On the 22d of September, 1863, more than four months after the passage of the
Organic Act of the territory,
William H. Wallace, late delegate to congress from Washington, appointed
governor of Idaho by President Lincoln July 10th, issued his proclamation
organizing the Territory of Idaho, with the capital at Lewiston. Owing to the
shifting nature of the population and the absence of mail facilities, the fact
of this organization was not known in the mines till late in the spring.
Meanwhile the laws of Washington were held to be in force.1
Much irregularity had prevailed in municipal affairs since the settlement of the region east of the Walla Walla Valley had begun. Missoula county was not represented in the Washington legislature in 1862-3, the member elect, L. L. Blake, wintering in Boise to look after his mining interests. Nez Percé and Idaho Counties sent Ralph Bledsoe to the legislature that session, the latter having been organized by a meeting of the commissioners in May 1862. An election for representative was held, T. M. Reed being chosen to a seat in the assembly at Olympia. Boise County was also organized under the laws of Washington, two of the commissioners - John C. Smith and W. B. Noble - having met for that purpose at Bannack (Idaho) City March 17th.
When it became known that the territory of Idaho had been established, much
impatience was felt to have the government organized, and a representative
elected to congress; but the organization being delayed, an election for
delegate was held July 13th in the Boise basin, which contained the majority of
the population at this time.2
The proclamation of Governor Wallace being made three days before the election
took place, the votes for delegate went for nothing. Not until September 22d did
Wallace utter his proclamation ordering an election for delegate and members of
the legislature, to be held on the 31st of October, the legislature elect to
meet at Lewiston December 10th.
Political conventions3 had been previously called, and, as I have before mentioned, two campaign papers were published during the canvass for delegate. J. M. Cannady was nominated by the democrats and W. H. Wallace by the administration party. There was a short and warm canvass, followed by a noisy but bloodless contest on Election Day, which resulted in a majority for Wallace of about 500 votes. This result deprived the territory of its governor, and made the secretary, W. B. Daniels, of Yamhill County, Oregon, acting governor. Daniels had but one commendable quality - the complexion of his politics.
Previous to his election as delegate, Wallace had districted the territory, the counties of Idaho, Nez Perce, and Shoshone constituting the 1st district, A. C. Smith, judge; Boise county 2d district, Samuel C. Parks, judge; Missoula county and the country east of the Rocky Mountains 3d district, Sidney Edgerton, judge.4 Florence, Bannack City, and Hellgate wore appointed for the holding of the first sessions of the United States courts.
The Organic Act fixed the number of representatives at the first session of the legislature at twenty, thirteen in the lower and seven in the upper house.5
The general laws passed at the first session of the Idaho legislature were nowise remarkable. Among the special laws I find that Owyhee County6 was organized December 31st out of the territory lying south of Snake River and west of the Rocky Mountains; and that on the 22d of January the county of Oneida was cut off from its eastern end, with the county seat at Soda Springs. Alturas County was defined as bounded by Snake River on the south, Idaho County on the north, Boise County on the west, and the meridian of 112° on the east, with the county seat at Esmeralda.
Previously, on the 16th of the same month, that portion of the territory lying east of the Bitter Root Mountains was divided into the several counties of Missoula, Deer Lodge, Beaver Head, Madison, Jefferson, Choteau, Dawson, Big Horn, Ogalalla, and Yellowstone, with their county seats located respectively at Wordensville, Deer Lodge, Bannack, Virginia City, Gallatin, Fort Benton - Big Horn was left to the county commissioners - and Fort Laramie - Yellowstone being also left to the county commissioners, who should name a county seat. The fact that eight counties in that portion of Idaho bounded west by the Rocky and Bitter Root ranges should have had at this period towns which might be named in the legislature is significant of the rapid growth of population.
The legislature proceeded in February to define the boundaries of counties already organized west of the Rocky Mountains. It incorporated Idaho City7 after changing its name from Bannack. It also incorporated Bannack City on 'Grasshopper Creek' in Beaver Head County; and Placerville in Boise County. Among the laws intended for the moral improvement of society was one "for the better observance of the Lord's day," which prohibited theatrical representations, horse-raising, gambling, cock-fighting, or any noisy amusements on Sunday. Another act prohibited the sale of ardent spirits, firearms, or ammunition to the Indians. This law allowed Indian evidence to be taken in cases of its alleged infraction. A law exempting homesteads from forced sales looked to the permanent settlement of the territory. Congress was memorialized to appropriate $50,000 for the construction of a military wagon-road to connect the navigable waters of the Columbia with the navigable waters of the Missouri, that is to say, from the forks of the Missouri on the east to the junction of the Snake and Clearwater rivers on the west; also to establish a mail route from Salt Lake City to Lewiston;8 and to treat with the hostile Indians of the Yellowstone country. The pay of governor and legislators provided in the Organic Act being out of proportion to the expense of living in Idaho, they voted themselves enough additional to amount to ten dollars per diem,9 which increase was to be paid by the territory. Then they adjourned. It might be said that Idaho was
now fairly launched upon its territorial career, with the promise of another
governor in the person of Caleb Lyon of New York.10
But the career of the young commonwealth was not altogether a smooth one. There was a desire on the part of the men of Boise and Owyhee counties to have the capital removed from Lewiston to some point more central to the population west of the Rocky Mountains, there being already a scheme on foot to erect another territory out of the eastern counties. A delegation from Boise visited the legislature while in session, to endeavor to affect the passage of an act fixing the capital at some point in that county. But there was sufficient influence in other parts of the territory to prevent it. And here began the same contest over the matter of location of the seat of government which had been witnessed in Oregon and Washington when it became a party question.
The acting governor becoming unpopular through his opposition to the legislature which had appointed Frank Kenyon public printer11> - Daniels having threatened to give the printing to a San Francisco firm - and other injudicious measures, resigned his office in May, leaving the secretaryship in the hands of Silas Cochrane until another appointment should be made.12 Lyon arrived at Lewiston in August, and assumed office, which was that of Indian superintendent as well as governor.13 He visited Boise in October upon business connected with the superintendency, and was well received.
Meantime a large immigration from the states in rebellion had changed the complexion of politics in the territory. Boise County, which in 1863 gave a majority of 400 or 500 for republican candidates, gave in 1864 between 900 and 1,000 majority for democratic candidates. As there were many in Idaho who were disloyal, nearly every criminal in the country being so, and as nothing in a man's moral character could prevent his voting, it was not to be expected that good government could long prevail.
The number of murders in Boise County alone in 1864 was more than twenty, with assaults and robberies a long list. The county had for sheriff, previous to the election in October14 Sumner Pinkham, born in Maine, a faithful and fearless officer, although a man of dissipated habits. At the first term of the district court held in the 2d district in February, twenty-one lawyers took the oath of allegiance prescribed by the legislature, drawn up by some person or persons aware of the coming condition of society,15 and seventeen jurymen, all regarded as reliable men. Nine indictments were found for murder in the first degree; three for murder in the second degree; one for manslaughter; for assault with intent to murder, sixteen; for robbery, two; for assault with intent to rob, one; for grand larceny, two; for perjury, one; for minor assaults, six; and for obtaining money under false pretences, three; making a total of forty-seven criminal cases. Add to these an equal number of crimes committed between February and the October election, and the crowded condition of the county jail, notwithstanding an extra term of court in June and a regular term in the first week of October, may be readily conjectured. The cost to Boise County of its criminal business down to this date was over $31,000, besides the expenses of the courts, coroner s inquests, post-mortem examinations, and the erection of a jail at Idaho City16 which amounted to $28,594 more; and worse was to come.
An examination of the platforms of the two political parties in Idaho on the eve of the presidential election of 1864 reveals this difference: the administration party declared it to be their highest duty to aid the government in quelling, by force of arms, the existing rebellion; while the opposition party advocated putting an end to the conflict by "peaceable means," or a "convention of the states." At the same time it declared that the "interference of military authority" with the elections of the states of Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and Delaware was "shameful violation of the constitution; and repetition of such acts in the approaching election will be held as revolutionary, and resisted with all the power an means under our control." In one breath it asserted its aim to preserve the union, and in the next that the states not in insurrection had no right to use the military power to make arrests, deny freedom of speech, the right of asylum, to exact "unusual test oaths," or to deny the right of the people to bear arms in their defense; all this being aimed at the military orders of Colonel Wright, of which I have spoke in my History of Oregon, and the oath of allegiance quoted in a previous note. The administration was declared to be shamefully disregardful of its duties toward prisoners of war, and deserved the severe reprobation. In short, the platform called democratic was nothing more than a menace to union men, and an expression of hatred toward the general government which could not be misunderstood. But one union man was elected to the legislature, and the only union officers in the territory were those appointed by the president.
The result of the election was to awe administration men, although they preserved a regular organization and were ready to defend themselves and their principles if attacked.17 But while some might seem to surrender their principles through a dread of conflict, few were willing to surrender their property, to protect which from the organized and unorganized bands of robbers who belonged to the democratic party, the republicans were forced to adopt the methods of secret police known as the vigilant system. Not, by any means, that every democrat was a robber, or even disloyal; but every robber and secessionist called himself a democrat, and the party did not deny or denounce him.
I have treated of vigilance committees in a separate work, and give here only some examples of the crimes which led to the adoption of irregular and illegal measures for their suppression.
The rapid spread of population over mining territory outstripped the cumbersome machinery of legislation and the administration of law. Rogues and villains from the neighboring states, and from the states east of the Missouri River, flocked to a country where there was much gold and property, and no courts.18 The insecurity of life and property in transit upon the highways leading to and from the mines, and the reckless disregard of the former in the mining towns, led the miners of Salmon River, as early as in the autumn of 1862, to organize a vigilance committee at Florence, which action served only to drive the desperadoes from that locality to some other.19
Lewiston was the second community to organize for self-defense, and the occasion was one of the most atrocious crimes on record, the murder of Lloyd Magruder, a prominent citizen of Lewiston, two men named Charles Allen and William Phillips from the Willamette, and two young men from Missouri, whose names have never transpired. Magruder had taken a lot of goods and a band of mules to the Beaver Head mines, realizing about $30,000, with which he started to return in October. Needing assistance with his pack-animals, and desiring company by the way, he engaged four men, James Romaine, Christopher Lowery, Daniel Howard, and William Page, all of whom he had seen in Lewiston, and who were well appearing, to return with him to that place. It was a fatal engagement. The three first mentioned had gone to Beaver Head with no other purpose than to rob and murder Magruder on his way home. Howard was a good looking, brave young man, of a kindly temper, but reckless in morals. From his accomplishments, including a knowledge of medicine, he was called Doctor or Doc. Romaine was a gambler, not known to have committed any crimes. Both of these men had resided at The Dalles. Lowery was a blacksmith who had been with Mullan in his wagon-road expedition, of a thriftless but not criminal reputation. Page was a trapper; some said a horse-thief, who had lived in the Klikitat country opposite The Dalles. He was an older man than either of his associates, and of a weak and yielding character, but not vicious.20
When Magruder was about to start he was joined by the other persons named, Allen and Phillips, having about $20,000 in gold dust, and the unknown men with some money. They travelled without accident to a camp six miles from the crossing of the Clearwater, where a guard was stationed as usual, Magruder and Lowery being on the first watch, and the snow falling fast. When the travelers were asleep, the mules becoming restless, both guards started out to examine into the cause of their uneasiness, Lowery taking along an axe, as he said, to make a fence to prevent the animals wandering in a certain direction. Magruder was killed with this axe in Lowery's hands. Howard and Romaine murdered the two brothers about midnight in the same manner, and soon after killed Allen and Phillips, Allen being shot. So well executed was the awful plot that only Phillips cried out, when a second blow silenced him. Page appears to have been frightened, and to have taken no part in the killing. The bodies were wrapped up in a tent cloth and rolled over a precipice; all the animals except eight horses wore taken into a canon off the trail and shot; the camp equipage was burned, and the scraps of iron left unburned were gathered up, placed in a sack, and thrown after the bodies down the mountain. All this time the murderers wore moccasons, that the damning deed, if discovered, might be imputed to Indians.
The guilty men now agreed to go to Puget Sound, and attempted to cross the Clearwater forty miles above Lewiston; but the weather prevented them, and they kept on to Lewiston, where, partially disguised, they took tickets by stage to Walla Walla, and thence to Portland and San Francisco. Something in the manner of the men, the mark of Cain which seldom fails to be visible, aroused the suspicion of Hill Beachy, owner of the stage line, who, on examining the horses and saddles left in Lewiston, became convinced of the robbery and death of Magruder, whose personal friend he was, and whose return was looked for with anxiety, owing to the prevalence of crime upon all the mining trails. With A. P. Ankeny and others he started in pursuit, but before they reached Portland the murderers had taken steamer for San Francisco, where they were arrested on a telegraphic requisition, and after some delay brought back to Lewiston December 7th to be tried. The only witness was Page, who had turned state's evidence, revealed minutely all the circumstances of the crime, and guided Magruder's friends to the spot where it was committed, and where the truth of his statement was verified.
Meanwhile a vigilance committee had been formed at Lewiston, which met the prisoners and their guard on their arrival, and demanded the surrender of the murderers; but Beechy, who had promised them an impartial trial, succeeded in persuading the people to await the action of the law. On hearing the evidence, the jury, without leaving their seats, rendered a verdict of guilty, January 26, 1864, and Judge Parks sentenced Howard, Romaine, and Lowery to be hanged on the 4th of March, which sentence was carried into effect, the gallows being surrounded by a detachment of the 4th United States infantry from Fort Lapwai.21 Page was himself murdered by Albert Igo in the summer of 1867.
The Magruder massacre alarmed the whole country, and gave a stronger motive for the formation of vigilance committees than anything that had occurred up to that time west of the Rocky Mountains. Nevertheless, the Lewiston committee, seeing that the courts were disposed to administer justice, disbanded about the middle of April, having hanged three murderers and thieves, and exiled 200 gamblers and highwaymen, whose absence left the place as quiet and orderly as a New England village.
But these outlaws were still in the territory or on its borders. Owyhee, while having its mining quarrels and occasional crimes, was not infested with criminals to the extent of needing a vigilance committee.22 South Boise and the Lemhi mines were cursed with the presence of desperadoes overflowing from Montana, where a very active committee of safety was in operation; while on the other hand Warren had never been a resort of villainous characters - why, it would be difficult to say, since they followed up the trails to the paying diggings in every other instance.23
The Boise basin was distinguished above every other part of Idaho as "the seat of war," from the frequency with which blood was spilled upon its soil. As the state of society had not improved with the introduction of courts of justice, and as politics entered into the division of the community into classes, the union men of Idaho City organized themselves to meet the coming crisis, precipitated by the democratic victory in 1864.
As I have before said, robberies and horse-stealing were carried on by organized bands, who had little difficulty in clearing the 'horse ranches' where the miners left their animals to be cared for; and none the less that the keepers of these ranches were often in league with the thieves. Settlers and farmers in the Boise and Payette valleys suffered equally with the miners, the Indian and the white robbers leaving them often without a horse to draw a plough or carry their products to market. This was the plight in which W. J. McConnell, a gardener on the Payette, found himself in October 1864; and out of this condition grew the first vigilance committee in the Boise basin.
Having discovered one of his horses in a stable in Boise City, in recovering it by process of law, I found the costs in a justice's court to exceed the value of the animal. This he paid amid the jeers of crowd composed of idlers and disreputable characters who rejoiced in the discomfiture of the vegetable man.' Thereupon he addressed them in a short speech, which contained the following pertinent words: ''I can catch any damned thief who ever stalked these prairies, and the next one who steals a horse from me is my Injun; there will be no lawsuit about it."
A few days later $2,000 worth of horses and mules were taken from his rancho and those adjoining. McConnell and two others immediately pursued, over-taking the robbers near La Grande, killing three and mortally wounding a fourth, in a short and sharp conflict. Finding the leader of the gang had gone to La Grande for supplies, McConnell followed. By a series of well-devised maneuvers, the man was captured and taken to camp. A confession was exacted of all the names of the organizations of thieves with which these men were connected, and the prisoner was shot.
The knowledge thus gained by McConnell induced him to offer his services to recover any stolen property, on which proclamation most of the farmers throughout that part of Idaho joined with him in a compact to allow no future depredations to go unpunished. This association was called the Payette Vigilance Committee, or Committee of Safety, whose history is full of strange and exciting adventure.
During the winter of 1864-5 an effort was made to put down the Payette Vigilance Committee, by arresting between thirty and forty of the members as violators of law. They were taken to Boise City, where the businessmen engaged counsel, held meetings, and accomplished their release. The organization continued to exist, and the farmers had no further trouble with horse-thieves, although travelers still continued to be despoiled at a distance.24
Among the many crimes committed in Boise County in 1864 were two that created unusual feeling in the breasts of its solid citizens; namely, the unprovoked shooting of J. R. Seeley, an inoffensive and respectable resident of Idaho City, at a public ball, by John Holbrook; and the equally unprovoked shooting of John Coray by Fitz-Gibbons. Holbrook was arrested, and on the impaneling of the first grand jury in the county was charged with murder in the first degree, but on trial the jury failed to agree, and it was found impossible in his case, as in that of all the others, to convict him of murder in the first degree.25
Coray was arrested and confined in the county prison, while elaborate funeral ceremonies reminded the community hourly of its bereavement. Murmurs of mob violence gathered strength, which prompted the stationing in the jail-yard by the authorities of a large posse armed to protect the prisoner. On returning from the burial of Coray about 100 men halted on the brow of the hill above the jail and prepared to make a descent. Judge Parks, who was present, induced them to desist. Nevertheless, Fitz-Gibbons was not convicted of murder in the first degree when his trial came.
The election of October, by putting A. O. Bowen,26 a tool of bad characters, in the office of sheriff, in place of Sumner Pinkham, a good and brave man, did not mend matters. In December Ada County was set off from Boise by the legislature, with Boise City as the county seat, D. C. Updyke, a rogue, being chosen sheriff. Thus the Boise basin was at the mercy of desperadoes in office and out of it. About this time, flour and bread becoming scarce, the idlers and desperadoes attempted to help themselves, and a riot ensued. This was followed by the destruction of Idaho City by fire.
1. On the 7th of August,
1863,' says the Boise News of Nov. 10, 1863, 'we have the first mention of
Territory on the county records.' James Judge was on that day made
2. Robert Newell, union democrat, and John Owen, disunion democrat, were candidates. Portland Oregonian, July 16 and 31, 1863.
3. Judge Bently was president and W. A. Dally secretary of the democratic convention. Lloyd Magruder of Lewiston was talked of for delegate by the Democratic Party; and Gilmore Hays, formerly of Olympia, of the republican party; but both withdrew on the wishes of the conventions being made known.
4. Edgerton was chief justice, and should have been entitled to the more populous region of the Boise basin, but Wallace was influenced by the prejudice against imported judges. Alex. C. Smith was from Olympia, and was given the district containing the capital. Parks on assuming his duties in the 2d district declared his hesitation in taking the place due to Edgerton.
5. By the appointment of Gov. Wallace, the seven councilmen to be elected were: from Boise County. two, from Idaho and Nez Percé one each, from Missoula and Shoshone one jointly, from Bannack east of the Rocky Mountains one, and from all the remainder of the country east of the mountains one. The election resulted in the choice of E. B. Waterbury, Stanford Capps, and Lyman Stanford of the counties of the 1st district; Joseph Miller and Ephraim Smith of the 2d district; and William C. Rheem of the 3d district. Miller was elected president of the council, and J. McLaughlin secretary. Idaho Council Jour., 1863-4, 4, 16. The assemblymen were: L. Bacon, Nez Percé County; C. B. Bodfish, M. C. Brown, R, B. Campbell, W. R Keithly, and Milton Kelly, Boise County; Alonzo Leland and John Wood of Idaho County; L. C. Miller of east Bannack; J. A. Orr of Shoshone County; and James Tufts of Fort Benton district. Tufts was chosen speaker, S. S. Slater chief clerk, Benj. Need asst clerk, A. Mann enrolling clerk, P. H. Lynch Sargent-at-Arms, W. H. Richardson, Doorkeeper. Idaho Scraps, 178; Boise News, Jan. 2, 1864. Judge Parks administered the oath to the members. Rheem, from the council, and Parks, with a member of the assembly, were appointed to prepare a code.
6. The name 'Owyhee' is borrowed from the Hawaiian language, and applied to the river of that name by two islanders in the service of the H. B. Co., while trading with the Shoshones. Owyhee Avalanche, Dec 1865.
7. The charter was rejected at the election for city officers by a vote of 1,564 to 1,376. At the same time a mayor and other officers were elected. The situation partook of the usual absurdities of hasty legislation.
8. Granted, as in previous chapter. See Idaho Laws, passim.
9. Walla Walla Statesman, Feb. 13, 1864. This action was recommended by Acting Gov. Daniels in his message. Idaho Scraps, l80-3.
10. The persons in territorial offices in the spring of 1864 were .W. H. Wallace, governor; W. B. Daniels, acting-governor and secretary; B. P, Lambkin, auditor; D. S. Payne, marshal; V. S. Kenyon, treasurer; and the U. S. dist, judges before named. The seal of the territory adopted had the following design: an eagle with outspread wings holding the point of a shield in its beak: a rising sun in the centre point beneath the eagle and over a chain of mountains. Men were mining in the ravines; through the fields below ran a stream, over which an immigrant train was passing. Stars of a number equal to the number of states were placed around the rim. At the bottom of the shield were the words, "The Union;" around the border, 'Seal of the Territory of Idaho;' and at the bottom the date, 1863. The seal and motto were changed about 1869, but a resolution of the house in 1866 had authorized a new seal, "for the one now in use is a very imperfect imitation of the Oregon seal" Idaho Laws, 1865-6, 299.
11. Kenyon was publishing the Golden Age, started by A. S. Gould Aug. 2, 1862. Gould, a republican, had hot times with the secession element which crowded into Idaho from 1862 to 1865. On raising the U. S. flag over his office - the first ever floated in Lewiston - 21 shots were fired into it by disunion democrats. S. F. Bulletin, Oct. 24, 1862. John H. Scranton succeeded Gould for a short time, but in Aug. 1863 Kenyon took charge of the Golden Age, and was made territorial printer. With the decline of Lewiston and the close of the 2d volume, Kenyon started with his paper for Boise City, but was turned back by the influences brought to bear upon him. It was suspended, however, in Jan. 1865, and was ultimately removed to Boise. Walla Walla Statesman, July 29, Aug. 12, 1864, Jan. 13, 1865. Kenyon started the Mining News at Leesburg in 1867, which continued 8 months, and expired for want of support. The press was again removed to Montana, and Kenyon afterward went to Utah, and finally drifted to South America, where he died. The North Idaho Radiator, published by Alonzo Leland in the interest of a division of the northern counties from south Idaho, with Lewiston as the capital, was issued first in Feb. 1865, and continued until Sept., when its services were no longer required. Leland later resided at Lewiston, where he generally conducted a newspaper.
12. C. De Witt Smith was tho second appointment for secretary.
13. Caleb Lyon of Lyonsdale, as he wrote himself, had been in Cal in 1848, was one of the secretaries of the constitutional convention of that state, and claimed to have designed the seal of the commonwealth. He was first consul to China under tho Cushing treaty, had served in both branches of the N. Y. legislature, and also one term in congress. He assisted in settling the difficulties between the American missionary, King, and the government of Greece. He was with Scott in Mexico, with McDowell at Bull Kun, and with. Kearny in McClellan's peninsular campaign, having fought in 18 battles, and had come at last to be governor of Idaho and superintendent of Indian affairs Portland Oregonian, Aug. 2, 1804; Boise News, Aug. 13, 1864.
14. An amendment was made to the Organic Act in 1864, providing for a re-apportionment of the territory according to population, based on a census to be taken under direction of the governor. In order to give time for the taking of the census and reapportionment, the election, which by law fell on the 1st Monday in Sept., was delayed to tho 2d Monday of Oct.
15. I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the constitution and government of the United States against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign; and that I will bear true faith, allegiance, and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution, or law of any state or convention or legislature to the contrary notwithstanding; and further, that I do this with a fall determination, pledge, and purpose, without any mental reservation or evasion whatever; ana further, that I will well and truly perform all duties which may bo required of me by law: so help me God.' Those who chose to affirm, says the Boise News, Feb. 27, 1864, left out the words "swear" and "so help me God," and substituted 'this I do under the pains and penalties of perjury.'
16. The county prisoners had been kept in confinement in Placerville, until in May 1864 a jail costing $13,000 was erected at Idaho City. This prison was 22˝ by 50 feet, built of pine logs 12 inches thick, squared and jointed down flat, and lined with lumber 1˝ inches thick. It contained 14 cells partitioned with 4-inch lumber, on each side of which was spiked an inch board, making the partition wall 6 inches thick. The ceiling was 10 and the floor 13˝ inches thick. The jailer's residence in front was an ordinary frame building 20 by 22 feet. Such was the historic prison of early Boise criminals. Boise News, May 21, 1864.
17. It is evident from the course of the Boise News how much union men like the proprietors of that paper, were alarmed at the situation. The News called itself an independent paper, because it dared not risk being an out and out administration organ. It made excuses for the democratic majority of 1864, by saying that the miners were driven to desert the administration by the policy of the government in proposing to tax the mines. The very next issue announced that the press was sold to the democrats. J. S. Butler, in his Life and Times, MS., 6, acknowledges that he 'sold the best newspaper field in the world' rather than encounter the opposition of the disunionists 'It was all a union man's life was worth, almost, to be seen showing his head in early days in Idaho.' Knapp and McConnell give the same account. H. C. Street, who edited the Democrat in the autumn of 1863, during the election campaign, issued a semi-weekly newspaper called The Crisis during the campaign of 1864. Street had formerly conducted the Shasta Herald and Colusa Sun, and was of the James O'Meara type of itinerant secessionist.
18. One of the circuit judges of Oregon, who visited the Salmon River mines, said that on the first day he spent at Florence he met there three men who had been sentenced by him to the penitentiary. Or. Statesman, Sept. 8, 1862. As late as 1866 Elijah Wiley, who had killed Sutton at Centreville in 1863, and been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, was released upon the decision of judges McBride and Cummings, that in the interim between the passage of the Organic Act separating the territory from Washington, and the establishment of a government by the proclamation of the governor and the enactment of laws, there existed no law to be broken or to punish crime. John Williams, convicted of highway robbery, and George Owens, sentenced to 20 years for killing Jacob D. Williams, chief of police of Idaho City, for warning a disturber of the peace to desist, were released on the same decision. Idaho Worlds Aug. 16, 1865. William Kirby, murderer, was discharged on the same ground, because he killed his man in 1862 when Idaho was Washington.
19. The following list, taken from the journals of the times, will give some idea of the condition of affairs in Idaho and on the road.
Robert Upcreek, shot at Oro Fino by a Frenchman in Sept. 1861.
Hypolite, owner of a large pack-train and $5,000 in gold, murdered on the road in Oct. 1861.
Ned Meany, killed in a quarrel at Jackson's ferry, near Lewiston, Nov. 1861.
Two masked men entered a house in Lewiston, and in spite of resistance carried off $300, shooting fatally one of the inmates, in Dec.
Matt. Bledsoe killed James S. Harman at Slate Creek, Salmon River, in a quarrel over cards, Dec. 1861.
Four murders were committed in 2 weeks at Lewiston in Aug. and Sept. 1860.
Three murders in March 1862 at Florence.
William Kirby killed John Maples at Lewiston in July 1863.
Wm H. Tower, while threatening others, was shot and killed at Florence, Feb. 23, 1 863. Neselrode was accidentally shot at the same time.
Morrissy, a desperado, was killed at Elk City about the same time.
Geo. Reed was shot by Isaac Warwick in a quarrel about a claim, April 1863.
Frank Gallagher was murdered by one Berryman, with whom he was travelling.
At a ball at Florence on New Year's Eve a cyprian was ejected from the dancing-room by O. Robbins and Jacob D. Williams, whereupon Henry J. Talbotte and Wm Willoby armed themselves and lay in wait, firing at Williams the next evening. A crowd of men who witnessed it immediately shot both Willoby and his partner.
Talbotte was known among horse thieves and highwaymen as Cherokee Bob, and 'a chief.' These chiefs boldly and facetiously proclaimed themselves "knights of the road" and "road agents." With painted faces they stopped well-known packers and merchants, who, if they had not muck money, were threatened with death the next time they travelled without plenty of gold.
William Peoples, Nelson Scott, and David English, a notorious trio, robbed a packer of 100 ounces of gold-dust between Lewiston and Florence. They were arrested at Walla Walla, but taken from the sheriff and hanged by a company of expressman and others. One Bull, living near Elk City, kindly entertained over night 2 men who asked for shelter. In the morning the men and 5 horses were missing. Bull followed them for 20 days, coming up with them at a camp on Gold Creek, 265 miles from home. On seeing him, one of the men sprang on a horse and fled; the other, Wm Arnett, was shot. A party pursuing the fleeing robber brought him back and hanged him.
Enoch Fruit was a chief of road agents;
James Robinson, a mere boy, was one of his associates. In the autumn of 1862 they were prominent among the knights of the road between Florence and Lewiston. Both met violent deaths.
James Crow, Michael Mulkee, and Jack McCoy robbed three travelers between Oro Fino and Lewiston.
William Rowland and George Law were a couple of horse thieves operating on Camas prairie near Lewiston.
George A. Noble, of Oregon City, was robbed of 100 pounds of cold-dust between Florence and Oro Fino in Dec. 1862.
Two horse-thieves, for stealing from a government train, were shot dead. Other localities suffered in the same way. See Popular Tribunals, passim, this series.
20. Dalles Mountaineer; Portland Oregonian, Nov. 6, 1863.
21. This was the first case in the courts of Idaho, and was tried at a special term, the term of court at Idaho City being postponed on account of it. The legislature of Idaho authorized the payment of Beecby's expenses, amounting to $6,244. Suit was brought against D. B. Cheeseman, superintendent of the branch mint at San Francisco, to recover a large amount of gold-dust deposited there by the murderers. Portland Oregonian, Jan. 16, 1864. Beechy died in S. F. May 24, 1875.
22. Maize says: 'Society was exemplary, except some high gambling. If a man was caught doing anything wrong, we just killed him, that's all? Early Events, MS., 7.
23. Nobody thought of stealing anything in those days,' says Mrs Schultz, who kept a boarding-house at Warren in 1862-4; "and it is well they didn't. There was only one shooting scrape in Warren, and it was the most exemplary town in Idaho.' Early Anecdotes, MS., 3-4. James H. Hutton, in his Early Events, MS., 5, in which is given the History of Nez Percé and Idaho Counties, says that Warren, in the spring of 1863, contained 6 stores and 30 residences, the miners living in cabins on their claims. It became the county seat of Idaho County in 1869. John Ramey was first sheriff. Hutton and Cocaim built the first quartz-mill in 1868, on the Rescue mine. Leo later of S. F., in a History of Idaho County, MS., with an account of the rise and fall of placer-mining, says of Warren: 'One thing was peculiar, that it was free from the hordes of moneyless, lazy adventurers that followed Florence and other strikes. The population was made up of old steady California miners and for the 10 years I lived there, there was no murder or robbery committed.' 'Politically,' says Hutton, 'Idaho County was as 200 to 30 in favor of the Democratic Party, but the republicans often elected their men, owing to the loss of returns at crossing of Salmon River.' 'Fort Lemhi and vicinity contained a hard set of men much unlike those of Warren.' Early Events, MS 6. See also Walla Walla Statesman, Aug. 1, 1863.
24. McConnell's Idaho Inferno, MS., 1-53. The organization was never disbanded, says McConnell in his narrative, but exists today. This manuscript is a vivid picture of a condition of society which can exist only for a limited time and under peculiar conditions.
25. The attorney of Boise district stated, in 1865, that about 60 deaths by violence had occurred in the county since its organization, without one conviction for murder. Boise City Statesman, Sept, 3, 1865.
26. A vacillating wretch, Butler calls him. Life and Times, MS., 5.
Source: Bancroft Works, Volume 31, History Of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, 1845-1889, Hubert H. Bancroft, 1890. The History Company, Publishers, San Francisco