbered, and mineral lands, held for 4,375 persons, not more than one fifth of whom were heads of families. Aside from the desire to have these lands productive and taxable was the apprehension that any misunderstanding might involve the territory in an other war such as had desolated certain portions only as recently as 1877 and 1878. This conjunction of circumstances led Governor Stevenson to point out to the general government that while Idaho had between 4,000 and 5,000 Indians within her borders, she had but one company of cavalry and one of infantry for defense, at Boise Barracks.40 Fort Sherman, also a two-company post, was, to be sure, in Idaho, but almost at its extreme northern boundary, and so nearly in Washington that its influence was not felt. The governor called attention to this want of consideration for Idaho, and demanded “one good permanent, at least, four-company post,” to check the roaming habits of the Indians, “whose presence ex-cites the fears and evil passions of our people.41
Previous to 1885, when the Oregon Short Line railroad was completed from its junction with the Union Pacific in Wyoming to its connection with the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company’s railroad at Huntington, on Snake River, 418 miles, Idaho could not be said to have any commerce, or at best to have a very one-sided commerce with the world on any side. The opening of railroad transportation marked a new era, encouraging every existing industry, and developing new ones. The exports of livestock in 1885 aggregated 36,000 head of cattle and horses, or 1,800 carloads; and the imports of improved stock for breeding purposes reached 200 carloads, or about 4,000 head.42 The railroad was a great relief to miners, also, in the transportation of ores and bullion; and to merchants and farmers. For the year ending June 30, 1888, the total tonnage of Idaho carried on the Oregon Short Line and Utah and Northern divisions of the Union Pacific was 44,809 tons, 8,386 of which was grain, 11,874 ores, 6,913 livestock, 6,678 bullion and lead, and 4,766 merchandise; the remainder being miscellaneous freight.
The total outward tonnage of all the railroad and steamboat lines in Idaho in the year ending July 30, 1889, was 184,015, of which 50,000 tons was of wheat, oats, barley, flax-seed, and other farm products; while the freight received for consumption amounted to 119,600 tons. The value of farm products and building material marketed was $9,520,176 – a statement which shows the importance of rapid transit in increasing commerce.
The legislature of 1886-7 enacted a law constituting the governor, controller, and treasurer of the territory a board of equalization, whose duty it was to place a valuation per mile on each line of road passing through more than one county. In 1889 there were eleven railways traversing various parts of Idaho, so sudden was the transportation system by rail developed in this inter-montane commonwealth.43 The assessed valuation of 888.73 miles of railway was fixed by the commissioners at $4,719,786 – a moderate valuation, especially when it is considered that the railroads fixed their own tariffs, which the people had to pay. The Northern Pacific claimed exemption from taxation for its franchise and road-bed by act of congress, and only its rolling stock was valued for taxation by the county authorities.44
The fifteenth legislative assembly of Idaho convened December 10, 1888.45 The session, which held until the 7th of February 1889, had under consideration as subjects of more than usual interest the division of Alturas County and the creation of the county of Elmore out of its western territory, the exclusion from the house of two members from the Mormon districts of Bingham and Bear Lake on account of illegal voting and the question of statehood. In the case of Elmore County, after much display of legislative tactics, including the bolting of the speaker of the house, who abruptly left his chair during the reading of the journal on the last day of the session,46 the bill was passed and approved by the governor. Logan County was organized at the same time, and the county of Custer also created at this term.
With regard to the contested elections, notwithstanding a well argued minority report in their favor by the member from Nez Percé County, the Mormon members were unseated. This bitterness towards a portion of the population of the territory, however much it may have had to justify it, is a painful spectacle in a republic. Congress was memorialized to refuse Utah admission into the union, and also to require of homestead and preemption settlers an oath touching polygamous practices.47 A perusal of the proceedings of the legislature would impress the reader with the conviction that the main point to be gained in all their legislation was security against the growth of Mormon principles in the territory.
A bill establishing a board of immigration to encourage the movement of population to Idaho was passed. “It is a well-known fact,” said the report of the committee on territorial affairs, while recommending the passage of this bill, “that the advantages and resources of Idaho are the least known of all the territories. We believe the time has come when Idaho should take that rank among the territories which her mines, her soil, her climate, and her resources justly entitle her to.48
It is worthy of mention that the legislature appropriated $50,000 for the construction of a road, long needed, between Mount Idaho, in Idaho County, and Little Salmon Meadows, in Washington county, more closely connecting the Panhandle to the main body of the future state. Congress was memorialized for an amendment to the alien act, so as to except mines from its prohibitions. A bill was passed establishing a board of immigration. The ‘University of Idaho’ was established. Congress was asked to pay the Indian war claims of 1877-8-9, and a badge or button asked of congress as a distinguishing mark for the men who served in those wars, with local legislation of ordinary importance.
On the 14th of January a bill was introduced in the house by Bruner of Boise providing for a constitutional convention preparatory to the admission of Idaho into the union, and on the 17th councilman Perkins of Alturas gave notice of a joint memorial praying congress for an act enabling Idaho to form a state government. In the mean time the citizens of Lewiston, having held a mass meeting, sent their resolutions to the legislature, in which they “insisted upon, and respectfully demanded of congress, admission as a state into the federal union,” and indorsed the efforts of delegate Dubois and others to secure this end, and calling upon the legislature and the towns and counties of Idaho to unite in urging immediate action. On the 29th of January the council approved a house joint memorial for the admission of Idaho without a dissenting voice; and on the 4th of February a select committee appointed to examine a house bill providing for the calling of a constitutional convention made a favorable report. The desire of the people was declared to be, while not doubting the national will and power to legislate for the interests of the territory, that the government affairs of Idaho be placed in their hands. They had the wealth and population, and believed that further delay would postpone the enlistment of capital in the development of their resources.49
Nothing more was needed to impel the governor to issue a proclamation calling for a state constitutional convention.
The general condition of Idaho was much improved in 1889. Mining and agriculture were both making long strides forward by means of transportation facilities and irrigation.50 Land was advancing in value, population increasing, and various enterprises being projected. All, or nearly all, the old political acrimony had died out. Even the scheme so long entertained in northern Idaho of being annexed to Washington was no longer heard of, except to be denounced. The legislature of 1886-7 passed a resolution protesting against any proposition to segregate any portion of Idaho with a view to attach it to another state or territory by a vote 9 to 3 in the council and 20 to 4 in the house. A similar resolution was incorporated in the platform adopted by the democratic territorial convention held at Boise City in June 1888; and the measure was strongly denounced by the republican convention of the same year.
The republican convention of 1888 also declared in favor of statehood “for the whole territory.” The movement for statehood, it was alleged, was based upon the desire of the people to have a voice in presidential elections, the need to become possessed of a state’s landed dowery, and the wish to do away with the alien act of congress, prohibiting the investment of foreign capital in the territories, which was detrimental to mining interests. Of the opposition to statehood, which proceeded chiefly from the farming population, it was said that a state government sufficient in all its departments for the needs of a growing commonwealth, affording means for the prompt administration of justice in the courts, providing a teacher for every child of school age, and an asylum for every helpless, blind, dumb, or idiotic dependent, would certainly cost more than a government which delayed justice, turned out the feeble to the charities of the world, and reared the young in ignorance; but that every good thing was worth its cost, and no people ever bore just burdens with greater patience than the people of Idaho.51 The general government paid only $28,000 per annum for the support of the territory, while the tax-payers paid $75,000, and by economy the state, with its greater advantages, would be able to meet all the increased obligations necessary to be assumed. These arguments, as we shall see, proved convincing to the majority.
The changes in the judiciary of Idaho had always been frequent. James B. Hays was appointed chief justice in 1886 in place of John I. Morgan; Norman Buck and Case Broderick, appointed in 1884, being his associates, and James H. Hawley United States attorney. In 1888, Hugh W. Weir was chief justice, and John Lee Logan and Charles H. Berry associates, with Hawley still United States attorney. In 1889, Weir was superseded by James H. Beatty of Hailey; and Logan, who was removed on account of ill health,52 was followed by Willis Sweet of Moscow, who had a few months previously been appointed United States attorney. E. S. Whittier, district attorney of Bingham County, was mentioned as successor to Judge Berry, and Fremont Wood of Boise was appointed United States attorney, and John P. Wilson marshal. Thus at last Idaho secured courts from among her own citizens. With a change of administration and the election of 1888 in Idaho came a quite general change of federal53 and territorial officials. Frederick T. Dubois, however, was again chosen delegate to congress. George L. Shoup was appointed Governor, E. J. Curtis remained Secretary, Joseph C. Straughn was appointed Surveyor General, Richard Z. Johnson was elected Attorney General of the territory, James H. Wickersham Comptroller, Charles Himrod Treasurer, and Charles C. Stevenson Superintendent of Public Instruction.54
Before Governor Stevenson was relieved of the executive office, he issued a proclamation April 2, 1889, recommending that the people elect delegates to a constitutional convention, to meet at Boise City, July 4th of that year, to frame a constitution for the state of Idaho, although no enabling act had been passed by congress. On the 30th of April Shoup took the oath of office, and assumed the duties of governor on the 1st of May. On the 11th he supplemented Stevenson’s proclamation with another, approving the holding of a constitutional convention. Seventy-two delegates were elected, and the convention was in session for thirty-four days. The instrument as framed by them declared the constitution of the United States the supreme law of the land, and aimed to protect and foster the industries and interests of the territory. It forever prohibited bigamy and polygamy. The government of the state was in three departments, legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislature was to consist of 18 senators and 36 assemblymen, and should not be increased to exceed 24 and 60 respectively. It should meet biennially, except in special instances. The executive department was to consist of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, each to hold office for two years. The governor, secretary of state, and attorney general were to constitute a board of pardons.
The Supreme Court should consist of three justices, to be elected at large. Five judicial districts were provided, the judges to reside in and be chosen by the electors of their respective districts; and a district attorney should be elected for each district.
Absolute secrecy of the ballot was guaranteed. Six months’ residence was required to become a qualified elector. Religious freedom was guaranteed. Taxes for state purposes should never exceed ten mills on the dollar; when the assessed valuation should have reached $50,000,000, five mills; or $100,000,000, not more than three mills, with greater reduction, as the wealth of the state should increase.
The capital was located at Boise City for 20 years. The insane, blind, deaf, and dumb were provided for. All railroads and express companies were declared common carriers, subject to legislative regulations. Provision was made to prevent inconvenience in changing the business of the territorial to the state courts. In all these matters the Idaho constitution resembled other modern state organic laws, the only thing in which it was singular being in the prohibition of bigamy and polygamy, and in truth this question had become one of the deepest interest in Idaho.
Governor Shoup gave it as his belief that the population of Idaho in 1889 was 113,777, and that of this number 25,000 were adherents of the Mormon faith and practices, and although public sentiment to a considerable extent suppressed the visible fact of polygamous relations, it was known that plural marriages were contracted, and that the doctrine was taught by the Mormon church leaders. It was not so much, he said, that examples of plural marriages could be pointed out that the gentile majority made war upon Mormonism, but because the preachers of the Mormon minority taught that all laws enacted for the suppression of polygamy were unconstitutional, on the ground that they were an interference with religious liberty. This was a point, he claimed, most dangerous to good morals; for any association of persons could, under the name of religion, commit any crimes against society with impunity, protected by the constitution of the United States.
To break their power, the legislature of 1884-5 passed a registry law requiring voters to take a ‘test oath’ of the most rigid nature,55 which kept a large majority of Mormon voters away from the polls, only about 1,000 taking the stringent oath, and voting at the election for adopting or rejecting the constitution in which it was incorporated, which was held, according to the governor’s proclamation, on the 5th of November. The number of votes polled at the election was 14,184, 12,398 being for and 1,773 against the adoption of the constitution. Upon the presumption that the Mormon vote was against the constitution, the vote of the territory was almost unanimous in favor of state government without regard to party.
In order to settle a question raised by the Mormons of the constitutionality of the registry oath, a Mormon voter was arrested, charged with conspiracy, and imprisoned. His friends began habeas corpus proceedings, but the court decided that the writ would not hold, and the case was taken to the United States supreme court to obtain an opinion which would make valid or invalid the test oath, and that part of the Idaho constitution in which it is incorporated.56 Delegate Dubois, who was taking the opinion of congress on the admission of Idaho, was met by the assertion of the Mormon leaders that the effort to disfranchise 25,000 of the population would prove a stumbling block in the way of statehood – an assertion to which he returned the counter statement that, rather than come in without the anti-Mormon clause in the constitution, the territory would prefer to remain out of the union.57 Nevertheless, he labored strenuously for it, not on party grounds, for Idaho was so evenly balanced in politics at this period that neither party dared claim it, but simply on the merits of her claims to recognition. “Our constitution,” said the delegate, “forbids the carrying of any flag in public processions, except the American flag. We want a state for those whose highest allegiance is to the United States, or else we want no state at all.” Truly, the times were changed since 1864, when the scum of secession over-ran the territory, and a loyal man dared hardly breathe a sentiment of devotion to the union. But there were complications in the way besides the Mormon test oath. Unless the state should be admitted by the congress about to meet, it might have to wait for years, because in 1890 a census would be taken, and the apportionment for representation in congress undoubtedly raised to about 200,000. Congress was already so unwieldy that it would not, probably, increase the number of representatives, but rather the requirement of population, and it might be very long before Idaho doubled hers. Again, it was said that the democrats in congress would unite in opposition to the admission of Idaho and Wyoming, which was also an aspirant for statehood, unless New Mexico should be admitted at the same time. Thus hopes and fears had their turn. Meanwhile, the newspapers, of which there were now thirty-eight in Idaho,58 asserted truthfully that never had there been so many new enterprises inaugurated as in this year of 1889; irrigation schemes that would cost millions; new mining camps as fast as they could be built and machinery could be “freighted’ to the mines: homestead filings for the year, 861 ; homestead proofs, 463; preemption filings, 841; preemption proofs, 441; desert filings, 294; desert proofs, 841 ; timber culture filings, 293; timber culture proofs, 5; mineral filings, 72; proofs, 62. All these meant so many times 160 acres improved, or about to be. The total amount of land surveyed in Idaho was 8,500,000 acres; of land patented or filed on, 4,500,000 acres; and land in cultivation, surveyed and unsurveyed, 600,000 acres. Idaho contained about 55,000,000 acres, 12,000,000 of which were suitable for agriculture, while nearly as much more could be made so by irrigation. There were 5,000,000 acres of grazing land, 10,000,000 acres of timber, and 8,000,000 acres of timberland. Idaho had indeed advantages unsurpassed in any quarter of the globe. Railroads, irrigation, and statehood would make this evident. Such was the voice of the Idaho press, and such, by their vote on the constitution, was the voice of the people.
Hughes, quartermaster, was one. Sherlock Bristol, who was president of the company and owned one ninth of the lots, furnished me a manuscript on the nomenclature of Idaho and scraps of early history. He was born in Cheshire, Conn., June 5, 1815. He removed in time to Fond du Lac co., Wis., and from there to Idaho in 1862. Bristol’s Idaho, MS., 5. ↩
Walla Walla Statesman, Sept. 5. 1863; Boise News, Nov. 28, 1863; Or, Argus Oct. 5, 1863; Idaho Statesman, Oct. 10, 1868. ↩
Idaho Statesman, Dec. 12, 1870. The act concerning the town site, passed by the legislature, made the mayor trustee to execute deeds to claimants on sufficient proof of the validity of their pretensions. For the purpose of defraying the expenses of procuring the title, the sum of from $1, $5, and $10 per lot, according to the situation, was required to be paid into the treasury of Boise City and disbursed for that purpose, the residue, if any, to be expended under the direction of the common council Idaho Laws, 1870-1, 29-31. ↩
Cyrus Jacobs, who purchased the first parcel of gold-dust taken from the Boise basin, took a stock of goods to Boise City in the summer of 1863, and sold them from a tent as fast as they arrived, by the help of H. C. Riggs and James Mullaney, clerks. Riggs and James Agnew erected the building known as Riggs’ Corner in July, and about the same time J. M. Hay and John A. James erected a meat market. A well was dug by Thompson & McClellan. The first justice of the peace was D. S. Holton, his office being in a log cabin on the site of the present Overland Hotel. H. J. Adams was the first blacksmith, the shop being where Levy’s shop now stands. The first school, started in the winter of 1863-4, was taught by F. B. Smith. First hotel was kept by Bums k Nordyke. The first newspaper, published by J. S. Reynolds & Co., has been noticed. The first contractors and builders were Joseph Brown and Charles May, brick-makers and masons. First dry-goods establishment was by B. M. Du Rell and C. W. Moore. Idaho Statesman, April 1, 1876. Du Rell and Moore opened a national bank in 1869. Silver City Avalanche, May 11, 1869. The first sawmill was erected by A. H. Robie, in 1864, who removed his mill from Idaho City. The first church erected was by the Catholics, in 1870, at a cost of $8,000. It was destroyed by a fire in 1871, which burned $57,000 worth of property. Not a mining, but a commercial centre, with the capital and a military post to give it standing, Boise City is regarded as the most important as well as the most beautiful town in the territory. The Boise River emerges from the mountains about seven miles above the town, where the valley proper begins. The city stands on the riverbank, with the fort on a higher plateau a mile removed. The streets arc wide and well shaded, the residences neat and tasteful, standing in flowery enclosures kept green by streams of living water flowing down the streets. The squares devoted to public buildings are well kept, and the edifices of brown stone. Up and down the river are many charming drives, and altogether the place is an attractive one. Its central location with reference to other commercial towns in the surrounding states and territories is likely to continue it in its present eminence as the chief town of Idaho. ↩
As early as 1864 a right was granted to William B. Hughes and others, who incorporated as the Vallisco Water Co., to take water out of the Boise River above Rocky Point, and convey it in a ditch or aqueduct to Boise City and Fort Boise, and down to Snake River. Idaho Laws, 1964, 475-7. In Nov. 1870 W. D. Morris, supt of the Northwestern Stage Co., began the construction of a canal, to be 8 feet wide at the bottom and 12 at the top, and between five and six miles in length, carrying 3,000 inches of water, or sufficient to float logs to the sawmills in the valley, and cordwood to the farmers along its course, besides furnishing power for mills and factories, and water for irrigating and reclaiming 20,000 acres of land. The grade of the canal was twenty inches to the mile, and the estimated cost $25,000. Morris died in May 1878. The property fell into the hands of W. Ridenbaugh, who completed the canal, and gave it a width of 20 feet at top, a mile more in length, a depth of four feet of water, which, moving at the rate of 27 lineal inches per second, equaled 6,000 miner’s inches of water. A reservoir three miles from its head covered ten acres, and was used to hold saw logs, which were floated down the river to the canal. The lands irrigated by this canal yielded 40 bushels of wheat to the acre, and enormous vegetable and root crops. Average crops in Idaho were 30 bushels of wheat, 25 of rye, 55 of oats, 40 of barley, 35 of corn, and 250 of potatoes to the acre. Strahorn’s Idaho, 66. Morris became possessed, under the desert-land act, of 17,076 acres of valley land, by paying 25 cents an acre and constructing this canal. The act required the purchaser to pay an additional $1 per acre at the end of throe years when the irrigation was furnished. The cost of the whole enterprise probably was some $60,000, the land reclaimed being worth $700,000. ↩
Cartee was born at Ithaca, N. Y., in 1823, graduated from St John’s college at Cincinnati, and came to the Pacific coast in 1849, opening an office at Oregon City in 1850 as surveyor and engineer. In 1863 he went to Idaho, and erected the first sawmill and quartz mill at Rocky Bar. He was appointed surveyor-general in 1867, which office he continued to hold for more than 12 years. He was a successful pomologist and stock-raiser. Fruit trees matured early, and were remarkably healthy. The orchard of Thomas Davis when 19 years old showed few signs of decay. No irrigation was necessary after the first four or five years. He had 10,000 trees on seventy-five acres. In 1880 the product of Davis’ orchard was 40,000 bushels of large fruits and 500 bushels of berries. By large fruits is meant apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, and prunes. A portion of them was dried for the winter market, a portion sold fresh in the mines, and another portion made into cider and vinegar. ↩
The cost of keeping cattle on the range varied from 50 cents to $1 each per annum, according to the size of the herd. In some of the higher valleys of Idaho winter feeding was followed to a slight extent, which increased the expense. Beef steers sold at from $21 to $24; stock cattle at $12; two-year-olds at $14; three-year-olds at $17; and yearlings $8. At these prices large fortunes were quickly made in raising stock. Ada County south of Boise River in 1885 contained no towns except the railroad station of Kuna. Six miles west of Boise City was the hamlet of Thurman’s Mills, the establishment having a capacity of 50 barrels of four daily. Aiken’s mills, 4 miles west of Boise City, Morris’ mills, opposite the town, Russelville mills, one mile east, and Clark’s mills, two miles east, were all flouring mills of good capacity. Silver City Avalanche, Feb. 12, 1881. Star, Middleton, Caldwell, and Riverside were on the lower Boise road; Emmettville, Falk’s Store, and Payetteville on the road to Washoe ferry. Emmettville was the only place of any importance, having a large lumbering interest. A bridge was placed across the Payette River here, and two irrigating ditches opened, which watered about 60 sections of excellent land. Population of Ada County in 1885, 5,000. Total assessed valuation for 1882, $1,734,508. There were 200,000 acres of arable land, most of which was taken up in farms of 320 acres, about one fourth of which was, in 1885, in actual cultivation.
Though the miners prefer the more figurative interpretation of ‘heavenly’ heights. ↩
Big Camas prairie was the chief body of agricultural land in this county, with on area of 14,000 square miles. It occupied a region 80 miles in length by from eighteen to twenty-five in breadth, and has an elevation of 4,000 feet. The Snake River lava-field appeared destined forever to be a waste; but tho sage plains west of Wood River proved capable of redemption, while the foothills and benches of the mountains in which the mines were situated afforded extensive cattle ranges. For many years Camas prairie was thought only fit for a hay field, and used as such. The summers were warm and pleasant, but there was a heavy snowfall in winter. Later settlers raised wheat, barley, corn, oats, vegetables, and melons successfully, the oat crop requiring no irrigation. The Valley of Wood River, for a distance of fifty miles in length and from one to two in breadth, was a favorite location for farmers. The population of Alturas in 1883 was 9,000, and its assessed valuation, real and personal, $2,871,365. The number of children attending school 1,000. Esmeralda was the county seat when the county was organized, but Rocky Bar succeeded to the honor in 1864. Idaho Laws, 1864, 429. In consequence of the discovery of the Wood River mines in the summer of 1879, Hailey was chosen for county seat by popular vote, in 1881. Bellevue was the first town built in the Wood River mining region, being located and settled in 1880, and chartered in 1882-3. Its newspaper, the Chronicle, was owned by C. & J. Foster. Ketchum was next located, 10 miles above Bellevue, also in 1880, and Galena City, 26 miles farther north, in what was afterward Custer County, in the same year. Jacobsville and Marshall competed with other places for the dignity of being considered urban, but have remained only camps. Hailey, located in the spring of 1881, four miles north of Bellevue, then a thriving town of 400 inhabitants, having 83 school children and 2 churches, drew to itself most of the trade and population on account of being nearer to the principal mines. H. Z. Burkhart, with a machine, made a kiln of 80,000 brick in 1882. The courthouse, hotel, schoolhouse, railroad depot, and other buildings were constructed of brick. Lime was plentiful and cheap. A newspaper, the Wood River News, was started at Bellevue in the spring of 1881 by Clay, Allen, and George, and sold to Frank O. Harding who removed it to Hailey, changing the title to Wood River Miner. Two other newspapers, the Chronicle and Times, are published in this county. Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Congregational, Independent, and Catholic churches have been organized, but church edifices were as numerous as the societies in 1883. A good theatre was erected. Some warm springs in Croy Gulch were fitted up as a place of resort. The growth of Hailey resembles that of Idaho City in 1863-5. The rapid settlement of Wood River and Camas prairie was after 1880. Many of the incomers were from Norway and do not fear the snows of winter. There were fifty families in 1881 where there were not a dozen the year before. Fifty homesteads were taken up in 1881 by an agent of the German colony of Aurora, Marion County, Oregon. They were all agriculturists, and will make a garden of the cultivable parts of Alturas County. ↩
The valley of Bear Lake, called Mormon Valley, a fertile plain 15 miles wide and 25 miles long, had a population, in 1885, of 4,000. By irrigating, large crops of wheat, oats, and barley, the finest potatoes in abundance, and the largest hay crop in the territory were raised, while herds of cattle and sheep covered the hillsides. The lumbering interest in this county was of importance, pine and spruce being the prevailing timber on the mountains. The manufacture of cheese was introduced, the product in 1883 being 200,000 pounds. By cooperation the Mormon population carried on their enterprises with good results. It was by cooperation that they made the cheese factory profitable, its capacity being 900 pounds daily. There was the Paris Cooperative Institution, composed of 200 shareholders, with a capital of $23,000. It conducted a general merchandise store, boot and shoe factory, harness factory, tin-shop, and tailoring establishment, besides a planing-lathe and shingle mill. Members were not permitted to hold more than $400 worth of stock, lest the few should be benefited to the exclusion of the many. Since its establishment in 1874, in 10 years it paid $27,000 in dividends, besides expending 20,000 annually for labor. In 1882, 2,870 pairs of boots and shoes were manufactured, 900 pieces of leather tanned. $6,000 worth of planed lumber and shingles sold, and 35,000 pounds of cheese made, besides the business of the other establishments. While the results thus obtained furnished no wonder-provoking figures like mining, they secured contentment and steady prosperity, which mining too often does not. There were several villages in Bear Lake County, namely, Paris, the county seat, Fish Haven, Ovid, Liberty, Montpelier (formerly Brigham), Preston, St Charles, Bennington, and Georgetown. The Oregon Short Line railroad was laid out on the east side of the lake, through Montpelier, Bennington. and Georgetown. The assessed valuation of Bear Lake County in 1882 was $239,940. ↩
The mining ditch constructed by J. Marion Moore and J. C. Smith in 1863 was the beginning of Ben Willson’s enterprises before mentioned. He bought out Smith, and subsequently purchased Moore’s half. Moore was shot in a mining war over the possession of the Golden Chariot mine, near Silver City, Owyhee, in 1808. Samuel Lockhart, another owner, was also shot. Moore was greatly regretted by the pioneers of Idaho, who regarded him as the most indefatigable of them all in everything pertaining to the development of the territory, and as a true num. Capitol Chronicle, Oct. 20, 1809. He was buried with honors in the Masonic cemetery at Idaho City, near the creek which bears his name. Idaho World, April 8, 1808. Willson, an Englishman by birth, came to Cal. at the age of 15, and was thoroughly Americanized. He went to Idaho and Boise Basin in the spring of 1803, and did more real work than almost any other man in the county. In 1803 he built a toll-road, and ran a stage line between Pioneer City and Centreville. He built a sawmill, in company with Parkinson and Warriner, at Idaho City, and also engaged in merchandising with James Powelson. At the same time he bought mining ground and constructed ditches, being the first to introduce hydraulic mining, using at first duck hose with a common nozzle, but finally iron pipe, 15 inches diameter at the lower end, and the giant nozzle. Thus Willson became owner of 100 miles of ditches, a mill for sawing lumber, several shops for repairing tools, and a 200 acre farm on Clear Creek, adjoining the town of Pioneer, besides being a partner in the Mammoth quartz mine. He was a member of the bar, and served in the legislative council, as well as in county offices. Moore Creek was surveyed, and also Granite and others, with a view to constructing bed rock flumes in the same manner. S. A. Merritt, delegate to congress, was entrusted with the business of getting a bill passed granting right of way, and other privileges, on Moore Creek, for a distance of 7 miles, but failed. A job was attempted, while Ainslie was in congress, to get all the waters of Snake River, and other streams, granted to a company, which would compel the farmers to pay for it at their price. Another congressional job proposed was to grant all the waters in Boise River to a company, which would have paralyzed placer mining in Boise basin, by placing them at the mercy of the company. The people of Idaho have ever been alive to the withering effect of iniquitous monopolies. ↩
There were in 1885 about thirty good farms in this section, with a wagon road from the valley to Placerville and Idaho City. Back of the bottom and was a sago plain partially redeemed by irrigation, and rising higher, a series of rolling hills gradually attained an altitude of 5,000feet, covered with bunch grass, making the best of cattle ranges. On the crest of the hills to the east was a heavy growth of timber. Long and Round valleys were used only for grazing purposes. Garden Valley was soon under high cultivation, lying only ten miles north of the mining centre of the Boise basin, which furnished a profitable market for the grain, vegetables and fruits raised in this ‘paradise,’ as it is fondly named. From the dividing line between Ada and Boise Counties to Horse Shoe Bend is about twenty-five miles of farming land occupied by one hundred settlers, who have under cultivation 15,000 acres. In the lower Payette Valley resided D. M. Bivens, a native of Missouri, who emigrated from Kansas to Idaho in 1862. He was among the first to take a farm on the Payette, where he made himself a beautiful home. He died Nov. 17, 1879, aged 51 years. Boise Tri-weekly Statesman, Nov. 25, 1879.
Boise County had 3,212 inhabitants in 1880, with a total valuation in 1882 of $669,719. In 1883 the population had increased to 12,000, with a proportionate increase of property. Idaho City, the county seat, had diminished from 7,000 in 1804 to 700 in 1880, but expanded again. Placerville, Centreville, Quartzburg, Pomona, Banner, Deadwood, Clarkville – named after Henry C. Clark, a pioneer, who has a store in this place. Silver City. Idaho, Avalanche, Aug. 12, 1876 – Horse Shoe Bend – C. H. Angle, pioneer at this place, and justice of the peace, died March I6, 1876. He left a wife and 4 children – Bairdsville – settled first by C. Baird on upper Squaw Creek, Starr’s Idaho, MS., 8- and Jerusalem were the early mining and farming centers of Boise County. ↩
The old road to Salt Lake by the City of Rocks passed through some of the settlements, and it was in the direction of Ogden and Salt Lake City that the farmers looked for a market. Thu population in 1885 was 2,500; and the assessed valuation in 1882, 417.332. Albion, the county seat, situated in Marsh basin, an agricultural district, was settled about 1875. Its population ten years later was some 400. In Riblett’s Snake River Region, MS., 2-3, is a brief account of Cassia County, by Frank Riblett, surveyor. In the southeastern portion of the county was the Black Pine mining camp. Simon Schwabacher was the principal owner in this region, and erected the first quartz-mill. A New York company paid $65,000 for a placer mine at Bonanza Ear, and other companies took claims near this one. There was another farming settlement started on Sublette Creek, thirty miles east of Raft River, and some of villages; namely, Beecherville, Alamo, Cassier Creek, Bridge, Oakley, Goose Creek, Rock Creek, and several stations on the road to Salt Lake. Samuel R, Given, a prominent citizen of this county., born in Nashville, Tenn., in 1822, was a son of John Given, whose father fought in the revolutionary war, under Gen. Marion. Samuel received a common school education in La. In 1849 he came to Cal., via Fort Smith, Ark., Santa Fé, Socorro, Gila, and San Diego, arriving at San Francisco in October, and engaging in teaming during the winter. The following spring he went to Mariposa co., and mined for a time, afterward farming and raising hogs on the Merced River. In the flood of 1862 he lost $20,000 worth of hogs, and all his improvements, but remained in the county until he recovered a part of his losses, when in 1873 he put $3,000 into horses and mules and started for Cheyenne, Wy., being 2 years on the road. In 1875 ho sold off his stock, and went to freighting to the Black Hills, making $6,000 in 18 months. He then commenced buying mining claims, opening and selling them, including the Homestake No. 2, and the Pierce mines, making $70,000 in another year and a half. Next he purchased a range on Raft River, and stocked it with cattle and horses, and here he made his home, in the best section for a winter range between the Sierra Nevada and the Missouri River. ↩
)The first trading establishment was opened by George L. Shoup and bis partner Boggs. Mark Musgrove started a newspaper July 24, 1870, the Yankee Fork Herald. Challis, the county seat, the centre of a large and rich mining district on the upper waters of the Salmon River, was founded in 1878 by A. P. Challis and others, and had in 1880 a population of 500. A newspaper called the Messenger was published here. There were a number of mining camps in Custer County – Galena, Robinson’s Bar, Jordan Creek, Crystal City, Lost River, Clayton, Concord, Bay Horse, Custer, Cape Horn, Oro Grande, Round Valley, and Fisher. The population of the county in 1883 was 3,000, and the assessed value of real and personal property the previous year was $389,475. ↩
The town had a steady growth for three years, containing 1,500 inhabitants in 1865, but declined subsequently, until in 1867 it had but 500. The discovery of quartz brought it up again to 1,200 in 1868, but not proving rich as expected, the population declined to 400 in 1872, when 1,200 Chinese came in and worked the abandoned diggings. But after taking out gold enough to pay for the ground they had purchased, most of the Chinamen abandoned the place. The first sawmills were erected in 1868 by F. Shessler, Madison and William Bloomer and the first five-stamp quartz-mill by Godfrey Gamble, who employed waterpower only. Gamble and Leland erected a second waterpower live-stamp mill, five miles above Warren. The quartz at Warren failing to pay as anticipated. Gamble and Leland purchased a ten-stamp steam mill at Florence, which they removed to a mine two miles from the town of Washington, on Warren Creek, which also failed to meet expectations. In 1873 a stock company moved the latter mill to the Rescue ledge at Warren, and have made it pay from that time, although the gold is in chimneys or pockets. The settlement of the county was slow, owing to its extreme roughness and inaccessibility. ‘Salmon River, in Idaho county says Leo Hofen, ‘cuts the earth almost in two, the bank being 4,000 feet perpendicular for miles, and backed by high mountains that show evidence of having been torn and rent by most violent convulsions.’ Hofen was born in Germany in 1835, and came to S. F. in 1855, soon after removing to Nevada, whence he went to Lewiston, Idaho, in 1862, and engaged in merchandising and assaying. In the spring of 1865 he made another remove to Warren, where he remained until 1784. For several years Hofen held the control of all the business between Payette and Salmon Rivers. He was the last of the pioneers of Warren to desert the camp; and returned to S. F., where he engaged in the coffee and spice business. Hofen’s Hist. Idaho County, MS., 1-2.
James H. Hutton was another pioneer of Idaho County. He was born in Maine, and followed the sea. Arriving at S. F. in 1850, he went to the mines on American River, but soon returned to S. F. and engaged in the coasting traffic. In 1862 he visited the Cariboo mines, going thence to Idaho the same year and working in the placers of the Florence district until 1867, when he went to Warren, where, with a partner named Cocaine, he put up the first five-stamp quartz-mill on the Rescue lode. In partnership with C. Johnson, he located the Sampson lode, which, though moderately rich, was too narrow to be profitably worked. Hutton was in 1879 a detective on the police force of San Francisco. Hutton’s Early Events, MS., 1-6.
Florence was the first county seat of Idaho County. In 1869 the seat of the county was removed to Warren, and in 1874-5 the legislature again removed the county seat to Mount Idaho. The history of Mount Idaho is the history of fanning in Idaho County. Situated on North Camas prairie, which by the last legislature act concerning the boundaries of Idaho County was included in it, the town was settled in 1862 by L. P. Brown, through whose efforts it was made flourishing. Located at the foot of the mountains on the east side of the prairie, it became a picturesque place, with mills, stores, and good buildings. H. S. Crossdale and one Baring resigned commissions in the British army and settled on the prairie, 10 miles north of Mount Idaho, about 1870, where they raised sheep. Idaho Statesman, March 4, 1876. A rival to Mount Idaho was Grangeville, two miles northwest, which about equaled it in business and population for some time. The other settlements in this county were Washington, Elk City, Florence, John Day, Freedom, Dixie, White Bird, Manuel Rancho, Pittsburg Landing, and Glenwood. The population of Idaho County in 1883 was 2,400, and the assessed value of real and personal property $509,252.
Elevation of Coeur d’Alene, 2,280 feet; soil gravelly, raising fair crops of grain and vegetables, while for fruit the land was superior. North the country was lower, being but 1,430 feet above sea level at Pend d’Oreille Lake, and the land rich and productive. A German colony in 1880-1 purchased ten townships of railroad land on the Pend d’Oreille division of the Northern Pacific, and established a thriving settlement. The county seat of Kootenai County, Coeur d’ Alone, had a population in 188.5 of 150. Towns arose in the progress of railroad construction, Kootenai, at the mouth of Park River, 30 miles by a trail to Kootenai River, which was navigated for 150 miles by a steamer, Sand Point, Cocolala, Dry Lake, Westwood, Rathdrum, and Pend d’Oreille. Population of Kootenai 2,000 in 1883, largely railroad floating. Valuation of property in 1882 $305,741, the number of taxable inhabitants being only 89. Fort Coeur d’Alene, which was selected by General Sherman, in 1877, was called the most beautiful military reservation in the country. It fronted on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The residence of the commanding officer was finished with native woods in their natural colors. ↩
It was first settled by a Mormon colony in 1855, who cultivated a rich body of land in the valley, which they named Lemhi, the same land later occupied as an Indian reservation. The colony was called in by the president of the Mormon Church, and no further settlement took place till mining discoveries opened up the country in 1866. In the following spring, George L. Shoup, with others, laid off the site of Salmon City, which became the county seat, distributing the lots among themselves, and devoting some to public uses. The discoverers of the mines at Salmon City were from Montana; namely, Bonney, Sharkey, William Smith, Elijah Mulky, Ward, Napius, and others. Shoup’s Idaho Ter., MS., 3. As many as 5,000 men visited the place during its first season, but only about 1,500 remained. When the owners of the claims had carried off the richest of the spoils, operators came in with bedrock flumes, and there being no further employment for the former mining population it drifted off, and only those remained who had other interests. Salmon City became a thriving town with a population of 800. Quartz was discovered in 1868 twelve miles from Salmon City, the Silver Star lodge being located by G. L. Shoup, J. C. Evans, Thomas Pope, Michael Spahn, and J. Cabt, which mine was sold to a New York company. It was not until 1876 that much attention was given to quartz mining. There were in 188o six quartz-mills near Salmon City. In 1807 the first newspaper was started at Salmon City, the Mining News by Frank Kenyon. After a few months he moved the material to Montana. If the reader now turns back to Custer County and reads its early history as that of Lemhi, and regards the towns Bonanza, Challis, and the rest as belonging to the latter, the record will be completed. Some good land was found in Lemhi County, the valley of the Lemhi raising 25 to 40 bushels of wheat, 50 to 100 of oats, and from 150 to 350 of potatoes, to the acre. All the fruits of the temperate zone grew abundantly, and in the hardest winters, although the altitude is about 4,000 feet, the loss in cattle was not more than one per cent. The first flouring mill was erected in 1872 by James Glendenning and Job Barrack, at Salmon City. Lemhi Valley later shipped flour to Salt Lake and southern Idaho. I am indebted for many of these items to George L. Shoup, whose manuscript entitled Idaho Territory is a compendium of facts concerning the eastern portion of the country. Shoup was born in Pa, went to Illinois, and subsequently to Nebraska and Colorado, where he was engaged in merchandising. He was a member of the First Constitutional convention of Colorado. On the breaking-out of the war for the union he organized an independent cavalry company, and served as 2d Lieutenant, and finally as major and Lieutenant Colonel. In 1866 he took a stock of goods to Virginia City, Montana, and the following year settled at Salmon City. He was one of 3 supervisors of Lemhi County who appointed its first officers, the first councilman from the county in the territorial legislature, and has been constantly identified with the growth of his section of the country. His wife was Lena Dawson of Galesburg, Illinois, to whom he was married at Salmon City in 1868. The dairy products of Lemhi valley became favorably known. The Indian reservation occupies 12 miles square of land.
Another valley, the Pahsimeroi, on both sides of tho Pasamari River, and therefore partly in Custer county, was more recently settled than the Lemhi, but was found similar in its characteristics. Leesburg was laid off on Napius Creek in 1866, and Grantville soon after. They formed together one continuous street, and survived under the name of the former. Gibbonville is an old mining camp known in its first period of existence as Dahlong’s, but revived and named after Colonel Gibbon, in honor of his hard fought battle with the Nez Percé in 1877. The quartz mines at this place furnish free-milling ores, and have recently been worked by arastras.
One of the most prominent pioneers of Lemhi County, in common with Colonel Shoup, was E. T. Beatty, who, as a member of the territorial legislature, labored successfully for the organization of Lemhi County at the session of 1869-70. He was an able parliamentarian, and for many years, when the democracy ruled Idaho, presided either in the upper or lower house. His life has been checkered. He came to Cal. in 1840; was connected with the naval service for some years; practised law; was twice a member of the Cal. legislature; and went to Idaho in early mining times. In 1804 he shot D. N. Anderson, at Walla Walla, for marrying his divorced wife. He was himself shot, almost fatally, at Rocky Bar, the same year by Tony, who was acquitted. Beatty afterward gave much attention to mining, and became known as the father of Lemhi County.
Perhaps from the desire to avoid the neighborhood of the Indian reservation, perhaps in anticipation of the Northern Pacific railroad, the lands north of the Clearwater were more eagerly seized upon than the warmer and equally fertile land on the south side. A number of towns grew up between 1S75 and 1885. Moscow, in Paradise Valley, was founded in 1878, and a branch railroad connected it with the trunk line. Mention is made of extraordinary vegetable productions in Paradise Valley, such as turnips weighing 14 pounds, beets weighing 22 pounds, potatoes weighing 4 pounds and onions 6 pounds; while sugar-cane, corn, melons, and hardy fruits attain marvelous proportions. In every new country and virgin soil similar phenomena are observed; but the region of Palouse River has produced some remarkable specimens of vegetables, and wonderful crops of grain. The trade of Moscow amounted in 1882 to $400,000. Schools, churches, and a public library sprang up, and a newspaper, the Moscow Mirror, was published by C. B. Reynolds. Lewiston, the county seat, was the principal town south of the Clearwater, with whose early history the reader is acquainted. It did not long remain a canvas town, intruding upon an Indian reservation, watched by a military company to keep the peace, populated by adventurers with a large proportion of the criminal classes, gamblers, horse thieves, and highwaymen, who met here to intercept the successful miner on his homeward road. On the removal of the capital, and the rush of miners to southern Idaho, it remained for years a quiet, Mexican looking town of one principal street, and one or two side streets, its most interesting institution being the large warehouse where could be seen miners’ pack-saddles and outfits. A new life was infused by the settlement of the country north of the Clearwater, and the construction of a branch of the Northern Pacific railway. The one-story structures of the earlier period rapidly gave way to large fine buildings. Avenues of trees sprang up to shade its sandy streets, and gardens of the choicest flowers beautified its homesteads. With its fine location on a point between two rivers, sloping back gradually to the grassy, rolling hills, its admirable climate, and rich agricultural surroundings, Lewiston with many was the favorite city of the Snake River country. Fort Lapwai and the Indian agency were twelve miles from Lewiston, in the pretty little Lapwai Valley. Camp Howard was also about 75 miles away, on the south side of the reservation. After the purchase of the land from the Nez Percé in 1803-7, a conflict of titles arose, claim being laid to certain settle portions of the town by Alonzo Oilman, who in common with others occupied the land before a title could be acquired. At all events, so it was decided by the commissioner of the U. S. land office. The town site was entered by Levi Ankeny in trust for the inhabitants of Lewiston in 1871, having been incorporated in 1866, and the commissioner allowed the claim. Lewiston Signal, June 28, 1873; Idaho Law, 1866-7, 87, 1872-3, 16-21. The other early towns of the county were Cottonwood, Genesee, Thorn, Lidyville, Blain, Four Mile, Palouse, Mountain Cove, Camas Creek, and Pine Creek. The population in 1883 was 4,500, and the assessed valuation for the previous year $1,327,616.
Cache Valley, or the valley of Bear River, called also Gentile Valley to distinguish it from the Mormon settlement of Bear Lake, has been pronounced the garden-spot of Oneida County. Round Valley, which is the upper end of Cache Valley, is the wheat granary of southern Idaho and northern Utah. The land office for this district is at Oxford in this valley. The Utah and Northern railroad passes through it. The Idaho Enterprise is published at Oxford, and has run ever since 1878, J. A. Straight, editor and publisher.
Swan Lake, a lovely sheet of water, abounding in fish and waterfowl, is a silvery mirror reflecting the sharply penciled outlines of the Wasatch range. The scenery all about Bound Valley is fascinating. The foothills furnish excellent ranges for stock. W. H. Cooper, in 1880, sold $10,000 worth of horses off these natural pastures. Malade Valley, population in 1880, 2,500, contained in 1885 many of the finest farms in Idaho. Malade City, the principal town, with a population of 1,200 and the county scat of Oneida, has been made an attractive place, the streets having ditches of pure running water, and gardens thickly set with trees. The courthouse cost $12,000, and with other public buildings gives an air of substantial prosperity to the town.
Henry Peck, sometime probate judge, was the first settler in Malade Valley, in the spring of 1865. During the summer Benjamin Thomas, Lewis Goutler, James McAllister, Richard Jones, and others made locations, and in 1866 there was an influx of Josephite Mormons. Silver City Idaho Avalanche, March 11, 1876. Franklin became an important place; also Soda Springs, from the curative properties of the waters, a second Saratoga or a German Spa, Weston, Cherry Creek, Chadville, Samaria, Battle Creek – so called from a battle fought with the Bannacks in 1863-4, the road passing through a defile named Connor’s canon, because General Connor was here attacked by the Indians under Pocatella in ambush, and defeated them; Mink Creek, St John, Swan Lake, Nine Mile, Arimo, Oneida, Belle Marsh, Port Neuf, Pocatella, Ross Fork, Blackfort, Shoshone, Eagle Rock, Camas, Pleasant Valley, and Beaver Canon were in 1885 small towns or railroad stations.
Oneida County had in 1885 six gristmills and 30 sawmills, the salt-works before mentioned, the mining district of Cariboo, and the placer mines of Snake River, besides its farming and stock raising, to create wealth. Population 7,500; assessed valuation $1,401,410, exclusive of railroad property on the Indian reservation, which it crosses, and where the company has refused to pay taxes. It had more wealth and greater advantages than any other district in Idaho with the exception of Ada and Nez Percé counties. Various attempts were made for the suppression of polygamy in Idaho, but all through the early period of its history the Mormon influence there was strong enough successfully to oppose such efforts. ↩
In 1882 the taxable property of Owyhee was assessed at $665,152, of which $321,979 was for livestock. Cattle were assessed at $10 a head, and sheep at $1.50, while horses were valued at ten dollars and upwards. The number of cattle in the county was given at 24,559, the number of sheep at 15,150, the number of horses at 2,046. Dairying was followed in the lower Jordan Valley. There was little timber. Game abounded on the plains and among the hills, and mineral springs of value were found in the eastern part of the county. The county seat was removed from Ruby City to Silver City in 1866-7, which place finally absorbed the former, and grew into a scattering collection of residences and quartz-mills, covering two sides of Jordan Canon. The Avalanche newspaper was published here, and was an authority on mines, and altogether a valuable journal to the territory. The early towns of Owyhee County were not numerous or large. Fairview, a thriving little city, suffered a loss of $100,000 by fire in October 1876. Boonville, Ruby City, Camp Lyon, Flint, Reynolds Creek, Castle Creek, South Mountain, McKenzie, and Bruneau were mining and fanning settlements of no great importance. The population of the county in 1880 was 1,000. ↩
The population of the county in 1880 was 800. Pierce City, the county seat, had connection with Lewiston by stage over a good road for 90 miles. The town of Oro Fino was destroyed by fire in August 1867, but the mines of Oro Fino district continued to bo worked, and the inhabitants manifested a faith in their county and its resources which enabled them to keep up an organization and representation in the legislature, against the efforts of the more populous counties to disorganize it. The property of Shoshone County was assessed in 1882 at $44,368. ↩
Little Salmon Meadows in the north, Council Valley in the central, and Indian Valley in the eastern part of the county, and several other small bodies of rich land, are all good fanning or grazing sections. This place was founded in 1880, by Solomon Jeffries, who donated ground for the county building. It was laid off in blocks of five acres each, with streets a hundred feet wide. Building was begun in 1881, and in 1883 there were 250 inhabitants, with a good courthouse and ail, a schoolhouse, a town hall, a flouring mill, three general merchandise establishments, three hotels, three livery-stables, hardware, harness, and saddlery stores, a brewery, drug store, and all the conveniences needed by a young community. The Weiser City Leader, a weekly newspaper, was published by H. C Street, connected with various democratic publications in the early years of Boise basin. The town of Boomerang was laid out near the mouth of the Payette River. Other settlements were Mann Creek, Salubria, Old’s Ferry, Brownlee Ferry, or Ruthburg, and Council Valley. Two brothers named Wilkinson were the first settlers on the upper Weiser, where they took farming claims in 1863, and made beautiful homesteads. In 1864 the Abernethy brothers, the Allison brothers, and one Jewell located in the neighborhood. On the lower river, Shaw, Thomas Galloway, Woodson Jeffries, James Galloway, and Havens were pioneers, and had many a tilt with the Shoshones and Piutes. ↩
The population of Idaho in 1870 was 14,909; in 1880, 32,611; and in 18S3, 52,320, including 5,000 Chinese; finances prosperous; valuation of property, exclusive of mining claims, which are not taxed, in 1882, $9,339,071; bonded indebtedness, $69.248; and the estimated surplus in 1883 was $60,000. Governor’s Message, 1882, 3-6; Treasurer’s Reply 1882, 3. Manufactures few; mills in 1880, grist 16, lumber 48, others 98. Lime was made in Ada and Alturas Counties. Pottery was attempted as early as 1863, by Pliny Thayer, at Idaho City. Fish were cured in brine for market at the Great Payette Lake by two companies. A small trade in furs was continued after the settlement of Idaho, increasing after 1809, when Orchard and Cohn began shipping east by rail. The skins were marten, fisher, mink, and beaver, and were taken in the country between the Salmon and Payette Rivers. There was quite a local trade in wild meat in the shooting season. A game law was enacted in 1863-4, for the protection of the larger game from Feb. to July, throughout the territory, which was not strictly regarded in the mountains. There was also a law for the preservation of quail, grouse, and ducks, from March to August, in the county of Ada; and to prevent the destruction of their eggs, or the trapping of birds in any part of the territory. Fish wears were also declared a nuisance, and the use of giant powder forbidden in the taking of fish. ↩
See Idaho Laws, 1879, 14-26; Governor’s Rept, 1880, 14-16. The school law of 1864 eave one per cent of gross proceeds of all toll-roads, bridges ferries, and all other franchises to the school fund. The law of 1875 set apart tines for the same purpose. Each county received the exclusive benefit of its own educational resources, receiving no aid from the territory, Lewiston and Boise City alone having graded roads. Private means were often devoted to school purposes, since schoolhouses are as plentiful here as elsewhere. A bill to grant lands to Idaho for university purposes became a law of congress June 15, 1880; but it has been suggested by Governor Neil that a grant of land for the support of common schools in each of the territories would be the greater benefit. Indeed, congress did grant, in February 1881, 72 sections of public lands for school purposes, under certain restraints. The immediate benefit to the territory was insignificant. Congress gives annually a large amount of money for the maintenance of schools on Indian reservations, and not a cent for the education of the first generation of white children in the new commonwealths of the federal union.
The Boise Valley Seminary, a private institute, was founded at Boise City in the spring of 1867, by H. Hamilton. A movement was made in 1874 at Boise City, toward founding a university at that place.
The earliest religious teachers in Idaho were the missionaries at Lapwai and Kamiah, and at the Coeur d’Alene Lake, whose operations have been recorded in a previous volume. Hist. Or, i. ch. xiii. Peter J. De Smet, the pioneer of the Coeur d’Alene country, died at St Louis, May 23, 1873. He was a native of Belgium, born in 1801. H. H. Spalding, the pioneer of Lapwai, died at that place, August 3, 1874, in his 73d year. Gray’s Or. Presbytery, 11. A. B. Smith left the country in 1841. De Smet, at Coeur d’A1ene, named the St Joseph River in Idaho, and the St Ignatius in Montana, when the whole country was called a part of Oregon. Gregory Mengarini and Nicholas Point, two Jesuit fathers, began the mission of the sacred heart, on St Joseph’s River, in 1811, directly north of Lapwai. It was found that the waters of the lake backed up in the season of floods, and prevented the improvements necessary to carrying out their plans. Therefore, in 1846, they removed to the present site of the Coeur d’Alene mission on the river of that name. The church, built of wood in a poor imitation of M. Angelo’s San Miniato on the hill, stood on a knoll surrounded by low, flat, alluvial lands. Approaching from the west it was seen at the other end of the valley, facing north. In tho rear was the residence of the fathers – a rustic cottage with overhanging eaves, and a narrow piazza all round it. A hundred feet to the west was the refectory, and grouped around the sides of the knoll were 50 wigwams and cabins. In front of and to the east of the church considerable ground was enclosed by a substantial rail fence. Here the Indians labored Little had been done in 1886 by the government for the improvement of Idaho. Its public buildings were as much as they could he prevailed upon to do. P. P. Joset, who succeeded Mengarini at this mission, taught the Indians agriculture. Point, who was in charge, was succeeded in 1847 by Gazzoli, who remained for many years at this mission. It was said he belonged to an illustrious Italian family. Dallas Mountaineer, Nov. 21, 1805; Walla Walla Statesman, Sept. 2, 1804; Shea’s Missions, 476; Kip’s Army Life, 78-9. A fire destroyed the mission in 1864, which was rebuilt. Gazzoli died June 10, 1882. Palouse Gazette, June 23, 1882. Mengarini and Zerbinati established the mission of St Ignatius on Clarke Fork of the Columbia River, northeast of Kalispel or Pend d’Oreille Bay in 1844. De Smet’s Missions, 180-1. It lay in a prairie, and the buildings were begun in 1845. In 1846 it had 14 houses and a largo barn, with everything prepared for erecting a church. Three hundred acres were fenced and sowed, and the missionaries had 30 cattle. On Ascension Day, 1845, P. Hoecken baptized over 100 Indian adults. He was joined and assisted by Ravelli. De Smet first selected the St Joseph as the proper site of a mission, but removed to the Coeur d’Alene River after a trial of two or three seasons, finding the ground too wet at the place first selected. The protestant mission of Spalding, under the patronage of the American Board of Foreign Missions, was established in 1836-7, on the Clearwater, in the warm and fertile valley of the Lapwai. Lapwai signifies place of meeting, or a boundary, and was the dividing line between the upper and lower Nez Percé. Victor’s Or,, 121-4. The residence was a one-story log house. A sawmill and gristmill were erected, and good crops raised, while the Indians were taught farming and christian ethics. The Cayuse war was the cause of the abandonment of the mission in 1847. After white people began to go into the Nez Percé country to mine, Spalding returned as a teacher to the Indians at Lapwai, and there died. Henry Hart Spalding, son of the missionary, settled at Almota, Whitman County, Washington, in 1872. He married, in 1875, Mary Warren. He built the first road out of Almota toward Colfax. The first church erected in Idaho was by the Catholics, in 1863, at Idaho City, by A. Z. Poulin, dedicated by Father Mesplie. In the following spring there was a protestant church erected by C. S. Kingsley, Methodist clergyman and merchant as he was quoted in the city directory. Both of these churches were on Commercial Street. The great fire of 1865 destroyed the Methodist Church, and a building was afterward put up to serve for the use of all denominations, and used also as a courthouse, for which purpose it was finally sold in 1866. Idaho World, Sept. 9, 1805; Virginia and Helena Post, Nov. 6, 1866. The Catholics also erected the church of St Bernard at Placerville, and the chapels of St Dominick and St Francis at Centreville and Pioneer City, all in 1863-4. They were first at Boise City, as well. A very determined effort was made by the Catholics to obtain the patronage of Idaho in religious and educational matters. Owing partly to this, partly to Mormon influence, there were but three protestant churches prior to 1871* and four Sunday-schools. The number or churches had increased in 1874 to 15, after which time there was a steady improvement in religious architecture. A bible society was established in 1871. The first session of the Idaho conference of the Methodist church was held Sept. 17, 1884. The Baptist association meets annually.
The people of Idaho, even in the wildest whirl of early events, were not forgetful of charities. In 1864 a hospital for the indigent sick was provide, in Boise County, the county commissioners being authorized by law to make a levy, not exceeding $2 annually, upon each taxable inhabitant, in addition to a tax not exceeding a quarter of one per cent upon the value of all taxable property. I. H. Harris was the first attendant physician, and A. S. Goodrich had charge of the hospital. The county of Ada had a poor- farm, with good buildings. The legislature of 1864 authorized the commissioners of each county to care for the insane and idiotic by levying a tax; but as this could not very well be done, the insane were usually sent to Oregon or California at the expense of friends. A law was approved in Jan. 18SI, making the governor and the president of the council commissioners to contract with the proper authorities of California or Oregon, or both, for the care and treatment of this class of indigent and unfortunate persons where the insanity was of a violent or dangerous form, the expense to be borne by the territory. Idaho Law’s 1880-1, 300-5. The benevolent orders of Masons, Odd-Fellows, and Good Templars have lodges in the principal towns. In 1872 the grand lodge of Masons in Idaho issued a circular to the order, warning its members to cease intemperance, gambling, and playing games in drinking saloons, and asking Masons to leave off keeping such places.
The territory has a historical society of Idaho pioneers, for the maintenance of which, and the furtherance of its work of collecting and preparing historical matter and statistical records, the legislature of 1830, by resolution, appropriated $250 per annum. ↩
An act of the legislature of January 11, 1866, incorporated the Idaho, Salt Lake, and Columbia River Branch Pacific Railroad Company, with authority to construct a road from the north end of Salt Lake to a point ten miles below Old’s ferry on Snake River. The incorporators were Caleb Lyon, U. C. Riggs, E. Bohannon, John Wasson, George Ainslie, John M. Cannady, W. H. Parkinson, E. T. Beatty, F. O. Nelson, W. W. Thayer, S. W. Wright, S. S. Fenn, of Idaho; H. D. Clapp, Ben Holliday, Erastus Corning, William M. Tweed, Marshall O. Roberts, of New York City; J. C. Ainsworth, Charles H. Larrabee, William L. Ladd, of Portland, Oregon; and Amos Reed and W. L. Halsey of Salt Lake City. Idaho Laws 1865-6, 201-3. Preliminary surveys were made by the Union Pacific railway in 1867, and the route declared favorable down Snake River from climatic considerations, and believed to be without serious engineering difficulties. In 1869 the sale of the Union Pacific west of Ogden to the Central Pacific caused the abandonment of the branch through Idaho. Boise Statesman, Nov. 19, 1865, Feb. 9, 1867; Walla Walla Statesman, Dec. 27, 1867; Idaho World, May 20, 1869. The people of the Humboldt Valley then held a meeting at Elko, resolving to give all possible aid to the Idaho people in constructing a branch to the Central Pacific. A proposition was made in 1871 to extend the California Pacific from Davisville via Beckworth’s and Noble’s pass through southeastern Oregon and the Snake River plains to Salt Lake. Sac. Union, Feb. 22, 1869, May 20, 1871; Boise Statesman, July 10, 1879. In the spring of 1872 congress passed an act granting to the Portland, Dalles, and Salt Lake Railroad, an Oregon corporation of March 25, 1871, the right of way. H. Ex. Doc, 47, pt 3, p. 1002-3, 46th cong. 3d sess. The Oregon legislature passed an act appropriating the proceeds arising from the sale of certain public lands to which the state was entitled to the assistance of this company, authorizing it to issue bonds, and requiring it to commence with the construction of the portage links. Or. Laws, 1872, 16-21. An effort was made to get bills through the Idaho legislature in support of the scheme of the Portland, Dalles, and Salt Lake road, proposing to pay the interest on $3,000 or $5,000 per mile for a term of years. But the committee to which they were referred reported adversely. A substitute was parsed exempting railroads built within the territory from paying taxes for seven years. Idaho Laws, 1872-3, 63. John H. Mitchell of Oregon, in Jan. 1874, introduced a bill in the U. S. senate providing for the construction of a narrow-gauge railroad by the Portland, Dalles, and Salt Lake road company, the work to be commenced on the division east of the Columbia River within six months, and in consideration of the free transportation of troops and despatch of telegrams for the government, the latter should guarantee the payment of five per cent interest on bonds to be issued to the extent of $10,000 per mile, secured by a mortgage on the property and rights of the corporation. Twenty-five per cent of the net earnings were to be set aside as a sinking fund to provide for the redemption of the bonds at maturity. Boise Statesman, Feb. 14 and May 23, 1874. This bill received a favorable report from the committee. In 1875 W. W. Chapman, president of the company, made a contract with a London company for the completion of the road, at from $26,000 to $28,000 per mile, exclusive of $2,000 per mile local aid pledged, the London company to be secured by mortgages as the road progressed. None of these plans were carried to a successful conclusion. Congress neglected to pass bills as desired, and time clipped away until, by the vigorous measures adopted by the Northern Pacific in 1879 to complete its line to the Pacific, thereby controlling the transportation of the northwest, the Union Pacific was inspired to construct the long deferred branch through Idaho, called the Oregon Short Line, making, with the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company’s road to the Snake River in Baker County, a continuous railway from Granger, in Wyoming, to the Columbia River, with one branch to Hailey, and other branches in construction and contemplation. In the mean time congress granted the right of way, in 1873, to the Utah and Northern Railroad, and a narrow-gauge road was built 127 miles from Ogden to Oneida, on the Fort Hall Indian reservation, a distance of 53 miles north of the Idaho line, when the capital of the company became exhausted, and the road passed into the hands of Sidney Dillon and Jay Gould, in 1878, who immediately gave it a fresh impetus, completing it almost to the Montana line the following year. Codman’s Round Trip, 259-60; Port Townsend Argus, Oct. 16, 1879; Bonanza City Yankee Fork Herald, Oct. 11, 1879; S. F. Bulletin, Dec. 12, 1879. It was completed to Deer Lodge, Montana, in 1881-2, and soon after to the junction with the Northern Pacific, at Blackfoot. At the time of its construction it was the longest continuous narrow-gauge line in the U. S., and was well equipped.
A number of acts were passed by early legislatures authorizing the construction of telegraph lines. The only project which seemed to promise consummation was that of a line from Portland, by the way of The Dalles, Umatilla, Walla Walla, La Grande, Uniontown, and Baker City to Boise City in 1868, but it finally failed of completion because the people of eastern Oregon lacked the energy or the means to carry it through. The first line established was in 1874, from Winnemucca in Nevada to Boise City via Silver City, distance 275 miles. It was completed to Silver City in August, when on the 31st its advent was celebrated by public festivities. On the 18th of Dec. a branch was extended 25 miles to South Mountain. In Sept. 1875 the line was completed to Boise City, and the same autumn to Baker City in Oregon, the Idaho farmers transporting the poles to their place along the route between Boise and Snake Rivers to assist the work. In 1879 the signal service office constructed a line from Walla Walla to Lewiston, Idaho, for the use of the government, the labor being performed by troops, the principal object being to facilitate in the event of Indian disturbances. See S. F. Chronicle, Jan. 25, 1879. In the Nez Percé war of 1877 Gen. Howard was compelled to send all his despatches to Walla Walla by stage or steamer, one of his aids being constantly employed in sending despatches to San Francisco. ↩
There was probably a spice of party spleen in these remarks, although it was true that the annexation fever of a few years previous was visibly decreasing. The reasons, both for its access and its decline, were easily perceived. At the time it existed the Panhandle counties truly felt that their natural and almost impassable southern boundary, the Salmon River range, prevented that freedom of intercourse between them and the southern counties which would make them a homogeneous people. They had yet to learn what railroad engineering could do with the insurmountable. They believed that immigration came to them with reluctance, because the prospect of statehood was so remote, and they justly complained of the inaccessibility of their own capital, whereas if they were joined to Washington the capital of that state would doubtless be removed to within easy distance, and reached quickly by railways. The evidence of what one railroad had done, and the promise of what others would do, created a diversion of interest, and the extraordinary wealth being discovered in the Coeur d’ Alene mining district caused promoters of the agitation to reflect upon the injustice of taking away Idaho’s jurisdiction over so valuable a portion of its domain. But doubtless had the counties interested only been empowered to decide the matter, they would have united themselves to Washington; and a bill was, in fact, pending in congress in 1888 for the admission of that commonwealth into the union with this part of Idaho attached, subject to the vote of the four counties, but delegate Dubois was instructed to labor to suppress it, and had also a bill before congress to divide Nez Percé County and create the county of Latah out of the northern portion of it, this being the substitute for a bill to remove the county seat of Nez Percé from Lewiston to Moscow, taking local matters entirely out of the hands of the legislature. ↩
Gov’s Rept, 1885, 18-19. ↩
Gov. Stevenson remarked in his report to the Secretary of the Interior that the necessity which called for the action of the tax-payers of the territory in incurring these expenses reflected ‘ little credit on congress, which lavishes its millions in the way of appropriations upon worthless job… Congress generally winds up with a dividend day for all the states, with the territories left out. The right thing for congress to do at its coming session is to appropriate $150,000 to reimburse our territorial treasury for the outlay in erecting the capitol building and the insane asylum, which will be needed to complete and finish those buildings as they should be, and the purpose of flagging the walks, fencing and beautifying the grounds,’ etc. Id. 17. The main building of the insane asylum was destroyed by fire on the night of the 23d of Nov., 1889, when several of the inmates lost their lives, it being impossible to rescue every one, the asylum being located at some distance from town, and the employees of the institution having all to do in saving the patients. The estimated loss to the territory of the building and furniture was $50,000. ↩
The number of territorial prisoners was 75, and U. S. prisoners 3. Gov’s Rept 1888, p. 54-5. The citizens of Boise formed a Chautauqua reading circle among the convicts, who gladly embraced the opportunity for study. Id. 1887. ↩
The first board of regents consisted of 9 members, “Willis Sweet being president, and D. H. B. Blake secretary. The site of the university consists of 20 acres, one mile from Moscow, on the slope of a hill facing the town, and approached by two broad avenues, which will be shaded with trees. ↩
H. F. Wild, U. S. Assayer at Boise, in the Rept. of Gov. Stevenson for 1888. ↩
Shoshone Journal, in The Northwest Magazine, May 1889. ↩
The last report of the irrigation commissioners presents a bill of costs, with their plan of diverting the waters of rivers over arid lands which renders it wholly void of utility. Then comes Wm N. Byers of Colorado with a plan for storing water by means of artificial glaciers, which he claims could be easily constructed during the winter high in the mountains, and which we are assured would keep supplied during summer those streams which otherwise are dried up. The plan is deemed worthy of consideration by some people. ↩
These Indians raised 8,523 bushels of wheat, or an average of 22½ bushels to the farm; 8,085 bushels of oats; 915 bushels of barley; 8,450 bushels of potatoes; 1,200 bushels of turnips; 100 bushels of onions; 40 bushels of beans; 2,500 tons of hay; 500 pounds of butter. The stock owned by these Indians were, 6,250 horses, 2 mules, 1,000 cattle, 45 swine, and 350 domestic fowls. Gov.’s Rept, 1888, p. 47. ↩
The Indians on this reservation raised 200 bushels of wheat; 3,200 bushels of oats; 450 bushels of potatoes; 25 bushels of onions; 400 bushels of other vegetables; 70 tons of hay; and owned 3,000 horses, 1 mule, and 60 cattle. Id. 48. ↩
The Nez Percé raised 68,750 bushels of wheat; 1,000 bushels of corn; 22,000 bushels of oats, 1,000 bushels of barley and rye; 10,000 bushels of potatoes; l00 bushels of turnips; 300 bushels of onions, 500 bushels of beans; 1,000 bushels of other vegetables; 25,000 melons; 15,000 squashes; 4,000 tons of hay; 400 pounds of butter; and owned 14,000 horses, 10 mules, 3,500 cattle, 500 swine, 7 sheep, 2,500 fowls; and cultivated 5,492 acres. Id. 49. ↩
Boise Barracks is a two-company post, with a reservation one mile square, on which arc erected many tine buildings of a durable stone peculiar to the locality, which gives them an imposing appearance. The grounds are well cared for and handsomely laid out. ↩
Stevenson pointed out that while Idaho was so nearly defenseless, Montana had 36 companies, stationed at 7 different points; New Mexico had 23, at 5 points; Arizona 34, at 11 points; Utah 15, at 2 points; Washington 20, at 4 points: Wyoming 27, at 7 points; and Dakota 37, at 10 points. Gov.’s Rept. 57-58. ↩
One of the horse-raisers of Idaho was Miss Kittie Wilkins, sometimes called the Horse Queen, of Bruneau valley, where she resided with her parents, on a large range. Her stock consisted of Black Hawks, Morgans, Percheron, Hambletonian, and French draught-horses. The father of Miss Wilkins settled in Idaho in 1865, when she was an infant, and from one filly, given the child, came, by good management, a band of 700 or 800 horses. Miss Wilkins was educated at St Vincent’s academy, Walla Walla and the convent of Notre Dame. San José, California. ↩
These were the Oregon Short Line; Utah and Northern, 129 miles; Idaho Central, 18½ miles; Northern Pacific, 88 miles; Wood River, 15½ miles; branch of Oregon Short Line, 54½ miles; Washington and Idaho, 33 miles; Coeur d’Alene Railway and Navigation Company (narrow-gauge), 38 miles, and carrying 93,000 tons per annum; Spokane and Palouse, 6½ miles; O. R. &N. Branch in Latah co., 3 miles; Spokane Falls and Idaho Railway, 13½ miles. Besides these, the Midland Pacific, a transcontinental line, was projected from Seattle to Sioux Falls and Chicago. This road would enter Idaho from the east on the north fork of Snake River, crossing the Utah and Northern at Market lake, crossing the plains to Birch creek, thence on the divide between Snake and Salmon Rivers, down the Lemhi to Salmon City, thence down Salmon River to Slate creek, and through the northern Camas prairie to Lewiston. Its length in Idaho would approximate 500 miles. It was contemplated changing the route of the Oregon Short Line so as to bring the main line through Boise City. Report of Gov. George L. Stump, 1889. ↩
The Western Union Telegraph Company had 776 miles of wires in the territory, valued at $61,393.90. Other companies had 131 miles of wires, valued at $3,700. ↩
The president of the council also vacated the chair on the last day of the session, in order to obstruct the passage of a measure obnoxious to him. In neither case was the action successful, as the house immediately elected Geo. P. Wheeler, of Bingham, chairman, and the council chose S. F. Taylor, of Bingham, president. ↩
The law required superintendents of schools to take an oath that they were neither “bigamist or polygamist” but at this session it was so altered that in case the person challenged were a woman, the objectionable terms should not be included in the oath. Idaho Jour. Council 1888-1), 128. ↩
With regard to mines of which the early history has been given, the following may be interesting: The Oro Fino group of 8 mines belongs to the Oro Fine Mining company, limited, of London, England. The original Oro Fino mine produced $1,800,000, and is soon, according to Gov. Shoup’s report, from which I take these items, to produce much more. The lode is situated on War Eagle Mountain, in Owyhee district, 3 miles from Silver City. The vein is a true fissure, varying from 2 to 6 feet in width, carrying free milling ore of gold and silver. The shaft has reached the depth of 807 feet, while the mine has not been stoped out to that depth. Levels already started on this mine before it was purchased by the company now owning it have been continued with good results. A lode of very rich ore has been discovered for a distance of 120 feet in length, reaching upward 100 feet. At a recent test this ore assayed $225 per ton, nearly all gold. Over the mine is a substantial shaft-house, with hoisting machinery capable of working the mine to a depth of 1,600 feet, while at Silver City is the new Oro Fino 20-stamp steam quartz-mill. The Oro Fino group of mines is covered by ten locations, patents for which have been applied for.
The Poorman group covers an area of about one half mile in width by one mile in length, and is composed of 8 or 10 lodes, the principal of which is the celebrated Poorman, the Belle Peck, Oso, Illinois Central, South Poorman, Silver Cord, and Jackson. All these mines have produced more or less, while the Poorman has yielded millions. United States patents have been applied for for this group of mines. The property was purchased in 1888 by a syndicate then living in London.
The Morning Star mine, situated one fourth of a mile from Silver City, owned by Stoddard, Townsend, & Smith, has produced $750,000. Six other mines situated in this district are mentioned in the report of Gov. Shoup. In the adjoining district of Wagontown, discovered in 1876 by J. W. Stodard, is the Wilson, the largest and richest mine in Idaho, owned by Christian and Louis Wahl of Chicago, and J. R. De Lamar of Owyhee County. The veins, 15, 30, and 77 feet in width, have all been opened, showing 300,000 tons of ore that will mill from $15 to $200 per ton. The bullion produced is high grade in gold.
Concerning the Coeur d’Alene mines of the Panhandle, the following is the history: In 1884, the first discovery of galena was made on Cañon creek, a tributary of the Coeur d’Alene River. The Tiger and Poorman mines, now famous for their product, are the nucleus of the flourishing town of Burke. Soon after their discovery, the Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines, on Milo gulch also a tributary of the South Fork, were found. They were of such extraordinary magnitude and richness as to awaken the interest of the capitalists of Montana, who the ensuing year constructed a narrow-gauge railway from Lake Coeur d’Alene to these mines, and began shipping the ore to the concentrating works at Wickes, Mont. This was the entering wedge which opened the marvelous treasures of the Coeur d’Alene to the world, and enabled it in less than 3 years to become the greatest lead-producing region in the United States. Ten concentrators, with an average capacity of 100 tons daily each, are now in operation in this district. They produce 70,000 tons of concentrates per annum, containing an average of 30 oz. of silver and 60 per cent of lead, besides 45,000 tons of selected ore, averaging 40 oz of silver and 60 per cent of lead, aggregating a cash value of $9,030,000 at the market price of silver and lead.
Large copper mines are found in Washington County, but cannot be profitably worked until railroads are constructed to this district – Seven Devils by name – also in Alturas, Custer, and Bingham Counties. ↩
Idaho, Jour. House 1888-9, 204. ↩
The Central Canal and Land company was 24 miles in length in December 1889, and would irrigate 50,000 acres. The Settlers’ ditch, which had been in progress three years, was about ready to run lateral lines to 100 farms. Both these canals were in Ada County. Portland Oregonian, Dec. 20, 1889. ↩
Proclamation by Gov. Shoup in Gov.’s Rept, 1889, 106. ↩
Judge Logan came to Idaho when the bench and society were shaken to their foundations, and mob law openly advocated. The atmosphere was foul with venality, corruption, and moral weakness. A change occurred as if by magic when Judge Logan ascended the tribune. The people recognized in him a splendid lawyer, a man of firmness and clearness of mind. He conducted and ruled the court; the court did not rule him. He was just and fair, impartial and fearless. The first criminal cases tried before him showed that be was a judge for the people, that he would interpret the law as it should be interpreted, and that he would honestly discharge his duties. Grangeville Free Press. ↩
Other federal appointments were:
Charles S. Kingley, register of the U. S. land-office, and
Joseph Perrault, Receiver, Boise City;
H. O. Billings, Register of the U. S. Land Office, O. O. Stockslager, Receiver, Hailey
Perry J. Anson, Register of the U. S. Land Office, and W. H. Danielson, Receiver, Blackfoot
Francis F. Patterson of the U. S. Land Office, and Charles M. Force, receiver, Lewiston; William J. McClure, register of the U. S. Land Office, and Robert E. McFarland, receiver, Coeur d’Alene
S. G. Fisher, U. S. Indian Agent at Ross Fork agency (Fort Hall)
W. D. Robbins, U. S. Indian Agent, Nez Percé Agency
J. M. Needham, U. S. Indian Agent, Lemhi agency
H. J. Cole, U. S. Indian Agent at Coeur d’Alene agency;
W. J. Cunningham, U. S. Assayer, Boise City;
William A. Kortz, Sergeant in Charge of U. S. Signal Office, Boise City. ↩
The legislative appointments were:
Trustees for the care and custody of the capitol building, R. Z. Johnson, C. Himrod, J. H. Wickersham;
Commissioners for the improvement of the capitol grounds, C. W. Moore, Peter Sonna, I. L. Tiner, R. Z. Johnson
Territorial Prison Commissioners, William Bryon, C. P. Bilderback, J. B. Wright Directors of the Insane asylum at Blackfoot, I. N. Coston, O. P. Johnson, N. A. Just Regents of the University of Idaho, George L. Shoup, Isaac H. Bowman, John W. Jones, J. W Reid, Nathan Falk, B. F. Morrison, Willis Sweet, H. B. Blake, Richard Z. Johnson. ↩
The oath is as follows: “You do solemnly swear, or affirm, that you are a male citizen of the United States over the age of twenty-one years; that you have actually resided in this territory for four months last past, and in this county thirty days; that you are not bigamist or polygamist; that you are not a member of any order, organization, or association which teaches, advises, counsels, or encourages its members, devotees, or any other person, to commit the crime of bigamy or polygamy, or any other crime defined by law, as a duty arising or resulting from membership in such order, organization, or association, or which practices bigamy or polygamy, or plural or celestial marriage, as a doctrinal rite of such organization; that you do not, either publicly or privately, or in any manner whatever, teach, advise, or encourage any person to commit the crime of bigamy or polygamy, or any other crime defined by law, either as a religious duty or otherwise; that you regard the constitution of the United States and the laws thereof and of this territory, as interpreted by the courts, as the supreme law of the land, the teachings of any order, organization, or association to the contrary notwithstanding; and that you have not previously voted at this election; so help you God.” ↩
H. W. Smith of Ogden went to Washington as the special attorney of Idaho, to argue the case before the Supreme Court. Portland Oregonian, Dec. 6, 1889. ↩
Id., Nov. 27, 1889. ↩
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