Location: Owyhee County ID

Owyhee County Its History, Towns, Industries

In 1862 the present county of Owyhee was a part of Boise County, which comprised all of the western portion of Washington Territory lying south of what was then called Idaho county, its area being nearly equal to that of Pennsylvania. When Idaho was created a territory by act of congress, March 3, 1863, Boise county became part and parcel of the territory of Idaho, and at the first session of the territorial legislature, held at Lewiston, Idaho, Owyhee County was created, December 31, 1863, out of all territory south of Snake River and west of the Rocky mountains. In 1864 Oneida County, and in 1879 Cassia County, were cut off of Owyhee County, reducing it to its present limits. Its northern boundary line is the Snake River. Cassia County on the east, state of Oregon on the west, and the state of Nevada forms its southern boundary. Its area is 8,130 square miles, being somewhat larger than the state of Massachusetts. Its name, “Owyhee,” is believed to have been borrowed from the Hawaiian language, and to have been given to the Owyhee River by two Kanakas in the employ of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Prior to the spring of 1863, Owyhee County was an unexplored country, inhabited only by bands of hostile Indians, while at that time the diggings of Boise basin and Oro Fino boasted of a...

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The Poorman Mine

On War Eagle Mountain, a mile and a half southeast of Silver City, are a group of about twenty mines, in one of the richest belts in that section of the state, a belt which has afforded material to render Silver City famous throughout the civilized world. The Poorman mine has a production record of three million dollars, and other properties of the group as Bell Pick, Oso, Illinois Central, Jackson and Silver Cord have all been good producers. The Poorman mine was discovered in 1865, and between July 9 and October 1, 1866, there was shipped from it the enormous sum of $606,692. The ore consists of chloride, sulphide of silver and a considerable proportion of copper. At a depth of one hundred feet five hundred pounds of ruby silver were taken out in one solid piece. This piece of ore was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Exposition of 1867. The Poorman mine is said to have been the richest body of ore for its size ever discovered. The mine is equipped with a ten-stamp mill, erected in 1895, and for the transportation of ore from the mine to the mill there is a wire-cable tramway of the Hallidie system one mile long. In 1888 the property was purchased by a syndicate of London, England, which is incorporated as the Poorman Gold Mines, limited. John B....

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Biography of Jeremiah Shea

One of our early pioneers, whose worthy labors have done much toward the development of the resources and the substantial progress of Malheur County, is named at the head of this article and he is eminently fitted to he accorded consideration in this volume of his County’s history, since he is a man of good standing, influential and prominent, has always been a progressive and patriotic citizen, is possessed of integrity and a stanch character and is held in high esteem by all of his fellows. Mr. Shea was born in Canada on March 31, 1847, and there he was educated and remained until he had arrived at manhood’s estate. Then he engaged in lumbering until 1872, at which date he came to this country and engaged with his brother in the stock business. Afterward He went to South Mountain and operated a meat market, then migrated to Silver City, and went into the livery business, and from there he furnished horses to the fleeing settlers at the time of the Indian outbreak in 1878. In 1883 we find him in Wagontown, keeping hotel, where he spent a number of years and soon afterwards he was on Cow creek engaged in the stock business. In 1887 Mr. Shea removed to Jordan creek and bought a ranch and two years later bought his present ranch home three miles east from...

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Biographical Sketch of Albert J. Shea

While the older members of the pioneer staff are retiring one by one, it is pleasant to note that there are younger men of courage and enterprise to take up the worthy labors of these estimable men, who opened this country for settlement, and to prosecute them with an untiring zeal and a sagacity that is sure to win in the battle of life. Among this wide awake class, we are con-strained to mention the subject of this article, who has made a name and place for himself in the ranks of the leading stockmen of Malheur County, being justly entitled to the position he holds, because of his merit and worth, and because of his brilliant achievements. Albert Shea was born in Owyhee County, Idaho, on February 4, 1872, being the son of Cornelius Shea, the well and widely known stockman of this country. The senior Mr. Shea was one of the heaviest stock owners west of the Rockies and one of the keenest and most energetic operators that ever handled cattle. He sold out his immense herds in 1897, and is now living with his family in San Francisco. He is a native of Canada and came to this section in 1867. Reverting more particularly to our subject, we note that he was educated in San Francisco and also on the farm and in the saddle in...

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Biographical Sketch of William Parks

One of the oldest pioneers of Malheur County and a man of excellent capabilities, being possessed of practical ability and judgment, and a keen discrimination that have made him a very successful business man and one of the leaders in the realm of finance in this section, the subject of this article is abundantly worthy of recognition and especial mention among the prominent men of Malheur County and this portion of Oregon, being also a man of worth and personal virtues. Mr. Parks was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 7, 1845, being the son of Abraham and Jane Eliza (Vanderhoof) Parks. He was deprived of his mother when an infant but received his education and grew to manhood in his native place. It was in 1859 that he crossed the plains to California, locating in Eldorado County where he engaged in farming until 1864. Then he came to Silver City, Idaho and there took up mining until 1871, when he made his way to Jordan valley, now in Malheur County. He at once took a homestead and gave his attention to farming and stock raising. He was successful in that line and now he owns four hundred acres of fine, well improved and irrigated land adjoining the town of Jordan Valley. He has fine buildings and a large hand of cattle. In 1895 Mr. Parks engaged in...

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Biographical Sketch of Alvin S. Moss

This enterprising and substantial stock man and farmer of Malheur County is located nine miles northeast from Rockville. Idaho, and is one of the pioneers of this section and has labored with assiduity and sagacity here since the early eighties and is now rewarded with abundant prosperity and a goodly showing, gained by his thrift and careful labors. Mr. Moss was born in Illinois, on September 10, 1857, the son of Sardus B. and Ceria E. Moss. At the age of eight years he went with the balance of the family to southeastern Kansas and there grew up. He gained his education there and labored on the farm with his father. In 1879, he came to Colorado and two years later, he came thence to Malheur County, locating where his estate now is. He has one half section of good land and over one hundred head of cattle, besides many horses. His estate is well improved and he is counted one of the wealthy and substantial men of his section. In political matters, Mr. Moss is always active, taking great interest in the affairs of the County and state, while in educational affairs he is found in the place of the intelligent citizen. It has never been among the ventures made by our subject that he should embark on the matrimonial sea, choosing rather the quieter joys and walks...

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Biography of Thomas C. Fletcher

One of the earliest pioneers of this region of the country, a man whose life has always been dominated by wisdom prudence and upright principles,. having ever manifested also stanch virtues and a reliability that are becoming a good citizen and faithful man, the subject of this article is vie of the leading men of Malheur County, and a prominent resident of Ontario. Thomas C. was born in Mercer County, Kentucky, on October 11, 1841, being the son of Jewett and Elizabeth Fletcher. When our subject was six years of age he had the misfortune to lose his father and he was soon thereafter taken by his mother to Lee County, Iowa, near Ft. Madison where he was reared on a farm attend the Common schools for his education. In the fall of 1861 when the stirring call came for men to defend the nation’s honor and save her from the assault of treason’s bards, he promptly enlisted in Company G Fourth Iowa Calvalry as bugler and was under General Curtis. Several skirmishes were participated in Missouri and then he was transferred to Sherman’s army Sixteenth Corps, being immediately under% 9A. J. Smith. He was in siege of Vicksburg and on account of sickness was sent home on a furlough, but after recovering was seen again in the ranks and took part in the battle of Ripley, Meridian, and...

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Biography of Benjamin and Hosea Eastman

Tales of heroism have been the theme of song and story throughout all ages. He who has gone forth to battle for his country, his home or his principles, has figured in history, in literature and in music, and his bravery has stirred the souls of men through all times. All honor to such an one, and yet his heroism is no greater or his daring more pronounced than that of the honored pioneers of the west. Men reared in comfortable homes, accustomed to all the conveniences and privileges of life in the east, have come into the wild western districts and braved danger and hardships untold. Cut off from all comforts and luxuries, they have also had to face death at the hand of the treacherous Indian, and in little bands and oft times singly they have had to fight for liberty and life. Volumes have been written, yet the story of the pioneers has never been adequately told. They deserve all praise and honor and the mighty states of the west with their splendid improvements, enterprises and tokens of civilization are monuments to their memory. The Eastman Brothers, Benjamin Manson and Hosea Bradford, are among those who have founded the state of Idaho and brought about her present prosperity and greatness. They are now numbered among the leading business men of Boise, where many important business interests...

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Biography of John Crete, Sr.

The Fatherland has furnished to America many of her valued citizens, men who have crossed the Atlantic to ally their interests with those of “the land of the free.” Adapting them-selves to entirely new surroundings, customs and manners, they have achieved success and won a place among the representative men of the communities in which their lots have been cast. Such is true of John Crete, the genial, well-known and popular proprietor of the War Eagle Hotel, at Silver City. Born in Hasbrouck, Hanover, Germany, April 25, 1832, he was a son of a Ger-man soldier who afterward became a police officer, and while making an arrest, was beaten by a criminal. His injuries brought on blood-poisoning, from which he died when fifty-two years of age. His wife long survived him, and passed away at the advanced age of ninety years. They had six children, five sons and one daughter, all now deceased but two. John Crete, the fourth in order of birth, was educated in the schools of his native land, and in 1849, when seventeen years of age, crossed the Atlantic to the New World, hoping to better his financial condition in this country, where broader and better opportunities are afforded young men. He landed in New York and there accepted a position as salesman in a coffee and teahouse, where he remained until i860, when he...

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Biography of Colonel William H. Dewey

Among the prominent influential citizens of Idaho, Colonel Dewey, of Dewey, enjoys a unique position and reputation. He is a pioneer Idahoan in the true sense of that word, and the marvelous development of the interests and industries of his adopted state is largely attributable to his enterprise and sagacity. He is a man of remarkable resources, and has never failed to measure fully up to all the requirements and emergencies of life. Although over seventy years old, he is well preserved and exhibits unabated vigor of mind and body. Colonel Dewey is a native of the state of New York, and his first American ancestors were early settlers in Massachusetts. In the autumn of 1863 he came to Idaho and located where the town of Dewey now is, but subsequently removed to where the town of Ruby City was located, and with others, March 21, 1864, laid out the town of Silver City. The gentleman whose name introduces this review is a born miner, and from his first arrival in Idaho the Colonel became prominently connected with the mining interests of the northwest, in which connection it is perfectly fair to say that he has been one of the leading and principal factors in the development of the mineral resources of this state. He owned nearly half of the South Mountain camp during the period of its greatest...

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Biography of Thomas T. Redsull

Great, indeed, have been the changes that time and man have wrought since Thomas T. Redsull landed on the Pacific coast. California yet belonged to Mexico, and much of the land, especially in the southern part of the state, was divided into large estates, owned and occupied by Spanish families. Mr. Redsull was then but eleven years of age, yet had started out to make his own way in the world. He was born in the County of Kent, England, on the 15th of November, 1827, a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Goymer) Redsull, both of whom were natives of England and representatives of ancient families of that country. They were both members of the Episcopal Church, and the father was a collector of excise for the government. He departed this life in 1858, at the age of fifty years, and his widow is now living at the age of one hundred and three years. They had seven children, but only three are now living. Mr. Redsull of this review acquired his early education in England, and when only eleven years of age was bound out as an apprentice to the Hudson’s Bay Company, and in their service came to the United States in 1838, landing in California. He is consequently one of the oldest pioneers of that state. The same year he also went to Oregon, and therefore...

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Biography of Solomon Hasbrouck

One of the best known pioneer settlers of the state of Idaho is Solomon Hasbrouck, who is now serving as clerk of the supreme court and is accounted one of the leading and influential citizens of Boise. He is numbered among the sons of the Empire state, his birth having occurred in New Paltz, Lister County, New York, on the 30th of May. 1833. He is a descendant of Holland Dutch ancestry, and at an early period in the history of the state the family was founded within its borders. Solomon P. Hasbrouck, the grandfather of our subject, was a prominent lumber manufacturer and merchant and carried on business in such an extensive scale and employed so great a force of workmen that he was called the “king of Centerville.” His son, Alexander Hasbrouck, father of our subject, was born in Centerville and there spent his entire life, passing away in 1894, at the age of eighty-six years. At the age of twenty-three he married Miss Rachel Elting, a native of his own County, and after that conducted a farm about three miles from Centerville for twenty-five years. He then moved to New York City, where for five years he was in business in Washington market. Then he came to Idaho and lived with his son Solomon until his decease. He and his wife were valued members of the...

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Biography of Richard Z. Johnson

Perhaps there is no part of this history of more general interest than the record of the bar. It is well known that the peace, prosperity and well-being of every community depend upon the wise interpretation of the laws, as well as upon their judicious framing, and there-fore the records of the various persons who have at various times made up the bar will form an important part of this work. A well known jurist of Illinois said, “In the American state the great and good lawyer must always be prominent, for he is one of the forces that move and control society. Public confidence has generally been reposed in the legal profession. It has ever been the defender of popular rights, the champion of freedom regulated by law, the firm support of good government. In the times of danger it has stood like a rock and breasted the mad passions of the hour and finally resisted tumult and faction. No political preferment, no mere place, can add to the power or increase the honor which belongs to the pure and educated lawyer. Richard Z. Johnson, of Boise, is one who has been honored by and is an honor to the legal fraternity of Idaho. He stands today prominent among the leading members of the bar of the state, a position which he has attained through marked ability. A...

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Biographical Sketch of Richard Harvey Johnson

The subject of this sketch, the son and law partner of Richard Z. Johnson, subject of the preceding review, was born at Silver City, in Owyhee County, Idaho, on the 19th of July 1870. He received his education at the Boise high school, and in mathematics and the modern languages at the Concordia, in Zurich, Switzerland, and in Greek and Latin under Professors Lambert and Winneger, at Lindau, in Boden-See, Bavaria. Returning to America, he entered Yale University and afterwards graduated from the law department, with the degree of LL. B., in 1892 just thirty-three years after his father had taken the same degree at the same institution. Returning to Idaho, he entered into partnership with his father, in the practice of the law at Boise City, the capital of the state, with whom he is still associated. At the general election in 1896, Mr. Johnson was elected to the house of representatives of the fourth session of the state legislature, as a Democrat, and served as chairman of the committee on state...

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Biography of Meserve M. Getchell

The popular postmaster of Silver City and one of the proprietors of the Idaho Hotel of that place is Mr. Getchell, who was born at Baring, Maine, January 5, 1868. His ancestors were natives of Wales, who emigrated to this country at an early day. His great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Getchell, was born February 4, 1753, married Mehitable Meserve and moved to St. Stephens, New Brunswick. He assisted in the capture of the English schooner Diligence and her armed cutter Tatmagouch July 14, 1775, being a volunteer in Captain John Preble’s company, the colonel of the company being John Allen. The great-grandfather, Joseph Getchell, and his son of the same name, fought in the Revolutionary war and were members of the volunteer crew on the sloop Unity, which, under the command of Captain Jeremiah O’Brien, captured the English armed schooner Margaretta, June 12, 1775. The grandfather of our subject, Daniel Getchell, was born in St. Stephens, New Brunswick, January 24, 1785, and married Miss Elizabeth Grimmer, who was born May 6, 1806. He died January 10, 1876. Their son, Asher B. Getchell, the father of our subject, was born at St. James Mills, New Brunswick, September 3, 1829. When he was ten years old he removed to Baring, Maine, where he grew to manhood and married Miss Julia F. Smith, a daughter of Dr. S. M. and Mary Ellen (Nickerson) Smith...

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