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The Snake River Valley Reminiscences of the Early Days

In 1833 Captain Bonneville, an officer in the army, secured leave of absence and spent about two years here, mostly in the Snake river valley. He left his horses for the winter with some Indians at a camp near where St. Anthony is now located. He and his men made their way down Snake river in boats till they reached Black Rock canyon, where now is Idaho Falls, the thriftiest town in southeast Idaho: but they dared not venture in their boats through the canyon. Captain Bonneville found a desolate sage-covered valley, holding out no promise of ever being more than a range where Indian cayuses might pick a precarious living on bunch grass. Not a tree as far as the eye could reach, except an occasional wind-twisted and gnarled juniper growing out of the seams in the lava rock along the banks of Snake River. In 1849, when the California stampede was on, many of the gold-seekers passed over the same Snake river valley, and, in after years, relating their experience, described it as one of the most hopeless spots encountered in their ox-train journey across the continent. In 1864 the stampede for Alder Gulch, Montana, was fairly under way. Whether from east or west, the Snake River valley was on the route. A ferry was put in by John Gibson just below where Blackfoot now is, and soon afterward one by a man named Kutch, some miles further up the river. The same year Harry Rickets started a ferry, known as the Eagle Rock ferry, to catch the travel that came over what was known as Lander’s...

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