Published in the Adams Count Leader, The Record, and the Adams County Record

From December 1993 to 2017

#1 12-30-93

This article is the first in what is planned as an ongoing series of articles about Council's fascinating past.

With all the digging going on in town, I thought it would be a good time to tell about some interesting discoveries from the last time the town was dug up.

In 1940, the WPA was putting in many of the sewer lines that are now being replaced. At the bottom of an eight foot deep trench under Galena street, west of what is now the Council Valley Market, the crew found a large spear head and a stone axe head. Both were made of flint. The spear head (which may actually have been a cutting tool) measured about four inches long.

Several arrow heads were found during the 1940 excavations, especially around the settling tank in the west part of town, and along the trench leading west from the tank.

I've been told that if the present workers find any artifacts, the job might have to be stopped until an archaeologist can be called in to examine the site. While this is both good and bad, the immediate result is that the workers might simply keep quiet about anything they find in order to keep the project moving. That's understandable, but if it happens, the community will lose a once in a lifetime chance to learn more about how the native culture used this valley.

Future articles, in addition to stories of Council's history, will keep you informed of what the museum is doing. Several ambitious new members have been added to the museum board, and you will be seeing some good things happen. This should matter to you. It should matter to you because local history is incredibly interesting. It enriches our lives in ways beyond measure. And Council has one of the best historical collections in the state for this size town. It should also matter to you because museums and other historical attractions account for a very high percentage of tourist dollars: cold, hard cash for our local economy.

Stay tuned.

#2 1-5-94


One of the most striking facts of life in the Council Valley about a century ago was the handicap of inadequate transportation. When the Moser family settled here in 1876, there wasn't a road of any kind into the valley. George Moser used a plow to scratch a ditch down the north side of Mesa hill, and by placing the upper wheels of the wagons in it, managed to keep them from tipping over.

The basic route that the Mosers established was used up until about 1920, and is still visible in the first canyon east of the present highway. It cuts down the hill and across the old paved highway. If you look about 300 yards up the Middle Fork from the present highway bridge at the base of Mesa hill, you can see the abutments for the bridge the old "Moser grade" used.

When roads were finally built, they were what we would call four-wheel-drive trails. These dirt roads were very often impassible (or even dangerous) for weeks at a time during wet seasons. Until communities were big enough, and organized enough, to afford such luxuries as bridges, travelers used fords on smaller rivers, and ferries on larger ones.

Railroads were the only mode of transport that was fairly dependable. When Indian Valley was first settled in 1868, the nearest railroad was in Utah. By the time the Mosers arrived here, rails had just crossed Idaho's southern border. The nearest major supply points were Boise or Baker, although there was a small store at Falk's crossing, east of present day Payette. Six years later (1882), the railroad reached Weiser. This was a milestone in the settlement of Council. Now it only took a journey of two days (one way) to get tew up, they didn't seem to age at all, but now, many of them are old. Some, like the Ridge school house, have begun to lean precariously ... and some have died. It

ust doesn't seem right. From my point of view, they were always here - like the mountains. These men have been my reference points ... my Landmarks.

There is little we can do to prevent the loss of living Landmarks. But there is much that can be done to preserve the priceless legacy they leave behind them. That's why I'm researching and writing their stories. That's why the Council museum exists, and why it is so important to support it.

For over a year now, the museum board has been diligently investigating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand the space available for the museum's exhibits. The room we have is inadequate for even the present collection, not to mention other heirlooms that would be donated or loaned if space were available.

We have finally come up with an approximate plan for an addition to the City Hall building for the museum, and nailed down an agreement toward this goal with the initial financial backer: Evea Powers (Vernie Harrington's daughter). She will match any money we raise, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000. Through private grants and local contributions, we plan to raise enough for the addition.

We are hoping that the community will pull together and help with this investment in a cultural and economic legacy that will benefit us and our grandchildren.

You'll be reading and hearing more about this soon.




It was a cold day, less than two weeks after Thanksgiving. The Christmas season was starting. The older students of Council's overcrowded old brick school were looking forward to moving into the new, $48,500 high school that was nearing completion across the highway from the courthouse.

People who were listening to the radio were startled by the sudden interruption of regular programing. It was announced that Japan had just attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Soon after that, President Roosevelt announced that the United States was declaring war. The word spread quickly through Council. Whether they heard it in a store, or by a phone call, or on the radio, the shock of the news, and the date December 7, 1941, was indelibly stamped on the memory of everyone who was old enough to realize what had happened. From that day on, the history of this nation, and the lives of millions, was irrevocably altered.

A few days after Pearl Harbor, a new siren was installed in Council to serve as a fire and air raid alarm. Military experts were saying that attacks by enemy planes this far inland were very probable, and blackout instructions were issued.

As near as we can tell, the big bell that now sits in front of the city hall / museum building was used as an alarm before that time. If anyone has any more information about this bell, please call me: 253-4582.

A letter recently arrived at the Council Post Office from a WWII vet who is trying to locate someone he knew during the war. The man who wrote the letter is Robert Hull, and he is looking for Robert M. Keyes. The two men served together in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Keyes was the lieutenant in charge of the Demolition Platoon, and stayed with the unit until it arrived in New Guinea. At that time, Keyes left the unit, and Mr. Hull has never heard what became of him. Mr. Hull says that Keyes lived in the Council area, and may have owned a ranch here. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Robert Keyes or his relatives is asked to contact Robert M. Hull at 1926 S. Johnson St., Visalia, CA 93277 . He will gladly accept collect phone calls at (209) 625-3027.

#4 1-20-94


by Dale Fisk

In my writings, I will occasionally use the term "Landmarks". I'll try to explain my usage of that word.

Just after 1900, a number of homesteaders settled on "the Ridge" west of Fruitvale, and a one-room school was built in 1915 for the children of the new families. My father was one of those children.

When I checked on the old school a couple years ago, it was in pretty sad shape. The porch had fallen down a few years before. The brick chimney had long since been shot to pieces by squirrel hunters in lack of more suitable targets. The weathered shingles had given up clinging to the roof, and now the whole building was leaning to the point of no return.

All my life I had seen that old school as a symbol of a precious heritage, and as a landmark in more than just the physical sense. I saw the ghosts of noisy children running and laughing in the school yard. I imagined figures whirling around the floor at special Saturday night dances, as the notes of a fiddle drifted above their heads. To me, this neglected old friend represented a way of life that had faded away like the echoes of the music and the laughter. Now it stood empty ... silent ... dying.

The old school finally collapsed under the weight of a heavy snowfall on the night of December 8, 1992.

When I was a boy, I used to go with my father to the cattle auction. I would listen to the men talk about politics, the price of cattle, or the best way to operate some complicated piece of farm equipment. I thought they must be very wise, these men who held the world in their hands. I was intimidated by the thought of ever being able to know as much about life as they did.

I learned a lot from those men. As I grew up, they didn't seem to age at all, but now, many of them are old. Some, like the Ridge school house, have begun to lean precariously ... and some have died. It just doesn't seem right. From my point of view, they were always here - like the mountains. These men have been my reference points ... my Landmarks.

There is little we can do to prevent the loss of living Landmarks. But there is much that can be done to preserve the priceless legacy they leave behind them. That's why I'm researching and writing their stories. That's why the Council museum exists, and why it is so important to support it.

For over a year now, the museum board has been diligently investigating a once-in-a-

lifetime opportunity to expand the space available for the museum's exhibits. The room we have is inadequate for even the present collection, not to mention other heirlooms that would be donated or loaned if space were available.

We have finally come up with an approximate plan for an addition to the City Hall building for the museum, and nailed down an agreement toward this goal with the initial financial backer: Evea Powers (Vernie Harrington's daughter). She will match any money we raise, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000. Through private grants and local contributions, we plan to raise enough for the addition.

We are hoping that the community will pull together and help with this investment in a cultural and economic legacy that will benefit us and our grandchildren.

You'll be reading and hearing more about this soon.

#5 1-27-94

Many long time residents of the Council area remember when this was a well known fruit producing region. It was a dynamic, but relatively brief, time in our history.

Although many early settlers grew a few fruit trees for their own use, William and Dora Black are generally credited with starting the first commercial orchard in the county. The Blacks lived at the present day Gossard ranch on Hornet Creek.

Even though local fruit was of high quality, the market was mostly limited to local sales until after the arrival of the railroad in 1901. By 1904, B.B. Day, who now owned the Black place, was shipping apples to markets as remote as Walla Walla and Nampa. The next year, he was sending apples to Chicago by the railroad car full, and area farmers were beginning realize that there was money to be made in fruit.

By 1909, orchards were the rage here, and it seemed that everyone was jumping onto the band wagon. Local business men came up with a logo depicting a red apple accompanied by the slogan "The Home of the Big Red Apple" which was placed on envelopes, banners and other promotional material.(CL, Sept 17, 1909) A metal printing plate for reproducing this logo is displayed at the museum in Council.

That same year (1909), the famous Mesa Orchards began, about 8 miles south of Council. This was also the year that the townsite of Fruitvale was established. The name was doubtlessly a result of the fruit rage.

In 1912, "The Council Valley Orchards Company" started developing orchards on the slopes north east of Council, mostly east of highway 95, and between Orchard Road and Mill Creek Road. At one time, that whole area was almost one continuous orchard.

By the fall of 1912, it was estimated that there were 3,000 acres of orchard within a twelve and a half mile radius of Council. For about the next thirty years, fruit was a staple of Council Valley's economy.

I have three questions this week.:

1. My best information is that, at its peak in 1929, the Mesa Orchards Co. had 1,200 acres actually growing fruit trees. It has been claimed that it was anywhere from "one of the largest commercial orchards under one head operated anywhere in the northwest", to "the biggest orchard in the world". Does anybody have concrete evidence as to its actual size in relation to its peers? Newspaper claims, opinions and memories don't count unless they can be corroborated. An almanac printed during the 1920s might have this info. Old horticultural journals might hold a clue. Any solid leads would be very appreciated.

2. Early in World War II, the government considered Mesa orchards for use as a Japanese detention camp. It was supposedly rejected as being too small to hold enough detainees, and yet I have read somewhere that local people remembered Japanese kids attending the Mesa school during the war. If anyone has memories, or other info, about Japanese families being detained at Mesa, please call me.

3. In 1942, the last three apple trees that were planted by George Moser in 1880 were destroyed. The trees stood in front of Bob Young's house near the corner of the high school property, and the street curved around them. Somebody who knows where this exact spot was, please give me a call. 253-4582

#6 2-3-94 History Corner

As I write this, the old parsonage next to the Congregational church is being torn down. By the time you read this, it may already be gone... another Landmark down the drain. Right after I originally had this article all written and delivered to the newspapers, Dick Parker's outstanding article about the parsonage was printed. He knocked big holes in my estimation of when the parsonage was built. I had found a bit in a 1910 Council Leader paper that said, "The Congregational church has decided to install a regular pastor in the valley." A meeting was reportedly called to decide site to build new parsonage. Dick's more dependable date (1901) from church records made me realize how undependable old newspapers can be.

As to the concern that the old papers on the walls of the parsonage were lost to posterity, there was only one local paper: Council Journal, Mar 25, 1902. It was an issue of which there is no original or microfilm copy as far as I can tell, but it didn't contain any significant news relevant to Council history that can't be found in other issues. The rest of the "wall paper" was Saturday Evening Posts and other non-local publications.

More tidbits on the church or parsonage from my research:

1912 - A new organ was purchased by Rev. Stover

1915 - Rev. Cox set out 20 shade trees around the church and parsonage.

1922 - A Boy Scout troop (probably Council's first) was organized under the sponsorship of the church.

1927 - A Mr. Summer and a Mr. Teems, who had a sawmill on Johnson Creek, were starting a lumber yard across the street from the congregational church parsonage.

1935 - The parsonage was extensively remodeled, and a bathroom was added.

1940 - The Council library was in the "annex" of the church. A small rental library of new books was maintained at the parsonage, where books rented for 3 cents per day.

Bill Winkler said the first religious service in the valley was held by Sylvester Shrieve, a Methodist minister, in 1879. There were many traveling preachers until the late 1880s when the first regular services were conducted by Rev. Hopper who came up from Midvale once a month.

In 1910, my great great grandfather, J.L. Baker, who was a Methodist preacher at Cambridge, was sent to Council to establish a church here. Construction was finished and the building was dedicated on Sunday, Dec. 10, 1911. It was located just across the highway, south of the present Starlite Motel. The parsonage was just torn down just a few years ago.

The Methodist church was abandoned by the time the Nazarene congregation started holding services there in the mid 1920s. In 1934, Rev. F.D. Brown moved to Fruitvale and held Nazarene church services in the McMahan school house. [As noted in a later column, this was actually another new school.] While the Congregational church parsonage was being remodeled in 1935, the Nazarenes were tearing down the old Methodist church in Council and using the lumber to build a small church at Fruitvale. It was built at the east end of Jonathan Ave., just north of the road, and east of the ditch. The building was later converted to a house that was owned by Fred Burt, and is still there. In 1938, another Nazarene church was built on the south east corner of Dartmouth St. and Illinois Ave. in Council. It was just demolished a couple years ago.

Coincidentally, the first LDS church was also located in Fruitvale. Beginning just after 1930, services were held in private homes there for a year or two. In 1932, Elder J.L. Sandidge began holding services in the Legion Hall in Council. In 1935, construction of a log church was started just south of Jonathan Ave. in Fruitvale. It was wired for electricity, just in case power ever reached Fruitvale. The building was completed and formally opened on Sept. 11, 1937. Pete and Chris Friend converted the old church into a home which they torn down and replace with their current house a couple years ago.

As you can see, we have lost a number of Landmarks fairly recently. Another one that is about to fall is the old John Kesler (1867 - 1937) house. It's the big, white, square house just south east of the airport. The Keslers contracted with Adams county as a "poor house" in the 1920s to care for county indigents. Frenchy David, the pioneer Seven Devils prospector who shot himself near Bear, spent some of his last days there.

Stay tuned.


I guess a few words about earthquakes would be appropriate, in light of recent events. Most of us remember the quake in Idaho a few years ago, but there have been several over the years.

The first one I could dig up in the old newspapers was on May 13, 1890. Miners in the Seven Devils were shaken awake in the middle of the night. The sound was described as "...a loud rumbling sound like that made by a number of horses stampeding." I think it was Al Towsley who said he thought someone was trying to blow up his cabin with blasting powder. Surprisingly, the quake was not felt by anyone on Hornet Creek.

A few local people had friends and relatives in the great San Francisco quake of 1906, and sent help in the way of cash and supplies. Weiser businessmen sent a railroad car of flour. It was the biggest earthquake in the nations history at the time. Think how horrible it must have been to have hundreds of victims trapped under rubble before they even had any kind of machines to move it.

There were a couple of local earthquakes in 1908. The first was a fair sized trembler in the Meadows area. The other was a smaller one, centered near Weiser.

In 1915, a man in the Cambridge area awoke in the night to the sound of objects on the kitchen table rattling around. Half asleep, he got up and put the cat outside, thinking it had been knocking things off the table. The next morning everyone was talking about the earthquake. It was centered somewhere in Utah.

Only eight months later, in May of 1916, the northwest was rocked by what people in Boise called the strongest earthquake in the city's history. Several chimneys collapsed, but there was little other damage.

In 1920, there was another earthquake in the Los Angeles area. It was experienced by a local man, Sterling McGinley, who was there at the time.

This week, I want to ask several important questions.

First, when the Council area was just getting started as a community, it had no central core that could be called a town. Several years before John Peters built a store where Shaver's now stands, he established the first store in the valley at a location described as being on what was later "the Bedwell place". This was about a mile, or a little less, north of town. It most probably would have been somewhere along Galena Road, which was the main road out of town. It might have been on the east side of the road. Does anybody know the place?

The first school, aside from classes in the fort, was also said to be close to this spot north of town, on what much later (1943) was the Ed Shannon place. Where was this?

Speaking of schools, the library is collecting photos of old schools in this area. There doesn't seem to be a photo anywhere of the Orchard school. Does anybody have one, or know who might? Please, somebody come up with one!

Another picture we're looking for is one of Ham's Texaco service station. Photographs can easily be copied without even removing them from your home. If you have any iformation about these locations, or if you have any pictures from the past that you think might be interesting, please give me a call. 253-4582

# 8 ---2-17-94

Just within the past year or so, we have lost several Landmarks. The one with the most direct connection with the pioneers of the Council Valley was John Gould. John and his brothers, Lester and Clarence, were local institutions, and we lost them only fairly recently. Their father, George Gould, came to the Council Valley in the fall of1888. That was a drought year followed by a mild winter. The next winter ('89 & '90) happened to be just about the worst one in the history of this area... something like last winter, only with extensive flooding the following spring. Hundreds of livestock starved, froze or drowned that winter and spring..

In 1890, George aquired the ranch on Cottonwood Creek that is now owned by the Fraziers. It was the Gould who built the present Frazier house. By acquing this place, George felt he had begun to establish himself, and he adopted the "90" brand in honor of the year of this accomplishment. The 90 brand has been in uninterrupted use by the Gould family ever since.

In Feb. of 1893, George married a neighbor girl, Viola Duree. All four of their children were born on that place: John - Jan. 3, 1894, Clarence - Sept. 15, 1895, Annie - Dec. 27, 1897, and Lester - April 16, 1905.

In 1909, the Goulds traded ranches with the Becksteads who lived on a ranch 3 miles north of Council. The Becksteads had built the large ranch house which still stands on the Gould place. The ranch had been settled in 1878 by George Winkler, and was one of the earliest homesteads in the valley. Mr. Winkler planted some of the first fruit trees in the valley here. Although it was badly broken by snow last winter, I suspect the huge apple tree in front of the old house today was one that Winkler planted.

The big white barn on the ranch was built in 1915, and quickly became a landmark in itself.

In 1938, when Clarence married Nancy Stover, the teacher at the White School just across the highway from the ranch, they built the smaller dwelling next to the main house for their home. Clarence has been called a genious, and maybe he was in some ways. To say the least, he was very mechanically creative. A number of the machines that he built are cached away on the ranch, including a water-powered generator, down by the river, that provided electricity for the ranch years ago. Clarence died Aug. 8, 1987

Viola Gould died in 1948. When George died three years later, the estate was divided among the kids. John and Clarence continued to run the main part of the ranch as one unit. Lester acquired the place that Steve and Elsie Shumway now own.

Lester died Sept. 1987 John died June 6, 1992

Clarence's three children now own the ranch. Donna Gould Nelson and her husband, Todd, now live on the Gould Ranch.

If only that land could talk - what stories it could tell. Like the time in January of 1895 when George Winkler was awakened in the middle of the night by an uproar in the chicken house. Sleepy-eyed, George lit a lantern, picked up his shotgun, and stumbled out to the coop. He proptly encountered the cause of the chicken's panic: a very large cougar. Everyone but the cougar (and maybe a couple chickens) survived the evening's entertainment.

#9 2-24-94 ?

In one of the display cases at the museum, there is a pair of horse snow shoes. That's right - snow shoes that were worn by horses. In the days before good roads or snow plows, pack animals were often the only way to haul supplies to remote mining towns. In the winter, dog teams were sometimes used between McCall and the Warren area, especially for carrying the mail. I don't think they were used much for heavier hauling.

Putting snow shoes on horses doesn't seem to have been a very common practice. Mickey Aitken Hendrickson said that Eston Freeman, an early mail carrier to Warren, introduced snowshoes for horses in this part of Idaho. People laughed at him and said they wouldn't work, but they did. Hendrickson said they were used extensively in this general area.

The horse snow shoes in the museum are made of metal. This may have been an uncommon material for this purpose. The ones that Hendrickson described were made of wood. Wooden snow shoes were used on horses in the Buffalo Hump area, north of the Seven Devils. A man who told about the ones used there, said they were made by crossing two boards to make a shoe about twelve inches by ten, with the forward corners rounded. Holes were burnt into the boards to fit extra long calks and toes on the horse's regular shoes. Each snow shoe was held on with bolts. The horses seemed to like the snow shoes after they learned how to walk a little spraddle-legged while wearing them. The man said that "...when the wooden contrivances are fitted on, they [horses] can be driven anywhere and are enabled to go along with greatest ease. On these shoes they do not sink more than six inches at any time in the trail, and rarely over a foot in the loose snow."(From the Salubria Citizen newspaper, Apr 14, 1899)

A hundred years ago, if you were to mention "snow shoes" to someone, they would have thought you were talking about what we now call skis. And they referred to what we call snow shoes as "webs".

In the late l800's and the early part of this century, skiing was a whole different story from today's sport. Almost everyone made their own skis. They consisted of shaped and bent wooden slats with a loop to hold the toe of the skier's foot, and some method of holding the foot forward into this loop. Our museum at Council has two pairs of these old-style skis on the wall, along with one pole. It's amazing how huge they are.

Before the 1920s, at least in this country, skiing was primarily a way to get from one place to another, as opposed to recreation. Except for experts, it was almost literally a "straight forward" activity. Slalom type turns were pretty much unheard of. To go down a hill, you simply pointed your skis down the mountain and let gravity do the rest.

Instead of ski poles, a single, long, heavy pole was used, primarily for balance and braking. If your speed became excessive, the pole was placed between your legs and the trailing end was pushed into the snow to create drag.

Stay tuned.

# 10 3-3-94

Baseball was probably the first intramural sport played in Council. Although travel was difficult, there were games between neighboring communities as early as 1890. After the Pacific and Idaho Northern Railroad reached the towns along the Weiser River, games became common between teams located along the trains route.

When the teams along the tracks adopted a league name, it was only natural to call it by the railroads initials - the "P&IN League". There is a P&IN League baseball trophy in the Council museum. In everyday local slang, the railroad was called the "Pin" or "the pin road". Likewise, the sports league became known as the Pin League. I would assume that when teams were added to the league that were from towns that were not located along the railroad, it became known as the "Long Pin League". If somebody has better info as to how "Long" got added onto the Pin League name, please give me a call.

Weiser had a football team as early as 1906, but some of the Council boys had never even seen a football game, much less played in one, until 1922. A team was established here, and showers were built in the old, brick, combination grade school / high school that year. The first Council High School football game was at home against Payette in November. Council lost ten to nothing.

Basketball came to Council High a short time after football, after the Legion Hall was built in 1923. The upstairs of the building served as a basketball court. Even after the old high school was built in 1941, it was occasionally used for that purpose.

I recently came across some old Council High School year books from the 1940s. It's interesting how much has changed, and how some things are shared by every generation. High School year books are a valuable resource for recording Council's past. The pictures are priceless. If you have an old Council High School year book, that you could donate, the Library and/or Museum would like to have it so it can be preserved for the whole community.

Ruth Husted has generously donated year books from 1941-42 through 1945-46. They are unique because construction of the high school had just been finished in December of 1941, and because these were the war years. Annuals from this time frame (and into 1947) contain photos of some well-known local folks that still live here: Everett Harrington, June Ryals, Leo Mink, Ferd Muller, Art and Alice Deeds, Eunice Madson, Ruth Husted, LaDell Merk, Alma Fisk, Mary Owens, Maxine Hallet, Norman Kilborn, Ed Kesler, Frank Hulin, and more.

These kids got to go to school in a brand new high school after being cramped into the second story of the old brick school. The new school must have been a marvel to them. It was said to be "... not only the newest, but the most modern physical plant in the state". It had a real gymnasium, and separate rooms for science, business, home economics, library, etc.

Does anyone know when the first year book for Council High came out? We would welcome the donation of annuals from any year, but especially old ones. They are the ones that will be the hardest to find, and are the most interesting. If you have a year book that you could donate, please bring it in to the Library, or contact me.

A few weeks ago, I asked if anyone knew the whereabouts of Bob Keyes. It turns out that quite a few people knew the Keyes family, and knew that Bob now lives at Donnelly. Several people called or wrote to Mr. Keyes, as well as to Mr. Hull who was looking for him. Mr. Keyes didn't remember exactly who Mr. Hull was, and looked through his old photos, etc. to jog his memory. I'm sure the two men had a pleasant visit, remembering experiences of 50 years ago. My thanks, and theirs, to the people who helped get them together.

Now I have another "Where Are They Now?" question. I got a call from Frank Thompson who went to school at Council for only one year, during the 1940s, and moved away in about 1948. Most of his school years were spent at the Cottonwood school. He would like to know if anyone knows how to get ahold of Jay or Albert Thorp. If anyone has an address or phone number for one of them, or of someone who would know how to contact them, drop a line to Frank Thompson at Valley, WA 99181 or call me at 253-4582.

I need to correct a mistake from a couple weeks ago. I said that in 1934, Rev. F.D. Brown moved to Fruitvale and held Nazarene church services in the McMahan school house, near where Raffetys live now. It was actually the "new" Fruitvale school where these services were held, not the McMahan school. The McMahan school had been abandoned for about eight years by this time, and had collapsed under heavy snow the year before.

#11 3-10-94

I guess it's time to stick my neck out. Over the years, there has been a running battle between two camps on the issue of "the Council Tree". Just where was it? And was there more than one?

One side says there was a single tree, and that it was located just south of Mill Creek on the west side of highway 95. The tree to which they refer is still standing, although it has long been dead.

The other group claims that there was not one, but a grove of five Council Trees, and that they stood just north west of the present town of Council. After reading every available issue of the Council Leader, the Adams County Leader, the Fruitvale Echo and the Council Advance newspapers between 1901 and 1944, as well as issues of the Weiser Signal, the Salubria Citizen, the Cambridge Citizen and the Cambridge News to cover 1882 to 1901 for which there were no Council papers, I have found not one single reference to a Council tree anywhere near Mill Creek. Instead, I found numerous references to five Council trees located north west of town. For a time, the Adams County Leader even had a big logo, along with the paper's name, across the top of the front page of each issue that showed the five Council trees with Indians smoking a peace pipe under them.

The clincher came when I read a high school history essay written in 1930 by Rose Freehafer (former Senator Jim McClure's aunt). She personally interviewed Bill Camp, who had known some of the Indians in the area, and even spoke some of the Nez Perce language. An Indian that Camp worked with told him that the Council trees were located on the Kesler place about three quarters of a mile north, and slightly west, of Council.

Until the 1920s, there were five pine trees in a field at this location, in a group by themselves, but the landowner later cut down all but one of them. When Arthur Hallet acquired ownership the land where the Council trees stood in 1917, all five trees were still there. Arthur's son, Byron (Buff) Hallet said the last tree died in 1928, and was cut down for firewood. Buff Hallet planted five young pine trees at the approximate location of the original Council trees in1986. They are growing on the south side of Airport Road, straight south of the Council airport.

I suppose this will upset a few fondly held beliefs about "the Council tree", but it seems very evident that there were five trees, and that they were located at the spot mentioned above. I have simply not run across one scrap of evidence to the contrary, or any hint that the site near Mill Creek is legitimate. If someone can tell me how and when this Mill Creek spot came to be associated with the Council tree, I'm very curious.


Recently I asked for info about Jay or Albert Thorp because their old friend, Frank Thompson, was looking for them. I got a call with info as to how to locate Jay, but before I could pass it on to Frank, I got a letter from Jay. He gets the Record, so he saw the article and he sent a letter to Frank.

Last week, I wrote about the Council Trees. Dick Parker gave me some great info on that story. It seems that Ralph Finn started the idea of a single Council tree near Mill Creek. Before the three dams were built on the Snake River west of here, Ralph was an advocate of an idea that had been proposed to build one giant dam in Hells Canyon instead. He felt that the huge reservoir created by this dam would bring a great boom to Council, and he pushed the idea of making a tourist park at the Mill Creek site. The pine tree growing there was to be promoted as the Council tree. Dick says that Hugh Addington, and other old timers, always referred to there being several Council trees, and that they were located at the spot north west of town. Hugh remembered the trees as being more or less in a line.

I also got a call from Ervin Bobo who gave me some real gems of information. The most exciting one, for me, concerned a pile of rocks on a hilltop on the Ridge, west of Fruitvale, at a spot called "Eagle Point". This pile, made of chunks of basalt rocks, is about five or six feet tall. My dad said that the pile was there when the first settlers arrived on the Ridge. Nobody knew who put them there, or why. My brother and cousin once took the whole pile apart to see what was under it, and found nothing. They rebuilt the original pile, and heaped up another bunch, so now there are actually two piles there.

Lewis and Clark noted seeing a somewhat similar pile of rocks near the top of Lolo Pass. They said, "On this eminence the natives have raised a conic mound of stones six or eight feet high and erected a pine pole fifteen feet long." (From the "Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition" edited by Reuben G. Thwaites, 1904, vol 3, p 180) This Lolo trail spot has come to be known as the "Indian Post Office".

A few years back, a scholar of some type found more rock piles in the Lolo area and naturally figured they had a similar Indian origin as the one Lewis and Clark had mentioned. Ervin was watching TV one day, and saw a program about these rock piles and their history. He was pretty amused, and/or irritated at the education the public was getting about these rock piles, and called up the TV station. You see, Ervin had a pretty good idea how the piles got there. He had helped pile them up! He was with a surveying outfit in the 1950s in that area. They used an old method of surveying that incorporated line of sight calibration, using telescopic instruments. Rocks were piled around the base of a long pole with a big white flag attached to it. Such flags were visible from miles away, and served as reference points for determining survey lines. The rock piles were simply the remains of these flag pole supports. I imagine the scholar was pretty red-faced.

Ervin said that the Council area was surveyed in the 1880s, using this same line-of-site, flag pole method. The rock pile on the Ridge sits on a bare hilltop that can be seen from many miles in several directions. The Fruitvale area was just starting to be settled in the 1880s, and the Ridge was homesteaded after 1900, so the pile could have been made by surveyors before anyone lived in the vicinity. On the other hand, since the Nez Perce Indians made at least one known rock pile that was similar to this one, I suppose it could be of native origin. Anybody have more clues?

I want to thank both Ervin and Dick for calling me. Getting information like this is better than finding a gold nugget. My thanks, also, to the others who have called. I sincerely hope that anyone who can add a piece to the puzzle of the history of the Council area will call and fill me in. 253-4582

3-24-94 No History Corner this week


It's amazing how recently electricity came to some parts of this area. Thomas Edison lighted a section of New York City with electricity in 1882, but widespread use of the technology didn't appear until about the turn of the century. Electric lights had appeared in Weiser in 1903, but no one here in the "upper country" had entered the electrical age by that time. (With the possible exception of Iron Springs in the Seven Devils.)

You might be surprised to know just how long ago plans were made for a power plant on the Oxbow of the Snake River south of Hells Canyon. The present dam was finished in 1961, but plans were made for one at this site since just after the turn of the century. At least as early as 1905, people were making big plans for that unique convolution of the river. A concrete dam was planned that was to be 800 to 1000 feet long. An electric generator was to be built at the bottom of a tunnel that would be blasted through the solid-rock neck of the bow. It was thought that the generator could supply power to an area including the Seven Devils mines and Baker, Oregon. The plan was finally abandoned about 1907 because of a lack of customers. Very few people in the region had a single light bulb in their home. Grandiose schemes that put the cart before the horse was not at all uncommon in those days.

The same year as the Oxbow scheme made the news (1905), Dr. Starkey built the first hotel at his sanitorium, on the hill north west of the present pool. He installed electric lights in each room of the hotel, and provided power by installing his own water powered generating plant on Warm Springs Creek.

About this time, electricity was becoming the rage in the U.S. At first, it was pretty much only used for lighting, but people soon investigated just about every possible use for the new miracle. Since a railroad line was being contemplated north from Council to link Boise with Grangeville and Lewiston, it was proposed that it be an electric railway, powered by generating plants that would be built at intervals along the Salmon River.

Meadows was the first town in the upper country to have electricity, in 1908. I'm not sure what the initial source of power was, but in 1910, the County Commissioners granted permission to build a power line to Meadows from what must have been a generator on the Falls of the Little Salmon River, some miles north of town.

In 1911, Isaac McMahan's nineteen-year-old son, Ernest, installed an electric power plant on their ranch at Fruitvale. The generator was driven by water from the irrigation ditch. Private generators like this were relatively rare at the time, and was thought by some to be the only one of its kind in the County. That claim may or may not have been true. Clarence Gould built an elaborate power plant on the Gould ranch, three miles north of Council, during this approximate time frame. The building that housed the plant is still standing, just east of the river. It think the generator itself may even be around the ranch somewhere.

The beginning of general public access to electricity on the upper Weiser River valleys began in 1912 when the Adams County Light and Power Company installed a hyro-generator on Rush Creek, eight miles north of Cambridge. The lights were turned on in Cambridge on Christmas day of that year.

Before power lines reached Council, private generators were used by a few businesses in town. My guess is that they were driven by small gasoline engines. By 1913, the Opera House (now the theater) had electric lights. The next year, Charlie Warner (not the one from Bear) installed the first electric fan in Council, in his barber shop, for the comfort of his patrons.

Right after the big fire that burned half of downtown in 1915, Council signed a contract with the Adams Co. Light and Power Co. to supply electricity from its Rush Creek plant. The first lights powered by this source were turned on in a number of homes and businesses here on August 28, 1915.

In 1923, a power line was extended north of Council to Orchard road to supply the fruit packing plants there. Jack Darland provided the first electricity in Cuprum with his power plant in 1931. A power line didn't reach the Fruitvale store until 1940. At about the same time, line extensions gave lower Hornet Creek, and most of Council Valley, access to electricity. I don't know when Bear and Cuprum was reached by power lines, but I think it was surprisingly late. Would someone who knows give me a call? 253-4582


Picture yourself living in an area where you were born and raised, where your parents and your grandparents, and even their great great grandparents, were born and raised. Imagine that these ancestors handed down a deep spiritual tradition, involving a reverence for your family and your country, around which you center your life.

Now suppose man-like creatures from another planet come into your community. Soon, they take over. They chop down the trees that your great great grandfather planted, and are burning them in their camp fires that they build on top of your mother's grave. They walk into your house and tell you that you have to move out. They tell you that your way of life is wrong, burn your Bibles (or other sacred books), and tell you that you are to stop practicing your evil religion. Next, they force you to live in concentration camps. There is no food, and your children slowly begin to starve to death.

Wouldn't most of us fight to our last breath against such a fate? The tragedy is that a scenario very similar to this has already happened. It happened right here in the United States when the natives of this country were conquered by Whites. The differences in the situation from my imaginary one are subtle. Basically, it was a clash of two irreconcilably different cultures.

Indians were a source of constant anxiety for the earliest settlers in this area. Settler's feelings towards Indians were very similar to how we would feel if vagrant motorcycle gangs were roaming our area today. Indians were accustomed to a hard, or even violent, lifestyle. White people in the early days generally thought of Indians as being very dirty. And since Whites of that era usually only took a real bath about once a year, we can assume that some American aborigines were pretty unsanitary by modern standards. Indians were seen as having backward ways of acting and talking, and manners that often seemed rude or arrogant. They would often camp on ground claimed by homesteaders, and according to some reports, would turn their horses loose to graze in grain fields.

There were constant reports of Indian thievery which were often unfounded, but all too frequently were true. Many of the displaced natives were desperate, and resorted to stealing to survive. They had been uprooted from their homes and the only way of living they had ever known - left to wander in a hostile, bewildering nightmare with no way out.

You can imagine what barbaric creatures white people must have seemed through Indian eyes. Native Americans had a totally different view of private ownership and property rights. The idea of an individual owning a piece of land was so foreign to them that they often failed to even grasp the concept. Their survival depended on being able to roam the land freely, sharing it as a group. Any one person owning a part of the earth was as ridiculous to them as someone owning the air. It seems to them that white people cut the earth-mother into pieces to be bought and sold like their prostitutes, for whatever selfish purpose the owner pleased.

In spite of the abuse that was being demonstrated against the members of their race, the Shoshoni Indians along the Weiser River showed themselves to be an extremely tolerant people. Even after Whites began to take away their wintering grounds by settling in Indian Valley, the natives remained cordial to them, even going so far as to show the invaders how to harvest and preserve salmon from the rivers. Indians also became a source of hired labor on farms, helping with the harvest of crops.

Eventually, all of the natives in this area were forced onto the Fort Hall reservation. They were told they must live like white people, but were given no means or training with which to do so. Food was very often scarce or non-existent. The concentration-camp existence they were forced to live under must have been almost impossible to bear. In their culture, everything sacred, everything that gave purpose and meaning to their lives was based on their relationship with mother earth, from whom they had been ruthlessly torn. What cultural values could they pass on to their children when almost every value they understood had been made irrelevant?

It seems bitterly ironic that a culture that outwardly professed spirituality, but was really based on materialism, so brutally crushed a culture so totally immersed in spiritual values. Few people, other than women who have been raped, can understand the crushing emotional damage that results from someone violating and stealing the most precious, sacred, personal parts of your life, and being powerless to do anything about it.

Today, the damage that was done to the natives of this country is insidious ... the stories of their lives mostly unknown... but their former presence here underlies everything that has followed them. The places where we now live, work and play, were all a precious legacy handed down from native fathers and mothers (Landmarks) to sons and daughters for almost 100 centuries longer than the blink of an eye that our European culture has been here.

The museum in Council has an extensive collection of Indian projectile points and stone tools. Recently, we have begun a long range project to classify them as to their where they came from, and how, when and by whom they were used. The result will be an interesting display in our new museum space. More on that subject, and how we need your help, soon.


John Hancock was one of the very first businessmen in Council. He and Milt Wilkerson built the first actual business establishment here in 1891. Called the "Council Valley Hotel", it stood just south of the present Ace Saloon. The picture of this building that is in the museum is the oldest photograph, that I know of, ever taken in what is now the town of Council.

About 1884, John Hancock and a friend drove some cattle from Salmon River into the Seven Devils. This was a common route for taking cattle and supplies into the Devils, especially before a road was built from Council. After spending some time looking for stray cattle in the direction of the Snake River, the two men headed back east toward the Salmon River. There were few trails, and they just trekked in the general direction.

When it got dark, they made camp without really knowing where they were. Maybe they felt a little like mountain man, Jim Bridger. Bridger once said he had never been lost in his life, but he had been mighty confused for several days. When Hancock and Company got ready to build a camp fire, they discovered they only had one match. After carefully preparing the tender and kindling, they struck their one and only chance at a warm supper and camp. The match flared up and promptly went out.

Soon, they heard what sounded like a cow bell off in the distance. Following the sound, they found the camp of an old man who was in the area trapping beaver. The man welcomed them to stay for the night, and they gladly accepted. During the course of the evening, they asked their host where they were. He said, "About six miles west of Price Valley." Since Hancock and his companion admitted to being lost, they called the place "Lost Valley". The name has stuck to this day.

About 1900, two brothers, Frank and Colonel Ryan, came west from Kansas, intending to take up land near Walla Walla, Washington. Near Payette, they were told their was good homestead land available near Council. One way or another, they found themselves in Lost Valley, and liked the place well enough lay claim to it. Frank built a cabin in the middle of the Valley, and Colonel erected his more toward one edge.

Both brothers studied law during this time. Frank got his law degree in 1905. That same year, the Weiser Irrigation District filed on the land at Lost Valley for a reservoir site. This didn't coincide very well with the Ryan boys' homestead idea. A law suit followed. While the dispute was making its way trough the courts, the reservoir was built in the fall of 1909. The lawsuit was settled the next year. The Ryans proved, ironically, that the highest and best use of the land was as a reservoir site. They established that they should be paid for their homesteads on the basis of this value, and were paid $16,000 for the two homesteads - a substantial sum in those days. Colonel went back to Kansas and practiced law. Frank moved to Weiser, built a house at 747 W 2nd Street, and practiced law in that town until his death in 1956.

Frank's son, Harold "Hal" Ryan, followed in his father's footsteps, and is now a Federal Judge in Boise. I had a nice visit with him last week, and copied two old photographs of his dad standing in front of his Lost Valley cabin. My thanks to Kenny Schwartz for telling me about Hal and this great story.

As near as I can tell, Frank's cabin site was about where the middle of where Lost Lake is now. My dad remembers seeing a cabin floating in the reservoir back in the late 1920s. It was drifting near the campgrounds on the east side of the lake, just south of Slaughter Gulch. Colonel's cabin may have escaped being flooded out. Anybody know where it might have been located?

Speaking of Slaughter Gulch, the story I got of how it received this name is that Isaac McMahan had of bunch of his cattle stolen and butchered there in the early days. Anybody know any more particulars on this story? 253-4582

A few notes on the Reservoir from old newspapers: 1912 - a lake trout was caught in Lost Lake that was as long as a man's arm. 1925 - Lost Valley Reservoir Co. was incorporated. 1928 - Nine salmon were caught just below the Lost Valley Dam. 1929 - Lost Valley Reservoir Dam was raised.

Since last week, Lila Coats told me the power line reached Evergreen about 1950 or '51. Tina Warner and Gay Carter said that the power line only reached the Bear Cuprum area about 1979! Tina also informed me that Jack Darland would have been a pretty young boy when he was credited by the paper as running a power generator at Cuprum in 1931. Maybe it was his dad, Tony, or his grandfather, John.

4-21-94 No column this week


Big game animals have always been a big part of life in the Council area. They were a basic source of food for the first miners and settlers.

When the Wilson Price Hunt expedition came through Idaho in the winter of 1811, the group led by Donald McKenzie passed through the southern part of the Seven Devils. They almost starved for lack of game. Deer were not plentiful in the Hells Canyon - Seven Devils area until several years after the establishment of the Black Lake Game Preserve in 1912. This preserve, which covered 67,200 acres north of Black Lake, was abolished in 1935.

According to Charles Winkler, when his family came to the Council Valley in 1878, white tail deer were as common around Council as mule deer, although he said deer in general were not plentiful here back then. Since that time, and until fairly recently, white tailed deer were rarely seen. Over the past twenty years or so there has been an increase in the number of white tail deer in this area. They have generally been more common in the northern part of the state during my lifetime.

Elk were unheard of here in the early days. There is a record of trappers sighting a large herd of elk in Long Valley in 1831, but by the time the Black Lake Game Preserve was established in 1912, there were no known elk in Idaho west of the Island Park Divide near the Wyoming border. Council's Socialist legislator, Earl Wayland Bowman, the author of the bill that created the Preserve, persuaded the state Game Warden to use $5,000 to buy Yellowstone Park elk from the U.S. government, and put them in the new protected area.

Another story says the U.S. Government donated the elk: 35 cows and 15 bulls. At any rate, the elk arrived in 1915. They were shipped in by rail, and when the train stopped in Council, a crowd of fascinated locals gathers to gawk at the strange new animals.

The elk were released near New Meadows, and for the next 34 years, they had a chance to adapt to their new habitat, undisturbed by hunters. Elk were originally a plains animal, and they didn't naturally take to the higher mountains on their own. For instance, the Rapid River drainage, where a number of elk herds thrive today, was pretty much devoid of the animals until they were pushed into the area in the late 1940s or early '50s.

By the time the local elk hunting season was reopened in the fall of 1949, a large herd had established itself near the head of the West Fork of the Weiser River, just west of Lost Lake. On opening day of the first open season, a large number local men hunted this prime location. This was also opening day of deer season, and either sex was legal game for both species. For some time after it was light enough to shoot that morning, it sounded like there was a war going on in that vicinity. In addition to bucks, does and cow elk, eighteen bull elk were killed. A number of these bulls had trophy sized antlers. One monster bull had ten points on one side and eleven on the other.

The State enforced game laws in the early days as best they could, but before cars and roads were common, it was hard for an official to cover much territory. Also, there were few game wardens in this part of Idaho. For a long time, game laws were widely ignored by local people. After 1923, Forest Service officers were supposed to help enforce game laws. Apparently, this didn't help much.

Some of the early Idaho game laws are of interest:

1889 - Illegal to kill buffalo, elk, deer antelope or mountain sheep between January 1 and Sept 1.

1903 - Moose, buffalo, antelope or caribou must not be killed at any time. Elk, mountain sheep and goat season Sept 1 to Dec 31. Limits: one elk (either sex), two deer, one mountain goat, one mt. sheep. A hunting and fishing license cost $1.

1907- Elk, deer, mountain sheep and mountain goat season Sept 15 to Jan 1. Hunting and fishing license still $1

1927 - A resident fish and game license cost $2.00


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Following up on last week's History Corner, here is some info on other game animals.

Mongolian pheasants were released in this part of Idaho sometime around the turn of the century. Hunting them was not allowed until 1907. In 1909 there was a report that Chinese peasants were being released into this area. Chukkar partridges were introduced to the Snake River country, east of here, in the 1940s. The bird that is being chased around the mountainsides this time of year, the Merriam's turkey, is a recently introduced species to our vicinity.

The 1907 Idaho season for prairie chicken, pheasant, partridge and turtle dove was Sept 1 to Dec 1, with a limit of 12 to 18. Snipe, plover, ducks and geese were legal from Sept 15 to Jan 1 with a limit of three geese, and 24 of any one of the other birds. Quail season was Nov 1 to Dec 1 with a limit of 18.

On a tape recording that Jim Camp made of Hugh Addington, Hugh commented on how many grouse there were in the Seven Devils area in his younger days. He said, "The grouse... was so thick that you could have a grouse any time you wanted one. I've seen them on Horse Mountain after the grasshoppers so thick... just thousands of them! That whole country was just saturated with them."

In 1891, a tongue-in-cheek report in the Salubria newspaper tried to point out how rich the mining district was by saying that several people were making a good living by shooting Seven Devils grouse which had gold nuggets in their craws.

The subject of Salmon fishing could be a whole other column, so I'll stick with the smaller species. The old pioneers of the Council area said that fishing was always very good here. They considered the main Weiser River the best place to fish for trout, especially the deep holes in the river.

In 1899, the local fishing season was from May 1 to November 1 for trout. It was a felony to take fish by the use of dynamite, but that didn't stop some people from doing it. As I understand it, dynamite was put into a jar, or some other watertight container, the fuse was lit and the lid put on. The jar was thrown into the river, and the shock of the explosion would stun or kill any nearby fish. The fish were collected when they floated to the surface, sometimes by the dozen. I haven't heard of anyone practicing this method in

recent years, but it was not that uncommon for a few decades after the turn of the century.

In 1903, there was a limit of 20 lbs. of trout, bass, catfish, grayling, or sunfish. Any fish under 4" had to be thrown back. No use of snag hooks, explosives or nets was allowed. It was that year that several Council people went on an outing at East Fork of the Weiser River. Dr. Brown caught 325 small trout. The next day, L.L. Burtenshaw caught 180 and T.W. Johnson caught 45.

By 1905, fishing was allowed year 'round. The limit was still 20 lbs.; limit of 30 lbs. in possession at any time. Trout and black bass had to be at least 4" long.

In 1912, some Council men caught over 600 fish in the Bear Crk and Lick Crk area.

In May of 1925, it was announced that, "A new fish hatchery is to be built by the state on the Weiser river about 10 miles north of Council, ..." toward Evergreen. This hatchery provided thousands of fish that were planted all over this area for many years. The cement "ponds" are still there as far as I know.

Looking back like this makes one think. The salmon are gone here, and fading fast in other places... some species of other game fish are becoming hard to find... and what's the limit for trout now? So much for the "progress" we have made by multiplying the population of our own species.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Lately there has been some publicity concerning the Idaho State Seal, and the woman, Emma Edwards Green, who designed it. You may not know that Emma Edwards (her maiden name) also designed a U.S. half dollar, lived in this area for a time, and taught school at Lick Creek.

Emma's father, a former governor of Missouri, came west to California in the 1840s, and later to Boise. When Idaho became a state in 1890, the first legislature authorized a competition for the design of a state seal. By this time, Emma had studied art in New York City. She submitted a design, won the contest and was awarded $100 for her work. A painting she did of the seal was exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The Idaho Historical society now has the painting.

Idaho has the distinction of having the only state seal that was designed by a woman. Emma's name has been missing from the state seal ever since Paul Evans revised it in 1957. Recently, Governor Andrus signed a bill to put her name back on the seal, along with Evans' name.

About 1895, while living in Salubria (near present - day Cambridge), Miss Edwards submitted a design for a new fifty cent piece. The woman depicted on her drawing for the coin was patterned after a local young lady who was an acquaintance of hers. Emma's design was picked by the Treasury out of several hundred proposed. Of course the coin is no longer in circulation.

Emma Edwards was friends of Arthur and Pearl Huntley. The Huntleys were a couple who had the ranch just south of Cuprum that is now owned by the Speropolus family. In1896, Emma was teaching at the Lick Creek school. I assume that the Lick Creek school was near the OX Ranch headquarters there, which was the location of a hotel run by Charley Anderson at the time. (If anybody knows for sure where this school was at, please call me.) This was ten years before Arthur and Pearl were married in 1904, and Emma was acquainted with Arthur Huntley at the time. Emma stayed with the Huntleys for a time after their marriage. Someone with a fertile imagination (not me of course) might wonder if Arthur and Emma ever courted, and just what the relationship between the trio was later.

The summer that Emma taught at the Lick Creek school (1896) was also the year that Arthur Huntley's friends, the Caswell brothers, discovered gold at Thunder Mountain. You may be familiar with the story of how Huntley had grubstaked the Caswells with $50, and consequently became quite wealthy from this investment.

At some point, Emma Edwards married a miner named James Green, and lived with him in Boise. Emma Edwards Green died in 1942.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

There is a grave south east of Lost Lake with a morbid, but interesting, story behind it.

The story begins back in 1930, when cowboying was a lot different than it is now. Most of the ranchers who summered cattle on the Forest's Warm Springs grazing allotment in the West Fork / Lost Valley area lived around Fruitvale. The Circle C ranch was the one exception, having bought the large McMahan grazing permit. Most outfits didn't have a truck to haul horses or cattle, and nobody had a horse trailer. When they had riding to do anywhere on the Forest, the only way to get there was to get on their horse and endure however many hours in the saddle that it took to get there.

There wasn't even a road up the West Fork of the Weiser River beyond the Finn homestead at the mouth of Lost Creek until the 1950s. There was a crude road in to the reservoir from Tamarack that was put in when the dam was built in 1909. The present road from Pine Ridge was built about 1935.

Because of the time and distances involved in traveling to and from Lost Valley, a "cow camp" was set up in the meadow, just over the little hill east of Lost Lake where the cowboys could stay. About all that's left now is the old log corral. The main campground was a couple hundred yards north west of it.

That summer of 1930, Dick Fisk (my father who was 17 at the time), Ike Glenn, Sterling McGinley, Fred Glenn, and possibly some other cowboys, were camped here when a stranger, an older gentleman, approached the camp, carrying a pack on his back. He introduced himself as Tom Cleggette. During the course of their conversation, Cleggette mentioned that he was doing some prospecting in the area, and implied that he had found a little gold somewhere in that part of the country. After a brief visit, the old fellow hiked off again. As he left, Ike called after him to be careful. Cleggette replied that he had been in the woods all his life, and knew how to take care of himself. It would be the last time any of them ever saw Tom Cleggette alive.

The next June (1931) Tommy Clay, who was riding for the Campbell ranch, and Fitz Mink, riding for the grazing association, were hunting cattle south east of Lost Lake, just south of where the present road from Pine Ridge tops out. As they rode through the trees, something out of place caught there eyes. Coming closer, they were stunned to find the badly decomposed body of a man crumpled up against the trunk of a tree.

Sheriff Bill Winkler, who by this time was no spring chicken at the age of 65, and County coroner Bob Young came up from Council to investigate. The clues they found told a tragic tale.

From a hunting license in the man's wallet, he was identified as Tom Cleggette, age 71. The rest of the information on the license, including where he might have come from, had been obliterated by water stains.

A few hundred yards from the body, a crude camp was found. It consisted of a tarp stretched over a ridge pole, with vertical logs forming a wall at one end. A large pile of fire wood was stacked nearby. Cleggette had evidently become snow bound here during the winter. On the margins of a road map, he had written a sort of diary, little of which remained readable. The one, ominous notation that was decipherable was dated January 11. It consisted of the stark statement, "All is gone." Apparently he had eaten the last of his food supply. Another note began, "Tell ...", but the rest of the message had been washed away.

There was some evidence that Cleggette had killed and eaten a deer during his ordeal. He had finally fashioned a crude pair of snow shoes and tried to escape his dire predicament. After a desperate struggle through deep snow, he only made it the short distance to where his body was later found before giving up. It could have been that he was too weak to return to camp. Or maybe he decided it was useless to even try. In his hand was found a semi-automatic German Luger pistol. Two shots had been fired. One had pierced his heart. Winkler and Young speculated that the second round, which had not entered Cleggette's body, had been the result of a contraction of his hand as he died.

The men had planned to transport the body to Council for burial, but it was so decomposed that it wasn't practical. For the past 63 years, Tom Cleggette's body has reposed under the spot where it was discovered. No relatives or further clues to his identity were ever found.

If you enjoy stories like this, please support our effort to improve the museum. The word "history" is mostly "s-t-o-r-y". Each item in the museum has a tale to tell, and we want to tell it. We want to create a fitting place to preserve the incredible stories of what happened here... for you, and for generations to come. Please consider a contributing whatever you can.


History Corner

This little piece of earth that we inhabit is a stage upon which countless dramas have unfolded. All around us, in the places we walk or drive every day, events have taken place that would startle us if we only knew what had happened there.

In the museum there are several pieces of mastodon jawbone that were found less than a mile south east of Council. It is thought that the earliest people here hunted these huge ancestors of the elephant. Just think what kind of amazing scenes were "acted out" right here.

Stories from the past can be just under our feet, or, as in my case right now, just over my head. Right now I'm in the middle of a major remodeling job on our house. This used to be a two story house before my uncle Hub remodeled it a couple of times. Now, I'm putting the second story back on. For the past few days, I've been taking out the original second story floor boards and joists to replace them. I'm finding things there that fell down between the subfloor and first story ceiling in the time since the house was built in 1910.

I guess the item I found that relates back the farthest is a Christmas post card that was mailed to Cora Glenn in 1913. Cora Sult was the daughter of Long Valley pioneers. She married Joel Glenn in 1902. They lived here, and had this house built. "Joe" Glenn, as he was known, came to the Council area with his parents, William D. and Rebecca Glenn about 1883. After living at Cottonwood for a short time, I think they settled the place just above me here on West Fork, where Harold Hoxie lives now. [2657 West Fork Road.] Apparently, after Bill Glenn died in 1893, his son, Tom Glenn, took over the place until 1915. After that James Finn (Ralph's father) owned it, then Bolan Abshire. My mother lived there for awhile when her parents rented the place. In later years, Vince Schwartz, and then Tony Schwartz owned it. Now Scisms have it.

According to Hardy Harp's obituary, he settled the place where I live in the 1880s. At some point, Joe Glenn acquired it. Many of the ancient apple trees that are growing on this place were planted by Tom and Joe Glenn in 1912. Joe and Cora Glenn had 14 children. I think most of them were born, in this house. The original building was 24 feet square. Can you imagine 14 kids living in a house that size?

I'm not sure who built this house, but I found a piece of construction paper in one wall with "H.H. Cossitt and Sons, Council, Idaho" printed on it. Cossitt was a builder and lumber yard owner who is credited with building the old school house that stood on the hill in Council around the turn of the century. He was Adams County's first coroner when the County was created in 1911.

In 1924, my grandfather bought Joe Glenn's place and moved his family here from their homestead on the Ridge. During one trip to haul furniture to the new home, Dad's brother, Sam, was run over and killed by the wagon they were using. His funeral took place here in this house, a few feet from where I'm writing this.

Another of the things I found in the old upper floor was the cardboard cover for an old Edison cylinder record. The title of the song printed on the end cap was "The Preacher and the Bear". Dad remembers well the old phonograph that they use to play those records on when they lived on the Ridge homestead, long before they ever had a radio. They played some of the songs over and over again.

I also found a sheet of paper containing "Important Information". It was "Directions for Assembling - Operating and Maintaining the Aladdin Kerosene Mantle Lamp". Another find was a metal lid that reads, "KC Baking Powder, 50 oz. - 50 cents, Same price for over 30 years."

Other items tell of a time when my uncle Hub lived here. This is the house where our County Clerk, Mike Fisk, and his sister, Linda, grew up. I found three Lincoln logs, half a dozen marbles, a one-piece wooden clothes pin, a few playing cards, illustrations from kids books from the 1950s or so, and the wrapper from a pack of Camel cigarettes that Hub used to smoke.

What I found the most of was dirt... just plain soil from the ground. I hauled out bucket after bucket full of it - probably 40 pounds or so. There are dozens of mud dauber wasp nests on the rafters, and it's my theory is that the dirt came from them, built up as they fell down over the past 84 years. As I swept up the fine, powdery dust, I was reminded of how my uncle John caught tuberculosis, when he was a young man, from a neighbor boy who slept up there in the bed next to his. It cost him a lung. In spite of the fact that I was wearing a good respirator, I was hoping TB bacteria don't live that long.

As I said, history is all around us if we take the time to look and learn. The museum's job is to help you do just that, but we need your help. Awhile back, the museum board was thinking about getting a WWII display that the Historical Society would loan us. Then we got to thinking... where would we put it? There's no room in the museum without taking up all the space where the City Council meetings and other gatherings are held. There really isn't enough room for the displays that are there now. We have the solution ready to launch as soon as we get the funds. We need your donation.

6-2-94 No column this week


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

All of the early mining done in the Seven Devils was "underground" as opposed to open pit. The term "tunnel" is usually used to indicate a horizontal opening. A "shaft" refers to a vertical tunnel, and an "inclined shaft" is a slanting tunnel that slopes at an angle, between vertical and horizontal.

The old style of underground mining was similar to modern methods except that there were few machines to do the work. Except where huge, extremely expensive boring machines are used, digging a tunnel still requires drilling and blasting. Instead of pneumatic rock drills, early miners used a hammer and "star drill". The hammer was usually a single or double jack. The drill was a chisel which was up to several feet long, and had a star design on the business end instead of a single, flat tip. One man would hold the chisel while another would drive it into the rock. After every blow, the chisel was rotated slightly. After the hole was deep enough, it was filled with blasting powder. A blasting cap was placed on the end of a long piece of fuse and then shoved into the powder. The fuse was lit, everyone backed off a safe distance.

In a tunnel, after the smoke and dust had cleared, the loosened ore was shoveled into ore carts. These hand-pushed ore carts had wheels similar to those on a railroad car, and ran on a much smaller version of a train track. This track was extended into the mountain as the tunnel was dug, and led back to the "portal" or opening where the contents of the ore carts were unloaded. If the blasted material was not worth keeping, it was dumped off the end of the tracks onto the "tailings pile".

This cart and track method of removing ore also applied to moderately inclined shafts, except that a powered hoist had to be used to bring up the carts. On vertical shafts, buckets were used instead of carts.

The blasting process was not without its hazards. Even after dynamite replaced black powder, it was very touchy if it was too old, or especially if had been frozen. And fuses sometimes burned much faster than they were supposed to.

One of the most common types of accidents was the result of a "missed hole". A typical mishap was reported in 1905, in the Weiser Signal newspaper. The account said that Ed Fulp and Fred Powell were seriously injured at the California Mine in the Seven Devils. A number of charges had been fired, and all but one exploded. Waiting a sufficient length of time, the men returned to investigate. As they approached the spot where they had placed the charges, the remaining one exploded. Both men were bowled over and showered with sharp pieces of rock. They escaped with their lives, but were badly cut and bruised.

Another missed hole accident happened at the Queen mine in 1906. Bill Carrick and Fred Lincoln were on the night shift. They were digging with picks when Carrick hit a "missed shot" left by the day shift, exploding the charge. One piece of rock hit Carrick over the right eye, knocking him down and rendering him unconscious for a short time. Lincoln was uninjured. Dr. Peacock, the mine foreman, fired the day shift crew for negligence and carelessness.

What may have been the most spectacular such stories on local record involved one of the areas best known pioneers, Charlie Allen. Charlie learned the dangers of mining the hard way in 1892. He and two partners had dug a vertical shaft at their Lobo mine in the Seven Devils. It was about 6:00 PM and Charlie wanted to knock loose an extra big bunch of rock so they would have plenty of work the next day. The other two men cleared out before Charlie lit the fuse. After the fuse was burning, Charlie yelled, "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" As he scrambled up the first of a set of wooden ladders, he was 110 feet underground.

Knowing the undependability of fuses, Charlie was in a hurry... maybe too much of a hurry. Or maybe he was just tired at the end of a long, hard day. At the 65 foot level, he had to change from one ladder to another. He slipped. In an instant, he was falling, headfirst, into the blackness below him. About eight feet from the bottom of the shaft, he slammed into a rock ledge, landing on his side. Charlie lay there in agony, knowing that he was about to die. If the fall hadn't injured him beyond recovery, the double charge of giant powder just two feet below him would certainly snuff out his life like a candle in a hurricane. It would only be a matter of seconds now. dependability

Charlie's companions waited at the top of the shaft. They listened in horror as they heard him slip and fall. A minute later, the muffled boom of the exploding powder shook the dirt under their feet. Dust and air rushed up the shaft in front of them. Feeling overwhelmed by the tragedy, they descended into the abyss to recover Charlie's lifeless, mutilated body.

As the two men neared the bottom of the shaft, they heard something move. They went closer, and there, in the light of their lantern sat Charlie, calmly smoking his corncob pipe. He was scratched, badly bruised and generally a mess, but, miraculously, none of his injuries were life-threatening.

This account is based on an account of the events in the Idaho Citizen newspaper of Salubria, Feb 12, 1892 The editor noted that even though the story was hard to believe, the men swore it happened.


I apologize for missing a week sometimes in writing the History Corner. I have the roof off of our house, and have had to to burn the midnight oil on my remodeling job between rain storms.

This time, I thought I would throw together a few things about one of the families that helped make this area what it is today. Part of what peaked my interest is a grave of a fairly young woman, located under a pine tree just off the Council Cuprum road.

Forty-two year old Frederick C. Wilkie, his wife Sarah, and their four sons, (Fred, Arthur, Ralph and Richard) settled on Hornet Creek at "Dale" (now called "Upper Dale") in 1882. They lived where Mill Creek meets Hornet Creek, just south of the old Hornet Guard station.

In the spring following their arrival here, Sarah gave birth to a fifth son, Oscar Craig Wilkie. (He was known by his middle name, Craig.) Almost exactly a year later, in March of 1884, Sarah died. Her grave is about a quarter of a mile east the Wilkie homestead, about 100 yards above the road. She was only 33 years old.

Just over a year and a half after Sarah died, in 1885, Frederick married Fannie Fletcher. A girl and two more boys were born during their ten and a half year marriage. Frederick and Fannie were divorced in the spring of 1896. During the time that Fannie was married to Frederick, she taught school at Upper Dale and at several locations near Salubria and Midvale.

Frederick Wilkie had been a Major in the Union army during the Civil war, and was known locally as "Major Wilkie". He was involved in local politics, serving as justice of the peace and county commissioner. He and his sons are probably best remembered for establishing one of the first sawmills in the area.

The first sawmill that the Wilkies used was one Frederick bought in 1885 from A.F. Hitt, the man after whom Hitt Mountain near Cambridge is named. Hitt had run an active lumber business with this mill on Hitt Creek some miles west of Cambridge, until one day in 1884, while working at the mill, he slipped and fell into the sharp teeth of the saw. One of his feet was caught in the saw in such a way that the heel was cut off. It was an extremely painful, debilitating injury that never did heal, forcing him to sell the mill the next summer.

This sawmill was a "sash" type mill that had a saw blade that reciprocated up and down. It was outdated even at that time. When Hitt operated the mill, the Indians in the in the area didn't understand how it moved by itself and were extremely afraid of it. They would come no where near it. Former residents of Norway, however, are said to have had a different reaction to the sash mill. The mill made a peculiar sound that resembled the rhythm of a Norwegian folk song, and any time a Norwegian came within hearing distance of a sash mill, it is said they had the irresistible urge to do a folk dance.

By all indications, the sash mill was a water powered mill under the ownerships of both Hitt and the Wilkies. It is thought that when Wilkies operated the mill, it sat beside the creek in the depression just north of the Council - Cuprum road, just before the road turns up Mill Creek. It is probable that the creek here was named "Mill Creek" because of the presence of this early mill. Also, the narrow canyon through which Mill Creek flows just before reaching Hornet Creek is called Wilkie Canyon.

There were very few sawmills in the Council Valley vicinity during the early years of settlement, and demand for lumber constantly increased as more and more people came to the area. By 1891, the Wilkie sawmill was not able to keep up with the demand for lumber. In 1894, they acquired new mill equipment. The new set up probably had two circular saws which were aligned so that one cut the upper part of the log, and the other cut the lower part.

The Wilkies operated mills in various locations in the head of Hornet Creek and Crooked River. By 1899, they had mills both on Hornet Creek and the Middle Fork of the Weiser River.

Fred Wilkie Jr. had more scholarly interests than his sawmilling brothers. He worked for several newspapers, including the Weiser City Leader, the Idaho Citizen (at Salubria) and the Idaho Statesman. He later became president of the Northwestern Engineering Co. After a stint at a paper in Utah, he came back to Hornet Creek in 1900. His house was just across the creek from the Upper Dale school. This house later belonged to W.R. Shaw (Deb Shaw's father).

Although he didn't seem to take to the vocation of sawing boards, he didn't stray far from the family business after he moved back to the area. He made his living here as an architect and carpenter. When the old I.O.O.F. hall was built in Council in 1905, Fred Wilkie drafted the plans for the building.

More on the Wilkies next week.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Of the Wilkie boys, Art and Rich were apparently the most ambitious. The two seemed almost driven to achieve. Whether it started out as the grand plan it would become, may never be known, but things began to fall into place in 1908. About this time, Art Wilkie built a planing mill at the railroad about a half mile east of the main Weiser River, about six and a half miles north of Council. Here, the road to the West Fork of the Weiser branched off of the crude wagon trail that criss-crossed the river on up to Starkey where the trail ended. The mill was probably built on the flat between the railroad tracks and the lone hill at the present site of Fruitvale.

By the fall of that year (1908), the operation was in full swing and things were looking good. The P+IN railroad even built a siding at the mill, probably at the request of the Wilkies. But it wasn't long until their good fortune took a turn for the worse. Sparks from the steam engine that powered the planer mill started a fire which destroyed the mill, the lumber yard, and even the engine itself. Undaunted by the major setback, the Wilkies immediately built another, even bigger mill on the same spot.

It must have been late 1908 or early1909, when the Wilkies, under the name " Wilkie Traction and Transportation Company", built a road over the "Ridge" to the present site of Fruitvale. The plan was to process the lumber from their sawmills here at their planer, and load it on train cars. The tracks were closer to their operations at this point than at Council.

The Wilkies were some of the first people to use steam powered tractors, then called "traction engines", in this part of the country. They almost certainly used them to build this route which became known as "the traction road". Stationary steam engines had been in common use for some time in applications such as the Seven Devils mines. But these mobile engines were something new, at least in this area. One of the steam engines in Council's town square is thought to have belonged to the Wilkies.

Maps of the area dated 1912, show the Wilkie Traction Road going east across the hills from the Peck place near Dale. (This is the old Armacost place - the OK ranch - a mile or so toward town from the old Hornet Guard station.) Traces of it can still be seen here. The road went across to North Hornet Creek, then continued east, probably up what is now known as "Traction Gulch", to the present end of the Ridge Road. From the head of this gulch, it most probably followed the route of the present Ridge Road except for a half mile or so just before it crosses the West Fork of the Weiser. Here, the original road followed the creek bottom. Sometime around the 1940s, it was changed to the side hill. Before this, the original stretch of road here was sometimes a bottomless mud bog in the spring.

Sometime between 1909 and 1912, homesteaders on the Ridge built a shorter road connecting the Hornet Creek road to the Wilkie traction road. It started just up from the Lower Dale school and went north west up what was known as "Warner Gulch", and connected with the traction road where the road now tees at the cattle guard. This Warner Gulch road, along with the traction road that went on to the present site of Fruitvale, became the county road in 1912, and is now called Ridge Road.

At the time the Wilkie Traction road was built, about 1908, there were five homesteaders living on Pleasant Ridge. By 1912, the Ridge had become a booming homestead area with about 26 families living on scattered dry land farms across the rocky hills between Hornet Creek and Fruitvale. Using two traction engines, the Wilkies pulled three or four wagons at a time with each engine, hauling about 10,000 to 12,000 board-feet of lumber each trip. By 1912, the Wilkies would ship about 7 million board feet of lumber from Fruitvale by rail.

In 1909, a post office was granted to a spot near the Wilkie planer mill. The general area had heretofore been referred to as "West Fork". The new post office was officially given the name "Lincoln". At the same time, Art Wilkie, along with some other men, formed the Lincoln Lumber Company, with Art Wilkie as president. A young man named Andy Carroll became the first Postmaster. Carroll, a friend and sawmill employee of the Wilkies, was also Secretary and Treasurer of the Lincoln Lumber Company. The post office may have been in the Lincoln Lumber Company store which records show was managed by Carroll in April of 1910. Andy's father, Joseph Carroll, who had run stores in Midvale and Council and had run the hotel at Lick Creek, may have been involved with the store at this time. Another source says that the store belonged to Rich Wilkie. Almost as soon as the name Lincoln was granted by the Postal Department, the name was changed to "Fruitvale".

After moving to Fruitvale, Rich Wilkie sold fire insurance, was a notary public, and helped publish a newspaper called the "Fruitvale Echo". Art Wilkie, owned and operated the Fruitvale hotel for a time. (Joslin's house now.) Aside from the family operations in this area, he was also was involved in logging operations at Tamarack for a time.

By 1910, things were going so well that the Wilkie brothers found the traction road inadequate to handle the demands that lumber and freight traffic placed upon it. They made plans to build a railroad line between Fruitvale and Crooked River and organized a stock company to sell shares in the venture. The planned route was to parallel that of their traction road. For one reason , the rail line was never built.

More on Fruitvale and the Wilkies next week.



by Dale Fisk

At some point, the Wilkie brothers began to form a plan that would make the place where their new road met the railroad nothing less than the hub of the local universe. Aside from serving their own lumber shipping needs, they realized that, with their new route, Lincoln would be the nearest railroad point to upper Hornet Creek and all of the Seven Devils mining area. And it was also very near the hot springs at Starkey, which, since being reached by the railroad, was becoming a very popular tourist destination.

As county after county was being created across the West, the competition between towns for the prize of becoming the county seat was very heated. Sometimes it even resulted in violence. When Adams County was carved out of Washington County in 1911, it was a custom made opportunity for Art and Rich. The Idaho legislature appointed Council as the temporary county seat, but a permanent county seat would be determined on the next election, which would be in November of 1912. If Fruitvale could become the county seat, it would turn the Wilkie real estate holdings into gold.

The Fruitvale Echo newspaper began publication in April of 1912. The publisher was listed as the "Fruitvale Commercial Club", but public perception seems to have been that it was published by Rich Wilkie. And in reality, the paper may have been little more than a vehicle for his personal ambitions.

The new Fruitvale newspaper was almost immediately a thorn in the side of its rival, the Council Leader. For months after the Echo first appeared in print, the Leader editor, James A. Stinson, patiently ignored the soap box editorials printed in the Echo as one would the tirades of a younger sibling. His only comment was the veiled reference when the Echo first began publication, "It was only an 'Echo' drifted down from the hills." Finally in September, Stinson reached his breaking point and cut loose with a scathing front page attack, responding to a comment the Echo had made on an article in the Leader. In one of the three separate shots at the Echo, Stinson said, "... the poor thing does the baby act by crying that we abused it. If you can't stand it why don't you get a man in your place?"

During the short life span of the Echo, Rich Wilkie waged an incessant, unrelenting, almost religious crusade to make Fruitvale the county seat instead of Council. Among other virtues, he extoled the central location of Fruitvale in relation to other communities in the county. Wilkie spent a great deal of time and energy traveling all over the new county, especially in the Seven Devils, gathering 506 signatures on a petition to put Fruitvale on the upcoming ballot as an official candidate for county seat. When the deadline for filing the petitions had passed, Wilkie went to court to bar New Meadows and Council from appearing on the ballot. Represented by well known attorney Frank Harris of Weiser, Wilkie claimed that Council and New Meadows didn't gather the number of signatures required by law. Wilkie also contested the names of 73 New Meadows petition signatures. He must have gone through them with a fine toothed comb.

The controversy dragged on for months, but by a few days before the election, Judge E.L. Bryan ruled that the law didn't outline requirements for inclusion on a ballot in such a case, and ruled that the towns could indeed appear on the ballot.

At this time, some Meadows Valley people were still steaming from the fact that the railroad had been built to New Meadows instead of to the established town of Meadows. They felt that land investors at New Meadows had pulled strings in order to make themselves wealthy. Some thought that Wilkie's motives in his lawsuit were suspiciously similar, as he and his family had much to gain from the success of Fruitvale.

When election day rolled around, the weather was miserable. A blinding storm with a mixture of rain and snow plagued the area all day. The weather proved to be an ill omen for the dreams of the Wilkie family. Council won the county seat election by a land slide, with a total of 919 votes. To add insult to injury, voters from the Fruitvale precinct gave 76 votes to Council, a number almost equal to the total number of 87 votes that Fruitvale received from all over the county! The Seven Devils towns proved to be the most supportive of Fruitvale, but only by a narrow margin.

When it became clear that Fruitvale was not going to become what the Wilkie family had hoped, they seemed to lose interest, and left for greener pastures. Not long after the election, Ralph moved to Portland. The following spring, Art and Craig moved their families to Ashton, Idaho. In the election of 1924, Art, who was still living in Ashton, ran as a candidate for the Idaho Supreme Court judge. Evidently he lost in the primary election.

Rich Wilkie soon followed his brothers to south eastern Idaho, settling in Idaho Falls. He eventually became a lawyer there. He died there of a heart attack, in 1925, at the age of 49.

A few years ago, some relatives of the Wilkies were in Council looking for local information on the family. This was before I collected all of this, so if anyone knows how to reach them, please let me know.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

One of Council's best known places of business in the early days was a store that once stood where the Council Valley Market 's parking lot is now. The first merchants associated with the beginnings of this store were Sam, Harry and Abe Criss and a man named Cohen. Initially, they had no store, but traveled up and down the Weiser River valleys, selling goods out of a wagon. Every week, during the mid 1890s, their ad appeared in the Weiser paper:


The traveling merchants will sell you goods and strange to relate they


But prefer to take chickens, eggs, butter, hogs and such things, allowing the highest market price for everything, and they come right to your door and get the produce and deliver the goods. Carry dry goods, notions.

By 1898, Cohen and Criss had stores Salubria and Council. The one in Council was built in the fall of that year, about where Shavers is now. It was operated by Sam Criss. Carlos Weed's father, Carl Weed, had been in business with Sam Criss in one way or another about two years at this time. Weed had joined up with Criss right after leaving college in Oregon in 1896, at the age of 22.

In 1900, the Salubria Citizen newspaper reported an incident here concerning Weed: "News has been received of a prize fight or some other kind of a scrap at Council between Carl Weed and Chas Irish. Particulars are lacking." And in another place in the same issue: "Chas. Irish has sold his saloon business in Council and left for new fields since his bout with Carl Weed, in which he came out second best."

In 1901, Abe Criss was on the train headed for Weiser. Just as the train pulled into the depot, he dropped to the floor of the car - dead of a heart attack. The Council store was soon bought out by Bernard and Herman Haas and run as the Haas Brothers store.

In January of 1902, the store burned, along with several other businesses north of the town square (now the park) in Council. The following April, the company was reorganized as Haas Bros. & Co. Sam Criss and Carl Weed became partners with the new owners, and a new store was built where the parking lot for the Council Valley Market is now. In 1905, it measured 26 by 100 feet, and had two warehouses, one 30 X 80, the other 30 X 40. The Knights of the Macabees held their elaborately costumed lodge meetings upstairs.

The store became a center of activity in Council. It was a common sight to see large pack trains loading supplies for the Seven Devils mines. People came from as far as Long Valley to stock up here.

Sometime during the next five or so years, Carl Weed became the owner and / or manager of the store. In 1909, Tom Doughty ran it as a hardware store. By 1912, George M. Winkler became partners with Carl Weed, and ran the store. He sold guns, ammunition and farm equipment in addition to the usual assortment of hardware.

By 1920, the business had become the Council Grocery Company. At some time before this, Jim Winkler had become Carl's partner, but now was being replaced by Charles Weed, Carl's brother. Charles had just returned from teaching at a college in China for about 20 years. The store soon became known as the "Weed & Weed" store. The partnership lasted until 1928, when Carl bought out his brother.

In 1941, the local paper reported that due to "ill health", Carl had sold the store to Sam Cream of the Weiser Grocery Company. If the paper had its facts straight, the new owner apparently never operated the establishment. Soon after the Second World War started, scrap paper that was being collected for the war effort by school children was stored in the empty store building. Finally, in 1943, the paper reported that Ernest Winkler, who had owned the building for several years, was tearing it down. So ended a Council landmark.

It was in 1941 that the present Council Valley Market building was built just east of the old Weed store. It was originally the Golden Rule Store, and also housed the Adams County Bank. I'm not sure exactly when the Golden Rule went out of business, but I remember it, so it must have been in the late 1950s. I wouldn't mind hearing from someone who knows when it was, who ran it, etc. Also, when did the bank move out? Did it move from there to what is now the drygoods section of Shaver's? Was that a different bank?

I have shown my slide show to two Junior High history classes, the Odd Fellows and the Grange. It's a pretty interesting and educational presentation, so if your group wants to see it, give me a call. I got an interesting call from former Council lad, Tim DeHaas, recently. He gets the Record where he lives in Arizona, enjoys the History Corner and says that his neighbors down there enjoy reading it too. And I was also able to help Barbara Pittman of Ukiah, CA get some info on her grandmother, Grace Hutchinson, who taught at the Upper Dale school in 1912. She sent a donation toward the museum project. So far we haven't been overwhelmed with people shoveling money at us, but now that I have a roof on my house again I'm gonna start trying to rock the boat a little.



by Dale Fisk

Another store that was well known in Council was the Cool and Donelly feed store. It stood just east of the current location of Norm's Corner, just south west of the Ace building. It was a very long, narrow building, run by Fred Cool and Dale Donelly.

Fred's brother, L.S. Cool, started the first newspaper in Council about 1901 or so. It was called the Council Journal. The office was on the north west corner of Moser and Main, just west of the old Winkler and Cox blacksmith shop. (If you've seen my slide show, you've seen both of these.) The Journal didn't stay in publication over a few years for some reason. It was replaced in 1908 by the Council Leader, which was the predecessor to the Adams County Leader.

Fred Cool originally had a store across the corner of this intersection, on the south east corner of Moser and Main. Around the turn of the century, famous sawmill man, Steve Richardson had a store there. By 1908, Cool was operating a feed store at this location. In 1910, The Washington County Land and Development Company bought Cool's lot and built the Pomona Hotel there. Fred then bought the lot east of The Whiteley Brother's Store (now Norm's Corner) and built a new store.

In 1912, an ad in the local paper proclaimed, "Public weighing on a Fairbanks scale by a licensed weigher, at Cools." also selling "pure river ice", grain sacks, sack needles and twine. Another mainstay that he sold was coal. About 1914, Cool was joined in the business by Dale Donelly, who lived on Hornet Creek. The two men sometimes organized shipments of hogs, cattle or other livestock via the railroad.

In 1922, Cool retired, selling out the Donelly. Cool moved to Portland and ran a hotel there for a number of years. Donelly continued with the business for some time. According to my father, Dale Donelly was one of the finest men he ever met. I guess that's why he named me after him. He died when I was very young - in the 1950s.

Somebody please tell me when Donelly closed the store, and / or when it was torn down. It was before my time. There is a photograph in the Idaho Historical Society's file in Boise of the inside of the store. But we don't have one at the museum yet. If any one has a picture of the store, please let me know. For that matter, you probably know by now that we are trying to collect all the old pictures we can. The library even has budgeted some funds for this. If you have interesting old pictures of people or places in the area, let me know. Tony Schwartz loaned me a few great ones recently so I could copy them. My thanks to him on behalf of the community.

Just for general information, it's easy to copy photographs. About all you need is a camera with a lens that can focus (like most 35 mm cameras), and a magnifying lens. I have a set of lenses that screw onto my camera lens, but before I got them, I just used a magnifying glass. Most of the time I just use whatever color film I have in my camera: anything from 100 to 400 ASA. To use color film on black and white photos, you have to use natural (sun) light. If you don't, the picture will turn out an amber color. A well lit window sill, but not with direct sun on the photo you are copying, works great. The hardest part is holding still enough if you don't use a tripod, and focusing precisely. I've had pretty good luck taking hand-held shots at a 30th of a second, but a tripod is best. Give it a try. It's a great way to share old family pictures and make sure those memories don't get lost.



History Corner

by Dale Fisk

If you have seen my slide show, looked at the photo display I put up in the library, or spent much time studying the pictures in the museum, you have seen a small, white house that was built in about 1901. It is visible behind the old Haas Bros. / Weed store that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, in a couple of old photos. This house, still looking very much like it did when it was built, now stands at 104 N Fairfield, just north of the West One Bank. It is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Keith Fish.

The house was built by one of the giants among early Council citizens - Luther L. Burtenshaw. Burtenshaw was a lawyer, and was known to his friends simply as "Burt". For almost four decades, he was an anchor of Council's civic life. If anyone could be called a pillar of the community, it was Burt. It was hard to find a community project or organization in which he was not either the leader or a key player.

Burtenshaw arrived in Council at the age of 40, just as the railroad reached town and a new era was beginning for the Valley. Born in Missouri, he had come West with his parents by ox drawn wagon to the Willamete Valley in Oregon where he grew up. After being admitted to the bar, he practiced law in Washington and Oregon before coming to Council.

Burt and his wife, Nettie had one child, Edward, who was seven years old when the family set out to find a place to establish a law practice. Upon arriving in Idaho, Burt made the acquaintance of fellow attorney, Frank Harris, at Weiser. Harris recommended Council, and the rest is history.

Burtenshaw was a muscular, bear of a man: stocky, and maybe a little less than average in height. He was not a person one would want for a legal adversary, much less an enemy. It was said that he was "A man of dominant will and personality..." "Short and snappy in manner of conversation and often harsh in words of reproof and castigation, [but] after the heat of argument or battle of words he held no grudge and welcomed a return to friendly tranquility and good will."

Burtenshaw was regarded by some as being the father of Adams County. He was a tireless advocate of secession from Washington County, and wrote the bill that created Adams County in 1911. It was Burt who came up with the name "Adams" for the new county. He reasoned that since Washington County was named after the nation's first president, the new county formed from the upper part of it should be named after the second president. When Adams County was formed, Governor James H. Hawley appointed Burtenshaw as the new county's first prosecuting attorney. Burt was reelected to that office a number of times.

Burt became an expected fixture at high school graduation ceremonies, which were often held at the opera house (now the People's Theater). As a long-time member of the school board of trustees, he handed diplomas to many a Council graduate. He could often be counted on to give the oration for these, or many other occasions.

One thing Burt was renowned for was trap shooting. He had honed his expertise with a shotgun since he was a young man. While living in Council, he competed in trap shooting tournaments, often traveling long distances to do so. But he reached his peak as a competitor in the sport after he was sixty years old. In 1922, he won first place in more than one Idaho contest, and then went on to a regional competitions in Pendleton and Portland, Oregon. The next year, there was a "Burtenshaw trophy" that went to any trap shooter who could win it 3 times. At the age of 65, Burt won the Capital News "high average medal" for the 1927 Telegraphic Trapshooting Tournament by hitting 192 out of 200 targets. Three years later (1930), at the finals in Boise, he shot 100 consecutive clay pigeons without a miss. Out of a total of 200 shots that day, he only missed three times. The next year, at the age of 70, Burt placed close to the top in the National Trap Shooting Tournament. L.L. Burtenshaw became an honorary life member of the Pacific International Trap Shooting Association, a rare honor which had been bestowed upon fewer than a dozen people at the time.

Nettie Burtenshaw was no stranger to firearms either. She was quite a deer hunter. After one particularly successful hunting trip in 1914, the editor of the Leader said of Nettie, "We will bank her against any woman huntress in the state."

In 1926, Burt ran on Democratic party ticket for U.S. Representative, but lost the election. Later, in the 1930s he became Adams County's state senator.

The first World War brought tragedy to the Burtenshaw household. Their only son, Edward, had married, become an attorney, and was practicing law with his father when the U.S. became involved in the War in 1917. Edward, like many other patriotic young men, soon found himself on the battlefields of France. He made it through the bloody conflict without a scratch, and was no doubt looking forward to coming home. But in November of 1918, just ten days before the armistice was signed ending the war, he died from influenza. Three and a half months later, and half a world away, his wife gave birth to a baby boy. He was named Edward after his father.

It was over two years before the family could get Edward senior's body shipped back to the U.S. Finally in June of 1921, Burtenshaws were able to lay Edward to rest under Council Valley soil. The community rallied around the grief-stricken family at one of the largest and saddest funeral services ever held in Council. It was held at the opera house, which probably held more people than any other building in town, but it was woefully inadequate to hold the throng of people who came to comfort one of the town's most loved families.

In 1938, Burt reached the end of his earthly trail, and was buried beside his son. The Adams County Leader commented, "The vacant place he leaves in the town and community cannot be filled because Luther L. Burtenshaw was himself, a character, separate and apart from other men, an man that will be missed by all who knew him.

We plan to do another anthology before too long, to raise money for the Museum. Maybe Burt or Nettie will show up there and reveal more about their lives and what this area was like back then.

Many of you have been reading and enjoying the History Corner since I've been writing it. I've spent almost every spare minute of the past four years - hundreds of hours - researching and writing these stories. I don't expect to see a penny from it for myself, but I want to ask you a favor ... not for me, but for yourself, your community and for future generations. Get out your check book in the next few minutes, and write out a check to the Winkler Museum ... just for five or ten dollars ... or more, of course, if you can afford it. Then, the next time you are in the bank, or at City Hall, give it to the clerk as a donation toward making a permanent showcase for Council's history that we will all be proud of. It is going to happen. Be a part of it.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

The events of human history usually flow in a gradual progression, punctuated by major events that greatly change the direction and magnitude of that flow. One of the major motivators in the European "discovery" and conquest of America was the almost insane lust for one thing: GOLD. Columbus, and those who followed him, including the first white people to exploit Idaho, were motivated to a large extent by the possibility of finding untapped sources of this precious purveyor of wealth and power. .

It's hard to pinpoint an exact starting point for the settlement of Idaho by white people, but probably the most influential domino to fall in the line of events occurred near the Sacramento River in 1848. James Marshall was cleaning out the ditch down stream from the water wheel at John Sutter's sawmill, when an unusual looking rock caught his eye. The moment he picked up that rock, which turned out to be a gold nugget, it was as if he had set off an explosion that rocked all of North America, if not the world. Beginning the following year (1849), a tidal wave of humanity that was almost unprecedented in the history of this planet surged west in a mad rush to strike it rich. This flood of tens of thousands of gold seekers soon splashed some of its overflow into the Northwest and Idaho.

In 1852, E.D. Pierce , a "49'er" and trader in California, came up the Columbia River to the Clearwater River. He soon suspected that there was gold in the area. During the next 8 years, there were a number of gold rushes to various areas in the North West, but resistance to any invasion of whites by the Nez Perce Indians prevented mineral exploration in the Clearwater and Salmon River areas. A treaty was made between the United States and the Nez Perce which was to keep whites out of their homeland. Pierce however, was determined to exploit the area, and worked incessantly toward that end.

Wrapped in a self righteous mantel of "Manifest Destiny", Pierce smuggled prospecting equipment into Nez Perce territory on the North Fork of the Clearwater in 1860. He did indeed find gold, and began to energetically promote the area. Word spread all over the west that a fantastic new gold region had been located.

Although it risked starting a war with the Indians, the unscrupulous Pierce invited prospectors to sneak into the area, and even guided them to the most promising locations. By May of 1861, nearly 1000 prospectors had invaded the Clearwater region to seek their fortunes, and many more were hot on their heels. Several small towns sprang up, including Pierce, Elk City, and Oro Fino. By the end of the summer, the white population of the area that would become Idaho had gone from almost zero to over seven thousand souls, all of whom were located in the Clearwater River area.

That same year (1861), gold was discovered just to the south, and the boom town of Florence was established. The gold along the Clearwater had been fairly evenly distributed in the ground, with few if any rich veins. But around Florence, the deposits were close to the surface and more concentrated. Here, a man could become fabulously wealthy over night. The result was an even more wild rush of whites to the area. Faced with such an overwhelming deluge, the Nez Perce gritted their teeth and bitterly did what they could to resign themselves to their fate...at least for the time being.

Next week - more gold discoveries, and the rush of fortune seekers leads toward the settlement of the Council area.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

The year of 1862 probably brought more change to what was soon to become the territory of Idaho than any other. The previous April, the breaking threads of national tension in the Eastern U.S. had turned into a rip at Fort Sumter. By 1862 a giant gaping rent had torn the national fabric apart as the Civil War swung into its bloody stride. But people in Idaho were too distracted to exhibit much interest in the War. It was as if a curtain had opened, spot lights blazed and trumpets blared. Thousands of fortune seekers dashed onto the pristine wilderness stage to begin a frenzied performance.

If one month of 1862 were to be singled out as the most pivotal, it would be July. It was that month that Levi Allen discovered copper in the Seven Devils. That story has been told enough, including in Heidi Bigler Cole's recent book, that I won't detail it here.

Also in July of 1862, another rich gold bearing area was discovered at Warren's Diggings, about 23 miles to the south east of Florence. At almost the same time, enormous gold deposits were discovered in the Boise Basin in the mountains north east of present-day Boise.

Another major event that fateful month was that Tom Goodale started a wagon trail through the Weiser River territory. Looking for an Oregon Trail shortcut, Goodale took a train of about 60 wagons from Boise, through the Emmett area, and across the Crane Creek hills to near present day Cambridge. Here the party was at a loss as to how to proceed for about two weeks. Exploring to the north, the Cuddy and Seven Devils Mountains convinced them it was not wise to continue in that direction. To the west, they ran across John Brownlee's ferry, which he had just built across the Snake River near the mouth of Brownlee Creek.. Brownlee came to the wagon camp and made a deal with the group to ferry the wagons across the Snake without charge if they, in return, would build a road to his ferry. This was agreed to, and the road was built. It probably following the well marked Indian trail that already existed on this route.

While the wagon train was camped in the Cambridge area, a girl named Martha Jane Robertson died on August 21. She was buried near that location. A monument commemorating this first White grave in this part of Idaho now stands in front of the Cambridge museum.

Although it was never adopted as a popular route for west bound wagon trains, Goodale's cutoff between Boise and eastern Oregon quickly became a major route traveled by thousands of miners and others coming from Oregon to the Boise Basin gold strike. This cutoff became known as the "Brownlee Trail".

Instead of continuing to Oregon, three wagons from Goodale's train split from the party near Midvale, and headed north for the mines at Florence. The fate of these wagons, and the story of the eight men who accompanied them, has become a local legend. Their story next week.

Have you written that check yet?


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Instead of continuing to Oregon, three wagons from Tom Goodale's train split from the group, near Midvale, and headed north for the mines at Florence. Although whites started using a trail up the Payette River that same year, which went through Long Valley, past Payette Lakes and on to Warren and Florence, these men either didn't know about this route, or it had not yet been established. One has to remember that, at this time, the vast area between Boise and Florence was totally uninhabited and, except for the earlier fur trappers, virtually unexplored by white people. These men may have been the first to attempt to reach Florence from the south instead of via Lewiston. They certainly were the first to attempt this route with wagons.

The best known of the men on this expedition was Dunham Wright, a distant cousin of Abraham Lincoln. Almost 70 years after this journey, Wright returned to the area to recount his adventures. It was 1929, and Council was holding the first of several community "Pioneer Picnics". Wright, then 87 years old, was the featured speaker at the event. The following is a combination of his oratory to the crowd that day, quoted here from the June 14, 1929 the Adams County Leader, and letters written by Wright. I have made some punctuation changes and added my own comments within brackets ([]).

I was here, in these hills and valleys 67 years ago and was doing everything in my power to find a way out of here,...

It was August 1862 that I passed through this district, and as we drove up this morning I wanted to see some of the old sarvice bushes from which we picked sarvice berries on that former trip. Friends, without those sarvice berries, I would not be with you today.

With seven other men I left the main emigrant train of 60 wagons at Middle valley and started to go to Florence where rich placer diggings were reported. We started with three wagons. The first day we left one wagon and doubled our ox teams on the other two. Then we rolled rocks, cut trees, got down steep mountains by tying trees behind the wagons, and the hill sides were so steep that it seemed the wagons would tip over endwise. [They went up the Little Weiser River drainage.] Then we came to more difficulties and finally to what looked like the jumping off place. [This was at the head of the Little Weiser, overlooking the steep drop off into Long Valley.] There we abandoned the other two wagons and cut up the wood of them to make pack saddles.

One of the men was a carpenter and had some tools with him. Cinches and other straps were made from the canvas tops of the wagons. We camped here for about two weeks

We had to make pack animals out of our cattle and that is a mighty hard thing to do. Cattle won't stand for it. But we put our blankets on them and we had one pony that we packed with our small quantity of flour and ammunition. Everything in readiness we took a long last sorrowful look at our old wagons that we had mutilated, leaving chains, trunks, and all other paraphernalia that could not well go on oxen's backs.

Finally, when we started with this pack train, we did not proceed far when the pony rolled down the mountain side and landed in a small lake at the bottom. It took two men half a day to get him back, delaying our trip down the mountain, dark overtaking us long before we were half way down, having to stop and tie our oxen to trees and so dark we had to feel for the tree, took our packs off and got into our blankets, etc. the best we could, tired, hungry and thirsty. I woke next morning almost 15 feet below my blankets.

When we got the pony out and repacked, we neglected to put on the ammunition, and went away without it. Then we found ourselves in a hostile Indian section without ammunition. The Indian signs were to be seen here - figures with arrows sticking in them, and we knew what that meant. [On peeled trees along the trail, the Indian s had drawn pictures of men, and an arrow was left sticking in them.] We did not take to the Indian trail, but traveled after dark among the lodge pole pine - tired, hungry, chilled, and anything but comfortable. I was then a boy of 20.

We followed down a stream and came to a valley where there was high grass [Long Valley], and during camp, a yellow jacket swarm attacked our cattle, causing them to go bucking and bawling in every direction and scattering our food and bedding to every quarter of the compass. It was the greatest stampede the world has ever known for the size of it I think. Eight big steers going bucking, spiking, bawling, tails in the air, tinware rattling like a chaviri, they turned their packs underneath them and tramped our bedding and wearing apparel into strings, and tinware into a cocked hat, the whole thing looked as though it had passed through a terrible cyclone.] We spent three days getting things together, salvaging what food we could find through the high grass and what clothing and quilts we could get that would hold together.

Wright was almost overwhelmed by the ordeal. He felt they were hopelessly lost somewhere in the uninhabited vastness of the Rocky Mountains. The men camped at Payette Lakes for three weeks, trying to find a way out. They climbed to the top of the highest mountain they could find in an effort to detect smoke from a friendly camp fire, but saw none. They almost froze at night; having nothing but a few blankets to sleep under. And they soon had almost nothing to eat but service berries. He noted that in this strange country, the familiar stars in the sky were the only things he had ever seen before. His gold fever, which had burned hot until that point, left him and never returned.

Dunham continues:

Like old Moses leading the children of Israel out of the wilderness, we had to lead out of that wilderness, but while he was forty years at it, we were only three weeks. Finally we were obliged to take the Indian trail down the Salmon. After many difficulties, we saw in the distance what we thought was a band of elk, but what proved to be cattle. When we found they were cattle, we shouted for joy. We had subsisted on a little piece of bacon each morning and those sarvice berries. We were hungry and exhausted, but salvation was at hand.

The young men finally made it to Florence, but they met with the same disappointing failure to strike it rich as most of the other fortune seekers there did.

[In his Indian Valley history, Ellis Snow said they didn't make it to Florence, but went to Meadows Valley, then “wentt down the Salmon River where they spent the winter mining for placer gold.” AC Leader, Sept 14, 1962]

A few years later, early residents of Indian Valley found the wagons left behind by Wright's party, and were puzzled as to who would have taken them to such a remote spot, and why. It remained a mystery for a good many years until Wright's story became known. These early settlers burned what was left of the wagons to salvage the iron. Iron was a precious and hard to acquire material in those days, given the distance to anyplace to buy it. A good blacksmith could turn almost any piece of iron into a useful item. The location where the deserted wagons was found became known as "Burnt Wagon Basin". The Forest Service has planted a permanent marker on this spot.

In a glass case at the museum, there are a few pieces of the wagons, some nails from them, and a photo of Dunham Wright. Why don't you drop by and see it, and while you're there, drop some money in the donation jar?


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

For the next few weeks, I'm going to be writing about events that happened between Council and the Seven Devils Mining District. Some of you went along on the museum sponsored tour of that vicinity in 1990. Since then, we have heard nothing but how much people enjoyed it. Now we are planning another tour to raise money for the museum. The exact plans haven't been made yet, so keep watching this column. It will probably be in September.

One of the most interesting things I have turned up in my research concerns the first settler in the Council area. Whenever the subject comes up, it seems that the Mosers are always mentioned. The George Moser family, who arrived in the Council Valley in 1876, was the first family to settle here, but they were not the first non-native people to make a home here.

As far as I can tell, the first person to settle in the Council area was a bachelor named Henry Childs. He established a home at a location that will be on our tour. It was about three miles up Hornet Creek, where Old Hornet Creek road now forks from the Council Cuprum road. Childs arrived here in 1868, some eight years before the Mosers.

Childs arrived here, alone, at the age of about 32. He was a single man who never married. Just why he came here is not clear, but he may well have been looking for gold at first. He was known to have been a prospector. At the time Henry Childs arrived in this area (1868), the Salubria and Indian Valleys were just beginning to be settled. This was at the tail end of some very serious Indian conflicts in Idaho, and the trouble wasn't over yet. Ten years later, in 1878, when Bill Munday and two other Indian Valley men were killed by Indians in Long Valley, Childs was with a party of miners who were feared to have also been attacked and killed by the same Indians. A military unit was sent to look for them, and they were found alive and well.

Childs lived in this area for about 42 years. He served as a justice of the peace in the mid 1880s. He eventually moved back to his home state of New York in 1910.

It is because of Henry Childs that Hornet Creek got its name. According to one account, the summer that the Mosers arrived here was a bad one for hornets. After one particularly bad hornet encounter that Childs had with these pests that summer, he apparently complained to his new neighbors, the Mosers. From that time on, the creek along which Childs had settled was called Hornet Creek. For a short time, the whole Council area was referred to as "Hornet Creek" since it was the location of the confluence of that creek with the Weiser River. This was a common practice. The Fruitvale area was, at first, called West Fork.

Another spot along our upcoming tour is the location of the Lower Dale school house. It stood near the place where the Old Hornet Creek Road comes back onto the Council Cuprum Road. The school was built in 1906. It was called the "Lower" Dale school to distinguish it from the school at "Dale" farther up the road. The school at Dale became known as "Upper Dale" as a result.

The last mention that I can find of the Lower Dale school being in operation was 1942. I don't know when it finally closed. I hope someone will call me and fill me in. I would really like to know. And when was it torn down? (Call me: 253-4582) Also, there are some pictures at the library of some kids in front of the Lower Dale school, with their teacher, Olive Addington. The photos may have been taken in the early 1920s. We would really like to identify these kids. If you went to this school or knew people who did, please go into to library see if you can help.

Since forest fires are on our minds lately, I can't resist throwing out an amazing story I was just reminded of. The fires near McCall have been burning for a couple weeks now, and have consumed 50,000 to 60,000 acres, last I heard. In 1910, a fire burned for only two days in northern Idaho and western Montana ... an burned THREE MILLION ACRES. It covered an area 160 miles long, and fifty miles wide. Four towns and a number of mines and mills were destroyed, and over 100 people were killed. It was the worst fire in the history of North America.

Hey! I got some great news today. The Council Exhibit Committee (quilt show) is donating $300 dollars to the museum fund. Thank you! Now doesn't that make you feel guilty if you haven't donated yet? I know you plan to. It doesn't have to be a lot. If everybody in the area would just kick in the amount it would cost them to go out and have a hamburger, we would have it made. If mailing is easier for you, send your donation to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612.

Be sure to watch for more info on the Council - Seven Devils tour. It will be one of the most fascinating days you have ever spent.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

On our upcoming tour of the Seven Devils mining district, we will stop here. It looks like a thousand other ordinary places in the mountains around Council. A creek runs through a culvert under a gentle curve in the dirt road, brush and trees bury the hillsides in green, and the road continues on without giving the slightest hint of anything unusual. The only clue that there is anything special about this location is a few symmetrically piled logs just off the road: the rotted remains of a couple of cabins.

Like so many other places we pass by each day, this nondescript turn in the road once held the hopes and dreams of a generation that came before us. This spot was once at the vibrantly beating heart of the Seven Devils mining boom.

It started when E.D. Ford, who later developed the Black Lake mines, built a cabin along Indian Creek here in the 1890s. In 1898, Thomas G. Jones came along. He was a flamboyant, wealthy man who had been in on the discovery of the enormous Homesteak gold strike in Montana. One story says that he won the land here in a poker game from Lewis Hall, president of the P&IN Railroad. At any rate, Jones divided the land into lots and established a townsite that he dubbed "Landore" after his home town in Wales.

By the end of that year (1898), the little burgh had a population of some 20 legal voters. In 1900, a road was built from Landore to Bear that made for a shorter trip from the mines to Council. It would also be less steep and muddy than the old route via Cuprum and the Huntley grade. When the road was being planned, it was said that in good weather the new road would save two days every trip for loaded teams, and during the muddy season, teams loaded for that section might make the trip in from three to four days less time. The shorter route caused Landore to replace Cuprum as the dominant town in the mining district. A number Cuprum and Decorah businesses moved to Landore as a result.

Landore grew rapidly, and by 1901, had a newspaper, a post office, several stores and hotels, and the luxury of long distance telephone service. Just about all of these were located along the one main street which is now the curve in the road that I described at the start.

The next year (1902) was a bad one in the Devils, and the area was very economically depressed as mining came to a standstill. The newspaper, the "Seven Devils Standard", which had only recently relocated there from Cuprum, packed up and moved to Meadows. Here, its name was changed to the "Meadows Eagle". One of the Standard / Eagle editors, Ben Edlin, later became editor of the Weiser Signal for a number of years.

Things picked up in Landore and in the Devils is general in 1904 when construction began on a copper smelter at Landore. T. G. Jones gave the Ladd Metals Co. five acres to built it on. Charley Allen set to work to supply 300,000 ft of lumber for the project from his Landore sawmill, and the company advertised for 5,000 cords of wood to fire the smelter.

In one month, from June to July, the population of Landore went from eight souls to nearly 200 residents. The result was a "tent town addition". The school also grew from 2 students to 16. Between July and September, over 800 loaded freight wagons had arrived in Landore with supplies, machinery, etc. Every mining company poured tens of thousands of dollars into new machinery and general expansion. Things had never looked brighter in the Seven Devils.

The size of the town of Landore is an interesting topic. Winifred Lindsay, who grew up in Cuprum and Landore, said she remembers it having a peak population of one thousand and three. I have serious doubts as to the validity of that figure, but I suppose it's possible that this number was reached for a very short time. Lindsay said the population was very transitory, and shrank and grew radically from season to season. It was said that between 5,000 and 6,000 people once lived within a 7 mile radius of Landore during the mining boom.

The new wood-fired smelter at Landore was said to have used an unusual process. The Weiser Signal reported, "The heat is supplied from a gas flame... from the carbon of wet rotten white fir wood mixed with oxygen and hydrogen at the proper moment." This "water gas" was said to have burned with a white glow similar to that of an electric light and was free from soot. I have no idea how much truth there is to all this, but the paper seemed very serious about it, mentioning it in several issues.

But by winter, it was clear that the process was not working as well as the company let on. In December, the company ordered 1,000 tons of coke to replace the wood as fuel. (Coke is partially burned coal - the coal equivalent to wood charcoal, but it burns hotter.) This seemed to work for awhile, and the smelter processed 60 tons of ore each day from mines all over the district. At least one pure copper "matte" was freighted from the Landore smelter to Council. The bar(s) measured 24" long by 10"X12" and weighed about 400 pounds.

Problems continued, and the smelter was rebuilt with a "reverberatory" furnace made of brick. (A reverberatory furnace radiates heat from the roof onto the ore.) As always, the company said the new process was a tremendous success. But by fall, it was announced, "On account of being unable to procure the necessary fluxing material and proper fuel, without enormous extra expense to the company in the way of transportation, the Ladd Metals Company smelter at Landore has suspended operations indefinitely, but it is earnestly hoped they may be able to resume early next year." It never resumed operation, and the doom of the Seven Devils mining district was sealed.

Landore continued to struggle through the ups and downs of the mining cycles, but never could relive its short-lived glory days. In 1916, half the town burned down when the postmaster went to sleep with a candle burning beside his bed. Finally, by 1920 the town was virtually deserted, and the post office was closed.

In 1941, fire lookouts reported dense smoke coming from Indian Creek, and they sounded the alarm. It was soon learned, however, that it was only someone burning the old smelter at Landore to salvage scrap iron for the war effort. At the time, there was a big pile of rotting firewood still stacked in the smelter from its wood-fired days - approximately 8 to 18 cords.

For years, the brick smelter chimney stood just a short way off the road, and served as kind of a landmark. I have heard that it fell down fairly recently, but I'm not sure. The old mine office and one or two other log structures are very far gone, and will probably not even be visible for much longer.

If you are interested, I have carefully drawn out a diagram with the locations and names of most of the buildings that once stood in Landore, based on a drawing by Anna Adams and on old photos. These photos and the diagram are in the photo album at the library. If you haven't seen this album, or haven't seen it is a long time, I have added over a hundred photos to it in the last year or so.


This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $1,700... we need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with he name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.


History Corner

It's going to be interesting to see just when we can schedule this tour that I keep talking about. It would be nice if it would cool down and rain before we invade that area.

One of the historical ranches along our tour will be the Gossard place on Hornet Creek. William and Dora Black and their two sons settled on this ranch in1889.

A year after they arrived, the Blacks traded a milk cow to a nursery man in Boise for young fruit trees. They added to their orchards as they were able, and it soon became the first, and largest, commercial orchard in Washington County. At its peak, the Black place had about 1500 fruit trees, and a half acre of strawberries.

Dora Black told of an incident they had with Indians in the early days:

"The Nez Perce Indians came on their annual trip to Weiser and camped near our house. We had a house full of friends from Weiser the same Sunday. In the evening we were singing and dancing to the music of violin and guitar, raising lots of noise, when an Indian messenger came asking us to keep quiet. It was Sunday and the hour for their prayer services. We were quite ashamed and kept still."

In 1892, there was an outbreak of diphtheria that killed 9 people in the Council area. Both of the Black's only children, sons died from the disease that December. Harry was two years old. Ralph was only two and a half. The nearest doctor was Dr. Wm. Brown, 35 miles away in Salubria, and the medicine he sent arrived too late to save them.

The graves of these little boys are visible from the both roads that go by the place today. They were buried under a pine tree on the hillside, north west of the ranch buildings. In those days it was believed that burial at night would help prevent the spread of the disease, so many diphtheria victims were buried after dark. This may well have been how these little boys here were buried. If so, what an eerie, heart-breaking ceremony it must have been. The vast blackness outside the small circle of lantern light under this tree must have made it seem to Mr. and Mrs. Black that they were escorting their precious sons even farther than usual on their journey into eternity.

Later, the family wanted to move the boys bodies to a cemetery near Council, but authorities would not allow it. Diphtheria is an extremely contagious bacterial disease and it was feared that disturbing the graves might cause a new epidemic.

Originally an Iowa girl, Dora Black had taught school in Oregon, and then in Montana where she met and married William, before coming to Idaho. Between 1893 and 1895, she taught in almost every school in the Council area. Getting to and from the Upper Dale school was no problem, since it was practically next door. When she taught at the Lower Dale school, then called the "lower Hornet" school, Dora rode six miles, to and from work, each night and morning. When engaged at the lower Council school (just north of town) and upper Council school (later called the "White" school, three miles north of town) she probably boarded with someone near the schools. Since school terms only lasted a few months in those days, she would often be employed at two or more of these schools during the same year. Dora helped mold the childhood minds of such well known local citizens as Matilda Moser, Jose Biggerstaff - White - Allen, and Mary and Albert Robertson.

William Black, better known as "Billie", would seem to have been a jack of all trades who jumped from one career to another. His parents may have started the trend. Originally from England, they emigrated to Canada where Billie was born, then moved on to the U.S. when he was 16 years old. He was about 30 years old when he came to this area.

In 1896, Billie ran unsuccessfully against Art Wilkie and another man for the office of state representative. Early in 1898, he was caught up in the fever of the Klondike gold rush, and headed north to strike it rich. Along the way, he came to his senses and stayed in Washington until July.

No sooner had he arrived home, when was determined to go back to Washington to make his fortune. The Salubria Citizen reported that Billie sold his ranch to Benjamin Day, who ran the Inland Hotel in Salubria, for $4,000, and in turn, the Blacks leased the hotel from Day. Dora later said that they traded the ranch for the hotel. She said that one reason they gave up the ranch was that her father had died, and that his death added to the loss of their sons made her not care to live there anymore.

Dora, apparently also no stranger to a variety of careers, was already experienced in the hotel business, and ran the establishment while Billie went off to chase his dreams in Republic, Washington. Those dreams were apparently short lived, as he returned within a few weeks to help run the hotel.

Benjamin B. Day, originally from Ohio, had been a member of the Washington State Senate in 1886. He lived in Warren before coming to Salubria at about the same time the Blacks had come to Hornet Creek. Upon acquiring the Black ranch, Day set out to make it "... a summer resort and general stopping place for weary travelers ...".

Ever on the move, the next summer (1899), Billie Black announced his retirement from his brief career as a hotel magnate, and the Blacks turned the business back to Mrs. Day. By the next spring (1900), the sale of the ranch to Mr. Day had fallen through, Billie had become part owner of a mine in the Heath district, had leased the ranch to Al Jewell, and was once again heading north with the gleam of gold in his eyes. This time he hitched his star to the gold rush at Nome, Alaska. And this time he actually made it there... but he only stayed a short time. The following year (1901) Benjamin Day made another stab at buying Black's Hornet Creek property. This time the deal stuck. A year later, Billie and Dora were back in the hotel business, leasing the Vendome hotel in Weiser. Again, this vocation didn't satisfy Billie's itch for very long. By 1904, he was running a cigar store in Weiser. From here, Billie's trail, at least through the local newspapers, becomes cold. He apparently ran the cigar store for a longer period than most of his other callings had held him. Billie died in 1931, and Dora continued to live in Weiser until her death in 1948.

J.R. Sowash bought the place from D.D. Day in 1906 (for $11,000) and then sold it to August Kampeter the next year. After August died in 1936, his son, Bill, took over the ranch. Bill and his wife, April, ran the ranch for many years until they sold it to Mac and Ethel Gossard in 1971.

I would like to thank Dr. Bruce and Rachel Gardner for a generous donation to the museum, made in memory of several people who have left us within the past year or so:

Mac Gossard

Chloe Ludwig

Cleone Fraiser

Dr. Fred Stovner

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $1,750... we need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with he name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.



by Dale Fisk

One of the most historical spots on any tour of the Seven Devils mining district would have to be the old townsite of Helena. It was the first town to be established in the Seven Devils. Helena was located several miles north west of the present site of Cuprum, up and over the steep ridge between Indian Creek and the Snake River, and . It was tucked into in the Deep Creek drainage, just across Copper creek from the Peacock mine.

Levi Allen discovered copper at what would become the Peacock mine in 1862, but because of its remoteness and Indian wars, the area wasn't exploited unit the mid 1880s. Mining didn't really get started there until Albert Kleinschmidt arrived on the scene and poured massive amounts of money into the mines. Albert had the famous Kleinschmidt Grade built in 1890. Most of us think of the Grade as the steep set of switchbacks south west of Cuprum, but it actually started at the Peacock mine and Helena.

The Weiser paper reported in 1884 that a new town was being laid out in the Seven Devils that was to be called "Copperville." This may have been the beginnings of Helena, but there is some information that a tent town by that name, or by the name "Copper Town" existed at the South Peacock mine, just to the south west of the main Peacock mine, prior to the birth of Helena.

Again in 1887, the paper said that a new town was being established as "Anna Bristow". Most historians have said that this was Helena before a name change. But, three years later (1890) the Weiser paper again reported that "a new town" called Helena was being started. This time, a post office and about twenty buildings were under construction. Town lots measuring 25 X 100 feet were selling for $50 to $150. When you consider that wages at that time were around a dollar a day, an equivalent price in todays dollars at even $5 and hour ($40 per day), would be $2,000 to $6,000 per lot. That's $32,000 to $96,000 per acre!

Moses Fuchs, a Salubria business man turned miner, was apparently the main owner of the Helena townsite, eventually holding title to 202 of the 237 lots. He became the first postmaster, running the post office in a store he had built. I have no idea as to the significance of these names and dates as yet, but Fuchs filed two plats of the townsite with the County. The first, in 1897, was filed as the town of "Seven Devils" and designated as "The world's Greatest Copper Camp. Terminus - Weiser and Idaho Northern Ry [Railway]". He filed an identical map in 1907 as the "Helena Townsite". The townsite was about 1500 feet long, north and south, and about 600 feet wide. The two streets running north and south were labeled "Center" and "Main". The two avenues crossing them were called "Copper" and "Peacock".

It is said that Helena was named after first girl born there: Helena Smith. But it is much more likely that the town was named for other reasons. Helena, Montana was THE copper town in the U.S., and it was common practice to name a fledgling town after a successful one in order to be associated with it. In addition, both Albert Kleinschmidt and Levi Allen were from Helena, Montana.

According to one source, Helena once had three mercantile stores, six saloons, one brewery, two assay offices, two saw mills, and was served by two small dairies. The town was very active during the mining boom, but, like all human endeavors in that district, it eventually faded away. By 1919, there were about 25 deserted log cabins remaining at Helena. Some of them had fallen in, others were roofless, and only one or two were habitable.

In the late 1920s, the townsite was taken by Adams County for back taxes, and sold at auction. The entire site was bought by Jake Wallace of New Meadows for only $15. A few weeks afterwards, this humorous letter appeared in the Adams County Leader:

Mr. E.D. Wallace, President

General Manager and Selling

Agent of Helena Townsite

Main Office, New Meadows, Idaho

Dear Mr. Wallace:

Having learned of your recent acquisition of the townsite of "Helena," Idaho, I hasten to write you to ask you if you have a good corner lot which you will sell me for a nickel. Must be clear of incumberences with deed and abstract brought down to date. Would prefer a location near the depot and post office and preferably on the street car line.

Yours Very Truly,

H.R. Ackley

In 1988, a camper on the Snake River near Eagle Bar thought he was being environmentally conscientious by burning his toilet paper after using nature's outdoor facilities. The result was a raging forest fire that destroyed over 15,000 acres . The last two or three remaining structures at Helena that had stood for almost 100 years were burned as the fire swept through the old town site. By the fall of 1991, erosion and salvage logging had virtually wiped out any sign of the town except for piles of tin cans. The cans seem to have been simply thrown out the door when empty, and many of the buildings had a trash pile next to it. Today, it's even hard to find the cans.

This week, Ethel Gossard has made a donation in memory of her late husband Mac Gossard. Thank you Ethel.

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $1,790... we need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with he name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

The main body of copper ore that was mined in the Seven Devils lays in one huge underground formation. It starts at Lockwood Saddle, and slants downward like a giant subterranean wall, running north east all the way to Landore. Along its path, the Alaska, Queen, Blue Jacket, Helena, Arkansaw and Decorah mines tapped into it. All of these mines, except the last two mentioned were located in the Garnet Creek drainage.

As early as 1885, which was at the very beginning of the influx of miners to the Devils, a camp was established on Garnet Creek, just below the Queen mine. Today, the collapsed opening to this mine sits just above the road that goes through Garnet Creek, connecting Lockwood Saddle and the main Cuprum - Landore road. A huge, old metal ore bin has stood beside the tailings pile, right beside the road, for years.

The camp on Garnet Creek was initially known as "Garnet", and had hopes of become a town. I don't think it ever quite made that status, but it is mentioned by that name as the town a few times in newspapers of that day. It has also been called the "Blue Jacket Camp", I suppose because the office for the Blue Jacket Mine was built there in 1899. The two story log office building is still standing at the site of the old camp, about 100 yards down the creek (along the old road that runs straight down the canyon) from the main road and the Queen mine. In old photos, which by the way are in the album at the library, there was hardly any brush here. Now, the place is choked with it to the point that it's hard to see what's left of the dozen or so cabins that once stood along the creek. The walls of the old cook house are still there and easy to see, just across the creek from the mine office.

The old cook house was the scene of an odd but tragic event in February of 1901. A young man named John Shroeder had been cooking at the camp since the previous July. One evening after he put supper on tables, John stepped out the back door to get more wood for the stove. About an hour passed before, Blue Jacket mine manager, Stuart French, and his brother William, realized that John had not come back inside. The two men went to investigate. As they stepped outside, they saw two hands protruding from under a large pile of snow. It was John. Apparently, a deep load of snow had accumulated on top of the uncovered pile of fire wood. Instead of disturbing the snow by taking wood from the top of the pile, John had been undermining it for some time by removing wood from lower down. His luck ran out when he pulled out one piece too many, and the whole thing collapsed on top of him, killing him.

Another death took place in one of the cabins at Garnet, or very nearby. Heidi Bigler Cole mentions the story of his death in A Wild Cowboy. I've dug up a few more details.

Albert Kleinschmidt's sons stayed in the mining district for many years after Albert sold out and left the area. Two of the "boys", Harrison and Franz, had been living together near the Blue Jacket mine, but at some point a disagreement occurred, and Franz moved into Cuprum. Harrison spent the winter of 1937 -38 alone in the cabin with his dog. Toward the end of March, he felt something very wrong in his chest. He sat down at his table and started to write a note stating that he had suffered a heart attack and needed help. Just how the note was to get to anyone is unknown. Maybe he planned to tie it to the dog and send him for help. As he wrote the note, Harrison fell off his chair onto the floor.

A week later, John Darland, Cuprum postmaster and proprietor of the Cuprum Hotel, became concerned that he had not heard from Harrison in about two weeks. Darland headed for the cabin, finding nine feet of snow in the area when he arrived. When he entered the cabin, Darland found Kleinschmidt dead where he had fallen. The unfinished note was lying on the table, and the pen he had used to write it was still clasped in his hand.

Evidently temperatures had been above freezing and Kleinschmidt's body had badly decomposed in the eight days since his death. In her book, Heidi said that Harrison's dog had eaten part of the dead man. I have heard this disputed, but Bert Warner says it's true.

Darland went back to Cuprum and phoned sheriff Ed Wade and coroner Joe Ivie. Along with Alex Shaw, they took Dr. Thurston's "snowmobile" as far as Bear. The snowmobile was a model A Ford with skis instead of tires on the front. There was one other like it in the area, operated by Gene Perkins to deliver mail between Council and Cuprum.

The snowmobile couldn't make it any farther than Bear, so the men rode horseback to Cuprum. From there, they had to take skis the remaining six miles to the cabin. Kleinschmidt's decomposed body was wrapped in blankets and strapped to a pair of skis for the arduous journey back to Cuprum.

Harrison had a wife somewhere, and a son who lived in Seattle, but due to the condition of his body, he was buried immediately in the Cuprum Cemetery. His photograph was integrated into the tombstone, and is still plainly visible. The Cuprum cemetery is located short distance this side of Cuprum. A small dirt road leads north west from the main road it. Many of the grave markers have deteriorated or been destroyed, so the location and identity of all who are buried here is hard to determine.

The Council - Seven Devils tour is still in the works. It's just a matter of waiting for a time when there will be less dust and the fire danger. In the mean time, I will be presenting my slide show on Friday night, Sept. 23 at the Library meeting room at 8:00 PM. I'll take you on a stroll up the main street of Council around the turn of the century, and tell you some things you've never heard before about why Council is the way it is today. The informal admission price will be a donation of whatever size you see fit.

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $1,750... we need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with he name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Two small streams enter Hornet Creek, about nine miles out of Council. The first is Hanson Creek. It was named after the Rasmus and Anna Hanson family who came to live here about 1883. When they came to the U.S. from Denmark in 1881 with their infant son, Soren, they spoke no English. The Danish spelling of their name was "Hansen", but the immigration officials misspelled it "Hanson" on their papers, so rather than fight bureaucracy, the family retained that spelling from then on.

The Hansons came West with a group of Mormons, and spent two years living at Logan, Utah before coming to Idaho. The tongue-in-cheek story among the family was that Anna insisted on the move to Idaho because she didn't want Rasmus to adopt the Mormon practice of taking a second wife.

Indians used to come through Hornet Creek twice a year in those early days, traveling up the creek in the spring, and then back down in the fall. One fall in the 1890s, as the Indians came through, they took the Hanson's little blond-haired daughter, Anna, with them. It took Rasmus two days to figure out what had happened to her, catch up with the Indians and take her back. The Indians gave him the excuse that she had wanted to come with them. This type of casual abduction by the Indians was not an altogether unusual occurrence in those days.

During the mining boom, the Hanson family made extra money by selling vegetables to miners in the Seven Devils. When their son, Bill, started school, Mrs. Hanson taught herself to read and speak English as Bill was learning to read. (You may know Bill Hanson's daughter, Mattie Thomas.)

In 1896, Rasmus hired Elisha Stevens of East Fork and Mr. Sevey of Fruitvale to build a big barn on his place that is still standing. (Does anybody know Mr. Sevey's first name? The Robertson - Sevey Ditch is 1/2 named after him.) In later years, the Hanson place belonged to Sam King, and now belongs to his son, Larry Walling.

In 1902, Soren Hanson of Hanson Creek married a neighbor girl, Dora Lakey, from the next creek up the valley. The next creek up was, of course, Lakey Creek.

The families of John and Lewis Lakey settled along this tributary of Hornet Creek that came to be named after them in 1881. In the museum, there is a small pocket watch that was given to Lewis and Pheby Lakey on their wedding day. ( I'm not sure if we have it on display right now.) If I have the story straight, they were married on their way west, near the Continental Divide. The watch is said to have started west from Kansas in 1875.

Lewis and Pheby Lakey, and their nine children, at first lived in a one room, dirt floor cabin. Even if they would have had money to buy clothes, there were no stores any closer than Weiser. Phoebe made pants for the boys out of seamless sacks. Unable to buy shoes, they often went barefoot, sometimes even in the winter.

Some of the Lakeys operated a sawmill here, and it has been said that Lewis planted the first orchard on Hornet Creek. Pheby Lakey died in 1904 or '05, and Lewis followed in 1911 . They are both buried in the Hornet Creek cemetery.

One dramatic Lakey family story from the spring of 1894 illustrates the hazards of the days before good roads. At the time, there were no bridges on the road up Hornet Creek, and Jake Lakey, his wife and baby had to cross Hornet creek several times before they made it home from Council. At one crossing, the team balked right in the middle of the swift, muddy water. Just as Jake got out to urge the team forward, the raging torrent tipped the buck board over, throwing Mrs. Lakey and their baby out into the swift water. Jake jumped toward them in time to catch the baby, and Mrs. Lakey was able to save her self by grabbing a hold of Jake's coat. By making a desperate effort, Jake was able struggle to the shore with his family intact. Their panicked, wild-eyed horses were swept away to their deaths, lunging and kicking frantically to escape a broken tangle of buck board and twisted harness.

A donation came in from Jay Thorp this week. You may remember that, some time back, I mentioned that Frank Thompson was looking for Jay. The History Corner got the two old friends in touch. That was the second time this happened. If any of you are curious about what became of an old aquaintance, let me know, and I'll mention it in this column. There are people from all over who subscribe to the Record, and may know how to get in touch with that person.

Also, a very nice donation arrived from "The Royal Order of the Golden Neckyoke Leatherhood", as a memorial in memory of Lila Downey, who was a charter member of the organization. Thank you, on behalf of the community and those who knew Lila. The letter along with the check was signed by Harold and Opal Smith. Harold did some growing up in the Bear area, and wrote quite an interesting book about mountain man, Jim Summers. His book is in the Council library.

Thanks also to those others who contributed this week. Every dollar helps and is very much appreciated.

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $1,750... we need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with he name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.

Don’t forget my slide show Friday night at 8:00 ;.m. in the Council Valley Free Library meeting room.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

You have probably stopped to read the sign at the old stage stop on the summit between the Hornet Creek and Crooked River drainages. This spot along the route of our upcoming tour is known as "Kramer" or "Summit". The Summit designation is obvious. The name Kramer comes from Peter and Martha Kramer who came to live here at least as early as 1899. It was in November of that year that Pete got the mail contract between Council and Cuprum.

By 1900, a combination saloon and hotel called the Summit House was doing business here, run by the Ross Brothers - probably Dick and James, but I'm not sure. Dick Ross had a homestead just west of Kramer, and the Creek there is named after him. Dick was the City Marshal in Council in 1909, and a pair of brass knuckles that he confiscated from a trouble maker is on display in the Museum. James Ross briefly owned the Overland Hotel which, until the fire or 1915, stood where the Ace / Grubsteak building is now.

By 1901, Pete Kramer had a stage leaving Council six days a week at 7 AM and arriving at Cuprum about 6 PM. It also went on to Landore and Decorah. This schedule varied over time. For a while, the stage traveled from Council to the Devils on Mon., Weds. and Fri., stopping at Summit (which was about halfway to the mining district) for the night, and continuing on the next day. I think another stage took passengers the opposite direction, back to Council, on a similar schedule. At various times, there were also stage stops at Lick Creek (where the OX Ranch headquarters are now) and at Bear.

At its peak of activity, Summit was quite a busy place. On the west side of the road there was the Kramer house, which doubled as a hotel. Martha Kramer cooked for the guests. Also on that side of the road was the post office, saloon, store and bunk house. Some of these probably shared a common building. On the east side of the road was a log barn and corrals for the horses, wagon sheds, a livery stable and blacksmith shop. Dances were often held at Summit, and people would come from miles away.

Pete Kramer was a slender, dark haired man. He was born in Germany of Danish parents, and had a heavy accent. More than one source has said that he was a man who liked liquor. It is said that by the time the stage rolled into its destination, he would sometimes be obviously drunk. His passengers were, in general, mostly men, and at times, they were also pretty well inebriated.

Over the 23 years or so that he was in business here, Pete Kramer had various drivers, routes and vehicles. In 1904, it was noted that his main rig was a four-seated mountain spring wagon, built a little on the Concord coach pattern, like the ones in the movies. One of his wagons held up to 12 people. His wheeled vehicles were generally pulled by four horses. In the winter, sleds were used, pulled by two horse teams.

The only pictures I've seen of Kramer's stages show open-top vehicles. It must have been an incredibly dusty ride in the summer when dozens of ore and freight wagons used the Council - Cuprum road. There is one photo in the museum of Kramer with a load of passengers in front of the old Pomona Hotel, and the caption notes that all in the coach were coated with dust.

Eventually, Kramer got contracts to deliver mail all the way from Council to Black Lake and Iron Springs, and down to Homestead along the Snake River. Stage drivers made $35 a month. A few of the drivers, aside from Pete Kramer himself, were Norman Nelson, Roy York, Ralph Wilkie, the notorious Tommy White and Fayette Davis.

Fayette Davis was the son of Byron and Nancy Davis, who settled the place where the Wildhorse road branches off. Fayette's wife, Mary, was the first postmaster when a post office was established at Kramer in 1907. (The post office closed in 1910.) Fayette ran the saloon there for a time.

During the winter of 1906, Kramer and Bob Barbour went together on a deal to haul 3,000 tons of copper ore from the mines to the railroad at Council. They hired 50 teams and sleds for the job. They wanted to have as many as 75 teams hauling ore, but more of the right kind of heavy sleds were hard to come by. It was reported that it took the sleds four days to make the trip. I assume they meant round trip.

By1920, things had pretty well fallen apart. The mining boom had ended. Autos and trucks were replacing the horse and wagon. Pete and Martha Kramer were divorced that year. Two years later Pete sold out and moved to Hillsboro, Oregon. In 1923, Martha apparently married a man named Stevens. M. D. Shields got the place after Kramers.

Just a couple of minor corrections from last week. It was an Indian who volunteered to go bring Anna Hanson back when the Indians took her. He advised Rasmus not to go. And it was Soren that was in school when Mrs. Hanson learned English, not Bill who came along later. Also, I'm told Mr. Sevey's first name was Loring.

We had a pretty good bunch at the slide show Friday night. Everybody seemed to enjoy it, and almost $60 were raised for the museum. My sincere thanks to those of you who turned out. There were some people who couldn't make it that night, so I plan to show the slides again at some point.

Believe it or not, the Council - Seven Devils tour is still on. There are only two Saturdays that would be practical: Oct. 22 or Nov. 5. The museum board has yet to pin it down. Tell ya what... if you are interested in the tour, give me a call. 253-4582 I'm starting a list so we can get organized. It will be an all day tour. It will be a fund raiser, so there will be a charge. If you have a big vehicle, like a suburban, and could take a couple extra passengers, that would make things go more smoothly. I hope the seniors can get a bus load to go along. I was just reading that a similar tour in 1968, with Winifred Lindsay as one of the guides, took about 200 people along!

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $1,952... we need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with the name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Guess what? It's on! October 22, we will be taking our Council to Seven Devils Mining District Tour. If you have been following this column for the past few weeks, you know some of what lays in store on the tour. The mining district played an essential role in the history of this area. There are places along the road that you have seen as you drove past, but never knew the story of what happened there. Once you learn, that place will never be the same to you again.

Here's an example. Last Saturday, Anna, Blaine and I went on a tour of the early events in the Nez Perce War, north of Riggins. It was guided by local historian, Ace Barton. He showed us a nondescript bench where a house sits beside highway 95 that I have driven by a lot of times. It was the place where Mr. Devine, the first victim of the war, was killed with his own rifle by Nez Perce warriors. On up the highway, we saw several other scenes of violence that are right along the road. I had heard the stories before, but had never known just where things happened.

For our tour, we will meet in front of the Council library on the morning of the 22nd. Mark it on your calendar. The exact time, whether the museum will provide a lunch and whether we will charge a set price or ask for donations will be determined by the time you read this. Watch this column next week and look for posters around the area. Unfortunately, elk hunting season will still be on that weekend, but it's just about our last chance to do this before it might snow up there. We encourage anyone who can take an extra passenger to do so, in order to save on unnecessary vehicles. Some ride sharing can be arranged as we get organized on the morning of the tour. A vehicle other than a low-to-the ground car would be advised.

Here's another spot along the way that you will see on our tour: Just about a half mile past the Kramer stage stop at Summit is the former site of the Rooker sawmill. W.S. Rooker, a former business man and then Wild Horse rancher (1904 - ?), built a mill here in 1926. Although it was sometimes called the "Crooked River Sawmill", it was actually on Dick Ross Creek, a branch of Crooked River.

Early pioneers of Wild Horse built the original road out of that canyon to this point along the Council - Cuprum road. At the time, the Council - Cuprum road was across the flat from the present road, on the west side of the flat.

Rooker's loggering crews and mill workers lived in tents until the mill was running and could provide lumber. Then "lumber jack shacks" were built all over the flat. The mill employed more than 30 men until it burned down in the fall of 1935.

The summer before the mill burned, a notorious accident happened here. Frank Fanning, who was about 75 years old, was working underneath the mill, probably cleaning out sawdust and pieces of slab wood that had accumulated there. Not realizing he was so near the whirling circular saw above him, he stood up right underneath it. Blood and hair sprayed the air as the saw cut through Frank's skull and into his brain cavity. Miraculously, he was not killed. In fact, the next week, Dr. Thurston announced that aside from having a metal plate where part of his skull used to be, Fanning would be "normal again after a few weeks." Frank lived another 22 years, dying in a Weiser nursing home in 1957.

Another event that happened at the Rooker mill, was that my maternal grandparents met here. My grandmother, Mae Baker - Kite, was a cook for the crews as the mill was being built in 1926. My grandfather, Russell Merk, was on a logging crew, but was hired to build an addition to the cook house where grandma was working.

If you are interested in going on the tour on the 22nd, please give me a call. This is not a necessity, but it will enable us to do better advance planning. 253-4582

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $1,962... we need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with the name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

The spot with the most concentrated amount of history along our Oct. 22nd tour route might be the place where the Wildhorse road branches from the Council - Cuprum road.

Long before the arrival of settlers, Indians used this general location as a favorite campground.

In the late 1800's, as many as 400 head of cattle ranged the Seven Devils area. They were allowed to roam the mountains with little herding. One of the cattlemen who had stock here during that time was John McGlinchy. The McGlinchy family trailed cattle from their ranch near Payette to this area for the summer. They maintained a camp here which included a cabin that stood just to the north east of the current cattle guard. A pile of stones from the old chimney is still in evidence. Imagine what an isolated place this must have been in those days before there was a road anywhere near it. John McGlinchy owned Zim's hot springs north of New Meadows for a time. He sold it in 1904.

Byron and Nancy Davis bought this land from McGlinchy in 1890, about the time that the Kleinschmidt grade was built and mining really got started in the Seven Devils. Byron had been a scout for many emigrant wagon trains coming west, and later drove freight wagons between Umatilla Landing and Boise City. Byron's older brother, Tom Davis, came to Boise City in 1864, and planted the first orchard and some of the first shade trees. When he later gave his orchard to the city for a park, he asked that it be named after his wife. That's how Julia Davis Park was established.

The Davises built a big, two-story log house here on a stone foundation. A daughter that was stillborn is buried on the bench east of the road junction. For a while, this location was known as "Old Davis" because it was the old Davis place.

By 1912, a log school house had been built near the Davis place. It was called the Crooked River school. The school continued through the late 1920s, but by 1927, the attendance was only 4 students. This lack of students was probably what led to the closure of the school soon afterwards.

In the fall of 1931, Lee Zink, who had the mail contract from Council to Cuprum, bought the school building. He moved it a short distance, and converted it into a half-way stage station for winter use. Otto Russell lived here for a time, tending the horses that were sometimes used to relay the mail on that part of the stage line. Even though a truck was used on the mail route by this time, the roads were not well maintained in winter, and horse drawn sleds often had to be used.

An illustration of just how bad things could get on the mail route had occurred just two winters before Lee got the mail route. In the winter of 1929, Zink's predecessor on this route, Frank George, had set out for Cuprum with his mail truck, but had to abandon it after shoveling through snow drifts for several hours. He finally borrowed a team and sleigh and continued on. That team became too tired from wading the deep snow, so he borrowed another one. With relentless dedication to getting the job done, he wore out five teams of horses by the time he reached Cuprum at 12 o'clock that night. By the winter of 1932, Zink used two other men to relay the mail to Cuprum. Zink took it to Old Davis, Oscar Russell took it to Bear, and Toby Warner carried it on to Cuprum.

In late 1938, the Boise - Payette Lumber Co. (later called the Boise Cascade Corp.) sat up a portable sawmill here. A small community sprang up in conjunction with the mill, with a cook house, office building, tool shed, gas and oil house and eight portable houses. The company originally planned to saw logs here, then haul the rough lumber to Council. From there, it was to be shipped by rail to Emmett for finishing. A small dam, which is still in evidence, was built to form a log pond, but there wasn't a adequate amount of water to consistently serve that purpose very well. The plan was abandoned, and the company decided to build a sawmill at the present mill site in Council. Before the portable mill was taken down, the timbers for the framework of the first Boise - Payette sawmill in Council were sawed here. The Council mill burned down in 1958, and was replaced by the present mill.

In late 1939, Andy Anderson, a logging contractor for the Boise - Payette Company, arrived in the area, and set up his headquarters here. Soon, another school was started here for the children of his logging crew. Katie Marble was probably the first teacher. School was conducted in one half of on of the portable buildings, and the teacher lived in the other half.

After only few years, the logging operation moved on, and the community was dismantled. A number of the houses were moved to Council and set up west of the railroad tracks. Some of the present houses are remodeled versions of these previously portable homes.

The big tour is set to begin at 9 AM on the morning of October 22. Meet in the Council library parking lot. Find a friend to share a ride with if you can. I've discovered that the road will be good enough for most cars. Bring a lunch and your camera. It's going to be a memorable day of seeing the locations of historic stage stops, mines, homesteads, schools, graves, town sites, geology, etc. Because we are raising money for the museum addition, a minimum $5 per person donation is requested. If you have any questions, call me. 253-4582


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Who are you?

Think about how you would answer that question. Most of us might include something about where, and how, we were raised. We might mention major events in our lives at certain ages that made us who we are today. Without knowing how someone grew up, you can never completely know them.

Without knowing how and why a community or town grew up, you can never fully know it either.

So why is the town of Council located where it is? This place was the intersection of major trails that connected the areas north and south of here. One trail went up Hornet Creek to the Seven Devils area. Another went up the main Weiser River valley, and was used by miners and pack trains to reach Warren. The third leg of the trail connected the other two branches with all the country to the south. I'm not sure if the trails were created by Indians or whites, but I would guess they were Indian routes, adopted by whites. Apparently, the intersection of these trails was right in front (east) of where Ruben's is now. [The intersection of Moser Avenue, Illinois Ave. and Michigan Street]

I think the trail toward Hornet Creek angled to the northwest, around the western base of the hill, and then turned west, crossing the Weiser River about where the bridge is now. Later, Moser Avenue and other streets were laid out at right angles, and the more direct, original route of the trail in town was obliterated.

I'm not sure about the trail that went north, up the main valley. It may have skirted the south edge of the hill like Illinois Ave. does now, and turned north around the east edge like Galena does. I base this on the fact that Galena street was the road leading north out of town up until about 1920. It seems like I read somewhere that the area just north of the hill was quite marshy, and caused problems with the road. Can anybody confirm this? Call me.

Why was this valley settled when it was? It is the last valley up the Weiser River, and is also separated from the lower valleys by the geographic barriers of the steep, narrow canyons along the river and the hills on either side. It also has a smaller amount of farmable land than any of the lower valleys. That's why it was the last to be settled, starting for all practical purposes in 1876, eight years behind the Indian Valley and Cambridge areas.

The Seven Devils played a major role in the development Council. The mining activity there furnished employment, and a market for a variety of products, including locally grown food. But the thing that really made it possible for a town to blossom here was the railroad.

In those days, the railroad was almost literally the life-blood of a community. You have probably watched old western movies about how the fate of communities and individuals hinged on where the railroad was built. This was no Hollywood fantasy. Towns in this area, such as Salubria, Meadows and Roseberry virtually vanished after the tracks bypassed them. The railroad was the only dependable way to move people and goods. Without it, Council would have been nothing but a wide spot in the road, practically cut off from the rest of the world. The need to transport ore from the mines of the Seven Devils was the major motivation for building the railroad into the Council Valley.

This weekend you can see the places that steered Council toward its destiny. Like obsolete, discarded foundation stones of our community, the crumbling mine shafts, rotting cabins and rusting steam boilers lay scattered through the mountains. If only they could talk ... the stories they could tell.

Join us Saturday morning at 9 AM in the Library parking lot. Come along on our tour and hear some of the stories. Learn about your community and the places that made it what it is today. Bring your car. Sahre a ride if you can. Bring a picnic lunch, a camera, binoculars,, etc. The roads are good enough for most cars. We are asking for a donation to…


Quick riches from the earth was the dream of many around the turn of the century. While the Seven Devils were stirring with excitement in this area, there were other places that sang the siren's song. One of those was an extremely remote region of the Yukon Territory on the Klondike River. The story of the Klondike gold rush of 1898 is almost beyond belief, and is much to long to go into here. In short, a journey of incredible hardship was necessary to make it to the gold region. Three reckless young men from the Indian Valley - Salubria area, Wylie Anderson, Erwin Mickey and Jeff Saling, set out for the Klondike in March of that year.

In early April, they reached the point in the trail called Chillkoot Pass. At that time of year, it was a steep incline of snow, several hundred yards long, climbing up to the border between Alaska and Canada. Canadian Mounties were stationed at the top to enforce the rule that every person had to have enough provisions to survive the journey to the Klondike. It usually took more than one exhausting trip to get one's gear and supplies to the top of the pass. Twenty four hours a day there was a shoulder-to-shoulder line of men (and a sometimes even a few women) climbing up the icy steps that were carved into the hill.

One fateful day, there was a rumbling on the mountain above the trail, and a mass of snow and ice hurtled down the hill, burying the trail and everyone on it. About 100 people were killed. One of the victims was Jeff Saling. His companions, Anderson and Mickey, immediately returned home - thoroughly disillusioned.

Two years later (1900), there was a similar gold rush to Nome, Alaska. Gold nuggets had been found on the beaches there, and it caused imense excitement. My grandfather, Jim Fisk, was an experienced metal worker, and earned his passage to Nome on a steamship as the steamfitter on board the ship. He said that even before the ship docked, men were jumping over the sides and dashing up to the beach, expecting to pick up hands full of nuggets.

Meanwhile (1900), in Council, the long awaited railroad was coming, and it caused as much excitement and uproar as any gold rush. Several hundred men were in the area, building the railroad grade. Buildings were going up right and left. Downtown Council went from a few stores and a blacksmith shop gathered around a town square to looking like a real town in a very short time. New people were moving in faster than the old timers could keep up. As was often was the case with new railroad towns, part of that influx was an element of society that Council could have done without.

On a Friday night in January of 1900, the owner of one of the new hotels in Council gave a dance to celebrate the opening of his establishment. Dan Moore was "calling" the dances - deciding whether the next tune would be a waltz, a shoddish, etc., and calling the movements if it was to be a square dance. Sam Harphan, undoubtedly influenced by the liquid refreshment provided for the occasion, became angry with Moore for calling the wrong kinds of songs. The obnoxious Harphan kept harassing Moore throughout the evening until, finally, it came to blows.

During their tussle, Harphan pulled a revolver and leveled it at Moore. The explosion of the shot rocked the room. The startled crowd, their ears ringing, turned to see Mrs. Fisher wincing with pain. The bullet has missed Moore and hit her. Moore pulled his own pistol, and shot twice, killing Harphan on the spot. The paper didn't say how seriously Mrs. Fisher was wounded. Evidently, the law took no action toward Moore, since it was obviously an act of self defense.

Only five months later (June of 1900), another malcontent caused a similar incident in Council. Charles Bowman had been hanging around the saloons of Council for two days, imbibing freely in their stock and trade. One of the establishments that Bowman had patronized was the Headquarters Saloon, owned and operated by George Bassett. The saloon was said to have also had a restaurant in connection, and prostitutes upstairs.

Before he was finished with his holiday on the town, Bowman discovered that he was flat broke. Feeling that the saloon must have taken advantage of him, he went approached the bartender and demanded a refund. The bartender refused, and Bowman left. A short time later, Bowman returned and repeated his demand, this time at gunpoint. The Cambridge Citizen newspaper noted that, "Just at that juncture the bar-tender had business behind the bar in the region of the floor,..." About that time, Mr. Bassett walked in, and Bowman turned the gun on him. Bassett, evidently prepared for this turn of events, leveled his own weapon and fired. Bowman was hit in the stomach, and one arm was shattered at the elbow . Dr. Loder was called to the scene, amputated Bowman's arm and did what he could for the man, but the wounds were too serious. Bowman died a day or two later. Apparently, the law took a similar view of this shooting.

Bassett later opened a second Headquarters saloon in Decorah. It was the opulent sin palace that Winifred Brown Lindsay remembered seeing when she was a girl, after the saloon had closed down. For those of you who went on our tour Saturday, I have figured out that Decorah really was on the wider flat just around the corner from the sign where we stopped. Bassett's saloon, from Lindsay's description, was on the right (east) side of the road, and had a lawn that extended back to the creek.

The Mining District tour was a big success. Forty - five people came along, with 13 vehicles. There were a couple people from Weiser and Payette, at least three from Cambridge and three from New Meadows. In spite of dire predictions of rain and / or snow, it was a beautiful (but a little chilly) fall day. The icing on the cake was that the tour raised more money for the museum than I had dared to hope: $431.00! Thanks go to all of you who took part in the tour, especially to Kevin Gray and Gayle Dixon for their help and generosity. Our fund now stands at about $2413.00 Stay tuned.


One of the things that makes history interesting is seeing how different things were in the past. And one thing that has changed around Council is the way people make a living.

A lot of homesteaders came here with what seemed like a vague idea of how they were going to survive. I wonder if many of them really knew what they were in for. It seems like they sometimes selected land that had no chance of growing enough to supply an income. To survive, a lot of them took whatever odd job was available whenever it was available. Come to think of it, there are people who move here now with the same approach, so maybe things haven't changed much in that regard.

At the turn of the century, it was said that the principle industries of the area were farming, stock raising, mining and lumbering. "Lumbering" centered on small sawmills scattered about the vicinity. Of course all the work was done with hand tools and horses, with the exception of the saw and carriage at the mill itself. It hardly resembled the modern industry we know today, which started in the late 1930s with the advent of practical chain saws. Even so, lumbering provided a good many local, seasonal jobs.

In the early days, it seemed like everybody and his dog around Council had a mining claim somewhere. In 1890, Idaho ranked third in the nation for total income from mining. Montana was in first place, followed by Colorado. Local claims were worked whenever the owners had the time. Frank Mathias and Lewis Winkler spent so much time at the Golden Rule mine, up on the South Fork of the Salmon someplace, that it was pretty much their second occupation. All winter they mostly did blacksmithing, but in the spring they would disappear for the summer.

Placer miners had to get to their claims as early as possible in the spring so that they could take advantage of the available water flow in nearby creeks. Water was needed to wash the gold out of the ore. Often times, on mountain claims, the water would only last a short time in the spring before it dried up. This type of work must have been wet, muddy and cold early in the season.

At one time there were actually coal mines on the Middle Fork of the Weiser River. The first mention I found of one was in the spring of 1895, when Ed Barbour was reported to have discovered a vein of coal there, "...six miles above Farleigh's old mill". He found pieces of coal that measured eight inches square.

In 1899, the Salubria Citizen paper noted coal deposits on Crane Creek and Middle Fork. It said that the Middle Fork coal had been used by local blacksmiths for several years. That same year, the Seven Devils Standard reported that a coal vein had been found on Rapid River near Pollock Mountain. It was said to have been "between bituminous and anthracite" in nature, and burned readily.

In 1905, The Weiser Semi-Weekly Signal reported that Ben Shaw, C.A. Barber "and others" had found a four foot wide vein of coal near the warm springs on Middle Fork. It said a big slab of "absolutely pure coal" measuring 4' X 4' X 8' was found far down in the canyon a number of years before, and many had been looking for where it came from on the hillside above. In January of the 1909, Charley Whiteley and John Kesler were working the mine.

Does anybody have any idea where these coal deposits were? Has anyone heard of Farleigh's sawmill on Middle Fork, or know where it was? And while I'm on that general area, somebody told me about a corral somewhere in the hills between Cottonwood Creek and Mill Creek that is said to have been used by outlaws (?). If you have any info on any of these, please let me know. 253-4582

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $2,413.. we need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

This week I'm going to back up to more or less the beginning, and start a series of articles.

We are all immigrants here in Idaho, but some of us have been here a few thousand years longer than others. The first humans wandered across the Bering Strait land bridge from north east Asia to North America at the end of the last ice age. The archaeological evidence is still being collected and evaluated, but so far seems to indicate that the first humans arrived in what is now Idaho in the neighborhood of about 14,000 years ago. One site in Southern Idaho contains human artifacts dated at 17,000 years ago, but this date is not universally accepted.

During the first era after human arrival here, it appears that this part of Idaho was used lightly by people who mostly passed through it. For a long time, the climate for these early Idahoans was cooler and wetter than it is now. Most of their activities centered on the valleys along the Snake, Boise and other major rivers. Then, about 4,000 to 6,000 years ago, the annual precipitation began to decrease and the temperatures rose. This brought a climate something like we have today. Much of southern Idaho became a desert. Because water was more abundant here in the higher valleys along the upper Weiser River, they became more populated.

The oldest directly dated native burial site in western Idaho was discovered on the DeMoss ranch at the southern end of the Meadows Valley in 1985. I think it was Craig DeMoss who was digging out a spring with a backhoe (a standard archeological tool for dedicate work) to get more water to flow, when he started seeing human remains. The Indian graves there are estimated to be about 6,000 years old.

By the time the second group of immigrants arrived on this continent, this time traveling west from Europe, two general groups of people had established themselves in what is now Idaho. To an extent, the two native groups were separated by the natural geographic barriers of Hells Canyon, the Seven Devils mountains and the rugged country along the Salmon River. To the north of these boundaries, was the "Shahaptian" or "Plateau" culture, which primarily consisted of the Nez Perce tribe. To the south, was the Basin culture, composed mostly of the Shoshoni tribe. The west central edge of Idaho south of the Snake River, and eastern Oregon was home to the Paiute tribe.

The Shoshoni, made up of several subgroups, were an offshoot of the Comanche tribe, and the two tribes had a common language up until sometime between 1700 and 1800. In his journal of a wagon trip across Idaho in 1853, Henry Allyn spelled out, phonetically, the way that the Shoshoni pronounced the name of their tribe as "Shaw-shaw-nee".

The Shoshoni as a whole were often referred to as the "Snake" Indians. There are several stories as to why they came to be called by this name, but the most plausible one claims that a hand movement the Shoshoni used in "saying" their tribal name with sign language was a wiggling motion reminding one of a snake. Interestingly, I saw a Western movie on TV recently, involving Comanche Indians. A Comanche in this movie used a snake like movement in saying the name of his tribe in sign language. I'd like to know if this was based on reality. It makes sense, considering the Comanche's shared linguistic history with the Shoshonis.

The names given to various Shoshoni subgroups can be confusing because they have been called different names by different people. Whites often had trouble translating Indian names, and many times uncaringly came up with a bastardized terms that were "close enough", or they simply made up their own names for the natives. One of these names for the poorest of the Shoshoni who managed to survive in the deserts of southern Idaho was "Diggers". Many of the tribe names that are used today, including "Nez Perce", are non-native labels bestowed by whites.

Aside from the standard name of "the people", used by all tribes in whatever language they spoke, even the Indians themselves were not consistent, by white cultural standards, in what they called themselves. Sometimes it depended on where they were and what they were doing at the time. For instance, when northern bands of the Shoshoni were in the mountains where they often hunted mountain sheep, they called themselves "Tukadeka" (Sheep Eaters).

In general, the Indians in the northern part of the Shoshoni territory were called "Northern" or "Mountain" Shoshoni. The Mountain Shoshoni group most commonly known as the Sheep Eaters were made up of scattered groups who ranged across the Seven Devils and Salmon River areas. They survived by constantly moving from one place to another in small family groups, over a large territory. During the summer, they roamed the headwaters of the Weiser, Payette, Boise, and Salmon Rivers, and wintered in lower elevations such as along the main Salmon and Snake Rivers. Big Bar, in the upper Hells Canyon, was a favorite wintering spot. When Charlie Warner farmed at the mouth of Kinney Creek along the Snake River in the early days, he found old sun-bleached mountain goat and mountain sheep horns that Indians had left hanging in the brush there.

The Indians who spent a great deal of time in the general Weiser River drainage, were sometimes called the Weiser Shoshoni or "Weisers" by whites. They were not necessarily a completely separate group from the Sheep Eaters, and in some old accounts are referred to as such. The Weisers traveled in small family groups during the summer, but often had a common winter camp at Indian Valley, or near the mouth of Crane Creek.

To some extent the Shoshoni shared the northern and western edges of their territory with the Nez Perce and the Paiute tribes. On the north, the Nez Perce sometimes hunted and fished in the Seven Devils, Hells Canyon, and the upper reaches of the Weiser and Little Salmon Rivers. As a result of contact with the Nez Perce, the Weisers adopted some elements of the Nez Perce life-style, such as heavy dependence on Salmon and Steelhead as a food source. The interaction was generally, but not always, cordial. Over the centuries there were times when the Shoshoni and Nez Perce fought each other.

Relations between the Shoshoni and their Paiute neighbors to the west was also generally friendly. The Paiutes that often lived with the buffalo hunting Shoshonis of Idaho and Wyoming became known as "Bannocks".

I would like to thank Helen Robertson of Payette for a nice donation made in the memory of her late husband, Fred Robertson. Fred passed away 20 years ago at the Robertson's cabin at Cuprum.

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $2,490... we need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with the name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.


History Corner

As with most native Americans, the life-style of the Mountain Shoshoni can be divided into at least two eras: before the horse, and after the horse. Before the Weiser Indians acquired the horse (probably around 1750), they were a quite different people from the classic romanticized image we have of the "noble red man". In the summer, they lived in woven grass mat lodges, or temporary shelters made by placing deer hides or other skins over a frame of willow branches. Their style of dress was simple and plain. It's hard to imagine Indians without fancy beadwork, but before Europeans introduced trade beads to Native Americans, the Weisers used porcupine quills, what sea shells they could acquire through trade, and other natural materials to decorate themselves.

Another item that has become synonymous with Native Americans is the bow and arrow. But it was not until only about 1,000 years ago that they acquired this weapon. Until that time, the atalatal was the only means they had of throwing a projectile. The projectile was dart that was a little like a cross between an arrow and a light spear. Most of the so called "arrow heads" that we find today were actually points used on atalatal darts. Arrow points were generally smaller, and are sometimes misnamed "bird points" by people who find them today. After they acquired the bow and arrow, Shoshoni bows made of wood and laminated with mountain sheep horn were highly prized among Indians all over the West.

The source for much of the obsidian that the Shoshoni used for projectile points came from Timber Butte, north east of Emmett. When highway 95 was rerouted down the north side of Mesa Hill in the 1970s, a locally used Indian quarry for stone tool materials uncovered when the cut was made though the small hill just south of the Middle Fork bridge.

Before the horse, the Shoshoni eked out a subsistence by hunting primarily small game, and making optimum use of well over 100 species of plants. They sometimes used poison tipped arrows, had snow shoes, and used dogs for hunting and as pack animals.

Winter was always a challenge to their survival. One of the first, life saving foods that could be harvested when spring arrived was the root of the arrow leaf balsam root, sometimes locally known as sunflowers. The first run of Salmon was also a vital, early-season food source. The Weiser River was a major salmon spawning stream, with several species running up the river at different times over the summer. The Shoshoni would gather at various locations along the Weiser to harvest the fish, generally catching them in nets. Two other staples of the Weiser Indian's diet was dried chokecherries and service berries. They returned to this area to pick these berries up until the early 1900s.

In the mid 1700s, the Shoshonis acquired horses, most probably from their Comanche cousins to the south. The Nez Perce acquired their first horses from the Shoshonis. Although some have claimed the Nez Perce acquired horses from plains tribes, this seems improbable. The Shoshoni were more closely tied to the Nez Perce, both socially and geographically. Plus, there is a Nez Perce story of how they got their first horses from the Shoshoni and took them back over a trail through the Seven Devils.

After the Shoshonis got horses, they were able to travel much farther, hunt big game animals more often, and meet socially in larger groups. For the Weiser Indians the horse brought more frequent contact with the Nez Perce, plus new contacts and trade with more distant tribes. As many other tribes had, the Shoshoni adopted many of the elements of Plains Indian life-style including living in hide tipis, wearing more stylish clothing such as feathered headdresses and war decorations, and practicing certain dances of Plains origins. In general, between the coming of the horse, and the arrival of the white man, they enjoyed a period of greater prosperity than they had ever known.

The more conservative, isolated Sheep Eater groups who lived farther back in the mountains, did not adopt many of the new ways. Because of the harsh terrain, they didn't even make much use of the horse. Although they spoke the same language as other Shoshonis, they retained an older, slower style of speech. The other Shoshoni groups thought of these Sheep Eaters as being quite backwards. Max Pavesic, the archeology professor at BSU, says the Shoshoni felt toward these Sheep Easters a little like we would feel about ignorant hillbillies.

Stay tuned.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

The first white people to enter Idaho were those of the Lewis and Clark expedition on their way west in 1805. On their return journey from the coast in 1806, a party was sent to the Salmon River from their camp near Kamiah to gather fish. The party did not go far toward the Seven Devils beyond the confluence of the Snake and Salmon Rivers, but mentioned that both rivers appeared "to enter a high and mountainous country".

Lewis and Clark asked some of their Indian guides to draw a map for them, showing the principle rivers of the region. When the Indians obliged, their drawing showed a great river flowing across Southern Idaho and swinging north to near where the expedition was camped. Lewis and Clark called this body of water "Lewis's River", but it later became known as the "Snake River" because of the dominance of the "Snake" Indians along its course in southern Idaho. In making their own map of the North West to take back to President Jefferson, Lewis and Clark drew in other rivers, based on native descriptions, and named the various rivers after members of their party. The Weiser River was named after Peter Weiser (or

"Wiser", as Lewis spelled it). There was some confusion later as to the origin of the name when a well known trapper named Jack Weiser became one of the first white men to trap in the Weiser River area.

The first whites to venture close to Council came west with an expedition sent by John Jacob Astor. Astor expanded his fur company interests to the north west coast in the spring of 1811 by establishing fort Astoria near the mouth of the Columbia River. Aside from the limited exploration of Lewis and Clark, the area inland from there was unknown territory to whites. Astor knew that the Columbia was somewhat navigable, and if he could find a route from the head waters of the Missouri River to the Columbia he would be several jumps ahead of everyone else in exploiting the new territory.

The same year (1811), Astor hired Wilson Price Hunt, to locate such a route. After reaching the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in October, Hunts expedition made dugout canoes from cottonwood trees, and proceeded in these crude boats down the river. By the time the Hunt expedition reached a spot near the present site of the town of Burley, they were thoroughly defeated by the river. They found they could no longer ride out the rapids, and often could not climb out of the canyon to go around them. The party, which consisted of 65 people, including a seven months pregnant Indian woman and her two children (ages 2 and 4), had lost much of their gear, and was virtually without food. The party split into five groups. Three main groups continued north and west, each trying a different route.

The group led by Hunt cut north to near present day Boise, then on to where the town of Weiser would later be established. From there, they proceeded up the Weiser River, then up Mann Creek to its head, and back to the Snake. As they continued down the river toward Hells Canyon, on the 6th of December, Hunt's party rejoined one of the other groups from the original expedition. Here, Hunt was informed that the mountains on the west side of Hells Canyon seemed impassible, but that the remaining party under Donald McKenzie had continued north on the east side of the river. All three divisions of the expedition had seen no game, and was on the brink of starvation.

It seems strange that the Hunt expedition saw no deer along the Snake River as they approached the Hells Canyon area in that December and January. That area now has been the wintering ground of great herds of deer for many decades.

Hunt decided to try a route north through the Weiser River valleys to reach the Columbia River. This route made sense, even with our present knowledge of Idaho geography. These valleys are the least mountainous way to reach the Salmon River drainage from southern Idaho. This may well have been why the Weiser River was so familiar to the Nez Perce that Lewis and Clark encountered. However, the Shoshoni that Hunt encountered along the Weiser convinced him that the snow was too deep in this direction.

Hunt then tried to get a Indians to guide him over an alternate route toward the west. These natives must have thought Hunt was out of his mind to be trying such a journey in the dead of winter, and they wanted no part of it. After much arm twisting, and several gifts, Hunt was able to convince one of the Shoshoni men to guide his party over the Blue Mountains and on to the Columbia. The route they followed, with slight changes, later became a portion of the Oregon Trail.

One has to wonder why the snow would have been too deep to the north of the Weiser River drainage. The highest point, between the Weiser and Salmon Rivers by modern road is between Price Valley and New Meadows, and is not significantly higher in elevation than Council. From there, a trip down the Little and main Salmon Rivers would have been hampered by relatively little snow. If the main trail used by natives to reach areas to the north was a route resembling the Boise - Lewiston Trail route through the Seven Devils, then it would indeed have been impossible to have made such a journey in winter.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Donald McKenzie led the group from Wilson Price Hunt's expedition that had forged on north along the east side of the Snake River. McKenzie was a rugged Scotsman from Canada. Weighing over 300 pounds, this red-headed giant had tremendous physical strength and endurance, and was so energetic that he earned the nick name "Perpetual Motion". He was very experienced in the fur business, and had a natural ability to lead men. McKenzie was later to become governor of the Territory of Manitoba, Canada.

McKenzie's party of ten men had no horses or food. As they struggled along the snowless breaks of the Snake River, they took a route high up on the ridge tops. Although they could often see the river far below them, they suffered terribly from thirst. Try as they might, they could find no game to shoot. Desperate for food, the men dug out an old beaver hide from one of the packs, and ate it.

Finally, probably near the Seven Devils Mountains, the weakened and exhausted group was caught in a snow storm. Their situation seemed utterly hopeless. Finding a sheltered place, they sat down and tried to resign themselves to certain death. It was then that one of the men looked out through the swirling blizzard, and beheld a sight that must have made him think he was hallucinating. There, not far up the hill, was a bighorn sheep! The animal was humped up under a rocky overhang, seeking shelter from the storm just as they were. It must have taken almost all the strength the man had left to make his way to a spot where he could get a shot at the sheep. He managed to drop the animal where it stood, which was fortunate. Had the sheep been able to run any distance in that steep country, the men may well have been too weak to follow it.

It's hard to imagine the elation these men must have felt. Their lives were saved. No one knows just where this fortuitous event occurred; it would be interesting to know the spot. Not doubt the men of the McKenzie party would have thought it appropriate to erect a monument on this location.

After a difficult journey that totaled 21 days, the McKenzie group reached the confluence of the Salmon and Snake Rivers. Historians have speculated the course taken by these men, and to make a long story short, nobody really knows. They probably followed what would become known as the Boise-Lewiston Trail part of the way, but it is doubtful that they traveled through the most rugged part of the Seven Devils. They probably cut to the east, and may have traveled through some part of the Rapid River drainage. They may even have gone father to the east through Price Valley and hit the Little Salmon before the main Salmon. At any rate, on the Salmon River they encountered Nez Perce Indians who took care of them, and helped them continue down the Salmon, and on to the Snake and Columbia Rivers. They arrived at Fort Astoria in February, about a month ahead of Hunt.

In 1813, John Reid, a former member of the McKenzie's group from the Hunt expedition, returned to the mouth of the Boise River to establish a trapping camp. With him was the Indian woman, Marie Dorion, her husband and two of her children. Everyone in this outfit, except for Marie and her children, was killed by Bannock Indians early the following spring.

Donald McKenzie returned to this same area with a large group in the fall of 1818, to trap and establish friendly relations with, and between, the Indians of the region. In this party was Jack Weiser after whom the Weiser River has mistakenly thought to be named. Also in the group was a Canadian named Francois Payette, after whom the town of Payette, the Payette River, and the Payette National Forest are named. Francois Payette trapped and explored this part of Idaho off and on for about 18 years, and is said to be considered by some historians as one of the most important figures in the early history of southwestern Idaho.

At the time of McKenzie's return to Idaho, there was a great deal of fighting going on between the Shoshoni and the Nez Perce and other Shahptin-speaking groups. There was also a constant problem with vicious Blackfoot war parties raiding deep into Idaho from Montana. After a number of council meetings, McKenzie was able to bring relative peace, at least between the Idaho tribes.

In the eastern states, it had been the practice of whites to induce Indians to do the actual work of trapping, in exchange for trade goods. In the west, however, the male natives generally spurned trapping as women's work, but by the time McKenzie left the area in 1821, many of the Shoshoni had begun to trap.

During McKenzie's escapades in the Idaho area, he wanted to see for himself whether the Hells Canyon route was practical for travel. About 1819, he and a party of men pulled a barge up the Snake River, starting from the mouth of the Clearwater River. After almost two months of superhuman effort, they actually made it through, but it obviously was not worth it. Nearly 50 years passed before anyone was foolhardy enough to venture onto this stretch of the river with a boat.

The first recorded mention of exploration of the Weiser River drainage is that of a trapping excursion led by Alexander Ross in 1824. By 1826, American trappers had penetrated deep into the Weiser River country as far as Payette Lake, and the Weiser River had become one of the area's prime sources of beaver pelts.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

The next expedition to venture near the Weiser River area was that of Captain Benjamin Bonneville. In 1832, Bonneville took a leave of absence from the U.S. Army to lead an exploratory expedition through the Northwest. Since claim to much of this territory in the was in contention between the United States and England, it was suspected that Bonneville might have been spying for the United States. No one has ever determined whether this was true or not.

By this time, more outposts had been established in the vicinity of the Columbia River. After spending some time at a base camp in southern Idaho, Bonneville set out for Fort Walla Walla. Apparently Bonneville, like Wilson Price Hunt, was either undaunted by a journey of several hundred miles in the dead of winter, or else he was not aware of the rigors of the terrain and climate he was to encounter. He began this journey on Christmas day of 1833, with 3 men, cutting across southern Idaho through the Snake River plain. Upon reaching the Blue Mountains, they encountered too much snow to continue west. As they had already traveled part of the way on the frozen surface of the Snake River, a decision was made to return to the Snake, and continue in this fashion down the river through Hells Canyon. To their disappointment, the weather had warmed, and the water had become relatively free of ice except for narrow ribbons along the banks, and occasional ice "bridges" that spanned the river. In spite of this, they went on, mostly using the ground along the shore when it was not too steep to do so.

Imagine what it must have been like for these men when they tested the ice. Picture yourself hundreds of miles from even the most crude outpost of civilization, in the dead of winter, on the back of a bug-eyed, snorting horse, as he edges across the rumbling, settling ice, while untold millions of gallons of water plunges mere inches below you through the deepest canyon in North America. What must the nerves of these men endured on that last stretch of creaking ice before they admitted that it was just too foolish to continue?

Where the ice was too thin and rocky cliffs plunged straight down to the water, the party sometimes climbed far up the side of the canyon. At one point, two of their horses fell into the river. One of these horses was rescued, but the other was swept away by the rushing water.

It is thought that they made it about as far as the mouth of Thirty-two Point Creek (just across the Snake from Sawpit Creek and Sheep Rock) before the steep walls of rock on either side made it impossible to continue down the river bank, and travel on the ice became too risky.

The party then tried to climb over the mountains on the west side of the river, but after making it almost to the summit, they could find no way through this incredibly rugged country. Their only alternative was to go back down the way they had come, but this proved even more difficult than the climb up had been. After an exhausting ordeal, using rappelling ropes, they were able to get both themselves and their horses safely back to the river.

At this point, they considered killing their horses, drying the meat for food, and using the hides to make boats in which to continue down the Snake. Before resorting to this dangerous alternative, they decided to try once again to climb over the mountains to the west. Knowing what we now know about the nature of the Snake River through Hell's Canyon, can you imagine trying to ride the rapids in a horse hide bull boat? I would have almost certainly have been the last mistake Bonneville ever made.

The party back-tracked about four miles up river where they found a more passable, though still difficult, route over the summit, and succeeded in reaching the Imnaha River. There, the starved and exhausted group found some Nez Perce Indians who fed and cared for them, and eventually guided them to Fort Walla Walla. The Nez Perce had always been friendly to whites. Captain Bonneville, as well as Lewis and Clark, noted that the Nez Perce were among the most friendly Indians they encountered in the West. This tribe continued to befriend white people up until about 45 years later when their kindness and friendship was rewarded with murder, imprisonment, and the theft of everything they held sacred.

Accounts written by Washington Irving of the hardships of the Bonneville and Wilson Price Hunt expeditions in the Hells Canyon area were widely read, with the result that the canyon, and the Wallowa and Seven Devils mountains on either side of it, were avoided, and remained relatively unexplored by whites for many years.

About 1834, the Hudson's Bay Company built Fort Boise on the Snake River. Two years later, the fort was moved to a location near the mouth of the Boise River under the charge of Francois Payette.

About 1840, the fur trade started to decline because of low prices in the East. As the white trappers faded from the scene along the Weiser River, the Indians went back to their old, undisturbed life-style. However, storm clouds were brewing on the eastern horizon.


History Corner

I got word from the courthouse last week that they were cleaning house and had some things the museum might want. The most exciting thing they had was a stack of Adams County Leader newspapers from 1918 and 1919. Until now, there were only three copies of 1918 Leaders remaining in existence, even on microfilm. Now we have ten more. There were no copies of 1919 Leaders before this find of 42 out of a possible 52 issues!

The Leader office was moved around town several times before it ended up where it is now.

In one of the moves, all of the back issues for 1916 through 1919 that were kept in the Leader office were lost. Former County Clerk, Matilda Moser, who was a member of the first family to settle in the Council Valley, was responsible for initially saving the issues found in the courthouse. She saved her issues of the paper for many years. The courthouse gang also gave us back issues that Matilda had saved for 1925 and 1948 through 1953. We will keep them at the museum with some other ones from various years. The Leader office also has these years issues on file, and they are on microfilm at the State Library in Boise.

There are lots of records that the County stores for a few years and then discards. Most of them are pretty boring statistics - records of routine expenditures, etc. Once in awhile something interesting pops up. In some receipts issued to Sheriff Ed Wade during the summer of 1941 there were some interesting expenses: 100 miles @ 7 cents per mile to investigate "Arizona cars with wild animals, supposed to the same people that were run out of Canyon County".

The same mileage rates were paid for these duties: Investigate two people "living in adultery" - "let get license at Council" ... "Move destitute woman from Hornet Creek to Mesa in order to keep them off Adams County" ... "Clear highway of crippled horse. Reported by Fred Muller." ... "Get prisoner at Weiser for stealing 1 1/2 ton Chevy truck from Mesa" ... "Get prisoner at Walla Walla, Wash. and return to Council" ..."Wreck South of Council - L.V. Davis - two trips in cleaning up wreck and taking party to hospital." I'll bet what goes on at the sheriffs office nowadays is just as interesting.

On many of the otherwise uninteresting documents that were being discarded were the signatures of some of Council's "Landmarks": sheriff William F. Winkler = signed as "W.F. Winkler", large, bold, sweeping across the page ... Geo. A. Winkler = energetic and sweeping, but not as big as uncle Bill's ... Fred E. Weed = stylish, moderate in size ... Matilda Moser = classic, flawless script right out of the penmanship primer ... Sheriff Chester Selby (Loraine Ludwig's father) = large and easily read ... William Lemon (Leader editor, probate judge, owner of the Pomona Hotel, and owner of the big ,square, stucco building next to the Leader office) = signed as "Wm Lemon" with the W and the L very large and stylish ... Sheriff Frank Yantis = a large, stylish F, plain Y, moderate size over all.

I thank Mike Fisk and the others at the court house for thinking of the museum. If anyone else has "junk" that might be historically interesting, please let me know.

After my inquiry about an outlaw corral somewhere in the hills east of Council a few weeks ago, someone told me about the remains of an old corral and cabin up Camp Crk. Sounded like it is on a ridge on the south "breaks" of the creek somewhere. Anybody know the story on this?

Since this column is so fragmented already, I'll go off on another tangent that is more or less related to history. This time of year you always hear a lot about people who "have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas." In order to understand the "true meaning" or "original meaning" of something, it pays to look at its history.

Way back before most religions were established, people were mighty glad for the time of year when the days stopped getting shorter and started getting longer. This happens on or about the 21st of December by our modern calendar. They used to call it the "Ule Tide" because it was kind of like the low tide of the ocean as it reaches the lowest point and then starts rising again. The celebration of this season was about the return of the sun to bring more light to the world. A few thousand years later, Christian missionaries decided to subvert this "pagan nonsense" with their own idea of a return of "the light of the world". Even though most historians and theologists agree that Jesus was probably born closer to summer time, they began to promote the season as the time of year to celebrate of the birth of their Messiah, Jesus. Since "The Church" dominated European culture and governments for quite a period we now have an indelibly established Christian tradition of "Christmas" in our culture.

There is a similar story behind Easter. That's why we have such a strange mixture of eggs, bunnies and sunrise church services.

So if you disagree with the way someone observes or doesn't observe Christmas, stop and realize that the tradition is thoroughly man made, and is not the original one. There is no reason why everyone - Jews, Muslims, atheists and Christians alike - should not make this season special in their own way.

I hope you have a very merry Christmas / Ule Tide.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

In 1840, a branch of the Oregon Trail was established over the Blue Mountains, and by 1843 there was a flood of immigrants coming through the Boise area on their way to western Oregon. One of the wagons that came through on this route in the 1840's was that of the Allen family. Traveling with them on their way to the present site of Portland, Oregon was their young son, Levi Allen, who was later to play a key role in the history of the Seven Devils and the valleys along the Weiser River.

In 1846, the United States acquired what is now the Northwestern U.S. in a division of territory with the British, and even more settlers came through on their way to Oregon. Although the Weiser Indians were not directly influenced by the hordes of people, wagons and livestock, their neighbors along the Snake found the camp sites they had carefully used for untold generations destroyed. The camps and streams were filthy from the immigrant's domestic animals, and the surrounding areas were bare of grass, and stripped of fuel for fires. The Indians of the arid Snake River plain, who had already had to struggle to scratch out a subsistence, "... had to watch their food sources destroyed by whites ignorant of Indian culture and blind to the delicate balance of the area's natural resources."

Deprived of their usual sources of life, the Shoshonis and Paiutes resorted to preying on wagon trains to survive: stealing horses and livestock. Whites retaliated, and the situation quickly escalated into full scale war.

In 1854, Fort Boise was abandoned because of this serious "Indian uprising". For a number of years, native Idahoans along the Snake River massacred whites at every opportunity. Aside from futile efforts by military authorities, most of what is now Southern and Central Idaho was practically "given back" to the Indians. It was expected the vicinity would remain unsettled for another 50 years except as a stopping point for travelers who dared to pass through on the Oregon Trail under heavy military protection.

But the discovery of gold along the Clearwater River started the beginning of the end of this hostile standoff between the races. I've already written about the pivotal year of 1862 in this column - Levi Allen's discovery of copper in the Seven Devils, Goodale's cutoff, Dunham Wright's adventure and the gold rush to the Boise Basin.

At this time, most people came to settle or prospect in Idaho from more settled areas to the west of here, usually via the Columbia River. The town of Boise City was established in 1863. Freight started to be shipped to Boise from a landing along the Columbia at Umatilla, in a sort of reverse flow of the usual Oregon Trail traffic of immigrants. It was not until later that central Idaho became a planned destination for supplies and settlers from points south and east, as "civilization" filled in the vast unsettled areas in those directions.

I would like to thank Tom Gaston for a generous donation to the museum. Our balance is now about $2670.00 This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. We need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with the name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Soon after Idaho Territory was established, the valleys along the Weiser River began to be settled. The first non-natives to live along the Weiser were William and Nancy Logan who ran away from their parent's homes near Baker to get married about 1863.

At the time, Old's Ferry was about to be established to cross the Snake River at Farewell Bend about 12 miles below the mouth of the Weiser River. The Oregon Trail crossed to the west side of the Snake River at Fort Boise, near the mouth of the Boise River.

The Logans figured that wagons traveling the Oregon Trail would soon be continuing along the east side of the Snake until they reached the easier and safer crossing provided by the new ferry.

As things turned out, they were right, and they took advantage of the fact. The young couple built a house of willows and mud along the new route near the mouth of the Weiser River, and operated a successful road house for a short time.

When Thomas Galloway and Woodson Jeffreys arrived at the present site of Weiser in 1864, the area was nothing but sagebrush desert. Galloway opened a stage station and supply house, and generally catered to the traveling public. The location soon became known as "Dead Fall". In 1866, Jeffreys established the first post office here, under the name "Weiser Ranch". The post office was closed in 1870, but reopened in 1871 as "Weiser". The location changed official title again in 1878 or 1880 to "Weiser Bridge".

All of these activities took place at what is now the east end of the town of Weiser, close to the Weiser River. The name "Weiser Bridge" derived from the fact that there was now a bridge here across that river. After the railroad arrived in 1882, the main part of town shifted to the west, to its present location. In 1883, the name was changed permanently back to "Weiser". The original section of Weiser was sometimes referred to as "old town".

Before hordes of fortune seekers started occupying Idaho, fighting between Indians and whites had been mostly restricted to the area along the Oregon Trail. But after the non-native invasion of Idaho in 1862, the friction spread over a wider area.

During the 1860s, whites in Northern California, Nevada, Eastern Oregon, Idaho and Montana were in a virtual state of siege as Indians rampaged anywhere they could. The government tried a combination of treaties and military force to stop the depredation. At first, nothing seemed to work. Resentment toward the Indians grew to the point that statements were openly made in public newspapers advocating genocide. In 1867, one upstanding citizen recommended inviting all the Indians to a feast containing strychnine to poison every man, woman and child of them. Finally, in 1868, after a series of military confrontations referred to as the "Snake War", tensions were somewhat reduced.

Meanwhile, the loop in the Oregon Trail to Olds Ferry had brought large numbers of emigrants across the mouth of the Weiser river on their way farther west. This undoubtedly helped bring the Weiser drainage to their attention. Many of them must have felt like the children of Israel wondering in the desert after months of traveling through mostly desolate, sagebrush wasteland. By the time they got this far west, it was late in the season. The land would have been baked dry by the summer's heat and punctuated only occasionally by narrow strips of green along the rivers. As they trudged along, mile after mile, they must have grown weary of seeing land that was devoid of trees other than scattered Juniper. When they reached the mouth of the Weiser River, the scenery would still have been the same depressing desert drab, but far off to the north they would have caught a glimpse of forest-clad mountains. The word that there was a lush valley somewhere in that direction, surrounded by wooded hills must have peaked their interest.

With the winding down of Indian wars in the general area, the idea of ending their journey and settling in a mountain river valley prompted some of them to investigate the valleys along Weiser River. More than a few families continued on to eastern Oregon, settled down briefly, and then backtracked to this area.

Mann Creek, and the valley it formed, was the first farmable ground north of the flat land near the mouth of the Weiser River. Although not along the Weiser, it became the first settled land along the main line of travel up that river. My guess would be that an Indian trail followed a similar path to the present highway to avoid the narrow canyon just south of present day Midvale. From very early on, wagon trails to reach the upper Weiser River valleys went up Monroe Creek, then over into Mann Creek and on into Middle Valley.

The next valley up the Weiser River acquired the name "Middle Valley" because it was between the upper and lower valleys along the river. The first settlers came here in 1868, but the actual town of Midvale wasn't started until 1903. The first bridge across the Weiser River (other than the one at its mouth) was built at Midvale, on the site of the present bridge. The first road to points north crossed the river here and proceeded through the "sand hills" to the north east.

The next valley up the river was just north of the sand hills, and began to be settled about 1868. The community of Salubria was established here, a little over a mile south east of the present site of Cambridge. It was granted a post office in 1870. The location was named Salubria because it was said to be "salubrious", which basically means "pleasant and beneficial to ones health". The building of an actual town of Salubria began with the first store, which was erected in 1885. Salubria was the only town in that vicinity until Cambridge was established along the railroad when the tracks reached the valley in 1900. Almost no remnant of Salubria remains to mark the spot today. To reach the site of the old town, turn south at the power station just this side of Cambridge. Salubria was at the first intersection south of the highway.

The next valley up the Weiser, where the Little Weiser River joins the main river, was more or less an extension of the Salubria Valley. It was called "Indian Valley" because the Weiser Shoshoni often wintered there. The Salubria and Indian Valley areas began to be settled at about the same time, about1868.

About the time the first settlers began to inhabit the Salubria and Indian Valleys in 1868, the first non-native person to establish a home in the Council area settled on Hornet Creek. He was a 32 year old bachelor named Henry Childs. Just what enticed Childs to this area is not exactly certain, but he was known to have done some mining and trapping. He built a home and did some farming about 2.5 miles up Hornet Creek from the present site of Council. His place was located where the Old Hornet road now branches from the Council - Cuprum road and goes across to the west side of the creek. Hornet Creek was named after a nasty encounter that Childs had with a nest of hornets while he was clearing brush.

The Salubria and Indian Valleys, and even Middle Valley, were referred to as the "upper valleys" or the "upper country". The Council and Meadows Valleys were later included as part of the upper country. Early upper country residents referred to the Weiser area as the "lower country". This tradition continues today, and the terminology has evolved. New-comers hearing an upper country person say they are going "down below" are often confused until it is explained that this generally indicates a trip to anywhere between Weiser and Boise.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Before I begin this column, I apologize for using the term "white" so much to indicate someone other than a Native American / Indian. Even though the word is not always correct (not all pioneers, settlers etc. were Anglo-Saxon), it has become deeply ingrained in American culture. Sometimes there are simply places where "white" is the only word that gets the meaning across without going to ridiculous lengths to be politically or technically correct.

All during the fighting of the 1860s, the Weiser Indians had mostly stayed to themselves in the more remote mountains of their territory. Even so, they were falsely accused of numerous atrocities. Typical of the mind-set of the time, Eagle Eye acquired an unearned reputation among many whites as being a murderous savage.

In 1867, based only on rumors, the Weiser Indians were declared to be hostiles. A scouting party was sent from Fort Boise to find them, but Eagle Eye moved his band into the Salmon River mountains before the troops arrived. At the Indian's abandoned campsite along the Weiser River, the soldiers found footprints measuring seventeen and one-half inches long. The newspapers made big news out of this, and the legend of "Bigfoot" began. (There actually was a hostile Indian named Howluck in the Owyhee mountains at this time that was called Bigfoot.)

In 1868, after false reports that the Weisers had been causing trouble, soldiers were sent from Fort Boise to capture Eagle Eye's band. The Weisers were forewarned and moved north, but the troopers caught up with them near the present site of Riggins. The forty-one Indians in the group, including Eagle Eye, were arrested without incident and taken to Fort Boise. Among their possessions was a pair of moccasins over sixteen inches long, stuffed with rags and fur. Apparently, these were the source of the fake footprints seen the year before.

After a personal meeting with the governor of the Idaho Territory, Eagle Eye was able to convince him that the Weisers were peaceful and would cause no trouble. The Indians were released, but public pressure to put them on a reservation continued. At this time, the number of members of the Weiser band fluctuated between 40 and 100 individuals.

Eagle Eye had no intention of living on a reservation. He had seen how other Indians had faired who had surrendered to this fate. Some of them were so destitute that they had resorted to begging on the streets of Boise. Eagle Eye let it be known that if the government would leave his band alone, they would live in peace without relying on support from the government. The newly arrived settlers in Indian Valley also didn't want the Weisers removed from their area. They realized that Eagle Eye's peaceful group provided them with some degree of protection from more hostile natives that were roaming the countryside.

For the next few years after the Snake War of 1868, there was little fighting between whites and Indians in Idaho, but there was constant friction. Groups of heavily armed Indians roamed freely throughout many parts of Idaho and Oregon. And they were not all well behaved.

All during the 1860s and 1870s, there was continual hue and cry to put all Indians on reservations. But the management of reservations was a bureaucratic quagmire, and the money sent from Congress to support impounded natives was pathetically inadequate. To keep the reservation Indians from starving, they were allowed to leave the reservations and fend for themselves for extended periods.

In 1873, the Modoc Indians in south western Oregon chose to fight rather than return to their reservation. The resulting Modoc War instilled deep apprehension in both whites and natives in Idaho. Everyone realized that the situation here was teetering on the brink of the same kind of disaster.

Even though Eagle Eye's band kept a low profile, they were the target of a great deal of white resentment because their territory was the site of larger and larger intertribal gatherings. As tribes from outside the Council Valley began to visit this last place of refuge in growing numbers, some of the outside Indians stayed permanently. In spite of the odds against peaceful coexistence, Eagle Eye was able to maintain relative tranquility between the whites and all the natives who visited, or lived, in his area.

In March of 1874, Eagle Eye was ordered to bring his band in to the Fort Hall reservation. He refused, and because of a lack of funds, the authorities were unable to enforce the order.

The next year (1875), the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce tribe was ordered to surrender to reservation life, and their lands were opened to white settlement. This was the band of which Chief Joseph was a member, and was the last of the free roaming bands of the Nez Perce. The Wallowas refused to come in, but the government was still too under-funded and disorganized to do anything about them or Eagle Eye.

The following summer (1876), settlers on the upper Weiser heard rumors through local Indians about a big Indian victory over the horse soldiers. The battle had supposedly occurred very recently in the buffalo country east of the Rocky Mountains. Days later, vivid accounts came from Boise of how Indian savages had slaughtered Custer's valiant Seventh Cavalry on the Little Big Horn River in Montana Territory. How the Weiser Indians had received word of this battle before local whites had heard about it left the settlers feeling uneasy. News of the Custer massacre only accented the fears of Idaho whites, and deepened their resolve to rid the Territory of Indians.

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $2670.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

A while back, a couple of my History Corners were about wildlife in this area. Last week I had an interesting conversation with Jerry Thiessen who is researching a book on Idaho Wildlife. He wanted information about when the first elk were released in this area. I was able to provide him with some info on their release in the Meadows Valley in 1915.

Until I talked to Jerry, it was my impression that elk were not found in the Weiser River area before they were planted here. It turns out that there were scattered, small herds of elk in the Weiser and Payette River drainages when the fur trappers came here in the early 1800s. When these mountain men traveled in large groups, as they did with the Hudson's Bay Co. expeditions, they often killed as many elk (or any other food animal) as they could when they had the opportunity. They never knew when the next chance would be, so they stocked up. Travelers on the Oregon Trail helped finish off the elk population when they passed though, sometimes roaming miles off the trail in search of meat. As a result, the elk in this part of Idaho were gone by the 1850s. By 1885, it was feared that elk would become extinct in Idaho.

I had always wondered if reports of grizzly bears in this area were true or not. Some of them probably were. The salmon runs here would have provided a perfect food source for them. Jerry's guess is that there were probably not too many because they need a large area for habitat. Black bears, on the other hand, were probably very common.

I had read that Big Horn Sheep were abundant in the Seven Devils before they were killed out. Jerry says they may have been the most common animal in the State in the early days.

There were also antelope in the Indian Valley area, and probably in Meadows Valley during some parts of the year. They were very common in Baker and Malheur Counties in Oregon.

The Winkler family reported seeing many white tail deer around Council when they came here in 1878. White tails were sometimes called "Willow Deer" or "Brush Deer" because they liked the cover and feed that willows provided. The river bottoms along the Weiser River used to be covered with dense thickets of willows and cottonwood trees - prime white tail habitat.

The story of what happened to the white tail habitat in this area was repeated in many other places. First, livestock ate back some of the willows. Thorn brush (Hawthorn) began to be more dominant because livestock preferred the more tender willows. Then, settlers cleared the bottom lands for farming. When the willow thickets disappeared, so did the white tails.

Before the government organized to suppress forest fires, fires were more frequent but mostly burned the undergrowth, not the trees. This left much less brush in the forests than there is now. Because of this, there were fewer deer there, particularly mule deer.

Bitter brush has always been a prime source of feed for mule deer. This large, sage-like bush that is so common here now (sometimes called buck brush), was not common except in very rocky places where fires could not easily reach them. Bitter brush is not at all tolerant of fire. Willows are fire resistant, sprout very quickly and grow in moist ground. That's one reason the river bottoms remained brushy until they were cleared.

Over the years, as fires were less common, the brush in the hills increased and so did the mule deer. Their peak population was reached in the 1960s. (Remember when we could buy two deer tags and shoot either sex?) The brush is probably why white tail deer are becoming more common here now too.

All this is probably an oversimplified version of the story, but it gives the general idea.

Last week a very generous memorial donation was made in memory of Jay Quilliam by the "Royal Order of the Golden Neckyoke". This group, of which Jay was a charter member, is a "vintage collection of veteran farmers who, at some time, planted and harvested with horses." Much thanks. Jay was one of the nicest people and best story tellers that I've ever met.

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $2,770. We need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with the name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.


Human beings are an interesting species. When the first non-native people came to the West, they acted as if they had no concept of the idea that natural resources like timber, grazing, game animals or land had any kind of limits. Like kids in a free candy store, they ate as much as they could as fast as they could. It took a few decades for the stomach ache to set in. Now, people have started running full speed in the opposite direction: don't cut any timber, kill any animals, graze any grass ... don't do anything that isn't "natural". And spend six million dollars replacing the wolves that our grandparents paid to have eradicated. I guess it would be more accurate to say they are "adding to" the wolves that are already replacing themselves.

Trying to instantly turn around the long - time, fundamental practices of a society in this way is like throwing a ten ton truck into reverse at 90 miles per hour. The only comfort to be found is in knowing that social tends often to go to extremes before they settle on a more sensible compromise somewhere in the middle. So there is hope.... eventually.

Last week, we were all shocked to hear that the Boise Cascade mill will be closing. Talk about a Landmark. Some of us can't remember a time when a mill wasn't there.

It all started in the fall of1938, when the Boise Payette Company bought fifty-three acres from Bill Winkler on which to build a mill. The paper reported, "It is said that the life of the local plant during the time of cutting the adjacent timber will be approximately twelve years. If, after that, the Meadows timber holdings should come to this plant, the life of the local plant would be indefinite." "When this operation was originally planned, the company had no idea of remilling and storing its lumber at Council but had planned to truck haul the lumber from the [portable] mill in the woods [at Old Davis on Crooked River] to Council, load it on cars there and ship it to Emmett for remilling." "Neither the present roadbed or bridges between Council and Crooked river and Bear will stand the heavy traffic required by this operation."

By the summer of 1940, the mill was in operation. The mill, the new technology and the aggressive logging activity of the company brought a growth spurt to Council. The population expanded as many new families moved in. About a dozen portable houses were moved to Council from the camp at Old Davis to house these new arrivals. The houses were put on land the company bought on the west side of the railroad tracks where remodeled versions of some of them continue to be used today.

Mechanized logging had started in the 1930s, but the Depression had put a damper on many business ventures. In spite of shortages of manpower and other basics during World War II, the demand for lumber and the momentum of the Boise Payette Co. was high enough to sustain a boom in the Council area. After the war, two critical factors came together to start a new era in the timber industry.

First, the housing boom that followed World War II created an unprecedented demand for lumber. Second, by that time, chain saws, logging trucks, crawler tractors and other machinery needed for modern timber harvesting had evolved to the point of being fairly dependable and available. In the old days, it had been a monumental task to build a road into the mountains to harvest timber. With "cats" miles of roads could be built with relative ease. Because logging had been on a comparatively small scale up until this time, there were vast roadless tracts of virgin timber on every side of the Council Valley. Within only three or four decades after 1940, most of the Payette National Forest (except for Wilderness Areas) was logged at least once, and the majority of the roads now in existence on the Forest were built.

As modes of transportation improved and the area centralized, the timber industry followed the same trend. Most of the small sawmills scattered around the country disappeared as it became more practical to haul logs to big mills like the one in Council.

The Council sawmill, and its associated logging operations quickly became a vital anchor of the local economy. In 1957, the Boise Payette Company merged with the Cascade Lumber Company of Yakima, Washington, and adopted the name by which we know it today: the Boise Cascade Corporation.

The next year, (1958) the fire siren sounded in Council in the middle of the night, and local citizens were stunned when they peered out their windows. The sawmill was engulfed in flames! The loss of this prominent part of the community was unthinkable. But a new mill that sported all the newest technology arose from the ashes, and it became even more of a source of pride than the old mill.

Now, the community faces the unthinkable once again. Looking at the big picture, the fifty-five year period from 1940 to 1995 has been a short one. Eventually, the pendulum will find its equilibrium, the emotionalism and ignorance will subside, and a sustainable way of managing the forests that is balanced with the needs of people will emerge...maybe. There is an enormous fly in the ointment.

At the time the mill was first built, there were just over 2 billion people on earth. That number has more than doubled to about 5.7 billion. The number of trees big enough to cut has not grown, or has even decreased. In another 50 years, the world's population is expected to double again if we don't wise up.

I apologize for climbing on my soap box, but I'm absolutely convinced that overpopulation is the most serious problem we face - not just in the future - not just in the "third world" - right here in Council, right now. The whole ball of wax - the salmon issue, the sustainable forest issue, and every other environmental problem is either directly caused, or greatly exacerbated, by more people needing more natural resources of which there are continually less. There is no amount of recycling, replanting or conserving that can possibly keep up with the suicidal growth rate we now have.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

I'm sad to say that Council has lost another Landmark: Bert Rogers, publisher of the Adams County Leader.

The first newspaper in this area to regularly print Council news was the Weiser City Leader, established in 1882. It changed names and ownership several times over the years, but is essentially the same "Signal" paper as is printed there now.

The next was the Idaho Citizen, beginning in 1891 at Salubria. It soon became the Salubria Citizen, and when Cambridge was established, the paper moved there and became the Cambridge News. It is also still in business.

The first paper in what is now Adams County was the Seven Devils Standard at Cuprum in 1898, published by C.W. Jones. Jones was a man with big dreams who didn't seem to stick with anything very long. He sold out to D.C. Boyd in February of 1899. The Standard was shortly taken over by R.E. Lockwood and Frank Edlin. The paper lasted through July 1902 when it was moved to Meadows to be published as the "Eagle".

In the meantime, C.W. Jones is said to have established the town site of Decorah in late 1900. If Jones did indeed establish Decorah, he apparently had no grandiose plans to ride this horse to fame and fortune, and bailed out very early in the game. By 1902, he was in Council, busily publishing the "Advance" newspaper, in head to head competition with L.S. Cool's "Council Journal" which had been established in October 1900. The Journal office was located on the north west corner of Moser Avenue and Main Street. By 1905, Cool had acquired the Advance. He published this paper in his home across Main Street and north of his former address. This house later became the first Adams County Courthouse in 1911, and still later, it was Bill Winkler's home. The Advance ceased publication when Cool left Council for Weiser sometime in 1905.

Council had no paper for a few years, until in October of 1908, the first issue of the Council Leader was published by Ivan M. Durrell. It was a four page paper until 1910, when it became eight pages. Much of it was preprinted material that was syndicated to many papers, and contained national news and advertisements. In 1911, the paper became owned by stockholders in the community under the name " The Council Publishing Company". An attorney named James Stinson joined the Leader staff as editor, with Durrell as manager.

At this time, there were two other newspapers in the newly-created Adams County: the Meadows Eagle and the New Meadows Tribune. They were joined the next year by the Fruitvale Echo, and all four worked hard to promote their respective communities as the only one fit to become the center of government for the new county.

In 1912, Stinson was replaced by Fred Mullin who had been publishing the Long Valley Advocate. It is unclear where the Leader office was until this point, but in November of 1913, it was moved to a little building on the alley behind Dr. Brown's new brick structure on the north west corner of Galena Street and Illinois Avenue.

Mullin was fond of editorializing, and had an acid pen when provoked. An in-print feud developed in 1914, between Mullin and William Freeman of New Meadows who was running for political office. Freeman finally ordered Mullin to cancel his subscription, writing, "Kill it! Pie it! Hell box it! Anyway to relieve me." To which Mullin replied, "The above pus runs from a sore in the Meadows valley that has been lanced and he wants to represent us in the state legislature."

In 1915, the Council Publishing Company was dissolved, and the paper was sold to Fred Michaelson who also served as an Adams County probate judge. Michaelson had run a paper in Sauk Center, Minnesota where he employed a young man named Sinclair Lewis. Lewis later went on to become one of the best known authors in the U.S. It was Michaelson who changed the name of the "Council Leader" to the "Adams County Leader".

Unfortunately, all the issues of the Leader from mid 1915 through 1919 that were kept in the newspaper's office were lost when the office was moved to another location in town. Most of the 1919 issues have been replaced recently, from those kept by Matilda Moser at the Courthouse. But the others, aside from a few, scattered issues, are a priceless window into the past that is gone forever.

By 1920 the Leader was the only paper being published in Adams County. That year, the office was moved to an apartment house at __ Michigan Avenue. This big, old, square, stucco building is still standing, and can be seen in old photos from as early as 1912. It is rumored to have housed prostitutes in the apartments upstairs during Council's wilder days.

In May of 1922, the paper was sold to E.E. Southard. He started printing the first comic strips to appear in the Leader. In 1926, the paper was purchased by William Lemon, another gentleman who served as a probate judge for the County.

When the Pomona Hotel was sold at public auction in 1928, Lemon bought it and moved there with his newspaper. During the depression, the paper almost went under. It was reduced to its former size of four pages for a few years. In 1937, the present Adams County Leader office building was constructed at 105 Michigan Avenue, just south of its old headquarters (the big stucco building).

In 1937, Lemon leased the paper to his right-hand man, Carryl Wines. Wines ran the paper until 1944, when Lemon sold it to F.E. and Harriet Rogers of Long Beach, California.(Adams County Leader, Aug 4, 1944)


Bert took over the Leader in 1948, and has run the presses ever since. As far as I know, it is the last publication of any kind to be still using the old lead type machines that were antiques long before now. Bert may have been the last person who really knew how to run one. How he kept the old machinery running, when replacement parts must not be made anymore, has to be a story in itself.

Our heart-felt sympathy goes out to Shirley and the family. Bert will be missed.

If anyone has old copies of the Leader for these missing dates, mid 1915 through 1918, please PLEASE let me look at them. The Leader has been one of the main sources of information for the history that I am writing. Also, any old clippings about local history from any source would be very welcome. Some of you have already contributed invaluable pieces of information like this, and you have my sincere thanks. Pictures are also very important. Fran Caward just sent a wonderful photo of Dora Black and another of Dora and Billie. Bob Thompson, an old Fruitvale boy (now in Spokane), called last week to say he is sending photos of the Placer Basin mill and buildings! He says hello to all his old friends here.

This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $2770. We need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with the name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.

Record 2-9-95 no column this week


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

I've been interrupting the chronological flow of these articles with things that come up. This week, I'll get back to where I left off. You may remember I was telling about the Indian wars in Idaho in the 1860s, then how they subsided about 1868, and the Weiser River Valleys began to be settled.

I mentioned Henry Childs, who was the first known settler in the Council area. Another old bachelor, who lived farther up Hornet Creek than Childs, was John Mulligan. It isn't known just when he arrived here, but it may have been before the first family arrived in 1876.

By 1870, the heyday of placer mining in Idaho Territory was over, other occupations pulled ahead, and the population shrank from its previous high of 20,000 down to 15,000.

All during the 1860s and 1870s, there was continual hue and cry to put all Indians on reservations. But the management of reservations was a bureaucratic quagmire, and the money sent from Congress to support impounded natives was pathetically inadequate. To keep the reservation Indians from starving, they were allowed to leave the reservations and fend for themselves for extended periods.

In 1873, the Modoc Indians in south western Oregon chose to fight rather than return to their reservation. The resulting Modoc War instilled deep apprehension in both Whites and natives in Idaho. Everyone realized that the situation here was teetering on the brink of the same kind of disaster.

Even though Eagle Eye's Shoshoni band along the Weiser River kept a low profile, they were the target of a great deal of white resentment because their territory was the site of larger and larger intertribal gatherings. As tribes from outside the Council Valley began to visit this last place of refuge in growing numbers, some of the outside Indians stayed permanently. In spite of the odds against peaceful coexistence, Eagle Eye was able to maintain relative tranquility between the whites and all the natives who visited, or lived, in his area.

In March of 1874, Eagle Eye was ordered to bring his band in to the Fort Hall reservation. He refused, and because of a lack of funds, the authorities were unable to enforce the order.

The next year (1875), the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce tribe was ordered to surrender to reservation life, and their lands were opened to white settlement. This was the band of which Chief Joseph was a member, and was the last of the free-roaming bands of the Nez Perce. The Wallowas refused to come in, but the government was still too under-funded and disorganized to do anything about them or Eagle Eye.

The following summer (1876), settlers on the upper Weiser heard rumors through local Indians about a big Indian victory over the horse soldiers. The battle had supposedly occurred very recently in the buffalo country east of the Rocky Mountains. Days later, vivid accounts came from Boise of how Indian savages had slaughtered Custer's valiant Seventh Cavalry on the Little Big Horn River in Montana. How the Weiser Indians had received word of this battle before local whites had heard about it left the settlers feeling uneasy. News of the Custer massacre only accented the fears of Idaho whites, and deepened their resolve to rid the Territory of Indians.

(I can't remember who told me the story just mentioned. If anyone can give me the name of an old timer from whom they heard this, I would feel better about including it in my book. Call me: 253-4582.)

The family of George and Elizabeth Moser was the first white family to settle in the Council Valley, arriving in the fall of 1876. When the Mosers first arrived at the present site of Council, they camped along a tiny creek, a short distance west of where the creek flowed between a small, rocky knob and a larger hill that sat, somewhat conspicuously, in the southern part of the valley. This camp site was in what would someday be the west side of Council, just west of the present intersection of Moser and Railroad streets, near where the train depot later stood. The fact that much of the area was a jungle of brush indicated that there was good farm land underneath.

Near this location, there was a fork in the well-worn trail through the valley. The west branch was an Indian trail that went up Hornet Creek, and on to the Seven Devils Mountains. Even though copper deposits had been found in the Seven Devils fourteen years earlier, there was little or no mining activity there when the Mosers arrived. The main trail, probably also originally and Indian path, was being used by pack trains going on north to Salmon Meadows (later called Meadows Valley) and the gold mining country around Warren and Florence. There were still no wagon roads this side of Indian Valley at that time, but the trail north was well traveled. Since Warren had swollen to a population of about 5,000, pack trains of up to 100 animals sometimes traveled this route, just to supply the town with flour from Cuddy's mill near present-day Cambridge.

Soon, the Mosers built a log cabin (and another one shortly afterwards) just north of the creek and south west of the hill. The cabins were about where Ruben's is now, west of the town square (park). In one old photo, it looks like one of the Moser cabins may have stood right in the middle of what is now Moser Ave. Their homestead encompassed most of what would become the west side of Council, including the town square, Courthouse hill and the land on which the schools now stand.

You may notice that "Moser" Avenue is generally misspelled as "Mosher" on the street signs. This mistake was made at least as early as 1899 by an engineer who drew the first plat of the town. He spelled it right every time in the plat text, but when he wrote it on the map itself it was wrong. Elizabeth Moser didn't notice it for a good reason - she was illiterate. She signed the document with an "X". Every time the plat was copied from then on, engineers simply duplicated the names from the old plat. This is why we have lived with this insult to Council's first family for almost a hundred years now. Every editor in every newspaper within a hundred miles of here has ignored this stupid mistake and printed it as "Moser" when referring to this avenue. I think it's about time the name of the avenue was spelled correctly.

To remind you just what the plan is at the Council museum, if we can raise $10,000, Evea Harrington Powers will match that amount so that we will have $20,000 to improve the museum. We have plans drawn up and approved to build an addition onto the City Hall building where the museum is now housed in very a crowded space. We have about $2,900 so far. We have applied for several grants, but none have come through.

I would like to thank Carlos and Ella Weed for a very generous donation. Carlos reminded me of the fact that your contribution to the museum is tax deductible if you itemize. I hope you will think about helping with the project by donating. A museum with a higher profile in the community is the single most cost effective thing Council can do to increase its tourist trade. If you are serious about improving Council's economy, get behind this plan. If ever we needed this, it is now. We can sit and cry about our bad luck, or we can stand up and pull together. Mail contributions to the Winkler Museum, Box 252, Council, ID 83612.

History Corner 2-23-95

by Dale Fisk

The year after the Moser's arrived (1877), two more families settled in the Council Valley: the Whites and Lovelesses.

Robert and Ellenor White and their children had traveled West with the Mosers, but had spent the winter in Boise before continuing to Council Valley. Robert later became Council's first Postmaster, first school teacher, and probably the first justice of the peace.

Zadock Loveless was a widower who came here with his son Bill. They took up a parcel of land that joined the north end of the Moser property. Lucy McMahan, an early pioneer of the area, said that Loveless built the first house in Council in 1876, but didn't live here until 1877.

The new families had barely settled into their new locations, when a storm of terror blew in from the north.

The following story is purely fictional, although the names, ages, places and background events depicted here are true to the facts as recorded.

George Reibolt was dog tired and sagged wearily in the saddle as he rode into the Council Valley. He had been riding all night in a desperate effort to get to Boise as soon as possible.

As Reibolt approached the Moser place, there was a wagon and team out front. Sixteen-year-old Lewis Harrington sat in the shade of the wagon and watched the rider approach. Lewis's nine year old brother, Robert, and their younger sister, Mary, were playing along the creek about a hundred feet south of the Moser cabin. George dismounted in front of Lewis.

"Son, will you water my horse for me?" Lewis took the reins. "Make sure he drinks slowly, and not too much. He's pretty hot," George added. Lewis was irritated that the man would think he needed to be told how to take care of a horse. After all, he was practically a grown man.

George turned toward the cabin as two men sauntered out to greet him. Introductions were made all around. The younger man, who appeared to be about forty, was Reil Harrington. Harrington, a widower, had come to Indian Valley with his four children the year before. His oldest boy, James, had not come with them today on this trip to examine some potential homestead land on Hornet Creek. George Reibolt had never met George Moser, but he had certainly heard of him.

"You look like you're in a devil of a hurry, George," Moser said.

"Yes Sir, I am." Reibolt handed him an envelope. "I left Warrens late yesterday, and I need to get this to Governor Brayman as soon as possible."

Moser unfolded the letter, and, with Reil looking over his shoulder, began reading. The first sentence sent a chill up his spine and almost made him drop the letter: "The Nez Perce Indians are on the warpath." As he read on as quickly as he could, his anxiety grew. Names and locations of men, women and little children who had been murdered seemed to go on interminably. Worst of all, it was obvious that the savages were heading SOUTH. One statement referring to the little town of Mount Idaho jumped out at him:"It is greatly feared that the entire Settlement has been annihilated...."

Moser and Harrington finished reading the letter and looked up silently at Reibolt as if they wanted him to say it was all untrue. Instead, he added to their fears.

"It gets worse," he started hesitantly. "Cavalry troops had a fight with the savages in White Bird canyon, and got beat pretty bad ... lost 36 men. The hostiles are headed this way, and the soldiers can't stop 'em."

The shaken men abruptly wrapped up their conversation, and Reibolt went on his way south. Reil Harrington gathered his children into the wagon and hurried along the rough wagon trail in the same direction. The word was spread quickly, and soon the Whites, Lovelesses and Henry Childs followed Reibolt and the Harringtons.


Some of the early "information" that spread about the Nez Perce war was untrue or exaggerated, but is included because it is what the settlers heard. The last statement, attributed to Reibolt, is from a letter sent to Governor Brayman from Milton Kelley of Indian Valley, and sent on to Boise with Reibolt. Although it was initially reported in the letter that 36 soldiers had been killed at Whitebird, there were really 34 killed and four wounded. No Indians were killed until later battles.

When the Council Valley settlers arrived at William Munday's farm (at or near the present home of Ralph and Scotty Yantis), they found about 20 to 25 women and children, and about that many men, gathered in a confused state of panic.

Among this congregation was the family of Alex and Martha Kesler, and Alex's brother, Andrew. They had arrived in the Salubria Valley about a year earlier. Only about two thirds of the men had guns, and ammunition was very scarce. George Reibolt continued on to Boise, accompanied by Edgar or Abner Hall. They carried letters from the local citizens in which they practically begged Territorial Governor Brayman to send 100 well-armed citizens, 25 more guns for local men, and 2,000 rounds of ammunition. On the outside of one letter, was penciled, "Those Indians are blood thirsty. They are getting all the supplies and Liquor they want and will jump on fresh horse and come here in 36 hours after they leave Salmon if they come this way."

The fear that Council and Indian Valley settlers had of Indians during this time is hard to overstate. The morbid details of the Custer disaster, that had occurred almost exactly a year earlier, were still a common topic of discussion. Indians were pretty much roaming wherever they pleased all over the Territory during this time, and now there was serious concern that Eagle Eye's group would join in the fighting and slaughter every white person they could find.

The fear of Indian attack in this part of the Territory almost invariably proved worse than the actual danger. According to Indian Valley lore, in one tragic case, it was fatal. Margaret Hall was left home alone at Indian Valley a great deal of the time because her sons (Edgar and Abner) and husband (Solon) were often gone, carrying mail. She was hysterically afraid that Indians would attack her at these times. In 1877 her fear overcame her and she took her own life rather than live with such horror. Such stories are not altogether uncommon in the history of the West. More than a few pioneer women felt overwhelmed by feelings of being trapped and alone in the middle of nowhere.

Again, I'm sad to note to passing of another Council Valley Landmark. Ed Kesler was, if I have my facts straight, the great grandson of Alex Kesler, mentioned above. He will be missed. Ed was involved with the museum as much as his health would allow during the past couple of years. This column is written to promote support for the Council museum. The current balance in our account is about $2,900. We need at least $10,000 to start our much needed museum addition project. Please help. Donations made as memorials will be acknowledged in this column, along with the name of the person in who's honor the contribution was made. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 252, Council, ID 83612. Make your check out to the Winkler Museum.


This column detailed the Nez Perce War

Started Pennies for the Past drive.


The 1878 Bannock War


End of Bannock War – solicited photos from the community

History Corner 3-23-95

by Dale Fisk

During the Bannock War, a significant wagon train reached Boise. This group of immigrants contained more people who would become pioneers of the Council Valley than any single group before or since. It also must have been one of the most complexly interrelated groups. Among the crew were:

Hardy and Rena Harp, and their two small sons

William and Jane Harp, and two sons

Sam Harp (single)

16 year old Elizabeth Harp

George and Martha Robertson (Martha was the sister of Hardy, William, Sam and Elizabeth Harp)

James Copeland and his very pregnant wife, Ida

George A. and Letitia Winkler and their children:

George M.(1856-1920), Mark (1858-1921), William F. (1866-1939), Lewis (1867- 1952), James (1869-1956)

The group was bound for the Council Valley, enticed there by the presence of the Keslers. Martha Kesler (Alex's wife) was Letitia Winkler's sister and Ida Copeland's mother. When the group had reached Missouri, George M. Winkler (George and Letitia's son) and Elizabeth Harp had eloped and gotten married before returning to the caravan. Now, the Robertsons, Harps, Copelands, Keslers and Winklers were all related to each other through one marriage or another.

Since Boise was the last real outpost of civilization in the general area, the Harps and Robertsons decided to stay near there until they could decide for sure where they wanted to settle.

The Winklers and Copelands rolled into the Council Valley on August 6, 1878. The worst of the Bannock War was over, but the settlers here were still spending time in the fort. When Ida Copeland gave birth in a small log cabin near the fort in September, William Copeland became the first white child to be born in the Council Valley. Edgar Moser has sometimes been credited with this distinction, but he was not born until about four months later, in January of 1879. The first white girl born here was Matilda Moser, in 1881.

It is interesting to note that about this time the Council area was often referred to as "Hornet" or "Hornet Creek". This seems reasonable, since it is at this point along the Weiser River that Hornet Creek enters it.

Lucy McMahan said, "In 1877 the settlers met to name the valley. The majority wanted to call it "Moser Valley", but Mr. Moser objected to the name. So they decided to call it Council Valley,...". The next year (1878) the Postal Department allowed "Council Valley" as the official name of the post office here.

George Moser's nickname was "Buckshot", and some early residents referred to the town by that name, even long after the it was officially named Council in 1896.

I would like to thank Mary Owens for a donation in memory of Ed Kesler. Thanks Mary. Our fund stands at about $3,240. The Pennies for the Past drive is kind of fun, and is bringing in a pretty good haul of them - about $50 worth so far. Keep 'em comin'! So far, none of our grant applications have panned out, but ACDC may be able to get a good chunk of money from Farm Bill funds. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

Don't forget the slide show Saturday night (25th) at the library at 8 PM. I guarantee you will learn some interesting things you didn't know about the history of this town.

Our plans to make plans with the state archivist didn't pan out last week (twice), so we are trying again today (Friday, 24th). We kind of have to wait until we meet with him to start our photo gathering campaign. The short version of the story is that we got a grant from the Humanities Council to copy and preserve historic photographs. Please start digging them out of the closets! This is our big chance to do it right. Remember, we are especially desperate for old Fruitvale photos. There don't seem to be any of the old stores. We need pictures of people, places, events .. anything relative to Council's history up to the present.

Next week starts the only real story of Indian vs Settler violence in the history of this area. Don't miss it.


by Dale Fisk

It was almost midnight as Edgar Hall approached the outskirts of Boise City. His horse stumbled and almost fell as the exhausted animal struggled to keep going through the blackness. The bottoms of Edgar's pant legs were stiff with dried, lathered horse sweat. He had been in the saddle for 16 hours without a rest. The bones in his backside felt like they had cut completely through the muscles to rub relentlessly against the hard leather seat of the saddle, and his legs ached for relief. He had left Indian Valley at 8:00 AM that morning, and the only thing that had kept him going for the past 100 miles was the hope that Sylvester Smith was still alive, and that Edgar could send a doctor to him in time.

The August 22, 1878 issue of Boise's newspaper, the Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman, was filled with accounts of various military units in pursuit of hostile Indians all over the West. Almost as a casual side note, there was a brief remark among the outlying-area news items. It said mail carrier, Solan Hall, had reported that Indians had stolen three horses at Indian Valley. This simple announcement would turn out to be opening sentence in one of the most violent and tragic chapters in the history of Adams County.

About a day and a half after the routine news of William Munday's stolen horses was printed, the quiet slumber of the troops at the Boise Barracks was disrupted about midnight by an exhausted, young man. It was Solon Hall's 19 year old son, Edgar. He said that a doctor was badly needed. Three men had been killed by Indians, and a fourth victim was lying seriously wounded at Calvin White's cabin at Salmon Meadows (now called Meadows Valley).

The story of the "Long Valley Massacre" has been retold and expounded until the real, factual details of the event may never be known. There was only one eye witness who survived the massacre, and he left no first hand account. It is known that the chain of events started on Saturday, August 17, 1878 when Indians stole some horses at Indian Valley. Stories of the number of animals that were taken range wildly, from three horses to sixty. Whatever the number, William Munday seems to have been the principle victim of the crime.

One improbable account of a possible contributing factor in the thievery was an incident that reportedly occurred earlier that summer. About 70 Indians under Eagle Eye's leadership were said to have been camped at Indian Valley near the farm of Tom Hailey. The Hailey place was south east of "downtown" Indian Valley, at or near the present Atkins ranch. Hailey was said to have had an Indian wife. The Indians were "holding pow-wows" in the evenings, on a hill near the Hailey house. Hailey told them "If you don't stop that, the Whites will kill every last one of you." So they stopped, but "kept plotting against the whites". Because of this, a grudge was supposedly initiated against Hailey and/or whites in general.

Spelling in those days was not standardized as it is today. This applied to names as well. The name "Hailey" was also spelled "Healy, Healey, or Haily" in various accounts.

Solon Hall and his sons, Edgar and Abner (Abby), farmed at Indian Valley and carried mail on the 125 mile route between there and Warren. William Munday was the Postmaster at the Indian Valley Post Office. His name could also be spelled "Monday". His house was at or near what is Ralph and Scotty Yantis's place now. If you remember, in a recent History Corner I told how the panicked settlers had gathered at Munday's place before they built a fort, during the Nez Perce War the year before.

One account says that Munday was working for Solon Hall at the time the horses were stolen, harvesting hay or grain. Munday reportedly left his team tied to a wagon for the night, and they were gone the next morning. Ellis Snow's account said that Munday owned a reaper drawn by four horses, and was cutting Hall's grain. He said the horses were stolen after they had been turned loose to graze for the night.

Munday was said to have been friends with certain Indians, and that he had hired them to help on his farm. It is doubtful that the horses were stolen by these natives. The Indians were probably one of many wandering fragments of hostile bands from outside the area that simply took advantage of the opportunity for the time-honored Native American practice of stealing horses from an enemy.

To be continued next week.

This column is written to promote the Council Museum. We are raising money for a badly needed addition to our current space. (Our bank balance is now up to about $3,350.) Please help by making a donation at City Hall, mailing a check to Box 252, Council, or by dropping something into the "Pennies for the Past" jars around town. You don't have to put your pennies into rolls. We can do it for you.

Hey! We had a great turnout at the slide show Saturday night. Thanks. Hope you all enjoyed it.

Bob Thompson sent photocopies of pictures of Placer Basin and more. He also sent a list of people he remembered working there. Thanks Bob! I also got a call from people in Riggins who will let us copy their photos of Tamarack taken in 1915. Fantastic!

We finally met with the state archivist concerning the photo project. I can't emphasize enough how important this project is. For one thing, we are using your tax money. That's where the Idaho Humanities Council grant funds came from = about $3500. To accomplish what needs to be done, we need your help. We need new pictures that I know are out there. This is the best chance we will ever have to preserve them. One photo we are looking for is one of Dr. Gerber. Surely somebody has a good one.

Also, we need to recopy some of the photos that you have already let us copy. Here is why. First, this time we will be using a much better camera for higher quality copies. Second, the negatives will be processed and stored in a way that will preserve them for the next hundred years and more, so that our grandchildren and their grandchildren will have the priceless heritage that we treasure.

The reason we haven't announced a time and place to bring pictures, etc. is that we need to wrap up a few loose ends first. In the mean time, please find your old pictures - even ones not so old. We are also interested in old, home movie footage, and are following up on some leads on that. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at 253-4582.


the Long Valley Ambush story continued.


Long Valley Ambush story continued.

History Corner 4-20-95

by Dale Fisk

After interviewing Sylvester Smith at White's Cabin at Meadows, Parker's volunteer group set out for the ambush site. For reasons unknown, Capt. Drum had not yet arrived at the site, even though his unit was much closer and knew about the attack at least a day earlier than the volunteers.

Parker's group found 14 empty cartridges scattered around the bodies of the victims; their cartridge belts lay empty beside them. The rifles contained only empty shells. This evidently was all the ammunition the men had with them, as it seemed obvious to Parker and the others that the Indians had not disturbed the bodies at all to steal anything. It appeared that the Indians had left in a hurry immediately after being unable to find Smith.

Figuring that the army troop would arrive soon and bury the dead, the four followed the trail of the Indians for two days and nights, until a heavy rain storm wiped out any sign of the tracks. They returned to the battle site, and found that the army had buried the bodies and inscribed the names of the victims on a rock above the common grave. Along with the names, were the date of the ambush (August 20, 1878) under and image of crossed rifles. A hand carved on the rock pointed to the grave.

Parker's group must have been completely out of rations, because they dug discarded bacon rinds out of the fire pits left behind by the army, and ate them. The next day, Parker's group found the troop, spent one night with them and then went on to White's cabin to check on Smith. The doctor had left for Boise the day before, leaving the assurance that his patient was recovering so well that he "could not be killed with and axe". The four then returned to Weiser.

Captain Drum later reported what he had found at the massacre site. He said that the bodies of the slain men were about sixty yards from the spot where they had been killed. He continued:

"The bodies had been thrown together in a pile by the Indians, but had not been scalped or mutilated. At the moment of attack Munday had been shot dead by a bullet through he heart and had fallen from his horse, leaving his gun hanging to the horn of the saddle. The gun was found where it had been dropped by Munday's horse when he ran from the scene. Groseclose was fatally shot soon after dismounting and his horse fell into the hands of the Indians, but being a vicious and refractory animal the horse escaped from them and was afterwards found running in the hills some distance from the scene of the murder and was with difficulty caught and brought in. Tom Healy made a fight with the Indians, from behind the rocks where he first took up a position, as three empty cartridges were found at that spot.

Parker reported that at least some of the horses had been killed, saying, "The carcasses of the horses were far apart in the valley."

Smith had said that there had been at least 75 Indians in the group that attacked his group, but Drum found sign of only fifteen at the most, and maybe as few as only five.

Drum's unit followed the Indians trail at least eight miles past the ambush site. Here, at "Pearsall's Diggins", they found the bodies of two prospectors who had evidently been killed the day after the Munday ambush, by the same Indians. One man was a Mr. Wilheim from Idaho City. Not description was given as to how or where his body was found, but the Statesman printed a grizzly account of the second victim, Daniel Crooks of Mount Idaho:

"Crooks was found some distance from the spot where the two were first attacked, lying in the grass on his back. The grass was beaten down all around him, as if a violent struggle had taken place. He had been shot through the body, and the last shot, which seemed to have been given where he was found, was in the head at close range, tearing completely of the frontal part of the skull and brain. He still held a rope in his hand and was probably running to get his horse,..."

Many years later, Bill Winkler gave the distinct impression that Three Fingered Smith knew exactly who at least four of the Indians were. They were supposedly Eagle Eye, War Jack(Shoshoni), Chuck (Lemhi Shoshoni) and Booyer (Blackfoot). Winkler said that, after spending "some years" in Wyoming, Smith traveled about the country, locating and killing Chuck and Booyer. Apparently he couldn't locate War Jack or Eagle Eye.

I find Winkler's story very improbable. All during the investigation, there was no indication that anyone involved had a clue as to the identities of the Indians. The only guess was made by General Howard, at Walla Walla. He believed it was hostile Nez Perce (returned from Canada) from White Bird's band who had done the killing. One would think that if Smith knew who had murdered three of his friends and neighbors, he would have immediately informed Captain Drum and anyone else who could bring them to justice. Aaron Parker met with Smith again only five years after the massacre (1883) and interviewed him a second time. Again, either Smith evidently said nothing about who the Indians were or about his having wreaked revenge on them. If he had, Parker would certainly have included it in his account.

It is no surprise that Eagle Eye was a prime suspect, as he was usually blamed for almost every real or imagined native depredation that occurred within a weeks ride. Ironically, there were eye witness reports that Eagle Eye had been killed in the battle with the Umatillas just the month before this massacre. These reports were false.

Old time Indian fighter Ewing Craig "Pinky" Baird, who was an independent Indian scout during this time, and who was later a Council resident, boasted to Bill Winkler that he had personally shot and killed Eagle Eye sometime after the Long Valley Massacre. Baird bragged that he had shot the Indian in the back while the man was getting a drink from a stream. Either Baird coldly executed an Indian that he thought was Eagle Eye, or he was a bald-faced liar. Eagle Eye died of natural causes years later. Whether or not Baird actually believed he had killed Eagle Eye, he went so far as to give Charley Winkler a pair of moccasins that he claimed Eagle Eye was wearing at the time he killed the chief. These moccasins are now in the Winkler Museum in Council.

Sylvester Smith eventually recovered from his wounds, but his health was never the same again. He probably wasn't actually known by his nick name "Three Fingers" or Three Fingered" until sometime after the Long Valley Massacre. He received this title after an accident. Visiting with a friend, Smith had one foot on the bottom rail of a fence, with his hands folded together, resting over the business end of his muzzle-loading shotgun. His foot slipped off the rail, his knee hit the hammer of the gun and it went off. When the smoke cleared, the middle two fingers on each of Smith's hands were gone.

In 1929, the Sons of Idaho organization mounted a plaque on one of the rocks at the massacre grave site. Part of our photo project, which is funded by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, will be to get some good photos of the grave site that were taken at about the time the plaque was placed there. I've been told the grave and markers are about 200 yards north east of the Cascade Reservoir dam. If anyone has better directions, give me a call. I would like to find the spot.

We have finally set a date for our open house and photo session at the museum. We will be holding two afternoon - evening sessions from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM on consecutive Fridays, May 5 and 12 at the museum. Please bring your photos at that time to be copied. If you will not be able to do this, please call me and make other arrangements. If anybody has a light table (copy stand) that we could use for a couple weeks to copy photos, please call me. (253-4582) Stay tuned for more info.


Started with: “A photograph captures a fleeting instant... the way things were for the fraction of a second that the camera shutter was open.”

History Corner 5-5-95

by Dale Fisk

If you are reading this on Friday, May 5, the museum board is at the museum copying old photos, talking to people about the stories behind the pictures they bring in and generally having a good time while working very hard. Come on in, whether you have photos or not. We'll be here from 1 PM until 8 PM, and the same next Friday, the 12th. I have a cassette tape recorded to go with the slide show about Council's history, so if you want to see it, you can on either Friday. It's a half hour long.

I have to tell you about the wonderful photo discoveries so far in this project. Last week, I stopped at the Weiser Court House and saw Lisa McKnight, the great granddaughter of Frank Harris. Harris was an attorney and judge in this area in the early days. Lisa has a photo album with pictures of Frenchy David and his daughter, the inside of the Blue Jacket Mine with men at work, views of Landore that I had never seen, and more. She said I could copy any of them I liked. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

The next day, I visited with Willard Bethel in Boise. He is June Childers's brother, and a great guy. He was born, and spent many of his formative years, at Fruitvale. He had a few great photos, including area pioneers such as Bill and Jane Harp, Miles Chaffee and George and Martha Robertson. He also gave me the name and number of someone who probably has more.

Then I spent several hours looking through the files of the State Historical Library and Archives. I had done this before, and found over 60 photos that we don't have and are relevant to our local history. This time, I went through a set of files I hadn't noticed before, and found bunches more. Maybe the most interesting one was of Sylvester "Three Fingered" Smith, the man who survived the Long Valley Massacre that has been the subject of my last few articles. It is a very poor photo, but what an exciting find! We are working on a trade between the Historical Society and our museum for copies of some of these pictures.

It is really sad to think about all the wonderful pictures that have been lost over the years. I find mention of them once in a while in the old newspapers. Here are a few examples.

In the Idaho Citizen newspaper, Aug 7, 1891, there was mention that "Professor Rhodes has taken many photos of the Seven Devils recently." The same paper, in 1896, said, "Photographer, D. Marsh, of Weiser, is in Council where he will remain about a week." We may have some of his photos in our collection. The Weiser Signal, July 16, 1904, talking about happenings in the Seven Devils, said, "Every eight days, Stuart French, the official photographer of the company, takes views of the town (Landore) to keep tabs on the splendid progress." We probably have some of those too.

One that makes me very curious is a reference in the Council Leader, Apr 30, 1909. It mentions a "folder" published by the Pacific & Idaho Northern Railroad with articles and photos about the area between Weiser to Long Valley. What I wouldn't give for a copy!

In the Council Leader, Fri. July 2, 1909: "P. Van Graven, Weiser photographer took some fine photos of the Council area last week." In the Council Leader, Fri. July 2, 1909 it was mentioned that W.T. Colvin has purchased the Rocky Mt. photo car, and "will be a permanent stand hereafter at Council." Does anybody know what that was about?

In the Adams County Leader, Jan 23, 1931, it was reported that Frank Peters brought big timbers through town for the new bridge across the Weiser river at the mouth of Cottonwood creek, from Pole Creek with 2 four horse teams and special sleds. W.F. Winkler took a good photo. If we have those in the museum, I don't remember seeing them.

Just about everyone has seen the 1911 or 1912 picture of Adams County's first officials standing in front of the first court house. J.D. Neale was the superintendent of schools at the time and was in the photo. Years later, in 1936, Neale said, "I am always impressed with the brutal frankness with which myself and my friends there have their likenesses recorded for posterity."

The Adams County Leader, July 21, 1939 said that the July 10 issue of Life magazine featured a photo of "Hell's Canyon". Anybody have a copy of that issue?

There is a picture of Council in the library, and at the museum, that was taken from an airplane. We didn't know exactly when it was taken, but I ran across info on it in the Adams County Leader for Feb 6, 1948. The photo was on the front page. It was taken by Howard Jeppson (formerly of Council) and Fred Ulrich of Boise in January of that year.

Speaking of old photos and losing them. Right now would be a good time to get out your pen and write the names of the people on the back of your family photos. So many times, the older members of a family die and leave old pictures that nobody knows anything about. Please don't let this happen to the priceless legacy you have to leave your descendants. Go through your old pictures, write who, where and when on the back of them, and while you're at it pick out the ones that should be copied for the museum.


by Dale Fisk

Jim Camp told me something very interesting about the Long Valley Massacre site. It's underwater. [Later—It is not underwater] No wonder I couldn't find it. I knew that the Cascade Reservoir was only created fairly recently (1950s?). Jim says he's pretty sure that the remains of the men killed in the ambush were moved to another location. I have seen photos of a metal plaque (placed there in 1929) and of a marble headstone (placed when?) with the names of the men on it. The head stone was surely moved to the new grave site. If anybody has some information about this, especially the location of the new grave site, please let me in on it. This is such a dramatic story, that it would be nice to know.

We're making great progress on the photo project. We have copied about 75 new photos so far, and we know of more that will be brought in. I went to Geneva Barry's house last week and copied a bunch of pictures concerning Indian Valley history. She has one of her relatives standing in front of Solan Hall's old house. The Lindsays bought Hall's house in 1881. It stood about where Geneva lives now, at 700 Indian Valley road.

Geneva told me a little about how a number of women from this area went to work in defense plants in Seattle and Portland during WWII. During this 50th anniversary of the end of the war, most of the attention is, of course, going to the men who sacrificed so much. Geneva's story is an interesting example. She left two small children behind in 1942, and went to Seattle to work in a sheet metal plant. She assembled air ducts for airplanes. Then she worked as a welder at a ship yard in Portland for about two years. She said jobs were scarce in this area, and the jobs that a person could find, didn't pay much. I think she said they were paid 72 cents an hour in the defense plants, and that was pretty good money at the time.

Geneva is related to the Lindsays, Linders, Haworths and Mannings of Indian Valley. Mel Manning brought in some great pictures of the Mannings and other Indian Valley people, places and events. We copied some of the rodeo at the Adams County fair that was held in Indian Valley in, I think it was the 1920s. The "arena" seemed to be an open field with no fence around it, and the ground looks very hard to get bucked off onto. Some of the pictures of area cowboys of the time look like they came right out of Hollywood.

Speaking of the Mannings, one of the best stories to go with a photo is the one that goes with a picture of Edward Manning. He is said to have been the one who is responsible for bringing the first crab grass to this area. He raved about the hardiness and nutritional value of this new variety of grass, and bought enough to plant 40 acres. Well ... it certainly is hardy. Thanks Ed.

Hank Daniels brought in some prints and slides of Council in the 1960s. Remember when the drygoods department of Shavers was a bank? Remember the old Ham's Texaco station? Unfortunately, Hank didn't have a good one of the Texaco station. We have a good one of it in about 1925, but we would like a later one too. Doesn't ANYBODY have one?

A couple people have mentioned having old home movies of the Council area. The most exciting one was shot during the 1930s, and includes the Adams County Rodeo. We are going to look into how to preserve or copy or get still photos ... or ? ... from these. Anybody have any ideas or experience with this? We would sure like some info.

We are still looking for some pictures that we know are out there somewhere because they have been published in the local newspapers. One is a view of the town square with the "Addington Auto Company" in the background. It shows a large group of people planting the locust trees there in 1917 on New Years day. Please, somebody help us find this one! The text under the picture says that it came from "the Addington collection at the Council Library", but the library certainly doesn't have it now. It was printed in the Record - don't know what issue. All I have is the cut out clipping from the paper.

Another one that we absolutely must find shows the McMahan school at Fruitvale in 1907. It was brought to the Record by Millie Bethel - don't know what year, but it was January, and Don Mentor was the Council Mayor. It's not important when it was in the paper, but I hope somebody can tell me who has this photograph now.

Another one is of Council's main street (Illinois Ave.) looking west in 1913 or1914. It shows the Weed store, Freehaffer's restaurant, Rainwater's grocery, and the whole north side of the street from there west to where Shavers is now. It ran in the Record twice, and was brought in by Lydia Bokamper. Please help us track it down.

We will be at the museum again this Friday (May 12) from 1 PM to 8 PM copying photos that you bring in, and generally gathering info and working on our photo project. Bring in your photos or just drop by to get in on the fun. If you have photos that are in an album, we can copy them without taking them out or harming them in any way.

Don't forget about donating anything you can to our museum improvement project. The pennies are still rolling in. If this were a contest, the Seven Devils cafe and the Library would be neck and neck as to which penny collection jar received the most money so far.

I took my slide show to the fourth grade class last week, and they put together a donation of $9.67 for the museum. Then Jeremy Stoker brought me another $1.50 on his own.

Our bank balance is now close to $3800. Our very sincere thanks to all of you who have given to this cause, in whatever amount. It is very, very appreciated.

History Corner 5-19-95

by Dale Fisk

All the recent talk about state's rights reminds me of another time in America when people were outraged at the Federal Government for some of the same reasons as they are now. It resulted in the biggest loss of life in this country that ever came before or since. More Americans were killed over this issue than all those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars combined plus every other U.S. war in history thrown in. In just three days of this conflict over state's rights, almost as many men were killed as were lost in Vietnam.

Of course I'm referring to our Civil War. Slavery was one of the issues that led up to the war, but think about one obvious fact. Why would anyone give their life for something they already had? Slavery was perfectly legal in every state that rebelled against the Union. Slavery didn't become a major focal point of the conflict until Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation half way through the war, as a tactical maneuver designed to cause chaos in the South.

Then, as now, one of the main issues was that many in the South saw the government as an overbearing bureaucracy that was dominated by city people who didn't know or care anything about life in the South, i.e. - Northerners who represented a more urban and industrialized way of life. But enough about that.

I have to note the passing of a true Landmark in the Council Valley - Fred Lappin. He was a fine man. His father was one of the first fruit growers here, and Lappin Lane is named after the family. Fred ran the ranch that Rich Anderson has now, for many years .

Our photo session Friday was great. We started copying photographs just after 1 o'clock and didn't really get a break until we quit at 8 PM. We copied about 120 photos! It's hard to pick favorites, but Galen York should get a prize for bringing in the only known photo of the Middle Fork school. Galen also had pictures of teams and scrapers building the Lost Valley Reservoir Dam.

Other photos included one of a sawmill crew at Tamarack in 1915, the Shaw and Harrington families, the old Congregational church (the one before this one), the Adams County rodeo in 1949, Ike, Lillie and Herbie Glenn, and many more.

Bobbie Darland brought in a photo of a young Dr. Dora Gerber, our former resident Dentist of many years. This was in keeping with the fact that the Idaho Historical Society delivered some of Dr. Gerber's equipment to the museum that day. They brought her old chair, a white cabinet full of instruments, and boxes containing some other interesting devises, tools, denture making supplies, and ... a big box full of wicked-looking drill bits.

An boy did the stories start to fly! Almost everybody who came in had a story to tell about their experiences with Dr. Gerber. The general consensus was that she did not mind inflicting pain.

My own memories of her come from early childhood. The anticipation of the ordeal while in the waiting room was almost as bad as the actual drilling. She only had the old fashioned, slow, grinding drill that felt like your skull was going to vibrate apart. One of the most welcomed news in my young life was that my parents were going to take me to Weiser to a dentist that actually used novocaine to deaden my teeth before he drilled them!

People say that she did use novocaine for procedures other than simple drilling and filling. But that doesn't mean it was always used effectively. Many of you know what a good story teller Dick Parker is, and I can't do justice to his talent, but basically the story goes as follows. Dick had a couple of teeth that were bothering him. Dr. Gerber took a look at them and said (almost with what seemed like delight in her voice) something to the effect that he could kiss those teeth goodbye. The way she injected the novocaine was absolute proof in Dick's mind that speed and efficiency don't equal tender, loving medical care. The whole dose entered his gum in about half a second. The good doctor immediately brought out her pliers and wrenched the teeth from their sockets. Dick said that about the time he walked out the front door, the novocaine took effect.

On the positive side, people say she made some of the finest dentures to be found anywhere. I hear that her assistant, Mrs. Rubottom, was a valuable asset in this regard. There are still people wearing dentures that were made at Dr. Gerber's office. Her prices were also very reasonable.

It must have been in 1980 that the Health Department closed Dr. Gerber down. The Historical Society was called in to take her equipment. I'm not clear about how they could legally take it, but her methods had become pretty unsanitary. Even her fellow animal lovers probably didn't appreciate being worked on with dogs, cats and chickens wandering about in the same room.

The guys from the Historical Society said that while they were hauling her equipment out the door, she kept trying to grab things out of the various cabinets, etc. It was a sad end to the career of a genuine pioneer.

As near as I can gather, she came to Council from Kendrick, Idaho in the 1940s. Her office was on the north end of the upstairs of the old Drug Store / Doctor's office building that now houses the Ceramic shop. (On the north west corner of Illinois Ave. and Galena St.) She was born in 1889, and would have been about 80 years old when she was forced to retire. She lived to be over 100.

She had a gold mine somewhere up in the Salmon River country. She spoke the Nez Perce language, and someone said that it was the Indians who told her where to find the gold deposit.

I would like to put together more information about Dr. Gerber so that we can have some to go with a display about her and her work for the museum someday. We also need more photos of her. The only one we have shows her long before she came to Council. I would also like to collect more stories and information about her. We know that she has at least one daughter that is said to live in Alaska. If someone has her address, please get it to me.

I would like to point out that we do not have room for any of the dentist equipment, and it was crowded in along side the already crowded items in the museum. This is just one example of the kind of thing we face because we simply are out of room. The addition to the museum for which we are raising money will help solve this problem. We need your help. Donations can be dropped off at City Hall, mailed to me at box 252, Council, or put in one of the Pennies for the Past jars around town.

History Corner 5-26-95

by Dale Fisk

On Saturday, Anna, Blaine and I went on a ride with the Backcountry Horsemen. We went through some beautiful country along the West Fork of the Weiser River that has some interesting history. Unfortunately, much of the history that I have on this specific area is sketchy, so I would appreciate help from people who know more about it.

Some of the riders unloaded at what has been known during my lifetime as the Harvey and Hazel Harrington place on West Fork. It used to be known as the old Bridgewood place. I don't know much about James Bridgewood or his family. They were here in 1913, and the Leader said they moved here to stay in the spring of 1915 from Mountain Home.

The Bill Bear family lived on this place a few years later. Bill had a daughter named Frieda who was remembered as having a beautiful singing voice. She sang at Fruitvale literaries. Literaries were common in the days before TV and radio. People would get together at the local school house and entertain each other with popular songs and the recitation of long poems like "The Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight" and "Picture on the Barroom Floor".

I'm going to tell you about a tragic event about the side of life that is pretty much avoided (for good reason) by local historians. In talking to Heidi Bigler Cole, and other people who know about local history, I keep hearing "... that's not the whole story, but it gets scandalous, and their relatives are still living here." If someone were insensitive, they could undoubtedly write a whole book on the subject. Anyway, story of Frieda Bear is one in which "scandal and shame" led to her death. She became pregnant by a young man from a well known Fruitvale family of the time. She tried to abort the pregnancy herself, and died - probably from bleeding or infection.

At the beginning of our ride, we crossed the river near the mouth of Rocky Gulch, and passed near the old Ryals homestead. William Ryals married Laura Robertson, and they had a cabin there just after 1900. The cabin was just north of the mouth of "Ryals Gulch" on the west side of the West Fork. Their son, Everett (Mel Ryals's father), was born in 1904. William worked away from home much of the time. When he was gone, Laura was apprehensive about the mountain lions in the area, and sometimes had her sister, Millie Robertson (later Bethel) come spend the night with her. William died of what may have been stomach cancer at the age of about 29, when Everett was about four years old. Laura was better known as being married to her later husband, Jim Ward.

We rode up Muckenstrum Canyon, and stopped for lunch at the old Muckensturn homestead. Lee Muckensturn and his son, Frank, lived here, apparently up into the 1930s. Local people pronounced their name as "Muckenstrum" and the canyon is still known by that name. La Dell Merk thought their was a second son. Anybody know about that?

On top of the ridge west of the river, somewhere just south of where the power line now cuts across, we went right by the old Fred Aiken homestead. What a dry place this must have been. Aiken was a World War I vet who told stories about his experiences. The whistling sound that enemy shells made as they plummeted toward the trenches, and the boom when they hit the earth, was stamped indelibly on his memory.

During prohibition, Fred drank several alcohol - laden substitutes for liquor to get inebriated. Among his favorites were lemon and vanilla extract. Sometimes, he would take a wagon and team to Council by way of Hornet Creek, and come back intoxicated to the point of being semi-conscious. Occasionally, his horse would get him as far toward home as the Marks place. They would bring him in an give him a place to sleep until morning, when he would go on home.

Lemule Haines, a man with one wooden leg, homesteaded just to the west of Aikens's. Haines had several sons. At least one of them became blind from drinking the rot-gut moonshine that they made. Another son died from it.

As we rode south, back down the ridge toward the river, we could look down on the old Farlien place. Denny Rice built the house there, and Scisms own it now. Jacob Farlien, and his sons Dan, Henry (Hank) and Bill, lived on the east side of the river, north of Rocky Gulch. They were well known house builders in this area around in the early part of the century. Jacob died in 1913

A meadow along the river that is known by some as the "Dillon Flat" is farther up the West Fork, and we didn't see it on our ride. This spot was owned in the early 1900s by Benjamin (B. J.) and Lena Dillon. Both Dillons were school teachers around Council about 1903. They married here about that time, then moved to Hagerman, Idaho, returning to teach here in 1906. They probably established their homestead on the West Fork at that time. The couple lived in Cambridge for a short time shortly after 1909 while Mr. Dillon apparently moonlighted as a preacher in the Council and Cambridge areas. By 1911, the Dillons were again living here.

Ben was also an attorney, and was once described as "...one of the ablest speakers in the county ..." In 1912, he became the first elected Adams County Prosecuting Attorney. He resigned from this office in 1921.

Lena Dillon taught at the McMahan school house, at least during 1911, 1912 and 1922. Her maiden name was Wiffen, and her sister, Lillian, was married to Art Wilkie.

We were hunting mushrooms there a couple weeks ago, and noticed that there are a bunch of blackberry bushes still there at the Dillon place, and one lonely apple tree. The Fruitvale Echo newspaper reported that the Dillons had as many as three acres planted to potatoes here in 1912. Where the house must have stood, there are the rusted remains of a Majestic brand cook stove and a set of bed springs.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can add to this knowledge about the people I've written about here. 253-4582

Don't forget about the nice quilts that the Worthwhile Club made that are being raffled off to raise money for the museum. The quilts are on display in the window at Shaver's where you can buy tickets.

I keep forgetting to tell everyone that your donations to the museum are looked upon very favorably by the Idaho tax code. You get a 50% tax credit for donations up to $100 (maximum total) on your Idaho taxes for contributions to educational entities such as historical museums. In other words, a $100 donation to the museum could only mean $50 out of your pocket. What a deal!


I'm still getting conflicting accounts about the location of the Long Valley Massacre grave site. If I find it, I'll let you know.

The next year after the massacre (1879) there were several murders along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, and Sheep Eater Indians were accused of committing them. Troops were sent into the area from Boise to capture the "hostiles". The Army spent four months struggling through the rugged country just trying to locate the Indians. Over sixty army mules or horses were lost; most of them killed by falling off the trail on precipitous mountainsides. Ironically, on August 20, exactly one year to the day after the Long Valley Massacre, one of the cavalry units sent after the Sheep Eaters rode into a very similar, fatal ambush. One soldier, Private H. Eagan was killed. This pathetic four-month-long campaign that became known as the "Sheep Eater War", managed to round up a total of 15 warriors and about 36 women, children and old people.

It's interesting to note that among the captured Indians were two men that were later rumored to have been involved in the Long Valley Massacre: "Tamanmo" (or War Jack) and a Weiser Indian named "Buoyer". War Jack was listed by Lieut. Brown, in his journal, as being part Bannock and part Nez Perce, and that he claimed to be the successor to Chief Eagle Eye. His wife and children were also captured. Brown said that Buoyer had only been in the area for about a year, and did not know the country well.

In the early 1880's some Indians still roamed the Idaho mountains. Most were eventually captured, or they surrendered, and were sent to the Fort Hall Reservation. Small groups of Weisers were allowed to leave the reservation from time to time to hunt, fish and gather berries in their old territory. This practice continued into the early 1900's. Many of the old timers around Council when I was a kid remembered Indians coming through here. An Indian woman took a liking to Ike Glenn (Georgiana Parker's father) and tried to buy him from his parents.

Two small groups of Weiser Indians under Eagle Eye and Indian Charley, secretly established permanent homes in a very secluded, out-of-the-way valley south of Long Valley, west of the Payette River, near present day Banks, Idaho. These families built cabins, raised gardens, and planted fruit trees. By combining both white and native life-styles, they were quite self-sufficient. Eagle Eye and Indian Charley were each able to die here, as they had lived: in peace.

I ran across an interesting item in the Salubria Citizen newspaper for June 19,1896 quoted from another Idaho newspaper, the "Index": "Eagle Eye, chief of the Dry Buck Indians is dead, and the tribes are making a powerful lamentation over his remains." It said they put his body in a pit for 10 days, and were taking it out and burning it. The paper blatantly made the claim that Eagle Eye, "was a leader of the band that killed Monday, Haley and Groseclose in Long Valley about 16 years ago."

It would seem that the type of unobtrusive settlement that Eagle Eye's group had established would have been an ideal solution to "the Indian problem". For many years, whites didn't even know they were there. But when they did find out about them, the dark side of human nature raised its ugly head. Even though the Indians filed for rights to their land under the Homestead laws, they were eventually coerced into giving up even this last fragment of their homeland. About 1900, the last remaining members of this group of free native people was imprisoned at the Fort Hall and Lemhi Reservations.

For native Americans, the concentration-camp existence they were forced to live under must have been almost impossible to bear. In their culture, everything sacred, everything that gave purpose and meaning to their lives was based on their relationship with mother earth, from who's arms they had been ruthlessly torn. What cultural values could they pass on to their children when almost every value they understood had been made irrelevant? It seems bitterly ironic that a culture that outwardly professed spirituality, but was really based on rampant materialism, brutally crushed a culture so totally immersed in deep spiritual values.

Today, the wrong that was done to the natives of this country is almost insidious...the stories of their lives mostly unknown... but their former presence here underlies everything that has followed them. The places where we now live, work and play, were all a precious legacy handed down from native fathers and mothers (Landmarks) to sons and daughters for more than 100 centuries longer than the blink of an eye that our European culture has been here.

Imagine a time line, with each foot representing 1,000 years. Going backwards from the present to a point14,000 years ago, about when the first Americans arrived here, the line would be fourteen feet long. Columbus arrived on this continent only six inches ago. Idaho Indians got horses about 3 1/2 inches ago. And the Mosers arrived to settle the Council Valley less than 1 1/2 inches ago.

You may remember my saying how where we live now is like a stage where many unknown dramas have been acted out. Maxine Hallett found an arrow head on the ground just outside her Coleman apartment last week. What stories lie behind it will never be known, but it represents volumes of fascinating tales that lie literally under our feet.


Settlement of this area didn't stop during Nez Perce, Bannock or Sheep Eater Wars. I mentioned Calvin White in the Long Valley Massacre story. It was he who discovered Three Fingered Smith lying wounded near Payette Lake.

White was the first settler in the Meadows Valley, and had only arrived there the year of that massacre and of the Bannock War (1878). He was born in Boston in 1833, and started out his long and eventful career when he was just a boy, going to work on sailing ships. He followed the sea until he was 30 years old, traveling all over the world. He apparently got gold fever and wound up in the Boise Basin during the heyday of that area in 1863. There is a portrait of Cal White, taken during this time, in the files at the State Historical Library.

At a social occasion near Falk's Store in the Payette Valley, White met, and quickly fell in love with Lydia Hopper, a girl from a wagon train headed west. After the train moved on, Cal caught up with it near Baker, and the two were married on the spot. This whirl wind romance apparently worked out. They eventually had nine children.

After living briefly in Garden Valley and Horseshoe Bend, Cal moved his family to Indian Valley about the time of the Nez Perce scare in 1877, and then moved to Meadows the next year, perhaps before the Bannock War heated up.

If you remember, by 1878 there were only a few families in the Council Valley. It was that fall that Robert White (no known relation to Calvin) became the first postmaster in this area when a post office named "Council Valley" was opened. The "office" was nothing more than a small box containing mail that he kept under his bed in his home just north of the present town. There were no individual post office boxes. People may have followed what was sometimes the custom in those types of situations in which each family looked through the box for their mail. So much for privacy.

When Calvin White made his move from Indian Valley to Meadows, the Meadows Valley was known as "Salmon Meadows". The name later evolved to "Meadows Valley". At the time, there was no road north of the Council Valley. White and his partner, W.C. Jennings took the first wagon through between the valleys. They followed the Weiser River bottom, crossing the river repeatedly as the canyon narrowed. They finally gave up this tactic just beyond Starkey. From there, they climbed up onto the ridge tops north and west of the river. Their exact route is unknown, but they reportedly passed through Lost Valley and Price Valley.

Soon afterwards, White and some of the settlers in the Council Valley, built a crude wagon trail between the valleys. The route went over Fort Hall Hill, then dove into the brushy canyon and forded the river 37 times between Glendale and Tamarack.

The White family established the first home (not counting Packer John Welch's layover cabin) in Meadows Valley, as well as the first store and post office. Cal was the first postmaster and carried mail between Indian Valley and Warren. Calvin White died at the age of 94 in 1927.

As nearly as I can tell, it was in 1879 that William Rayle Harrington, as well as Rufus Anderson, came from Indian Valley to settle on Hornet Creek .

It was during this time, before Weiser became established enough to have well-stocked stores, Council Valley residents often went to Boise or Baker City for supplies. A trip to Boise and back took from ten days to two weeks. Even after a wider range of supplies were available in Weiser, it was still a four day journey round trip with a wagon.

In 1882, the Oregon Short Line Railroad reached Weiser. The company was building tracks from Ogden, Utah to Huntington, Oregon to meet a line coming east from Pendleton, Oregon. Having a railroad as close as Weiser was a boon to the people of the Council Valley. It meant that they were that much closer to a real shipping point ... that much closer to being connected to the outside world. Thanks in large part to the closer proximity of the railroad, the population of the Council Valley area rapidly grew throughout the 1880s.

I got a call from Fred Thompson, a former Fruitvale resident (Bob's brother) on Saturday night. . Fred now lives in Bishop, California. He said he has a picture of the Bill Bear family that I mentioned as having lived on the West Fork. He plans to send us a copy of it and some other picutures. It's great to here from people who used to live here and who either still get a Council paper, or have a clipping of the History Corner sent to them. I hope any of you out there will keep in mind that we are still looking for old photos of this area. Don't hesitate to write to me at Box 252, Council or call (208) 253-4582. Also, if you have other things like scrap books or other information that can add to the story of this area, I am very interested in seeing them.

Don't forget our fund drive to improve the museum. Things have been awfully quiet on that front lately. Save your pennies too! Our fund is about $3782 right now.


This week, I have the great pleasure of announcing the most significant development concerning the museum since the launching of our fund drive. The museum project will be receiving $7,000 that ACDC applied for from Farm Bill money! This money will boost our funds over the top of the $10,000 that we need to match Evea Powers's pledge to equal that amount. This means that we can go ahead with final plans to expand the museum!

The museum belongs to the town of Council, and a general plan for the addition was approved by the City Council some time back. There are still some important arrangements to be made as to exactly how the museum activities and city activities will each compliment the function of the other. Hopefully, these loose ends will tie up easily and the project will get underway soon.

Even though this means we have reached a goal that we have been working very hard toward for several years, it doesn't mean we will stop raising funds entirely. The amount we have nailed down should get the addition built, but we will still encounter some expenses as we move and improve the displays. Basically, the more money we have to work with, the better job we can do of making Council a better place to live.

Last week, I ended this column by mentioning the rapid growth in the Council area in the 1880s. In another History Corner some months ago, I wrote about how the town almost got established north of where it is now. The first two post offices, the first store and the first organized school were located on Galena Street (which was the road through the valley) about a mile north of the present town.

The first business in the Valley was the Moser home, which was located about where Ruben's is now. They often housed and fed travelers in their cabin. The next business was probably a blacksmith shop established in 1884 by Frank Mathias. Frank and Clista Mathias's homestead encompassed much of what is now the east side of Council. Their home was at or near what was, until very recently, 303 North Galena street where Fred York's house stood. The blacksmith shop was just south of it on the same (east) side of the road

By 1885, their were about 300 settlers living in the Council Valley. Activity in the Seven Devils had picked up with arrival of Albert Kleinschmidt. There were enough settlers living in the Cottonwood Creek area south of Council that a post office, called "Rose", was established there that year

In the spring of 1885, this "news" item from the Council Valley appeared in the Weiser City Leader: "There is a new town in this valley, which already has two saloons and a blacksmith shop; they will probably call it Snortville, or Spitfire. There is a young lady in Council who loans twenty dollar pieces to all parties who can give good security." One of the hallmarks of 19th century newspaper writers was heavy doses of inside jokes and good-humored leg pulling. Part of this item in the paper, especially the part about the young lady, may have been exaggerated or even untrue. Nevertheless, it does indicate the beginnings of a town, as opposed to a scattered community. The speculated names for the town were probably based on local nicknames. Robert White's nickname was "Uncle Snort" because he was such a story teller. The identity of the two saloons is a mystery, unless someone dispensed liquor out of their home, as there were no saloons here at that time.

John Peters came up from Weiser to establish the first store in the Council Valley (at the location I mentioned north of the present town) in 1888. By this time, so many new families had moved into the Valley that the Weiser paper said the Council Valley was "... cultivated clear up to the timbered foothills.

Plans are being made to have an old fashioned booth at a couple of upcoming local events, partly to promote and raise money for the museum. The events are the Arts and Crafts Festival at the Quilt Show on June 24, and the big fund-raiser for Council scheduled for August 5 & 6. Some help is needed from people in the community. A small, horse-drawn wagon may be needed if one hasn't been found by then. Also needed are: old-style "prairie" type dresses, bonnets, etc. for costumes ... two small, old-fashioned trunks ... and a small, old-fashioned table. The dresses, etc. can be dropped of with Nadine at the General Store in Council. Also, volunteers are needed to help with the booths. If you can help with any of these things, please call Irene Dodge (253-4711) or Mary Sterner (253-6930).


First sawmills in Council area


Early businesses in Council – Council Valley Hotel, etc.


The 1890s, saloons, gang robbed sheep camp on Cuddy one outlaw killed


1901, fire of 1902




Last week I received a history paper written by Grahm Doyle that he wrote when he was in high school here at Council in 1936. He now lives in Meridian. Mr. Doyle interviewed Bill Winkler, Robert Young and Matilda Moser to get some of the information he used, and his paper contained a few very interesting pieces of the puzzle.

One of the original five Council trees was still standing at the time the paper was written. When the Indians met here, they had a “race track” where they would race horses. Robert young remembered competing in some of these races. Young said that the track rand “from a ditch by Hallett's barn, northward for quite some distance...” [Asked if anyone knew the location of this barn]

Doyle's paper contains the names of most of the men that were in the [Dunham Wright] party. Robert Young had an explanation as to why Wright's party tried such a difficult route instead of going on up the Weiser River in some way, as the roads do now: “When Dunham Wright left the wagon train at Middle Valley he did not know of, nor could he see, the valley through her, because of the hills and valleys between Middle Valley and Council Valley. The natural thing the, would be to follow the 'Little Weiser' river canyon. In other words, they parted near the forks of the Weiser river and the Little Weiser and the latter (the right hand fork) looked the easiest.”

Mr. Doyle related that Dee Russell said a tree had grown up through the middle of one of the wagon rims at the burnt wagon site. Does anyone know anything about that?

Several histories mention there were two or three single men living in the Council area when the Moser family settled here. Henry Childs is often mentioned, but the others have been a mystery. Doyle says one man was Dan Gage who had a cabin 'up the valley a few miles,' and another man whose last name was Vanderford who 'resided down the valley.' They were said to be trappers.

Boyle remembered he had his first glass of 3.2% beer when Fred Weed (Carlos' uncle) opened a little beer bar about where Wilson's is now. He said, “This was right after FDR got rid of Prohibition and age hadn't become a factor yet. If you had a dime, you could have a beer.”

The Doyle family lived upstairs in the rear of the drug store building near Dr. Thurston's office, and shared a single toilet “just to the left of the stairs.”

Doyle continued, “I remember that Marion Young built probably the first 'sno-cat' in that part of the world for Dr. Thurston to get around in in the winter. Marion had taken a Model A Ford and put, either one or two axles and wheels between the original ones, and then rigged up some tracks to go around the rear axles and the thing worked reasonably well. He even had retractable wheels and skis on the front.

“I remember that Dr. Thurston made a call in this rig to the Jeff Yarbrough ranch up Hornet Creek in the middle of winter to deliver a baby. “I'm a little fuzzy here, but this may have been in 1933 or 1934. Winters were heavier than they have been since, and I believe an average snow fall was between two and three feet. Not many ranchers or farmers had money in those days, and the doctor took his fee, sometimes in chickens or wood or beef – just about anything.”

“Does anyone remember Al Bounds, a hulk of a man famous for his strength and size?”


History of the Council theater/ Eagle Hall


Fort Hall, early settlers at Fruitvale

It is hard to say exactly who established the fist permanent home at Fruitvale, but the first patented homestead may have bee that of William D. and Rebecca Glenn. They came West from Arkansas in 1881, living briefly in the Grande Ronde Valley of Oregon before moving just south of Council on Cottonwood Creek in 1883. William was 57 and Rebecca was 56 years old when they arrived here. Several of their children , some of them grown, came with them. The best known children were Tom, Joel (Joe), William M. (Bill), and Frank. There were reportedly three other brothers and four girls in the family.

There is some confusion as to just when the Glenns settled where, and when. I'll start with the least confusing.

William D. Glenn homesteaded a place about a mile south of Fruitvale in 1884 and proved up on it in 1889. Confusion come in because his son, William M. Glenn appears to have homesteaded at nearly the same location the same year. I'll refer to William M. Glenn as Bill from here on. Bill's place was about a mile southeast of Fruitvale. His cabin was east of the big white house that sits northeast of the highway cut through that rocky little hill (2514 Fruitvale-Glendale Road).

Ten years later (1894, at the age of 34) he married Mattie (Martha) Hinkle. Mattie's father, Elijah Hinkle, had homesteaded the next place south of the George A. Winkler homestead at about the same time Bill's parents had arrived in the valley. The Hinkle place was about 2.5 miles north of Council and about a half mile west of the present highway. [At the end of Hoover Lane, which is horribly misnamed!] The place later belonged to Ed Snow, and at this writing is occupied by Ned and Glenna Henderson.

Both Bill's and Mattie's fathers had fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, and both families were from Arkansas. Mattie's father, Elijah Hinkle, wrote home during the war and told his wife to spend all their Confederate money. He foresaw that it would be worthless if the South lost the war, as it appeared it might. Mrs. Hinkle couldn't bear to do it, and the useless script was in the family for generations.

Like many families, the Hinkles came West after the war because things got so bad in the South. Family lore says that when they were still in Arkansas, Mrs. Hinkle was accosted by a black man who stopped her buggy by grabbing the bridle of the horse as she was driving home. She whipped the horses into a run and he let go. She didn't tell her husband because she said there had been enough trouble and bloodshed.

Bill and Mattie had two sons, Isaac “Ike” (1896 – 1975) and Herbert “Herbie” (c. 1894 – 1950).

Ike said when he was just "old enough to run around" (probably about 1900), he sometimes saw Indians ride into the valley near their ranch. They rode single file, in a line about a half-mile long, and sometimes made camp down by the river. They usually followed a trail that came down Fort Hall creek and went up the first canyon south of "McMahan's Bluff," the bluff that overlooks Fruitvale on the south. When the Indians came through, they used to buy squash and other vegetables from the Glenn family.i On one occasion an Indian woman wanted more than vegetables. She tried to trade some beads and other things for Ike because she liked his pretty blue eyes.ii

Another of Ike's first memories was of a cougar hunt. A mountain lion had been killing livestock in the Fruitvale area, so one morning after fresh sign was found, the settlers got together to hunt it down. They spread out in a semicircle to the north of where they thought the cat was, and methodically closed in. Ike remembered seeing the lion cornered in the rocks on the steep, east-facing hillside just south of McMahan's Bluff where the men shot it.iii

It was Ike and Herbie who built the white house on the Glenn place in 1925.

In the spring of 1928, Bill Glenn was starting the morning fire in the cook stove when he heard Mattie scream in the next room. He ran in to find her engulfed in flames. The Adams County Leader reported that it wasn't known how she caught fire, but the family story says she was brushing her hair too near the open flame of a lamp. She lived for several days, and died on Friday the 13th. She was about 68 years old. Bill Glenn died in 1937 and is buried at Weiser.

Herbie Glenn was a justice of the peace during the early 1920s. The Adams County Leader noted that Claude Childers married Dora May Haydon at Herbert Glenn's house at Fruitvale. Both were from Wildhorse. No preachers could be found in town, so they went to Herbie. When he married people, Herbie wasn't big on long ceremonies. For instance, when he married Perry McCumpsy and his bride, he said a few mandatory things and then simply blurted out, “You're married!” [This story came from my fahter, Dick Fisk.] Herbie was a County Commissioner later in his life.

Herbie had served in the 347th Machine Gun Battery in WWI, which ws said to have taken part in some of the heaviest fighting of that brutal war. When he came home, he had occasional trouble with what was then called “shell shock. Today it is called Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome. He once remarked that he had seen a tank track run over and crush a man's head. I don't want to give the impression that Herbie was disable in any way. He wasn't. And he was well-liked and respected in the community. But there were times when his traumatic experiences seemed to weigh on him. On one occasion, when driving some cattle with some other Fruitvale men, he road up through the herd as if in a trance, scattering cattle on either side of him. One day in the fall of 1950 my dad drove by Herbie and saw him sitting in his car, just staring off into space. Herbie was 67 at the time. The very next day, Dad heard that Herbie had gone into the bathroom in the house that he had helped build and ended his life with a Winchester rifle. [He fell against the door, and to get him out, men had to crawl in through the window.]

In the 1930s, Ike took a fancy to the teacher at the Fruitvale school, Lillie Barker. Ike married her and had two daughters: Marjory, who married Dick Clay, and Georgiana who married Dick Parker. Ike and Lillie's house sat where Dick and Georgiana now live on the old Glenn place, but in a different house. Ike used a stump puller to laboriously drag the original house down to that location from about a quarter mile east of there. Later, they moved into the big white house n the place and had no need for the old house. It was moved to its present location just west of the high school. I think Dick and Georgiana built the house that they live in now at the old Glenn house location.

Lillie Glenn died in 1968, and Ike died in 1976.

8-17-95 Glenn family continued

Herbie Glen never married. Also, about two weeks before his death, he had fallen and hit his head when he was helping to build the Masonic Lodge in McCall. He had very severe headaches from that injury that probably contributed more to his final state of mind than his war trauma did.

Wm D. Glenn is mentioned as having homesteaded both south and east of Fruitvale and about a half mile west of it. Last week I wrote about the one southeast of Fruitvale. That one seems to be the right one. Wm. D. Glenn died in 1893, and Rebecca died in 1914.

There are two places on the West Fork of the Weiser River that belonged to members of the Glenn family. One is where I live now and where the Fisk ranch starts. The other is the next ranch up the West Fork Road, where Schwartzes lived for most of the past 40 years. [2657 West Fork Road.] It belongs to Scisms now, and the Harold Hoxie family lives there. [2017 = home to Mr. and Mrs. James Scism. The Jame R. Finn family live here in a house above (north of) the road at some point in the early days.]

Just how it happened, I'm not sure yet, but Joe wound up with the lower place and Tom with the upper one. In the obituaries and other references to Tom, Joe and Frank Glenn, all mention their having homesteaded on West Fork. Ike Glenn once told me that Frank had owned Tom's place before Tom did. And I have found three newspaper reports that Frank was the original homesteader there. It may be that he just never received a patent on the land. Tom Glenn did get a patent on that homestead in 1903. He married a neighbor girl from up the West Fork, Amanda Farlien, just the year before that, in 1902. They had five sons (Roy, Jeff, Otto, Jake and Earl), and twin daughters, Viola Roberts and Margaret Hubbard. In 1915, Tom and his family moved to Pine Creek, Oregon. Amanda died of the flu in 1923. In 1937, tom was killed in a car wreck at Enterprise, Oregon. They are both buried in the Winkler Cemetery. The T.J. Glenn Ditch that comes out of the West Fork is named for Tom Glenn.

Joel Glenn, better known as “Joe,” built and lived in the house that I live in now, about a half mile west of the Fruitvale Post Office. Hardy Harp may have owned this place before Joe did. In Joe's obituary, it says he lived for many years near Fruitvale on what is known as the MdMahan place, and later moved to West Fork. No dates were given.

1902 seems to have been a good year for the Glenn boys to marry. In addition to Tom's wedding, Joe married a Long Valley girl named Cora Sult that year. Joe and Cora eventually had 14 children.

Joe Glenn was known for his deep, rich singing voice. He built this [my] house in 1910. Joe and Cora sold their place to his neighbor, E.F. Fisk (my grandfather) in 1924, and moved to Toledo, Oregon. Joe died there only four years later, in 1928.

Frank Glenn must have been the oldest of the brothers. He married Sarah Denton in 1871. She died in 1893. I have other into that says her name was Elizabeth. Apparently Frank moved back to Arkansas by 1915. He died in 1940. Frank's son, Johne Emsley Glenn (born 1878 in Arkansas) came West with his parents in ox-drawn wagons. He was known by his middle name, Emsley. He and his sister, Walsa, and their brothers attended the White School on Lappin Lane during the three summer months when school was in session. This would have been about a five mile walk. The school district was briefly known as the “Glenn District,” apparently because there were so many Glenn kids attending.

Emsley homesteaded the place about a mile north of the Fruitvale Post Office where the Doug Scism family now lives. On this place was a deep hole at a bend in the river. Circles of rocks were found near it where Indians are said to have had sweat lodges. The hole was also a very good place to spear salmon. A 25 lb. Salmon was caught there in about the 1930s. The hole was deep enough to swim in when I was a kind in the 1960s.

When the railroad came through Fruitvale about 1905, it is said that Emsley met the men who were laying the grade with a rifle in his hand. He would not let them set foot on his land until the right of way through it had been paid for.

Emsley married one of George Robertson's daughters, Mary, in 1903, and they had a son, George, later that year. When George was 9 years old, he got tuberculosis in his bowels. It was a slow, painful way to die. George died April 1, 1912. Fred Glenn, George's little brother that he would never know, was born only about a month later.

Mary divorced Emsley in 1929. She later married Ed McGinley. She died in 1967.

Emsley spent a lot of time working in various sawmills around the area. It was this general occupation that eventually killed him. In 1936, both Emsley and his son, Fred, were working at the Placer Basin mine. On the night of August 21, Emsley came to visit as Fred ran the mine hoist. [The cable-driven cart that went up and down the inclined mine shaft, carrying ore and/or miners.] Emsley had never stopped in like this before, and the two men had a good visit until Emsley left about midnight. When he finished his shift at 4:00 AM, Fred went to bed. At about 8:30, he was shaken awake as he heard someone saying, “Wake up Fred, your dad's dead!”

Emsley and Ernest Ludiker had been falling trees, clearing a path for a pipeline. The very first tree they had cut down that morning had fallen into a dead tree. The impact of the fallint tree caused the top to break off of the dead tree, exploding wooden shrapnel out and down toward the ground. Ernest ran one way, and Emsley made the fatal mistake of running the other. A knotty piece of limb hit Emsley on the top of his head with such force that it killed him instantly. His false teeth were knocked out of his mouth and found 10 feet away from where he fell. Emsley was 58 years old.

Fred Glenn was a very handsome and popular young man around Fruitvale. He played guitar for dances, and was said by some of the local girls to be “ the only boy in the area that was worth dating.” Pretty stiff competition for my dad, uncles and the other Fruitvale boys. My aunt, Amy Fisk , was the girl Fred married. They had one boy, Tommy, and two girls, Maxine (Nichols) and Nelma (Green). Fred and Amy operated Fred's father's ranch and the old Robertson place for many years. In addition to his other services to the community, Fred was an Adams County Commissioner, and was a state Senator for two terms. He died in 1986.


Another early family at Fruitvale was the Robertsons. About 1878, the Harp and Robertson families came west with the wagon train that brought the Copeland, Winklers and Keslers to Council. Both the Harps and Robertsons stayed briefly near Boise, and then lived other places near Council before they settled at Fruitvale.

George and Martha Robertson went on to the Council area in 1883. they lived on Mill Creek first, where their daughter, Mary, was born in 1884. In 1885 they moved to the farm the Robertson family descendants have owned for generations, located about a quarter mile north of the Fruitvale Post Office and just west of the Fruitvale Glendale Road.

The following is a fictional account of an all-too-real event. Most of the details are based on factual information:

As Martha Robertson awoke, she could hear birds singing outside. The June sun was just starting to throw an amber glow onto the ridge across the river to the west. “A perfect morning to do some gardening,” she thought to herself. As she lit the morning fire in the cook stove, her two oldest children, Albert and Mary, staggered in, rubbing the sleep from their eyes.

As she cooked breakfast, Martha thought about her husband. George had been gone almost two months now. He had gone to find a job where he could make more money than he could scratch out of their farm. The previous summer had been the driest on record, and almost nothing had grown.

The winter had been the most severe that anybody in the area had ever seen. Spring, which had been a nightmare of ice jams and flooding on the river just below their house, was the last straw. She knew his working away from home was probably best, at least for the summer, but it concerned her that she hadn't heard from him.

Working in the garden always got Martha's mind off of her worries. Before she went out, she stepped into the room where Lena, her 14-month-old daughter, was still sleeping peacefully. Martha smiled and remembered how precious Lena had been lately. She had just figured out how to pull herself up onto her feet by clinging to the leg of a kitchen chair. Lena would tentatively let go, stand for a few seconds getting her balance, and then take a few awkward steps to the next chair. Martha kissed her sleeping baby gently and went out to the garden.

As Martha weeded, her mind wandered to dreams of future improvements she and George had planned for their homestead. It was such a beautiful morning, it was easy to be optimistic. Her pleasant musing was shattered by Mary's bone-chilling scream. Martha turned and looked up the slope to the house. Billows of smoke were coming out of the windows, and ugly orange tongues of fire were licking the door frame.

For an instant, Martha's mind wanted to just shut down, to deny that this could be real. The image of Lena asleep in her crib hit her like a fist slammed into her stomach, ans she heard herself scream.

The next few minutes were a blur of hysteric confusion and numb disbelief. Albert, Mary and Laura looked at their mother with helpless, pleading eyes, hoping that somehow she could make everything alright. At some point, Martha was aware of her neighbor, Miles Chaffee, racing up to her and asking her something. She watched as he circled the burning house, trying, as she already had, to find a way to get inside to the baby. But it was hopeless. She slumped to the ground and stared blankly as the holocaust slowly tore out a piece of her soul and reduced it to ugly, charred nothingness.

The fire occurred on June 11, 1890. No one seems to have known just how it started. The Robertson house was rebuilt, and burned again in 1926.

George and Martha had a total of eight children: Albert, Mary, Laura, Lena, Oliver, Millie, Elizabeth (Beth) and Pete.

In 1894 George Robertson and Loring Sevey (also spelled Sevy) dug the Robertson – Sevey ditch that is still in use today. The men had no transit or sight level to guide them in the project. They turned in the water as they went along, and used it as a guide as they worked.


George Robertson grew sugar cane on his ranch, and had his own mill to process it. The Weiser Semi-Weekly Signal, Oct 7,1905, said, "George Robertson has just closed down his cane mill after making several hundred gallons of sorghum.... The molasses made from the cane raised here is pronounced by Missourians - who ought to be capable judges - equal to the best made in the eastern states."

As late as 1933, the Robertsons were still growing and producing sugar cane.

The summer of 1914 was an eventful one for the Robertson family. On May 10, Beth, who was about 14 years old, went to visit another Fruitvale girl, Ada Walker. That night the girls couldn't be found anywhere. The next day, George Robertson and Mrs. Walker went to Council to see if the girls had gone there without telling anyone, but there was no trace of them.

Several weeks later, a telegram came from the sheriff in Charleston, Nevada, saying he had the girls in his custody. They had been in the company of two boys named Walker and Grebe. Whether one boy was related to Ada is not clear. The newspaper quoted the sheriff as saying, “The boys had escaped, but that the girls were still held and were in a destitute condition.” Sheriff Weaver of Council traveled to Nevada to bring the girls home. Just what the punishment was for the girls is not known, but their parents had to pay $260 to the county for expenses in the case.

This wasn't the Robertson's only financial loss right then. Just a few days before the sheriff returned with the girls, George had driven a wagon pulled by a team of two horses to Council and tied them to the hitch rack behind the Lowe and Jones store. This store was located about where the Shaver's parking lot is today.

One of the horses had a bad habit of pulling back when he was tied, and evidently George hadn't taken proper precautions. After the team had been tied for some time. Mr. Lowe happened to be out behind his store. He found one of George's horses lying strangled to death on top of the other horse who was also well on his way to the same fate. Apparently one horse had reared back on his tie rope, thrown himself in his panic, and knocked the other horse down in a tangle underneath him.

As an interesting side note, the same issue of the Council Leader that reported the above mentioned episodes contained an account of a unique way the Robertsons had transported fire wood at Fruitvale: “Albert Robertson assisted by others, floated about thirty ricks of wood down the ditch to the store lot Tuesday, thus economizing on transportation.”

Martha Harp Robertson died at the age of 63 in 1923. she didn't live to see another troubling episode in the family's history five years later. As a number of their neighbors did during Prohibition, Albert and Pete Robertson made moonshine. Although the rest of the family knew about what they were doing, they didn't really have much to do with it. One day in 1928, a man asked Pete about buying some liquor, and Pet told him to come by the house sometime. Pete told Mary that the man would be coming by, and instructed her to give the man some of the fruits of Pete's distilling labor. (By this time, Mary was married to Emsley Glenn, and their son, Fred, was about 16.) In a few days the man stopped by and got the booze from Mary. The man, who turned out to be a revenue agent, promptly arrested George, Albert, Pete and Mary.

News of the arrests made the local newspaper, which reported that “quite a booze factory” was destroyed at the Robertson ranch.

About three weeks later, the Robertsons were tried in Federal court in Boise for violation of Federal Prohibition Act. George, by that time, was approaching 80 years of age, and was not inclined to get involved in the moonshining operation. The family's lawyer tried to prove his lack of participation in court, but George became confused on the witness stand and incriminated himself. They were all found guilty. Pete was sentenced to 10 months in jail and a $500 fine. Albert got 5 months and a $300 fine. George got two months and a $200 fine. Mary also served some time in jail.

George Robertson died in 1933 at the age of 82. After Emsley Glenn was killed at Placer Basin in 1936, Mary married Ed McGinley. She died in 1967. Pete spent his entire life on the original Robertson place, later living there with Mary in their old age. If I remember right, Pete died sometime around the same time period that Mary did. Amy Glenn now lives on the old Robertson place, in a home built at the approximate location of the original house.

9-7-95 Didn't write one for this week.


Another arrival at Fruitvale in the 1880s was Miles Chaffee. After originally settling at Indian Valley, he came to Fruitvale and homesteaded 160 acres west of the little hill that sits all by itself just west of “downtown” Fruitvale. John Elsberry lives on the old Chaffe place now, just south of that little hill. [2589 Monroe Street. Mel and June Ryals lived there all the time I was growing up in the 1950s and '60s.]

Chaffee had been a cavalry soldier for 18 years, serving much of this time involved in the Indian wars of Idaho Territory. He had served as wagon master under Col. Nelson Miles and General O.O. Howard. He used to thrill the Fruitvale kids by rolling up his pant leg and showing them a scar on his shin that had been inflicted by an Indian arrow or bullet. [My dad told me this.]

Miles Chaffee was one of the men who polled their resources to establish the Fruitvale townsite.

A few years ago, I was interviewing Lorne and Edna Rice, and almost as an afterthought I asked if there were any interesting stories about early Fruitvale that they had heard. Edna said, “No,” and mentioned that of course I had probably heard the one about the gold buried by outlaws at Fruitvale. I about fell off my chair. I had never heard anything about it.

The story says that outlaws came through the valley before anyone lived there, carrying a load of stolen gold. They supposedly buried their loot somewhere on the little hill that I've been referring to, and never returned for it. At least part of the hill was on Chaffee's homestead. Chaffee dug holes in the hill for many years, looking for the buried treasure.

Miles Chaffee never married. He lived out the last years of his life with the Roy Bethel family at the present site of 2608 West Fork Road. (Where Ward Fry lived for years. Helen Glidden lives there now.)

Chaffee died in 1931, at the age of 82. In the Adams County vault, I ran across his will, which was written in 1918. In it, he left everything he owned to Ethel Rosa Shelton, wife of Thomas J. Shelton of Fruitvale. It said that Chaffee had no living relatives except for a sister, Sophia Chaffee Wilmot and her children. He left nothing to his sister. I don't know who these people were, or why Chaffee would have left his possessions to them.

Just a few weeks before he died, Chaffee sold his ranch to J.H. McGinley. McGinley's son, Sterling, owned the main part of the place later. Other portions of Chaffee's homestead went to Jim Ward and Everett Ryals. Later Everett's son, Mel Ryals, acquired the whole place. As I said, John Elsberry now owns the main part where the house was. Lately John has started tearing down the old log barn. As nearly as I can tell, it was built in *1894. The Salubria newspaper made note of it when he was building it, saying that it was, “the biggest barn in this part of the country.”

[*John Elsberry told me he found a sign or board in the old barn with that date on it.]

The other day I was told another tidbit about local history that I had never heard. It's about chicory – that stemmy weed with the blue flower that has grown so prodigiously this year. Elizabeth Moser is supposed to have brought chicory to this are because she wanted to put it in her coffee. The root was (is?) dried, ground up, and put into coffee to flavor it. It's use was especially prevalent in the South during the Civil War when the blockade sopped many coffe shipments. (The Mosers were from the South.)

Delpha Hutchison told me that she thought someone has a personal diary that Matilda Moser kept for a long time. Anybody know more about that?

9-21- 95

The townsite of Fruitvale was established in 1909. It was made up of property owned or bought by Art and Rich Wilkie, Miles Chaffee, Isaac McMahan, Josepsh Carroll, Fred Brooks, George Robertson and Vollie Zink. There was not much there at first but a railroad siding and Art Wilkie's planer mill.

The first store was owned by the Lincoln Lumber Company. The company was wined by the Wilkies and a few other men who were in the lumber business. When a post office was started in the store in 1909, the obvious name was “Lincoln.” The post office was given that name, but within a matter of months the name “Fruitvale” began to be used for the community. The post office soon changed to that name. Andy Carroll (secretary of the Lincoln Lumber Company and Joseph Carroll's son) ran the store, and was the postmaster.

During our photo gathering project for the Museum, we ran across a postcard with a very rare "Lincoln" postmarked on it. The card was mailed from Earl McMahan to Millie Robertson on April 10, 1909.

In 1910, Joseph Carroll built a new store building. The Lincoln Lumber Company store was discontinued, and its stock of goods, along with manager Andy Carroll, moved into the new store in July. In September of that year (1910), Carroll sold the store to E. E. Cook, formerly of Colorado.

Also in 1910, Rich Wilkie opened the "Fruitvale Real Estate Agency." In the terminology of the day, he advertised that he did "conveyancing," which meant he drew up deeds, leases and other documents concerning the transfer of title to property. He also sold fire insurance and was a notary public.

By 1912, the community reached its peak, having several retail businesses. The stores at Fruitvale were all located on the east side of Main Street (now the Fruitvale Glendale Road), and except for the hotel/Grange Hall, were just north of Rome Beauty Avenue. Because they were on a hillside, they were slightly elevated from the road, and steps were necessary to get up into them from the street.

The year of 1912 was one characterized by a wild game of merchandising musical chairs. First, another store was set up by O. A. Selman, and the post office was moved to his building. Then, Frank Harp opened a confectionery with a lunch counter in a room of Rich Wilkie's real estate office building. This building was apparently also headquarters of the Fruitvale Echo newspaper.

Frank Harp's most recent claim to fame before this, was getting shot with his own pistol three years earlier. While driving a wagon, he had left the pistol in his coat pocket beside him on the seat. When the coat bounced off the seat, the pistol discharged, wounding Frank... apparently not very seriously.

At the same time Harp was opening his business, Perry McCumpsey rented Selman's store and sold groceries and dry goods. That fall, Philip Walston bought Harp's confectionery, and W. T. Walker bought McCumpsey's stock and took over the Selman store. No sooner had McCumpsey taken over the store than Selman sold it to Albert Robertson. The post office had continued in that store through all the changes, and when Albert bought it, he became postmaster. Finally, things had settled into a less frenetic pace... at least for this building.

Meanwhile, in January 1912, C. G. Nelson (or Nielson) had set up shop in the Cook store, selling candy, nuts, cigars, tobacco and stationery.

In March, while Nelson was cleaning up after a small fire in his store, W. T. Walker was building a blacksmith shop on the corner of Main Street and Jonathan Avenue. Not one to let grass grow under his feet that year, Walker was also helping Dr. Starkey install his power plant at this time, and later briefly operated the Selman store, as I mentioned. After McCumpsey's short stint at the Selman store (before Walker), he jumped to renting the Cook store.

Finally, at the end of 1912, Frank Harp sold his confectionery in the Wilkie real estate building to Philip Walston, and Walker shifted to the Cook store, buying out McCumpsey's stock there.

For the next few years, things seemed to settle into a more stable routine. Robertson continued to run the store and post office, while Walker ran the other store.


By 1923, Charlie Cox was running the Fruitvale store and post office in a building belonging to a Mr. Reams. He had formerly run a blacksmith shop just northwest of the store, and, if my guess is right, was in partnership in the "Cox and Winkler" blacksmith shop in Council at the turn-of-the-century. Just who Mr. Reams was, I don't know, but he had the first radio in Fruitvale. It was a little set that you had to wear earphones to hear. The only station it could received was KGO from San Francisco.

In 1994, Jim Ward and/or his step son, Everett Ryals, started running a "new store" at Fruitvale. Whether Ward and Ryals built the store I don't know, but evidence points in that direction. The Ward family took up residence in the back of the store that fall. In the spring of 1925, Cox sold his store, turned over the postmaster job to Jim Ward, and moved to Payette. From this time on, there seems to have been only one store in Fruitvale.

By this time, a number of local people owned cars, and the state highway had been built right in front of the store. Ward capitalize on these facts in May 1925 by installing a gas pump out front. At about the same time, Everett Ryals was appointed postmaster. It was Only a few weeks after this that he married Bertha Spears. Their son, Mel Ryals, was born the next year. Mel says his claim to fame is being the only human being ever born in the Fruitvale store.

In 1928, Oliver Robertson bought, or at least assume the management of the store, just before and being busted for helping with the family booze factory. It is unclear who ran the store during Robertson's incarceration, but it was probably Ryals or Ward. By July 1929, Robertson was again running the operation, selling groceries, men's furnishings, confections (candy), tobacco, cold drinks, tires, tubes, gas, oil and grease. Ryals and Ward went into the fur business, raising foxes. That fall, the store was purchased by Ray and Anna Sailor.

Everett Ryals bought the store again in 1931, and ran it through most of the Depression. In 1932 contained this interesting note:

"Everett Ryals, Fruitvale merchant was in town Thursday attending to business affairs. He says the depression hasn't hit Fruitvale community noticeably except that people have no money. Of course money isn't much of an object now days anyway – things to eat and where is the important problem. Everett furnishes those items, so why should the folks worry."

S. E. McMahon (Ernest, also known by his nickname, "Peck”) took over the Fruitvale store and post office in the fall of 1937. He sold out to Robert and Josephine Caseman the next year. Josephine ran the store and post office while Robert continued as Adams County assessor. They changed the name of the business from "Fruitvale Cash Grocery" to the "Fruitvale Mercantile," the name by which it was known for the rest of its existence.

There had been a telephone in one store or another at Fruitvale, probably since before 1920. It was also one of the first buildings in the community to acquire the use of electricity. Bob Caseman rigged up his own generator in 1940, but it was superseded by a power line that reached the store that winter. Several homes close by were also wired at this time.

Josephine Caseman's brother, F.S. (Sterling) McGinley, and his wife, Elma, took over the store in 1944, and ran it until they retired in 1964. All of the other small stores in Council's outlying areas (Mesa, Bear, Cuprum, etc.) had closed by then. The Fruitvale store was the last holdout; the last vestige of a bygone era. The McGinley's daughter, Anna Katherine Kamerdula, and her husband, Henry, kept the store running until it closed in the 1970s. Anna still operates the post office in the same corner of the old store building that the office has occupied for many years. [The post office continued to operate with Anna as postmaster until she retired on December 27, 1996.]


The year of 1912 seems to have been the peak of Fruitvale's existence the "Fruitvale Echo" newspaper began and ended publication that year. We have several months worth of issues at the Museum, and the State Historical Society has put them on microfilm. The main purpose of the Echo seems to have been to get people to vote for Fruitvale as the county seat in the election that fall.

One of the businesses advertised in that weekly paper was for a photographer named Professor F. Gleason. Just why there doesn't seem to be any remaining photos that he took is a mystery to me. The fact that Gleason set up shop in a tent may be an indication of how long he stayed in business at Fruitvale. There was also a dentist, a Dr. Burke, who practiced at Fruitvale. According to one source, there was a pool hall in one of the buildings. A man named J. D. Kennedy is said to have had some type of business at Fruitvale. He had a homestead just over the top of "Fruitvale Hill" – the hill northeast of the present post office.

I neglected to mention that the photo in last week's column was contributed to the museum (we copied it) by June Childers. June's maiden name is Bethel. Her family is the one that Miles Chaffee lived with in his declining years. June's dad, Roy, built one wing of the old house that still stands at Fruitvale. [It has since burned down.] The east wing of the building was one of the old stores, and was dragged down to its present location as an addition to the house.

The building at Fruitvale that still stands at 2592 Fruitvale Glendale Rd. was originally built as a hotel. Jim and Pam Joslin lived there now. I'm not sure just when it was built, but it must have been some time around 1909 or 1910. Art Wilkie owned and operated the hotel for a time. In 1913, the Fruitvale Grange bought the hotel and turned it into their meeting hall. They raised the ceiling, did some repairs, and held dances there in addition to their meetings.

In 1917 Isaac and Lucy McMahan reentered their former occupation as merchants when they bought the building and converted it to a store. The post office was in this building for a time, undoubtedly during the period that the McMahans had the store there. Charlie Burt bought the building in 1928 and did some remodeling, including lowering the roof substantially.

In one of my latest columns, I mentioned Andy Carroll, Fruitvale's first postmaster, and his father, Joseph Carroll. Joseph's name always appeared in the papers as “J.L.B. Carroll." Almost everybody has written about in the newspapers in those days using their first two initials and last name. It has been hard sometimes for me to figure out a first name. I read about L. L. Burtenshaw through over 35 years worth of Council papers without ever finding a clue as to his first name, until he died. In his obituary the paper said his first name was Luther, and he was always known as "Burt." Anyway, Joseph Carroll always stood out because he had three initials before his last name. I don't know what the other two initials stood for.

Joseph Carroll and his wife, Maranda, hopscotched up the valley along the Weiser River, operating successive general merchandise stores. He ran a store in Middle Valley (Midvale) during 1899, then in Salubria the next year, and in Council the year after that (1901). Their Council store stood just south of where Ruben's is today. [Ruben's was on the Southwest corner of Moser Avenue and Michigan Street.] The Carroll family bought the Lick Creek Hotel and ranch in 1903, and began operating it in 1904. Miranda became the postmaster of the Bear Post Office in 1905.

Sometime between 1905 and 1910, the Carrolls moved to Fruitvale, and were some of the founders of the townsite. They lived on Monroe Street. [I think this was the old house at 2583 Monroe Street.]

Joseph was the teacher at the Glendale school in 1911. He was also elected on the Socialist ticket as Probate Judge in the Fruitvale Precinct. One of the sons, Charlie Carroll, was involved in the lumber business, and worked at various sawmill in this area. In 1909 Andy married Olda Davis, the daughter of Byron and Nancy Davis who lived where the wild horse Road works from the main Council-Cuprum Road.

Tragedy struck the Carroll family twice in the next few years. In 1912 and he died of pneumonia. He was not quite 26 years old. Just two years later, Miranda died at the age of 53.


The children of early residents of Fruitvale had to walk all the way to the White School, three miles north of Council. About the time that the Fruitvale townsite was established in 1909, Fruitvale built its own school on land donated by Isaac and Lucy McMahan. This was about a half mile southwest of the center of "town," just across the pond the center of "town," just across the pond (East) from where Della and Dick Raffety lived until recently. The "McMahan" school, as it was called, was very up to date, being a frame structure set on a cement foundation. It measured 24 X 36 feet, and was 18 feet high. By 1911 there were 40 pupils enrolled.

In 1917, the Fruitvale teacher was W.E. Tyson. He arrived at the school about 8:30 AM, and started a fire in the stove. He carried in a load of wood, turned to go for another load, and had almost reached the door when "an explosion occurred that broke the stove into small pieces, scattering the wreckage, including stove pipes and contents of stove all about the room." Fortunately, Tyson was not hurt. Sheriff Ham was called to investigate, but evidently the source of the explosion remained a mystery. Tyson was convinced it was dynamite.

The teaching profession in general was not held in high esteem by many in the early days. If a teacher was disliked by the students, it was almost traditional for them (especially the boys) to make the teacher's life as miserable as possible. Turnover in the job was often rapid, and it was not uncommon for a community to need to hire more than one teacher during a given year. Female teachers were considered a good catch for a single man. The Gould boys had a handy source of espousal prospects since the White School he sat right at the end of their lane. Lester and Clarence both married women who taught there.

A barn was provided at the McMahan school in which to keep and feed the horses that students rode to school from more distant points. The school board provided the hay. The teachers also sometimes rode horses to school. One of them was Irene White who often boarded with local families. When staying with the Emsley Glenn family, their son Fred, rode double on the horse with Irene. He took a lot of teasing about this from the other students, but he didn't mind because "Miss White" was so well-liked by all the kids.

Irene began teaching here in 1923 at the age of 19, and had already been employed at the Ridge School. Irene had a way with children. She had a kind way of maintaining discipline that earned respect and love from her students. She was full of fun at times too. In the winter she used to sled and ski down the hills with the kids during recesses. About the only time anyone remembered her losing her temper was once when Carl Finn hadn't attended to his studies. When Irene asked him about it, he made some smart aleck remark that made her angry. She drew back her hand as if she were going to hit him. In an effort to dodge a blow that was not delivered, Carl ducked his head sideways and hit his head on a nail that was sticking out of the wall. Apparently Carl was not seriously hurt, but the kind-hearted Irene felt bad about the incident.

Irene married Fred Burt in 1924, and lived the rest of her life in Fruitvale. She became a life-long friend of many of her former students. Irene White Burt died in 1973. He the next teacher at the Fruitvale school was Katie Marble, beginning in 1926. After teaching many other places, she taught here again from 1943 through 1953.

The McMahan schoolhouse was used up until the end of 1928, when a new school was built just up the hill, east of downtown Fruitvale. The new school was built on land that was purchased from Everett Ryals in 1928. The December 28, 1928 Adams County Leader reported in the Fruitvale news, "Our new school house was near enough completed that we were able to have our Christmas program." A Miss Ross was the teacher at the time.

For the next year, the old McMahan school building was regularly used for dances, and till it was auctioned off to Lester McMahan for $80. About three years later, the old building fell in under the weight of heavy snow. Lester said he had planned to tear down "the old shack" anyway. When Isaac and Lucy McMahan moved back to Fruitvale from Portland in 1934, their sons built a little house for them to live in on the old school's foundation.

In 1934 there were 20 boys and eight girls attending the Fruitvale school. Until this time, the school's heavy bell had on the porch of the building. That year a new belfry was constructed. By 1940 there were only 18 students. By the 1950s there was a major overhaul of the school systems in the Council area. Many school districts were consolidated into Council District B-13, including Fruitvale, Glendale, Orchard, Lower Hornet, White, Ridge, Johnson Creek, Cottonwood, Crooked River, Goodrich, Middle Fork, Mesa and Upper Dale. (Some of these schools had already been closed for years.) All the kids from these districts were bused to Council.

The old Fruitvale school was bought by Lillian and Marvin Imler. They converted it into the nice house that it is today.

The museum project has reached an interesting point. In the process of clearing final plans with the City Council, I have been told that IF the city hall is moved to the old Boise Cascade office building, the museum M AY get more room in the present building. Because of this definite possibility, the preparations for an addition have come to a halt until we find out if this is really going to happen or not.


Wrote about the Wilkie Cemetery and the photo project funded by the Idaho Humanities Council.


About the same time that the town of Fruitvale was established in 1909, the Wilkie brothers built the Ridge Road. They used it to haul lumber from their Hornet Creek and Crooked River sawmill sites to Fruitvale where their planer mill sat near the railroad. The area between Hornet Creek and the Weiser River had acquired the name "Pleasant Ridge," a name that became informally shortened to the "Ridge." The area was unclaimed land for some time. When Isaac McMahan moved to Fruitvale in 1903, he began to graze cattle on this, and other, open land. Ranchers on Hornet Creek also enjoyed this free grazing, particularly in the spring, but their unrestricted use of the Ridge was disturbed when homesteaders began to fence off lots of land there.

One of the first homesteaders was Albert Lewis in 1902. His place was located just southeast of where the Ridge Road tees at the cattle guard. [The intersection of Ridge Road and N. Ridge Rd.] One old home site on Lewis's old home place still has a rectangle of bushes, a few trees, an old shed and a cement-lined cistern.

The Weiser newspaper reported that Lewis harvested 650 bushels of grain per acre on his an irrigated ground and not in 1905. [This had to be in misprint; 50 bushels per acre might have been accurate.] The paper continued in its standard exaggerated style of the day: "Besides the grain, he has succeeded in raising a splendid crop of vegetables without irrigation and is making of what was three years ago a piece of supposedly worthless sage brush land, a beautiful and profitable home. There are several sections of government land yet subject to homestead entry in the vicinity of his place."

Lewis eventually sold his homestead. One corner of it was acquired by my grandfather, Jim Fisk, in 1912. My father, Dick, and his siblings, Herbert (Hub), Amy (Glenn), Sam and John were born in the house that was located on the old Lewis place. They later moved a short distance north, closer to the Ridge Road. There are still some Iris plants, a few rotting boards and a hand dug well at the latter location. This is at the base of the first Canyon South of the road, East of the aforementioned cattle guard. The original house location was at the head of the Canyon. There are still rows of rocks up there that Dad and the other kids used to mark the walls of imaginary play houses.

The main part of the Lewis place later belonged to Jim Henson. Fred and Amy Glenn later bought it, and Amy still has it. It is some of the best land on the Ridge, but I'm sure it never yielded the 650 bushels of grain per acre credited to Albert Lewis.

Between 1909 and 1921, 25 homesteads were patented on the Ridge. In 1915 a school house was built, due to the influx of new homesteaders. The "modern, one-room building" cost $1000. It was located about a mile northwest of the old Lewis place, just west of the road.

I mentioned Irene White Burt in one of my last articles, and said that she once taught at the Ridge school. When she taught there, she sometimes boarded with Jim and Lottie McVey, who lived just a few hundred yards south east of the school. (There is a well and pump house there now.) Lobby is remembered as being an abrasive woman. She was said to have been so wasteful with food that somebody once said, "Jim brings the food in the front door, and Lottie throws it out the back."

Lottie seems to have been jealous of Irene, who was very well liked by everyone. On one occasion, when Irene was staying with the McVeys, Lottie accused Irene of stealing a ring from her. Humiliated by the accusation, Irene resigned from her position at the Ridge School. The students were saddened when Irene came to school in tears and announced that she had to leave. It was a very emotional scene because the kids liked her so much. The missing ring was later found.

Miss Cora Nunnalee took Irene's place as teacher, and the kids hated her. Not only had she taken the place of their favorite teacher, but she had little patience with children and was overly strict.

The McVey's son, Ernest, was one of the older students at the school, and was almost the size of a grown man. His attitude got him in trouble at least once with Miss Nunnalee. One day she asked him why he wasn't studying. Ernest replied, in a none-too-respectful tone, that she hadn't given him any work to do. Without saying a word, Miss Nunnalee picked up a thick geography book from the desk just behind Ernest's (which happened to be my dad's). She gave Ernest a terrific blow to the side of his head, knocking him halfway out of his seat. Then she stepped around to the other side of his desk and repeated the procedure, slamming him back into his chair. I don't think she had much trouble with Ernest after that.

Another incident involved my dad directly. There was no well at the school, and the boys were assigned to carry water from a spring. On one occasion when dad and another boy were given this task, they filled a 5 gallon bucket with water and carried it [one boy on each side] back to the school. As they lifted the heavy bucket up onto the porch, the bottom of it caught on a board and the water went spilling all across the porch floor. The boys looked up to see Miss Nunnalee standing on the porch with her hands on her hips and a scowl on her face. She shouted, "You clumsy boys! You go right back down and get more water." The boys were so terrified that they were unable to move a muscle. Miss Nunnalee then clapped her hands and stomped her foot and screamed, "Immediately!" The boys snapped out of their trance and went running for the spring as fast as they could.

At its peak, the Ridge school had just over 30 students, attending grades one through eight. By 1926 it had only 10 students. Finally in 1935 the Ridge school closed because of lack of attendance. The Ridge school met the same fate as the old McMahan school. It collapsed under the weight of heavy snow on the night of December 8, 1992. There is nothing left at the site today but the foundation.


November 2, 1995

At first, all the homesteaders on Pleasant Ridge planted wheat, barley or oats, and the crops were bountiful. Crop rotation was an idea in its infancy during the first years of the 20th century, plus the Ridge farmers knew little about what else would grow on this dry ground. They continued to plant grains until the ground started to play out. The year of 1922 was extremely dry, and the grain crops were almost a complete failure on the Ridge. That year, my grandfather, Jim Fisk, tried planting some Siberian Cossack alfalfa on his homestead. It turned out to be a big success, growing to a height of 4 feet in some places. After that, other Ridge farmers started growing alfalfa as a hay crop, rotating grain for a year or two when alfalfa started decreasing production in a given field. I the 1930s alfalfa was the principal crop on the Ridge, the seed often yielding higher profits than alfalfa hay.

When people started settling on the Ridge, prices for agricultural products were good. This continued through the first world war, but the bottom fell out immediately afterward. The 1920s were a time of depression on America's farms. Almost all of the farmers on the Ridge sold out. All but a couple of those who held on through the 1920s went under during the Great Depression years of the 1930s. My grandfather managed to survive by working as the road overseer in the area and buying some of the other places that went under.

One of the places he bought was that of Mike Pfann (pronounced “Fawn”). Pfann lived where the spring and cattle guard is along Ridge Road. Actually, I think some people named Gardner owned it when grandpa bought it, but dad still calls it the Pfann place. Mike Pfann's brother, George, was better known around Council. George was a blacksmith in the area for many years.

After leaving the Ridge, Mike Pfann evidently moved to Hornet Creek. One legacy that he left behind their was balls of twisted up wire along the fences on his place. Apparently he didn't have any fence stretchers, wrapped and twisted the wire around a hammer handle to take up any extra slack in the wire. The handle was then pulled out, leaving balls of wire that remained there for years after Pfann moved on. To this days, some people on Hornet Creek call this method of make-do fence stretching "Doing a Mike Pfann.” [I got this information from Al Harrington.]

In 1930, stockyards and loading docks were built along the railroad northwest of the Fruitvale store. That soon became a busy year for the loading docks. In two days in February, 65 gallons of cream was shipped out. In one-week span that fall, the train took on sheep, apples, and sugar beets there.

Sterling McGinley was the principal sugar beet grower, with the Fisk ranch producing lesser amounts. McGinley was getting a 20-ton per acre yield at one point, and shipped out 8 train carloads, each containing 44 tons, in October 1931. Wielding a whole in McGinley's beet fields provided employment for a number of Fruitvale youngsters during the early years of the Depression.

Another crop that was grown in the Fruitvale area in the 1930s was peas. In an attempt to generate more business for the railroad, LeGrande Young, the General Manager of the P&IN railroad, convinced the San Diego Fruit and Produce Company, to rent to ground and grow peas in the Meadows Valley, beginning in about 1927. In 1936 the company planted about 100 acres on the Abshire place on West Fork. (This was the old Tom Glenn place where Hoxie's live now – 2657 West Fork Road.)

The Pea harvest supplied a certain amount of local employment, but the company also brought an outside help. The migrant workers that came to pick the peas provided Fruitvale people with their first contact with people that some referred to as “Oakies.” The introduce another hereto for unknown planned product to Fruitvale: marijuana.


In this column, I told the story of Walter Johnson that is in my Landmarks book. Then:

The ranch that Steve and Elsie Shumway now own just south of the Highway 95 wye (2405 Highway 95) was homesteaded by Bill Hartley in 1886. Hartley sold to James J. Jones in 1906. Jones lived in the Council Valley since 1884, and was a partner in the Mercantile business in Council with J. F. Lowe since 1902. The Lowe and Jones store was about where the Adams County Real Estate office is now. Jones retired from the Council store in 1910. Jones' his wife was Tobert Biggerstaff's daughter, Olive. Iit was Jones who built the present Shumway house. When Adams County was created the next spring (1911), he became the first County Assessor.

There are not too many anecdotes about J.J. Jones to tell us what kind of man he was. The only story I have is one that Ike Glenn told me. Sometime before 1917, Ike had a run-in with Jones at Shingle Flat. Evidently Ike and Jones both grazed cattle on this Forest allotment. Ike moved a mixed bunch of cattle up higher on the mountain than Jones thought was appropriate. The two men got into a heated argument, and at some point Jones was on the verge of getting violent with Ike. Ike pulled out a .32-.40 pistol that he always carried in a pocket in his chaps, and Jones's attitude changed considerably.

Jones moved to Oregon in 1917 and died in Beverly Hills, California in 1942.

I don't know who had this ranch next, but it was later bought by Lester Gould. He married Helen Clement, who was teaching at the White School. Helen continued to teach in Council into the 1960s. The Goulds sold the ranch to Steve and Elsie Shumway in the 1970s and built a new home just north of the wye (2448 Fruitvale Glendale Rd.). Lester died in 1987, and Helen died not long afterward.


I don't have a lot of information about the first place up Highway 95 from the wye toward Fort Hall Hill. It apparently once belonged to Hardy Harp early on. In the 1930s it belonged to G.T. Hamill. Mr. Hamill and his sons, Ray and Harold, are best remembered for running the mine at Placer Basin.

In the old Adams County Leader newspapers from the 1930s, I read that G.T. Hamill was riding a horse along the highway near the wye, and a car hit his horse. Both animal and rider were knocked to the ground. The driver of the car didn't even stop.

G.T. Hamill came to the Council area in 1910. He served in the Idaho Legislature at one time, and is pictured in a group of framed photos that are in the museum. He sold his place to Cecil Dopp in 1935. Hamill died in Baker, Oregon in 1939. Dopp came here from St. Anthony, Idaho. He lived on this place for a number of years and died in 1964.

Louis and Emily Harp lived in a house a short distance up the highway, on the north side. The museum has a picture of their house. There is no sign of a dwelling at that location today. Emily Harp was a sister of Tobert Biggerstaff. She married Louis in 1879, before they came West.

The Harps were salt of the earth people and good neighbors. To some Fruitvale people, even those who themselves were not very sophisticated, Louis and Emily seemed like stereotypical hillbillies. Lewis was illiterate and signed his name with an X. The couple used to sit on their front porch and smoke corncob pipes.

A short way on up the highway, on the northwest side, there is a little stand of locust trees. This was the site of the George and Mary Tomlinson house. Their children were: Harry, Henry, Ed, Sarah (married Ralph Yantis), Emma (married James Harp), Edna (married Rollie McMahan).

The Tomlinsons came here in 1902 and lived here until they died. Mary died in 1919 at the age of 71. I don't know what became of George.

Ed Tomlinson was a likable character who never married. He had a cabin on the bench land east of his parents place. He had a few cows and a little farm ground. Ed ran his cattle on the Warm Springs grazing allotment of the Forest, and one day he and Amos Camp went looking for a steer that Ed wanted to bring home. They found the steer, along with a dry cow, near Lost Creek, just south of the reservoir dam.

A difference of opinion soon arose between the steer and the two cowboys. The men wanted to head south, and the stair didn't. After a few rounds that went to the steer, the men decided to tie the steer to the cow with a rope. The obstinate steer fought this arrangement belligerently, resulting in a wild dance that ended with both cattle in Lost Creek where the cow proceeded to drown.

In an effort to save her, Amos quickly cut the rope, but it was too late. As the cow drifted down the creek, and the steer lit out for new territory, Ed summed up the situation by philosophizing, "There goes an old how, and a damn good rope!"

Ed gave up on the steer. He saw some fresh deer tracks nearby, and being very fond of venison, went hunting instead. Some say that Ed practically lived on venison at times. It was deer hunting that later led to a tragic and for Ed. He was killed in a hunting accident in November 1937.

[Adams County Leader, Nov 19, 1937 – Ed Tomlinson shot and killed by his nephew, Fred Yantis, in hunting accident. (I believe Ed was wearing a black coat, and Fred mistook him for a bear.)]

[Leader, October 17, 1952 – “Harry Tomlinson of Council was accidentally shot just above the hip Sunday morning while hunting about 2 miles west of Evergreen. Mr. Tomlinson was riding a horse when he was shot.”]


on up the highway from the old Tomlinson Place, was the Ralph and Sarah (Tomlinson) yet this place. It's on the east side of the road, where Jack and Donna Yantis now live. [2560 Highway 95]

Ralph apparently came to this area in 1906. He married Sarah in 1908, and homesteaded this place. They had three sons: Ray (Stub), Frank and Fred.

In order to get water rights from the Weiser River, the Yantis family diverted water from the Salmon River side of the divide near Railroad Saddle, and brought it into the Weiser River drainage by way of a ditch.

Late in 1928, Ralph got the flu. Before he was quite fully recovered, he delivered a load of turkeys to the lower country somewhere, in a truck that was not well enclosed. He became seriously chilled, and died not long afterward.

Ray yenta's lived on the original place for many years, and now lives with his wife, Fay, in Council. Fred ranched at Fruitvale for a long time before moving to another ranch just northwest of Council. He died not long ago.

Frank was Adams County Sheriff for a time. He was killed when a log fell on him while loading logs at the old Mesa railroad siding. [Adams County Leader, Nov 28, 1958 – Frank Yantis was killed Thursday morning at Mesa Siding south of Council. “Mr. Yantis, who had been the sheriff of Adams County for approximately six years, resigned recently and took a job driving a logging truck for Hug and Riggs. The accident occurred when the logs were being unloaded from his truck and a log fell on him.”]

Today, near the top of Fort Hall Hill, there are about a dozen houses. There were only two or three homesteads in the early days. The main two, where most of the houses are now, both belonged to members of the Baker family. One of the Baker places survived in one piece until fairly recently.

James Baker was my great great grandfather. He was born in New York, the son of a Methodist preacher who was also the son of a Methodist preacher. After growing up in Illinois and Iowa, and teaching school in Colorado, he followed the family tradition and became a Methodist minister in 1898. He pastored several churches, and came to Cambridge to preach about 1903. It was about that time that he and his wife, Mary, homesteaded land just south and west of the Fort Hall Hill Summit. James worked the homestead and preached in several places at the same time.

One of James's sons, Clarence Baker, performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and traveled the world doing rope tricks. There was another man named Johnny Baker (unrelated) who was one of the stars of the show.

Another son, Ernest Baker and his wife, Ella, established a Homestead just on the other side of Fort Hall Hill in 1905. My maternal grandmother, Mae, was there oldest child and was about six at the time they arrived. The following is from a brief autobiography that Mae wrote. My editions [and comments are inside brackets [].

In the spring of 1905, Papa and I got on the train to go to Idaho to see my father's parents who were Methodist pastors at Cambridge, Idaho. We arrived in April or May, I don't know which. My father went to work on a ranch to get his health back, as he only weighed 90 pounds. He had miner's consumption from working in the smelter so long. But Idaho air and climate soon had him back to health again. [Lucille Baker Balderson said he had a cough the rest of his life, but he also smoked cigarettes.]

I stayed with my Grandmother while my father worked out on ranches from Cambridge. Meanwhile my Grandfather and father had gone to Council Valley and filed on a homestead for each. [The grandfather to whom she refers was James Lyman Baker the Methodist preacher. His father, and his fathers father had been Methodist preachers. James may already have filed on his homestead before this time. Homestead Patents were issued for the Bakers: James - Mar. 30, 1908 Ernest - Jan. 23, 1914]

Mama and brother Leslie (Spike) came to Idaho in August, just a bit before school started. I started to school at Cambridge until we moved to Council Valley to our homestead by wagon and team of horses. [James Baker's was in the basin just south of the top of Fort Hall hill; Ernest's was just on the north side of the summit.] We arrived late in the evening, so they put us to bed in a big box on the wagon. The next day was a time of looking things over. There was a small log cabin on the place, and a log barn. We cleaned and moved into the cabin, and spent our first winter there. The snow got so deep that winter, our house looked like a heap of snow with smoke coming out of the top.

I went to school when I could, with some neighbors. We had about 2 1/2 miles to go. [to the school on the Isaac McMahan place south of Fruitvale.] [Lucile said they also had a 12' X 14' tent as part of their living space that winter. The log cabin may have been the old Biggerstaff stage station.]


In the spring [1906] when it began to thaw a bit, we used to walk on the crust, and Papa proudly showed Mama where the lines were for his and Grandpa's places. The snow covered all the low bushes, so we were surprised when the snow was all gone, to find we had a very brushy piece of land. That is still in the same shape, as not much land was ever cleared on our place. Grandad worked his land though, and opened up quite a large area to plant into potatoes, grain, etc. Dad and Grandad used a grubbing hoe, horses, and a stump puller that you wound cable around a drum with a horse going 'round and 'round until it tightened up on the clump of bushes, tree, or whatever, it gradually pulled until it pulled the top off or got it out by the roots. It was slow, but a bit faster than an ax or grub hoe, as you couldn't plow until the roots were out pretty well. There were pine trees, willows, service bushes, thorn bushes and chapparell: a kind of sprawling evergreen bush that grew about 4 or 5 feet tall, but covered a large amount of ground. It only had a small crown with roots and flat green waxy leaves. The willows were about the hardest to get out.

After the brush was out, it was piled and burned. That's where Mom and we children came in. We would lead, or ride the horse on the stump puller too, but we could drag the brush to a pile to be burned. [A stump puller was a winch type of machine that was anchored to the ground or something very solid. A chain, cable etc. from the puller was fastened to the stump. A horse then pulled a lever on the puller around and around in a circle. This turned gears that operated a very slow, but very strong, winch mechanism that pulled the stump out of the ground.]

Then the men got a disk plow that worked fine on meadow ground, or just sod, but when it hit a willow, or other root, it would really buck and roll, and you had to be pretty alert, or it would throw you off. One day as we were burning brush my Grandfather was plowing. He hit a root and it bucked him off right into a pile of burning brush. Fortunately, he wasn't burned, or hurt badly; just shook up a bit. He got right back on the plow, and went on as if nothing had happened. Of course the horse got pretty tired after pulling the plow all day, so [they] had to have lots of good hay and oats. My father was pretty particular about the feeding and watering of his team. Also, they had to be brushed and curried or "cuffed down" as he called it, each morning, and after a hard days work.

My father sold the timber off his homestead to get lumber to build a house on his homestead. The second winter, we had a large tent on a frame with floor, a smaller one to sleep in up by the spring where he was building the house. It was a two story house so as to have more rooms without having very much roof to build, as the roof was the hardest part to make. He found a real straight grained tree not far from the house that some friends helped make shingles for the house out of. Dad split and sawed them while the friend used a drawing knife to shape them thin. We children took our little wagon and hauled the shingles to the house and piled them. Those shingles were still on the house when it was torn down around 50 years later, and the house never leaked, as far as I know.

The next winter [1906], we moved into our new house, even though it wasn't finished - only a few loose boards on the upstairs floor, but we children slept up there. That winter, the 13th of December, a sister was born (Ethel) and we had no Doctor, just an older neighbor lady who was very efficient: a Mrs. Tolbert Biggerstaff that lived in the canyon by the Weiser river, where the Glendale School was later built. She was a very good mid-wife. [Ethel was born Dec 13, 1906.]

[Grandma's autobiography skips a few years here. The Ernest Baker family lived at "the Pearson place" during the winter of 1908, to watch a sawmill that was there. This place was the only house between Starkey and the present location of the Glendale pond until the 1970s. This ranch is the one that Jepsens lot from Jim Williams.]


When I was 9 years old, I stayed with Sarah Yantis while Ralph [Yantis] and two brothers in laws (Ed and Harry [Tomlinson]) built a ditch from East Fork so they would have water for 2 desert claims. That was the winter Stub (Ray) Yantis was a baby (1909) and they lived in a small house on the place where Ray still lives. [2560 Highway 95]

Council Leader, Sept 23, 1910 – Rev. J.L. Baker sent to Council by "Methodist conference for a year and that denomination will establish a church organization here." [This church stood on the south west corner of Illinois Avenue and Highway 95/Dartmouth Street. Evidently it didn't attract much of a following and was torn down after a few years.]

My brother [Leslie or "Spike"] and I were both going to school by this time, and we had a horse to ride. We went to the old Fruitvale school built on the Isaac McMahan place (now known as the Earl McMahan place). [In 1990, it is Dick Raffety's place, about 3/4 mile south of Fruitvale, east of the main road: 2554 Fruitvale-Glendale Road.] This school was a small unpainted building, but was full of children. Before the one year was out, we moved into the new school house that stood there a good many years. The last teacher to teach there was Hattie Vasser. She later married Lester McMahan. Some of the pupils were Millie, Beth, Oliver, and Pete Robertson... Earl and Earnest McMahan... Myrth and Isaac II Whiteley..2 boys and 2 girls of the Walker family... [an unclear name that looks like "Knaves"]...Harry and Joe Tomlinson... Sam and Jasper Harp... Mae and Leslie Baker... Harold, Hallie, Charles, and Bill Hamm... and several others that I can't think of now. Some of the boys were nearly grown men, and used to tease us younger children. I went there until I was in the 4th grade. There were several of us Bakers that went through that little school to the eighth grade, and for some of us that was all the education we got. Leslie and I had each 2 years of High School at Council. Grace went to Caldwell for 2 years I believe too.

[The children of Ernest and Ella Baker were Mae, Leslie (Spike b.Mar 1901 - d.1965 at McCall), Ethel Jones (b. 1906 - d.1938 at Merk farm, Fruitvale), Grace Clemens (b.1908), Roy (b.1914 - d.1956), Lucille Balderson (b.1917 - d.199_), Albert (b.1920 - d.1971), Bill (b.Dec. 1911), and Wayne (b.1922 – d.1991).]

By that time, the Glendale school was built, and Grace Ludwig was our first teacher. [She was] from Indian Valley, and Clyde Stewart would drive clear up there with team and buggy or sleigh to get her Friday nights. She boarded through the week with the Biggerstaffs. Mr. Biggerstaff was a small man with a fiery temper, but was good to us children as a rule, and she was so good too. They had an apple orchard, and that was a rare treat to have an apple. So every once in a while, they would call us children in that went by their house, and give us apples or cookies.

One time when I was a girl, I was helping the Lester McMahans through haying ($3 a week) and George was a small child. He ran to the barn yard to meet his daddy. As he came from the field for dinner (noon) a colt following the team kicked him in the face, and laid his little face open. We had old doctor Brown come to sew it up. We had dinner nearly on the table, so we cleared it off and put a sheet on, and used it for an operating table. Lester and I held his feet, his mother his hands, and his grandmother [Lucy McMahan] gave the chloroform while doctor Brown put in some new gadgets (small hooks) to hold the cut. [George] pulled his hands loose, and pushed them all out, so [Dr. Brown] had to sew it with sewing thread, as the doctor hadn't brought cat gut along. [George] still had the scars the last time I saw him.

We lived on Dad's homestead until about 1919, then the folks moved to Grandad's place for a long time - I'm not sure just how many years. Then, after my father died [1938], Mom and the 2 youngest (boy and girl) Lucille and Wayne bought Grandad Bakers place. Wayne still has the place. [Wayne sold out in 1969] It now has electricity and running water.


This week I'll wrap up the story of my grandmother, Mae Baker Merk.

Her grandfather, James Baker, died in 1920. To illustrate what kind of man he was, I'm going to include a few lines from the Cambridge newspaper. First from 1915:

The News, Cambridge Idaho - Sept 24, 1915

"It is hard to imagine anybody else but Rev. Baker as minister of the Methodist church here [Cambridge]. It was Baker that built the parsonage and it was Baker that built the church, but he has decided to devote a few years to his ranch up near Fruitvale. He wants some 'wherewith to lay his head' in his old age. Rev. Baker will be missed by the church-going people in Cambridge. He was one of those quiet, unassuming persons who never sounded a trumpet before him, but somehow he always got results."

When he died, I was amazed at the extent of his obituary and the tributes to him. Flowery obituaries were common in those days, but his was at least twice as long as any I've seen, and it was really hard to-felt. Here is a very small, edited portion:

His sermons were master pieces of spiritual uplift; his life the embodiment of every true virtue. No man was ever revered in Salubria Valley as 'Good Old Brother Baker.' The poor, the well to do, the young, the old, the saint, the sinner, Protestant, Catholic, Scientist, and Agnostic all universally united in saying "He is a good man." No man has been able to say a harsh or unkind word of the greatest preacher the Upper Country ever had. There is no one to take his place in the affection of the people of Cambridge and the Upper Country. But his influence will live forever and all who came in contact with his kindly spirit will always be better because of the exemplary life that he lived.”

My grandmother, Mae Baker, married Alf Kite about 1918. They had a son (Melvin) and daughter (Wanda) before Alf died in 1921. She had a really rough time surviving for a few years after that. The following is from her autobiography. My additions are within brackets [].

Then in the spring of 1926, I believe April, I went with Dad and Bill Jones (brother in law) to Crooked River to Cook for the men at a new sawmill Jim Ward and Mr. Rooker were building. [This mill was located about 1/2 to 1 mile past the old Kramer stage stop. It was actually on Dick Ross Creek, a branch of Crooked River. It was not far to the west of the where the main road is today, and may have been quite close to where the old road used to run.--- Apr 30, 1928 W.S. Rooker, manager of the Crooked River sawmill...]

I lived, slept and cooked in a small tent. At first I left Melvin with Mom to go to school, or finish the term. As soon as the mill was cutting lumber, they built me a cook shack, and I started cooking for the mill crew. The log cutters camped, and some of the other help lived in tents, but soon lumber jack shacks were built all over the flat so a good many lived up there. But I still had 20 to 30 men to cook for.

Russell Merk and Clarence Wedding were cutting logs up there, and they batched, but Russell built a bed room on the cook shack for me, so we got to know each other pretty well. [Russell Merk, born Dec. 31, l903, at Salubria, had come to Fruitvale in 1924. His parents were John C. and Ida Lyons. Bill Baker said he was also working at the Rooker sawmil, and helped Russell build the bedroom.] Then we all went to the summit as it was called [also called "Kramer"], to shivaree 2 couples that had just got married. Russell asked me to go with him, so that's how our romance started. We were married that July 3rd about midnight, at Fruitvale.

[Adams County Leader, July 9, 1926 - "Russell H. Merck (sic) and Mrs. May Kite of Fruitvale were married at the latter place on July 3 by J.J. Larkey, a justice of the peace."]

Bill and Ethel took us down. Mr. Larkey was a justice of the peace there. [He lived at the east end of Johnathan Ave. (2275), on the south side.] We got him out of bed to marry us. He had us sitting all around the room. He explained to us the laws of Idaho etc., then said, "I pronounce you man and wife", so we weren't sure we were married until we got our marriage license or certificate back.


That's the end of the quotes from my grandmother's memoirs. Two kids were born to this marriage: LaDell and Alma (my mother). Mae and Russell lived for a short time in the old Fruitvale Hotel building where Joslins live now. When mom was born, they lived in a building that had been one of the stores at Fruitvale. It was just south of the post office. It was later moved to just northeast of the old bridge across the main Weiser River, a half mile west of Fruitvale. It is long gone now. They also lived in what had been a bunkhouse that was located just north of the southern railroad crossing on Monroe Street, between the tracks and the highway. There was a railroad cattle guard at this Crossing during the 1920s.

My mom and Uncle Dell pretty much grew up on "the Abshire" place just above me here on West Fork, which was the old Tom Glenn Homestead. When I was a kid, Granddad and Grandma Merk lived in the old McMahon house on Monroe Street in Fruitvale where rices later lived, and where Peggy Karen now lives. After living several other places, they wound up in Weiser. Mae/Grandma died in 1975, and Russell/Grandad died about a year later. They were outstanding people and I miss them.


No History Corner


There has been some confusion as to whether the first road between Council Valley and Meadows Valley went over Fort Hall Hill or followed the Weiser River. Many older people in the area remember the main highway going up the river, and the idea caught on that this must have been the oldest route. The truth is that this was the main route of travel for only about 20 years, between 1920 and 1940. No road went clear through by the river route until sometime after 1912.

The first road seems to have followed a similar path to the present highway as it climbs the southern slopes of Fort Hall Hill. The old road followed of the creek bottom more closely, to the west of the present highway. It topped the hill at about the same place it does now (maybe a few yards more to the northwest) only there was no cut there. From there it followed the first canyon down to the Weiser River.

At the top of this canyon, Tolbert Biggerstaff had a stage stop as early as the late 1880s or early 1890s. It was known as the "halfway station" between Meadows and the stage company's headquarters at Bernard Snow's ranch at Indian Valley.

Biggerstaff's ranch was down near the river, and my uncle, Bill Baker, thinks that is where the stage station was. Hugh Addington said it was near the summit of the hill, and the photo in the museum collection looks a lot like it was taken just north of the summit. That would put it right beside Ernest Baker's Homestead. My grandmother (Mae Baker Merk) mentioned that there was a structure on the homestead, near the summit, when they arrived, and I have always speculated that this may have been associated with a stage station.

Tolbert Biggerstaff once owned Starkey Hot Springs. I'll be writing about that later. His daughters married several well-known pioneers of the area. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Emily married Louis Harp. Anna married Bud Addington (Hugh's parents). Ova, whose nickname was "Josie" married Robert White Jr., the son of Council's first postmaster. After Robert died, she married Charley Allen, son of Levi Allen first discovered copper in the Seven Devils. Josie is famous for beating a schoolteacher half to death with a club, and later for trying to kill Charley with his hunting rifle.

Olive Biggerstaff married J.J. Jones, the man about whom I wrote a few weeks ago as having owned the store near Shaver's store and built Shumway's house.

There is a pond at the old Biggerstaff place at the bottom of the above-mentioned canyon today. (I think it was put in some time in the early 1970s.) Harry Bradley later owned this place in the 1920s. In the late 1960s it was owned by Russell and Jewell Byers. The day of Russell's death is a tragic one that I will always remember. He was arc welding in his shop there at the Glendale when a spark landed on a box of dynamite. An instant later, there was little left but the cement slab floor of the shop. [Of course this is speculation, since no one was there to witness what happened.]

The Ernest Baker Homestead was the scene of another tragic death in the early 1930s. The Bakers were living on James Baker's old place at this time, and the Cox family was staying in the house that Ernest had built. There was a little "Spring-house" near the house. In the days before refrigeration, people use to keep milk and other such perishables in the damp coolness of a small house or box built around a spring or seep. This particular one had a little pool of water in it. One of the Cox's little girls fell into this pool and drowned. There is still a small depression on the old place today where the spring house stood. I don't think any water comes out there now, ever since one of the Bakers thought they could improve the flow with some dynamite.

Before the railroad came through, the area between Starkey and Tamarack was usually referred to as “the Canyon." The name "Glendale" seems to have been a name that arrived with the railroad to indicate the spot along the tracks about where the pond is now. Someone has tacked the old railroad signed to a stump above the present road. Now that we are losing the tracks, this sign might be a valuable piece of history that the museum wouldn't mind preserving.

A school was built just north of the tracks at Glendale in 1909. By 1912 (if not before) there was a railroad depot almost at the front door of the school. At this time, there were 11 students at the school. This number stayed about the same until the school closed in 1941.



Remember some time ago I wrote about the flu epidemic that followed WW I? One of the local people who died was Leo J. Rainwater, who owned the store where Sam's TV and electric is now. About all I knew was that his wife and baby moved away soon after he died in 1918. As it turns out, that baby grew up to help invent the atomic bomb and received a Nobel Prize!

Born in Council December 9, 1917, Leo James Rainwater he was given nearly the same name as his father, Leo Jasper Rainwater.

After studying physics at the California Institute of technology, he worked on the ultra-secret Manhattan Project, and in doing so, helped invent the atomic bomb. From 1946 to 1952 he was a professor of physics at Columbia University. During that time, his research on the structure of the nucleus of atams so advanced the knowledge and that field that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1975. Rainwater died May 31, 1986. Evidently this information has never received much attention in Council.

Back to our progress up the canyon. I don't know much about the next old place up from Glendale – the place where Otto Bodmer lived so long. [2755 Highway 95]

From Glendale, the first route, established in 1878 by Calvin White, continued up the river bottom. It reportedly forded the river over 30 times before it reached Tamarack/Price Valley. In 1888 the fords were superseded by 10 new bridges. They lasted just a few months until spring runoff totally obliterated them.

Before long, the route of the road was changed. The route became one that started at the Fort Hall Hill summit and followed the bench above the east side of the river. This bench was easy-going until the steep, timbered hillside just before the East Fork. At East Fork, the road had to negotiate a steep dip to cross the creek by way of a bridge located just east of the present highway. From East Fork, the road continued along the hillsides east of the river all the way to Tamarack/Price Valley.

Just when someone established a stopping place at East Fork, I don't know. It may have been as early as the 1860s when mail first started moving through here. The first mention I can find in newspapers of a stage station near the mouth of the East Fork is found in the spring of 1895. The paper said that Elisha and Ella Stevens ran "a stage station, hotel, stable and general stopping place in the Canyon 10 miles above Council."

The following year (1896), the new stage line contractors started using the Stevens station instead of Biggerstaff's for their halfway station. The station was located on the bench north of the East Fork, east of the present highway. The oldest Stevens house is said to have been the one that stood just south of the road (that leads up onto the bench) until just a few years ago.

When the railroad was being built up the canyon in 1906, Jim Ross put a sawmill on the bench at East Fork to cut railroad ties.

An interesting story appeared in the Weiser paper that year. Just north of the house where the Vogts and Pierces now live, there is a very high, steep bank that drops abruptly down to the river. In the summer of 1906, a railroad worker named James "Shorty" Dunn had been drinking near there. The paper said that he toppled off "a platform on the edge of the 100 foot cliff and back of the Stevens house." Thirty feet down, he hit a rock, cutting a 9-inch gash in his head. He then turned about 20 somersaults before he reached the river. He survived the mishap and was reported to be recovering.

This steep bank was also used as a convenient place to dump trash at the time.

By 1909, there was a Forest Service Ranger Station build a short distance south of the East Fork, on the bench just across from the Stevens stage station. It was also called "Stevens Station" and has been a source of some confusion ever since. The museum has two great pictures of the Stevens Ranger Station. I don't know when this ranger station closed. The house that the Pierces live in at East fork is said to be the old Rangers house, and was moved to that location. [2810 Hwy 95].


On up the canyon, there is a "Filley Creek." I find the name Lewis and Pete Filley associated with the area in the old newspapers. Pete was the Tamarack postmaster for many years, retiring in 1942.

Gaylord Creek is named after someone by that name. In a 1905 Weiser Signal I read, "Mr. and Mrs. Gaylord of Weiser will move to Mr. Gaylord's ranch in the canyon above Stevens station. He has had a painting business in Weiser for some time."

Construction of the railroad in 1906 ended at "Evergreen." Evergreen was a very popular name in the U.S. around this time. Practically the whole Canyon area was known by this name at one time or another, so the exact location of Evergreen can depend on what exact time one is talking about. Starkey was even known by this name for a short time.

The place where the rails ended was at the first big clearing down the river from the present Evergreen campground.* People and supplies bound for points north had to unload from the train here and go on by other means. After the tracks made it this far, the stage line stopped operating between Council and Evergreen, but continued to run from Evergreen North eventually a livery stable, a freight house and several other buildings were erected here. A Weiser store owner named Ernest E. Record and his wife, Addie, built a hotel here in 1907.

*Approximately 44°53'7.02"N 116°23'10.25"W.

At 2:30 AM one September morning in 1909, residents of Evergreen awoke the crackle of fire. The stables and sheds of the Idaho Stage Company were ablaze. Three horses were killed, and one stagecoach, five sets of harness and a quantity of feed went up in smoke. It was thought that a drunk sheepherder had been careless with a cigarette.

The hotel and stage station were discontinued when the tracks were completed to New Meadows in 1911. The present Evergreen campground was established by the Forest Service in 1923. In 1937 Marvin and Lillian Imler build a service station along the highway just south of the campground. This business continued, to various degrees and under various owner, up until the 1970s. At this writing the building is home to Bob and Lila Coates.

About a mile south of Pine Ridge, on the west side of the highway, is Woodland Creek. A spot along the railroad tracks, also named Woodland, is about a quarter mile north, on the east side of the river where Beaver Creek enters the Weiser River. The Woodland sheep driveway used to come through here, and there were facilities for loading sheep onto rail cars.

For many years, the Wooldland Sheep Driveway was heavily used. It branched off from the main Weiser-Seven Devils Driveway between North Hornet Creek and grouse Creek, then went east along a ridge, crossing the West Fork of the Weiser River near mouth of grouse Creek, then on east to Woodland. In 1948 the Woodland sheep driveway was officially discontinued since it was no longer needed.

The story of how the modern highway got to be where it is, is an interesting story in itself, and I'll probably go into that soon. Essentially, the road follows the old route along the hills east of the river until the 1920s when the "North-South" highway was built through the canyon. Much of this old road is still visible or even in use. The most evident part of it is on either side of Beaver Creek on the east side of the river. One of the old concrete bridges is still in use where that old road comes onto the highway just South of Tamarack.

The original road to Lost Valley didn't leave the highway at Pine Ridge as it currently does. Instead, it went west from near Tamarack. I suppose traces of the old road must still be there.


The last place on our "tour" of the Canyon is Price Valley, named after Tom Price. Price was a California pioneer who was also an early arrival in Idaho. Although he was somewhat of a nomad, he settled at Indian Valley long enough to become the first mayor of a town that he named "Sourdough." The name didn't stick, and the spot became known as "Indian Valley."

Price was reportedly a military scout during one Indian war or another. He married an Indian Valley woman, Levina Anderson-Logan, in 1884. It was also about that time that he ran a soda mill on Mann Creek. He is said to have lived on Hornet Creek for a while also.

The way that Price Valley acquired Tom Price's moniker was that in about the early 1870s, Price was a mail carrier and frequently used a stopover cabin near present day Tamarack. The cabin became known as "Fort Price," and is the first known structure in that immediate area.

In 1904 there was a roadhouse at Price Valley, run by a man named Norton. It was a stage station and saloon, and evidently had facilities for overnight guests. The next year the station was taken over by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Riggs.

In 1905 a ranch owned by Weiser sheep man named A.G. Butterfield is mentioned as being at, or near, Price Valley. Butterfield had thousands of sheep and several ranches. I would guess that Butterfield Gulch that runs into Lick Creek was named after him.

The railroad was built up the canyon from Evergreen in 1910, and it made it to new Meadows in the first days of 1911.

Sometime before 1910, Steve Richardson established a sawmill at price Valley. In 1911 Richardson established the first post office in the his store here and named it "Tamarack." The Council Leader referred to Richardson in 1912 as "Tamarack postmaster, merchant, sawmill man and lawyer."

The vicinity had evidently attracted a number of residents by that time. Many were probably sawmill employees. It was that year (1912) that Richardson donated a piece of land here for the construction of a schoolhouse.

By the end of 1912, there were four sawmills operating at Tamarack. Richardson's mill sat right by the railroad depot. The Hawkeye Lumber Company mill was about a quarter mile south of Richardson's and was managed by R. E. Shaw. The Nord & Co. mill, run by James O. Nord, was another quarter mile down the canyon (south). A Mr. Combs operated a mill about 2 miles north of Richardson's at the edge of the Valley.

A tragic accident happened to a Hawkeye lumberjack during a log drive in the spring of 1913. A young, educated Swedish man named Carl Nelson was helping run logs down the Weiser River to the mill. Carl had never been on a floating log in his life. His inexperience, combined with the fact that the river was still running high with spring runoff, proved to be fatal. He fell into the swift water and was drowned under the logs. His body was packed in snow until his brother arrived to bury him. The Hawkeye mill continue to operate here at least until 1929, when it encountered financial problems and evidently went out of business.

Nord & Company continued to operate at Tamarack until the mill was bought by Jerry McCatron in 1940. About 1945 or 1946, Roy Nine bought into the partnership and ran the mill while McCatron logged in the woods. The mill was sold to W. I. Moffit in late 1958 or early 1959. M.B. Hitchcock, the owner at this writing, acquired the mill in 1964. The mill was originally on the east side of the highway to be near the river. It was replaced by a new mail and electric co-generation plant on the west side of the highway in the late 1980s.


I was given some more information about our Nobel Prize winner, Mr. Rainwater, who was born here. Gary Rogers found the book, "Nobel prize winners" that even has a picture of him in it. Leo Jasper Rainwater was his father who owned the store in Council, and he was also a civil engineer. Mrs. Rainwater's name was Edna. After Leo Senior died, she moved to Hanford, California where she remarried.

Leo Junior was raised at Hanford. In 1942 he married Emma Smith. They had a daughter who died in infancy, and three sons. Leo James Rainwater died in Yonkers, New York, May 31, 1986. His obituary may be in the New York Times, June 3, 1986.

I got a call from Walter Stevens, grandson of Elisha Stevens who ran a stage station at East fork. We will be getting photos and information from him.

This week I'm starting a series of articles centered around the Hahn family. A while back, I got a call out of the blue from a lady named Frances Krommenhock who was passing through Council with her husband. They were nice enough to call me and I met with them in town and copied a couple of their photos. Frances is a relative of Hahns, Drapers, and Fifers, who were all well known families here early in the century. Later she sent me an enormous bunch of information and Agnes Hahns memoirs, which is 283 pages of fascinating reading.

Frank Hahn married Alice Fifer, and they arrived in the Council Valley sometime between 1900 and 1904. Alice's brother, will Fifer, owned a store that stood about where shavers parking lot is now. Fifer was a jeweler, and the building also hosted a Barber shop and the Council State Bank at one time.

[The rest of this column was the beginning of a story about Frank Hahn's stage trip up through the Canyon, which is in my Landmarks book, as well as a future History Corner.]

2-1-96 & 2-8-96 continued the Hahn stage trip story.


Frank Hahn married Alice Fifer in the 1880s, long before they came to Council. As I mentioned before, Alice's brother, will Fifer was a jeweler here. I'm told that a clock he made still hangs in the courthouse. Her sister, Margaret Fifer married Abraham Beckstead. They lived on what is now the Gould place (3 miles north of town), and built the main big ranch house there. Later they traded ranches with the Goulds for their place on Cottonwood Creek (now the Frasier place).

Frank and Alice arrived in Council sometime shortly before 1904, when our story of the past few history corners occurred. Frank soon sold ther stage line and livery stable, and settled into a life as a rancher on what is now the Barr Jacobs place, about 4 miles north of Council. The house was, and still is, down along Lane and across the river (East) from the highway.[2381 Highway 95]

The Hahns had six children. In 1910 their son, Will, married Agnes Calkins. Agnes was in Council visiting her sister, Emma Draper (wife of Charles Draper) when they met. If you are getting the idea that this family tree is starting to get complicated, you are right.

Will and Agnes lived on Frank Hahn's ranch, then homesteaded their own place that joined it on the west. They had four children, the youngest of whom is still living. Agnes later wrote down her life story, at least that part of it, up through their time here at Council. It is really an interesting read. She describes many aspects of life in those days: how they made soap and butter, maintained coal oil lamps, the prices of various items, a little about the way houses were furnished and decorated, the way babies were dressed, how hogs were butchered and the meat cured; some of the early, informal rodeos held in this area, and and the agricultural depression of the 1920s. Her memoir will be put in the library sooner or later so you can read all of it.

I have to quote what she said about babies: "People did not handle newborn babies then as they do now, nor were babies dressed the same. Each baby must be dressed in flannel, a wool shirt, a flannel band, which was wrapped firmly around the baby's middle and at first almost reached his armpits, and over this went a pinning blanket which was made from a strip of outing flannel about 21 inches long and gathered onto a wide band. This was wrapped around the baby, overlapped and pinned, and folded up over the feet. Over this went a flannel petticoat, and over that an outing flannel nightgown or wrapper. With a baby blanket wrapped over all this, the baby was a stiff bundle with no way of exercising its own little limbs or back muscles."

Agnes said after having her first child, "Finally I had completed the 14 days then required for lying in bed, and the day came for me to get up and dress." Today you are lucky if the hospital let you stay overnight after giving birth.

Agnes told about how they cleared the brush from their Homestead, and shot and trapped hundreds of ground squirrels. There are still a lot of squirrels on that part of the Ridge, and people still shoot a lot of them.

Agnes writes about the flu epidemic of 1918. Her husband almost died from it, but survived. Ray Selby (Loraine's uncle) worked for the Hahns during that time, and she told about his death. She didn't mention that Ray and his mother died the same day. She also told of the death of L.J. rainwater from the flu.

Four years before a bridge was built at the home on ranch, they struggled with high water during the spring. They often had to go across the rolling hills east of the river, all the way to the bridge at Council, just to get across. Sometimes they risked the crossing in a small boat. This almost resulted in a drowning on more than one occasion, and a young boy actually was drowned while swimming in the river there one summer.


When the U.S. entered WW I in 1917, Frank Hahn Junior and his brother, Joe, insisted on joining the Army. It was decided that they would go to Boise to enlist. Most of the family, the boys, two of their sisters, and their parents, Frank and Alice, piled into their old Ford for the trip. The following is Agnes is us account of the terrible tragedy that ensued on August 6, 1917.

"Six people made quite a crowd for the little Ford car. After the boys enlisted, and on the way back to Payette, the Ford developed some trouble, and the boys worked on it before starting to Council. They left early the next morning after an early breakfast. Frank and father sat in the front seat, Frank driving and Alice sitting on her father's lap. Joe, Mother, and Elsie were in the backseat. Of course, Grandmother Fifer (who lived in Payette) cautioned Frank to drive carefully, and he mentioned that he would not drive fast, as the brakes were not working very well. A few miles out of Payette the highway turned at right angles and crossed the railroad tracks. The crossing was partly obscured from the road by an orchard.

"No one will ever know how the dreadful accident occurred, for the Ford had crossed the track where there was a little incline, and then, maybe because of some faulty mechanism or due to some other cause, the car engine must have stopped, for the car rolled back down onto the track and was struck by the oncoming passenger train. The Ford was completely demolished, Frank and Elsie killed instantly, and Father, with Alice locked in his arms, was pinned to the front of the engine and carried 300 feet down the track before falling.

“Joe was still alive, and Mother, when they were picked up and loaded into an empty car on the train and. Someone said that Mother had just died, and Joey who had seem to be unconscious said, 'For God's sake don't tell me.' A little later he raised his hand and stated, 'Joe Hahn, Council Idaho,' and that was the last word he spoke.

"Meanwhile, at home Will had gone to the main farm to work where his remaining brother and his wife were staying. Will was hot and tired, and went into the house for a drink of water. As he passed through the front room, the telephone rang, and when he answered it, a voice said, 'I am the undertaker from Payette. They are taking all the bodies to one parlor, and I want my part of the business.' And this was the way will heard the news of the accident, and that his people had been killed."'

Frank Senior was 60 years old, his wife 54, Frank Junior 25, Joe 20, Elsie 17, and Alice 13.

"We left for Payette as soon as we could get organized. When we reached Payette, we found that Alice had survived the wreck and was hospitalized in some hall at the time. She was unconscious and terribly hurt, bruised all over, and she remained unconscious for over a month."


After Alice Hahn woke up from her month-long coma, she had to be told that most of her family was gone. It took a long time for her to recover from her physical trauma, and even longer to get over the mental one. Ironically, years later, Alice's husband was killed by a train.

The train accident was the beginning of the end for the Hahn ranch. Before Alice had even regained consciousness, their cattle on the Forest grazing allotment began to die from eating Larkspur. They eventually lost about $3,000 worth. In today's dollars, it would be equal several times that much.

Frank Hahn's estate was divided between the two remaining brothers, and will bought out his brother. Then there were the hospital and funeral costs. Will had to put a second mortgage on the place to pay all the expenses. It was about this time that Will received a notice that he was being drafted into the Army. Fortunately he was given a deferment after the situation was explained.

Then came the flu epidemic after the war. Will caught it and the came very near to dying. He was so delirious at one point that he didn't even recognize his own wife or children. Dr. Brown told Agnes that Wills fever had raged for so long, and the medication had been so strong that he might never be right in his mind again. All their hired men left to get away from the virus, except one: Ray Selby. Will started to recover about the time that Ray's mother caught the flu and Ray went home to take care of her. Soon, Ray caught the deadly virus. He and his mother both died the same day. Ray was the brother of Chester (Chet) Selby, who later had a daughter many of you know: Lorraine Selby. Chet came to work for the Hahn's while will was still recovering from the lingering effects of his illness.

The mortgage Will got on the ranch was through the Council State Bank, which was in the building owned by his uncle, Will Fifer, as I said before, it was just west of where shavers is now. The banker was a new man in the position, and was very friendly. When Will went in to make the first payment, the banker told him that considering the hard times everyone was going through, that the money could be paid at a later date. Agnes tells the story in her memoir:

"Honest, trusting soul that he was, Will could hardly believe his good fortune, for we truly did need the money. 'Isn't he a great guy to do this for me?' he asked."

"I asked him if he had all that down in writing or any kind of paper to show for the agreement, or we would just be delinquent on our mortgage. 'Hell no!' he exclaimed. 'That man is honest, and I have his word, and that's all I need.'

"Will went ahead, used the money as he needed it, and seemed not to be worried about it until one day a neighbor came by and told us the bank was foreclosing on one of the Hornet Creek dairy men. Farmers began to get together and compare notes and to wonder, for all of them were indebted to the bank.

"On the first day of December the sheriff rode out and served us with foreclosure papers. Will was absolutely stunned! The sheriff was a good friend and hated to serve the papers, but he told Will he was only one of several farmers who were having the same experience."

In the agony and depression of being maliciously put into this trap, Will made plans to go to the bank and shoot the banker and then kill himself. Fortunately, Agnes was able to talk him out of it. The Hahn sold every piece of personal property they could get in an effort to pay the mortgage, but failed. They packed up the few belongings that remained and sadly left the country, feeling like homeless vagabonds.

Agnes's description of all this, and their last trip out of the long lane to the highway, past the land they had worked so hard to keep, is heartbreaking. One thing that makes history most interesting to me is knowing where the stories happened. Now when I drive by that long lane to what is now Barr Jacobs' is place, I think of the Hahn family.


Story of Starkey Hot Springs, which is in my Landmarks book.


Starkey continued








One of the owners of Starkey that a mentioned was Dr. William Brown. I skipped over his story to tell the one of Starkey.

There were two Dr. Brown's in Council, so it is sometimes a little confusing when someone mentions "Dr. Brown." I always have to ask "which one?"

Just a brief synopsis of the other Dr. Brown:

Dr. Frank Brown was one of the founding fathers of Council, arriving about 1900 when the town started to boom. He was said to be Council's first resident doctor, although I don't think that is totally accurate. He was the first to establish a long-term practice here, and was the main doctor in the whole area for many years.

He was a charter member of the Congregational Church, served on the school board, and was very involved in other public matters. The most lasting legacy he left to Council is the beautiful brick building on the northwest corner of Galena Street and Illinois Avenue. He had it built in 1913 to house his offices upstairs and a drug store on the bottom floor.

Dr. Frank Brown moved to Salem, Oregon in 1916 and died in 1958. There is a small book at the library about him.

Dr. William Brown

The first mention I've found of Dr. William Brown is in an 1893 Salubria newspaper when he was involved in what Heidi Bigler Cole called a "ride by shooting." Dr. Brown was driving a hack by someone's house in Salubria when a dog raised a hostile racket as he went by. It made the doctor angry, and he let go around from his revolver at the animal. Evidently the doctor wasn't a very good shootist. The bullet went wild, going through the front window of a nearby house, almost hitting two young children. The homeowner was understandably outraged, and a lawsuit against Brown was thought to be likely. The matter was evidently dropped, as there was no further news about it. Even in his early days in Salubria, Dr. Brown was well respected.

Dr. Brown and his wife, Emma, arrived in Salubria as newlyweds in the 1892. Earlier that year, Emma I had given birth to their daughter, Winifred, in Nebraska. Dr. Brown was a tall, slender gentleman, and wore wire-rimmed glasses. The 32-year-old doctor quickly established a reputation as a brilliant diagnostician. He was the 42nd doctor licensed in the state of Idaho.

In partnership with Eugene Lorton, Brown bought a drugstore in Salubria from John Cuddy in 1895. Brown later sold his share to Lorton. This store moved to Cambridge when the town of Salubria died, and continued in the Lorton family until just a couple years ago. Seems to me the Lorton name is still on the front of the drugstore in Cambridge.

In January 1897 the Browns had the second, and last, of their children: another girl, Mildred. It was about that time that the Pacific & Idaho Northern Railroad made plans to build a line into the Seven Devils Mining District. Dr. Brown was persuaded to be the railroad company's the physician in the mining district where construction was to begin soon. The company built a hospital building in the new town of Cuprum, and the Brown family moved there in 1899. The hospital had a drugstore in the front section, a hospital ward in the middle, and a kitchen in the back end.

It was soon evident that the railroad was not going to be built into the mining district, but Brown stayed there. He had already been bitten by the mining bug, and played at prospecting over the years. In 1937 he and my grandfather, Jim Fisk, went up someplace on the Salmon River looking for a gold prospect that Dr. Brown had discovered 40 years earlier.

In 1901 the Browns bought out the Cohen & Chris store in Decorah (just a few miles up Indian Creek from Cuprum) and moved their business there. About 1902 they moved the short distance to Landore where their business included "drugs, chemicals, confectionery, stationery, fresh fruits, cigars and tobacco, groceries, provisions, gent's furnishing goods, hats, gloves, boots and shoes, paints and oils, powder, caps and fuse." A post office was soon added to the mix, and a telephone was installed in the store.


Dr. Brown received his pharmacists license in 1905. In those days pharmacists mixED most of their medications from scratch, and he often concocted his own remedies. It would be interesting to know what they were. I bet some of them would be very illegal now.

Dr. Brown also functioned as the local optometrist, a practice he continued for many years. Emma acted as nurse in the medical practice, often treating minor injuries when the doctor was away.

The Browns were cornerstones of Landore social life, and were involved in most civic affairs. The doctor had a fine tenor voice, and sang at many of the early social gatherings. In 1912, Dr. Brown was elected to the state legislature, becoming the first representative from newly formed Adams County. He served only one term, but was instrumental in getting the short-lived Black LaKe Game Preserve created, and in getting elk and trout planted in this area. His political activities led him to become a close friend of Senator William E Borah. It was also about this time (1913) that Brown became the deputy assessor for the Seven Devils vicinity.

When the mining boom ended, the Browns were among the last to leave Landore, moving to Council in 1916. It was that year that Dr. Frank Brown moved away, so the timing worked out well for the community. Dr. William Brown established his office in the building that now houses Elite Repeats on the main street through town. [The old First Bank of Council building, built in 1909.] He and Emma built a home that is still standing in Council, and where Dr. Thurston later lived. [NE corner of E Whiteley Avenue and N Clarondon Street.]

Dr. Brown soon became the county physician and corner. As I mentioned, when Brown and Griffith bought Starkey in 1920, the doctor continued his practice in town two days a week. Emma continue to live in Council for a short time before moving to Starkey. After retiring in 1928 and selling the Hot Springs to Winnifred and Bob Lindsey, the Browns bought a home in Phoenix, Arizona, and spent much of their time there.

Dr. William Brown died in Phoenix in October 1941. I have no record of when Emma died. Our museum has several items that belonged to Dr. Brown: his medical bag, a glass office sign, a machine for making pills, a big set of lenses for eyeglasses.

Winifred Brown married Robert Lindsay on September 2, 1922 in San Francisco, where Bob was in the hardware business. As I mentioned, they took over Starkey in 1929, and ran it the rest of their lives. I have no idea what became of Winifred sister Mildred.


I was asked recently to do some investigation into the historic quality of fishing in the Weiser River. People have been coming to the Council area to fish for centuries. In my research, I read that one name the Indians had for the Council Valley was "Kos-ni-mah" (pronounced Quashnima). The term supposedly indicated "redfish," in other words, salmon. The old-timers thought the word was Nez Perce, but I talked to one of the Nez Perce dancers who came here last summer who spoke Nez Perce pretty well, and he said that wasn't their word for red fish. I'm hoping to check with someone who speaks Shoshoni to see where it came from.

It could be that the term Kos-ni-ma is a term some white person came up with, like the fictitious Indian origin of the name "Idaho." As many of you know, Idaho or "E-da-how," which supposedly meant "sun coming down the mountain" or some such, was made up by a white person who thought the name and story sounded good. A group was looking for someplace to give the name "Idaho" to, and almost gave it to Wyoming before we got the honor. I've said it 1000 times, a good story is so much better than the truth to many people that myths often get preserved better than reality. The myth of the location of "the" Council tree is one such story that just drives me crazy.

The Weiser River was always a major salmon spawning stream, with several species running up the river at different times over the summer. The Shoshoni would gather at various locations along the Weiser to harvest the fish, generally catching them in willow weirs.

Salmon contributed to the diets of Council area people up until the dams were built on the snake River in the late 1950s the salmon would sometimes be so thick in the water that a person could throw a pitchfork into a pool in the river where the salmon were the thickest and almost certainly spear one.

My dad told me of the time when he was walking across the bridge over the West Fork. He threw a salmon spear, which will had a rope attached, into the water, hit a salmon and kept on walking home with his catch without ever slowing down.

The old pioneers of the Council area said that fishing was always very good here. They considered the main Weiser River the best place to fish for trout, especially the deep holes in the river. In 1903 Dr. Frank Brown caught 325 small trout in the East fork of the Weiser River. The next day L.L. Burtenshaw caught 180 and T.W. Johnson caught 45 there. Three years later, Dr. Brown and Steward Piper caught 400 fish on the West Fork of the Weiser. In 1912, some Council men reportedly caught over 600 fish in the Bear Creek and Lick Creek area, and trout as long as a man's arm were being caught in Lost Lake. In 1905 fishing was allowed year around and the limit was 20 pounds, with a limit of 30 pounds in possession at any time.


Wrote about our agreement with Evea Harrington Powers to expand the museum.


Since writing about the Steven station at East fork, I have received more information about the Stevens family. Caryn Fieger gave me the address of Walter Stevens who had stopped at East fork some years ago. From Walter and his relatives I got some good info and photocopies of pictures.

Elisha Stevens, who along with his wife, Ella, ran the Stevens stage station, was born in Illinois in 1845. By the mid-1860s he had married and had two daughters. No one seems to know what became of his first wife and children, and it is surmised that they died. Elisha was a pony express writer for a time, and then became an Army scout at Fort Richfield, Utah. When the Blackhawk Indian War began in the spring of 1866, he was sent to bring the settlers of the nearby town of Alma into the Fort. They remained there for three years because of the war. The town was not resettled until 1871 when it was renamed "Monroe."

For his part in aiding the settlers during the Indian war, Stevens's name was inscribed (along with a number of others) on a historic marker in the city park at Monroe, Utah.

This and more is in my Landmarks book and in a future History Corner.


Wrote about cap and ball pistols.


If you read anything about the history of the old town of Decorah in the Seven Devils Mining District, one fact that is usually mentioned is that the town was started by a man named C.W. Jones. And that's about all you will hear about the man, except that he was not related to T.G. Jones who established the town of Landore, just a stones throw up Indian Creek. I have run across other references to C.W. Jones that show him to have been an ambitious man with itchy feet.

The earliest mention of C.W. Jones is in the Salubria Citizen newspaper in 1898. "Charlie," as he was called, was a justice of the peace in the Lick Creek precinct. Jones was mentioned in the same newspaper the next year as the owner of a big Coppermine (the Copper Chief) on the Snake River. He and another man were going to float down the Snake from Huntington to check on the feasibility of running a steamer from Lewiston that would Haul ore on its return trip. This was only the millionth time this type of scheme had been investigated. It seems like people found it very hard to grasp the fact that the Snake River was not navigable by a ship big enough to haul much cargo. Bear in mind that this was several years after Kleinschmidt's famous disaster with his steamboat, Norma.

The vessel on which the men set sail on the trial run was a scow dubbed "Hotel Weiser." They made it at least as far as the mouth of Deep Creek, but the paper made no further mention of the trip or its success or failure. It is interesting that the paper mentioned the mouth of Deep Creek as being in "Hell Canyon." This name was not in common use in those days – not in fact, until fairly recent years.

Jones shows up next as a saloon owner in business with a man named Degitz, in Cuprum in 1900. The next year (1901) the Cambridge Citizen newspaper had this to say: "The first sale of town property was made in the new town of Decorah on March 28th, when C.W. Jones sold his entire interest in the saloon business, including buildings and fixtures to Nick Klosaner of Cuprum for $4,000." An elegant billiard table was included in the bargain.

Decorah had been granted a post office that January. The town didn't last long. In 1903 the post office was closed – a sign that Decorah was in serious decline. In August 1904 the Weiser Signal reported that the town of Decorah was being moved to Landore.

If Jones did indeed establish Decorah, he apparently had no grandiose plans to ride this horse to fame and fortune, and bailed out very early in the game. By 1902 he was in Council, busily publishing the "Advance" newspaper, in head to head competition with L. S. Cool's "Council Journal." Neither newspaper lasted more than a year or two, and Council ended up without any newspaper for a number of years, until the Council Leader started in 1908.

The year of 1904 found Jones living in Landore, in charge of the Peacock, White Monument, Helena and several other mines. He occupied himself in this direction at least into 1905. For now, I don't know what became of him. No doubt he changed careers several more times before his earthly time was up.


I'm really excited about some incredible pieces of local history that have come our way recently! A week or two ago, I got a letter from Sally Thurston Clarke, Dr. Thurston's daughter, who lives in Boise. She said she had 8mm movie footage that her father had taken, starting in the early 1930s, that she would be willing to share with Council. Since then, Sally has sent 17 reels of film that include some absolutely wonderful footage. I put one reel on the other night and couldn't believe I was watching Bill Winkler smiling and talking (without sound of course) on the screen. There is movie footage of:

-The CCC camp on Middle Fork, showing many of the buildings, the Middle Fork schoolhouse, and some Mesa tramway towers.

-A drag saw in operation cutting firewood.

-A brief shot of the old Council sawmill burning down in 1958.

-A horseback trip into Wildhorse by the doctor to see a patient (this one includes a quite young Helena Schmidt).

-A parade in downtown Council in the 1930s.

-The buildings and mill at Black Lake.

-A passenger train pulling into Council Depot, pulled by a steam engine. -Dr. Thurston's "snowmobile" made from a model A Ford.

Some of the other people that are identified: Carl Swanstrom; Charlie, Esther, Henry and Si Winkler; Bob and Ted Hagar; Alta, Mae, Bonnie and Alva Ingram; Goldie and Jean Russell, the Vern Brewer family, Robert Hancock, Art Hollenbeak; Gene, Jim and Ruth Perkins; Jim Poynor; Winifred, Bob and Mary Drennan Lindsay; Ellis, Edwin, Melvin and Helen Snow; Paul Schaff, Harold McClymonds; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Planert, Earl Miller, Grahm and Robert Doyle, Vern Kidwell, Donald Foust, Edwin Stanfield, Clyde Rush, Dot Burnett, John Hoover; Janet and Sally Thurston; Lucy and Billie Jane Spahr; Olive Addington and her mother, Mrs. Emery; Dr. John Edwards; Gene and Wendell Lawrence.

There are many more people who are unidentified, such as members of the Worthwhile Club 60 years ago.


An interesting item that was recently donated to the museum is an old book of minutes from meetings of the Cuddy Mountain Cattle and Horses Growers Association. Like other groups of its kind, it was formed to organize the ranchers who grazed cattle on a given area of the National Forest. This, and other organizations like it, continue today. For the ranchers, they spread the workload of managing the cattle and maintaining facilities. For the Forest Service, such associations save having to deal with each rancher individually.

The first meeting of the Cuddy Mountain group was in April 1916 when the association was organized. J.B. Lafferty was the supervisor of the Weiser National Forest at the time, which included the area where the association members would be grazing cattle. Lafferty Park along the Council-Cuprum Road is named after him. Lafferty spoke at the meeting and helped organize the association. Ellis Hartley was elected president, John Clifton, vice president, and P.H. Miller, secretary.

Historically the relationship between ranchers in the Forest Service has not always been smooth. When the National Forests were first established early in this century, some ranchers bitterly opposed any infringement on their "right" to put animals on public land as they saw fit. In some cases, this resulted in severe overgrazing. After the Forests were established and grazing associations were formed, this conflict too often continued. From the minutes of its early meetings, it would appear that the Cuddy Mountain Association had no problems with the Forest Service.

The association started with about 45 members. The 1917 list includes a number of notable personalities: Arthur Huntley, Pete Kramer, Frank Peck, Albert Campbell, Robert Harrington; Ed and Billie Myers, Archie and Claude Emery, Frank Myers; Victor and Manuel Oling, R.A. Williams, Dan and John Clifton, S.J. Stephens, Henry Blake, William Bingham, F.J. Baily, A.F. Lozier, H.E. Warner, Bill Shearer, John Kampeter, W.J. Wilson, Orville F. and J. A. Long, John Darland Keithly Lakey, M. Johnson, D. E. Smith, G.C. Gilmer, C.F. Smith, Joe Russell; R. (Rasmus?), Bill and Nelson Hanson; E.C. Haynes, A J. Thompson, WH Stutsman, Albert Rankins, JD Eads, R. A. Widdle, WR and Ed Haines, Fred Milroy, R. W. and Enos Carter, L.G. Andrews, E. Walston, Frank Famming, C. E. Rogers and W. S. Rucker. A number of these people probably had only a few cattle or horses.

The grazing allotment evidently covered quite a wide area, going about as far north as Cuprum. At the south end, Goodrich and Johnson Creek ranchers are also listed: Albert Ferguson, E. H. Gallant, John Ogilvie, Abraham and Alfred Schmid, C. H. Glasscock. Cyrus Kilborn and James Thorp.

One of the constants of range management, then as now, was buying and distributing salt. Pieces of salt are placed at locations that not only provide cattle with a vital nutrient, but lead the animals to stay longer in certain areas. Today one of the main goals of salt placements is to avoid concentrations of cattle in riparian areas (along streams).

When the ranchers bought salt in 1917, it cost $14.35 per ton and came in 100 pound sacks. It was probably rock salt as opposed to the square-shaped blocks that are often used today. Rock salt is more or less in its natural state as it comes from the ground. It is irregular in shape (like chunks of rock) and has impurities in it. Salt blocks are molded from almost pure salt, with other desired minerals sometimes thrown in. It has been debated in grazing associations as to whether the cheaper rock salt or the more expensive block salt is a better investment.

In the summer of 1917, there were 2,019 head of cattle on this part of the Forest, and 28,756 pounds of salt was purchased. The next year there were over 3,000 cattle on the allotment. During WWI, the Association members stated that they would volunteer to fight fires on the Forest. They would be paid $.40 per hour, plus a dollar a day for the use of their horse.

Minutes of the January 1917 meeting declared no mules or "stags" over two years old would be allowed to graze on the allotment. In 1919 there is much mention of the "Bill Boyles Gang" of cattle rustlers. Evidently they had been quite a problem until they were caught and prosecuted.


One of the most striking attitudes of our ancestors was their bigotry. In reading the early newspapers of this area, it quickly becomes obvious that anyone who didn't fit the classic white Anglo-Saxon Protestant mold was openly denigrated. African-Americans were frequently depicted as being a happy, simple-minded subclass of beings. Chinese people were despised as filthy and immoral. At one point, newspapers publicly proclaimed that all Mormons should be run out of Idaho. When it came to Native Americans, people sometimes openly advocated genocide of these "savages."

Women's rights have been a bone of contention in this country at least since 1848 when it was first suggested that they should be allowed to vote. The 19th amendment giving women the vote was passed, after 72 years of struggle, in 1920. The struggle of women continues today as our society skirmishes with itself over gender issues.

Dr. Dora Gerber is a person from Council's not-so-distant past whose life was touched by both the attitude toward Indians and toward women's rights. Gerber went very much against the attitudes of the day when she decided to become a dentist. In about 1912 she was the first woman to graduate from the Dr. Miller's School of Dentistry in Portland, Oregon. Her dentists licensed certified that she could be trusted to do all kinds of invasive repairs in people's mouths, but she wasn't allowed to vote.

Dr. Gerber grew up in the Grangeville area (mostly Kendrick), and learned to speak the Nez Perce language from her Indian playmates. Her father was hired by the government to teach the Nez Perce how to farm. I guess this would be called "retraining" today. It didn't go over too well with them. Teaching a wild and free people to farm might be a little like retraining loggers to knit doilies.


One of the most evident attitudes that you find in reading local newspapers from Council's history is found in the glowing, romantic descriptions of the abundance of Council Valley's Orchards, farms and mines. These writers were not just overflowing with entusiasm, they were salesman selling their community. They were advertising to get more people, industry, and "progress" to come to their little corner of the world. "Growth" and "progress" were synonymous buzzwords of the day. In a country that had only recently been wilderness there seem to be no limit to the land or the bounties it could yield. Nature was an obstacle to overcome, and opponent to be conquered and subdued. The dogma of "Manifest Destiny" was unquestioned.

In 1908 the Council Commercial Club set out to implement a systematic plan of advertising the Valley with the goal of bringing in more people. This seemed to be taken for granted as being the most important factor toward improving the area.

Idaho even had an Immigration Commissioner who spread promotional material throughout the East and Midwest to attract people here to settle. Not to be outdone, Edgar Heiho, general manager of the P & I N Railroad, announced that he would give free train passes to immigrants seeking homes around the Council, Cambridge for Midvale. (The tracks hadn't made it to Meadows Valley yet.)

This worship of growth has continued without much challenge until fairly recently. Our whole economic and social system has become addicted to an unsustainable pyramid scheme based on eternal growth. The current state of the Social Security system is only one example of the folly of depending on ever increasing population for the sustainability of anything.

Another sign of a different attitude in the past is noticeable in how people felt toward violence. I'm convinced that people had a higher tolerance of violence in the old days – maybe even more of a desire for it, at least among the males of our species. Both work and play were hard and physical.

On Saturday nights, community dances would often last all night. Part of the fun of these shindigs would usually include several knockdown-drag-outs between the young men. Boxing matches called "smokers," were held fairly often in the 1920s and 1930s. On the other hand, we see more violence on TV in one night than a person back then saw in a lifetime.

Our area, and the West in general, has been influenced by Southern culture and attitudes. After the Civil War, great numbers of Southerners migrated to the west. In looking through the records of who settled the Council area in the 1870s through 1910 or so, it's interesting what a large percentage of those people came from the South, especially Arkansas, for some reason. The only vestige of that regional culture that I can think of, off the top of my head, is calling the evening meal "supper." I never heard supper called "dinner" when I was growing up here. Dinner time was always at noon. There are undoubtedly a number of idiosyncrasies of the southern culture here that we take for granted.


How often have you heard, or read about, and old-time person saying, "I've never been sick a day in my life"? This statement implies that ill health is a product of the modern lifestyle. Another thing you read an old accounts around here is how there were few doctors and people just didn't seem to need them as much. Personally, I don't put much faith in that. Life was shorter and harder, and I think people mostly put up with more suffering.

Health was a constant concern in the old days. Illnesses that today are thought of as being relatively mild took the lives of thousands. In the days before antibiotics, a simple scratch could easily lead to death. Frank Smith of Bear was a classic example of that. Frank stepped on the head of a bisque doll with his bare foot. He suffered only a small cut, but he died quickly from blood poisoning.

Anyone who has ever walked through an old cemetery has noted the high rate of infant mortality. In 1900, 10% of babies died at birth and 16% didn't survive their first year. The average male life expectancy was age 47.

Rheumatism and arthritis were no easier to bear in a time when homes were usually uninsulated and often drafty.

Mental illness was more commonplace than it is now. Just after the turn of the century, newspapers in this area contained a story almost every week about someone going violently insane. This may have been due to the use of substances that were not known at the time to be toxic. Lead is a primary example. Lead was one of the principal ingredients in paint. Even worse, tin cans, from which some people in isolated locations eight much of their food, were sealed with a solder that had an extremely high lead to content. Also, popular patent medicines of that day often contained cocaine or toxic and/or easily-misused ingredients. Mental illness is central to the story of Preston Anderson.

[The story of Preston Anderson is in my Landmarks book.]


In this column I wrote about museums in the West that I had recently visited, and then complained about Moser Avenue being spelled “Mosher” Avenue.


After my article about old book of minutes from the Cuddy Mountain Grazing Association, I got two interesting reactions.

Glenn gallant told me that Ferguson basin is named after Albert Ferguson mentioned in the minutes, and that he now lives on the old Ferguson Place at Goodrich. I also got a letter from James Thorp in Boise who said his uncle, Victor Oling and grandfather, Manual Oling, on one side of his family, and his grandfather, James Thorp, on the other side, were mentioned in the minutes. He said that his grandfather Thorp is said to have been the one who discovered Jim Summers' body on Cuddy Mountain. This gave me the idea of doing a column on Summers.

Before I get started though, I never did hear anything about the Bill Boyles gang of cattle rustlers on Cuddy in 1919. I'm still hoping someone has some information they can give me.


I wrote three columns about Jim Summers, which I will essentially include here.

Summer's Grave-

On the north west part of Cuddy Mountain is the Grave of James Hazen Summers. Summers was a prospector, but was better known as an Indian fighter. During the 1860's Summers prospected the area around Pine Creek on the Snake River. He later prospected in Brownlee Creek, and owned the Galena mines on the northern part Cuddy Mountain. He also developed claims on Rapid River, and a mining district in that area was named after him.iv

Jim Summers

Born in Kentucky in 1838, and most likely coming to this area in mid 1870's, Jim Summers was a prospector, but was better known as an Indian fighter. He came west to California with his cousin, just after the 1849 gold rush to that state. While they were working a mining claim somewhere in California, an Indian shot from the brush, and killed Summers' cousin. From that day on, Jim hated any Indian, and if one can believe his stories, took pains to kill every one he could. He joined in the Modoc Indian war of 1873 in northern California and southern Oregon as a volunteer. During the 1860's, Summers prospected the area around Pine Creek on the Snake River. He later prospected in Brownlee Creek, and owned the Galena mines on north Cuddy Mountain. He also developed claims on Rapid River.

His irrational hatred for Indians is illustrated by a story he told to Judge Frank Harris of Weiser. Summers was sitting on a log near Crooked River when two Indains passed him on the trail. One was a large young man, the other was smaller and older. Both men were carrying packs on their backs. Summers coldly shot and killed the younger Indian who was in the lead, and then the older man. When he examined the packs the Indians had been carrying, he found they contained pressed bear meat. Summers dragged the bodies into a hole made by an uprooted pine tree, and covered them. Several years later, he was passing to spot where he had murdered the two Indians, and stopped to see if anything remained of them. As he approached their impromptu grave site, the biggest bear he had ever seen in his life stood up in front of him. Summers, who was armed only with an old .44 pistol, was terrified. The fact that the Indians had been carrying bear meat when he had killed them must have made him wonder if the spirits of the dead men had returned in the form of the bear to seek revenge! Fortunately for Summers, the bear simply dropped to the ground and loped away.

Weiser Leader, Sept 13, 1889

Jim Summers and Mr. Ruth of Mineral have made some claims in the Rapid River area. The district is referred to as "The Summers District"

from Freehafer essay: "... the escapade of Jim Sommers and Jack Said, better known as Rattle snake Jack. The above two parties had followed some Indians down into the canyon, about two miles above the canyon, about two miles above Salt Creek. They camped all night on the bluffs and the following morning, when they espied the Indian camp, they fired on them, wounding one Indian. However, they had failed to notice the placing of pickets on the bluffs around them. When they fired on the Indians in camp the pickets answered them likesise. In the skirmish which followed, several Indians were wounded, and so was Jim Sommers. They finally excaped by swimming the Snake river and getting out of their reach."

Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman, June 22, 1880 - "...Jim Summers and another man, ... became suspicious that there were some Indians near the mouth of Crooked river, where Lieut Calley saw a lot of supposed horse thieves which he took for Indians last summer. Summers raised a small party and went out there, and saw a horse, and went towards him, and when near enough they saw an Indian was picketing the horse; and about the same time they were fired upon by a band of Indians some distance off. One ball hit Summers in the shoulder, and another man was struck or graxed by a bullet near his mouth. Summers party think there were ten or fifteen Indians. At all events, the whites left the Indians as they were too strong for them. all this occurred about three weeks ago."

The following is a story involving Jim Summers that I have pieced together from a confusing tale told by Jesse Smith on a tape recording made by Jim Camp in 1971.

Early one morning when Jesse was very young, he awoke to a commotion outside. Indians had been in the barn, and were coming out through the corral, when they were discovered by the family. The Indians made their escape, and Jesse's father quickly put some harness on their old bay mare and took off after them. He evidently didn't catch up with them.

Word spread of the incident, and Jim Summers, a man called Rattlesnake Jack, and possibly a couple of other men, got involved in hunting for the Indians. There had been Indians camped near the Bisbee place on Wildhorse, and Summers picked up some Indian tracks in that area. The men evidently followed them to a spring on Summers Creek west of Sheep Peak where they found about 30 Indians camped.

It's unclear just who attacked whom, but Jesse described a hot gun battle in which Summers was shot in the hip, and several Indians were killed. The bodies of the Indians were buried on a grassy ridge near Sheep Peak. Afterwards, Summers went to Pine Valley where it took about a year for him to recover from his wounds.*oral interview with Jesse Smith and Anna Adams by Jim Camp, 1971 p. 8 of transcript.

At that time, Sheep Peak, a prominent butte overlooking the Wildhorse river, was called Sheep Rock. Later, the rocky point on the east rim of Hells Canyon near Helena was also given the name Sheep Rock. The Wildhorse butte was renamed Sheep Peak to avoid confusion. Summers Creek, which drains west into the Snake River, was named after Jim Summers.(1912 Forest Service map of the Weiser National Forest)

Jesse Smith told the story as if it were a personal recollection. If he actually did remember witnessing any of it, these events had to have occurred between about 1890 and 1893. (Jesse was born in 1888, and Summers died in 1893.) However, either Rattlesnake Jack was not involved in the incident, or there were two Rattlesnake Jacks and the episode happened much earlier. One Rattlesnake Jack, who's real name was B.E. Said, ended his earthly career in a colorful manner when he was shot and killed by a Weiser deputy sheriff in 1882. Jack got drunk in a Weiser saloon one November evening of that year, and started getting extremely obnoxious. The sheriff's office was notified, and a deputy was dispatched. When the deputy tried to arrest him, Jack pulled his revolver and shot at the deputy. Several shots were exchanged, and the deputy retreated to get bigger artillery. When the deputy returned to the saloon with a shotgun, the gun battle continued but soon ended when Jack recieved a mortal wound to his chest. The editor of the Weiser newspaper said that when Rattlesnake Jack was sober, he was a quiet, industrious and inoffensive citizen. (Weiser City Leader, Nov 4, 1882)

Said's remains were accidentally unearthed in 1899 as the P&IN Railroad began building its line north. His skull and the bones of one arm were taken back to the same saloon wher he was killed and displayed on a shelf over the bar.

Jim Summers was well liked and even admired by those who knew him.

Later in his life, cancer completely destroyed Summers's right eye, and he wore a handkerchief to cover it. He was in pain much of the time, but didn't complain about it much. In September of 1893, two prospector friends of Jim's were passing near his mining claims in the head of Galena creek. As they approached a small grove of quaken aspen, they saw Summers's lying dead amoung the trees. They buried him near that spot. Since he was alone when he died, the exact date of his death was never known. He was 56 years old.(Harris and Weiser Signal- Leader, Sept 28, 1893)

Weiser Leader, Jun 21, 1889

J.H. Summers is dangerously ill at Pine valley, Oregon... little hope for his recovery. He lost one of his eyes several years ago, the effects of which he never recovered. He has been under medical treatment for 6 months... now paralysis has set in.

Weiser Leader, Sept 13, 1889

Long report of activities in the Seven Devils. The ore now being shipped will go all the way to England for processing.

Jim Summers and Mr. Ruth of Mineral have made some claims in the Rapid River area. The district is referred to as "The Summers District"

Summers's grave is shown on Forest Service maps, and is located right beside 4 wheel drive road #234. To reach Jim Summers' grave, turn west from the main Council - Cuprum road just before the old Hornet Creek Guard Station, and take road #055. For the most part, this road was built in about 1924 to reach the Cuddy Mountain mines, the remains of which can still be seen along its route, about 8.5 miles from the Council - Cuprum road. This rocky road is shown on maps as a four wheel drive road, and it is that. At the top of the mountain, road #234 turns north along the ridge top. The view here in all directions is heart-stopping: especially that of the Pine Creek Valley in Oregon and the Snake River canyon far below to the west. Summers's grave, marked with a marble headstone, and fenced with poles, sits right above road #234, about 3 miles from where it branches from #055. The Hillman ranch cabin and corrals are located here as well. The total distance from the main road is about 13 miles.

Ron Hillman said that Helena Schmidt told him that Summers is actually buried down the canyon below the grave marker.

Photo of grave marker. It reads:





Summers died in the fall of 1893 near his Galena claim. Two fellow prospectors found his body lying on some scrub quaking aspen, where he had evidently died during the previous night. They buried him near that spot. His grave is still marked, and shown on Forest Service maps.v

[ The Lead Zone Mining Co., Inc., put a mine into operation in 1948 on the Galena claims. In 1951 the crew of 3 or 4 men had blasted out about 800 feet of tunnels, and by 1953 had shipped about 150 tons of high-grade lead ore.vi]


The Jim Summers story, continued from the last two columns.

Last week I wrote about a fight with Indians that involved Jim Summers and a man named Rattlesnake Jack in 1880. Rattlesnake Jack's, real name was B.E. Said. His earthly career had a colorful end when he was shot and killed by a Weiser deputy sheriff only two years later, in1882. Jack got drunk in a Weiser saloon one evening, and started getting extremely obnoxious. The sheriff's office was notified, and a deputy was dispatched. When the deputy tried to arrest him, Jack pulled his revolver and shot at the deputy. Several shots were exchanged, and the deputy retreated to get bigger artillery. When the deputy returned to the saloon with a shotgun, the gun battle continued but soon ended when Jack received a mortal wound to his chest. The editor of the Weiser newspaper said that when Rattlesnake Jack was sober, he was a quiet, industrious and inoffensive citizen. (Weiser City Leader, Nov 4, 1882)

Rattlesnake Jack was buried in a location that was evidently not in an organized cemetery. Almost twenty years after his death, his grave was inadvertently disturbed. It was in late 1898 or early 1899 that the railroad began construction of the line to Council. As the line was being built from the main line at Weiser, Jack's remains were accidentally dug up by the grading crew. An enterprising Weiser business man acquired the bones and put them on display for the "enjoyment" of his customers.

Jim Summers only lived about 13 years after the shootout with the Indians. Toward the end of his life, cancer had completely destroyed his right eye, and he wore a handkerchief to cover it. He was in pain much of the time, but didn't complain about it much.

In 1889, the Weiser Leader reported that Summers was is dangerously ill at Pine valley, Oregon, and that there was little hope for his recovery. "He lost one of his eyes several years ago, the effects of which he never recovered. He has been under medical treatment for 6 months . . . now paralysis has set in."

Apparently, Jim recovered enough to return to life on Cuddy Mountain. In September of 1893, he was found dead there. According to James Thorp, his grandfather was the one who discovered Jim's body. Mr. Thorp writes: "My grandfather was riding for cattle on Cuddy Mountain and came upon an apparently abandoned camp, but upon investigation discovered the body of Jim Summers. Further investigation turned up several head of horses, corralled or tethered, that were in bad shape for lack of feed and water. He turned the animals loose and buried Mr. Summers. This in itself was a feat as my grandfather was a one-armed man."

In his recollections of local history, Frank Harris said that two prospector friends of Jim's found Summer's body. Harris said that as they approached a small grove of quaking aspen, they saw Summers's lying dead among the trees. They buried him near that spot.

Summers was alone when he died, so the exact date of his death was never known. He was 56 years old.

Jim Summers's grave is shown on Forest Service maps, and is located right beside road #234. To reach Jim Summers' grave, turn west from the main Council - Cuprum road just before the old Hornet Creek Guard Station, and take road #055. For the most part, this road was built in about 1924 to reach the Cuddy Mountain mines, the remains of which can still be seen along its route, about 8.5 miles from the Council - Cuprum road. This rocky road is shown on maps as a four wheel drive road, and it is that. At the top of the mountain, road #234 turns north along the ridge top. The view here in all directions is heart-stopping: especially that of the Pine Creek Valley in Oregon and the Snake River canyon far below to the west. Summers's grave, marked with a marble headstone, and fenced with poles, sits right above road #234, about 3 miles from where it branches from #055. A modern cabin and corrals are located here as well. The total distance from the main road is about 13 miles.

Ron Hillman told me that Helena Schmidt told him that Summers is actually buried down the canyon below the grave marker. I haven't questioned Helena about this yet, but if anyone knows about a different grave location, please give me a call.


Last week, John Camp told me some of the Jim Summers story from what his relatives told him.

According to Amos Camp, most or all of the Summers family, except for Jim, was killed by Indians as the family was heading West when Jim was about 12 years old. Jim was hit in the eye by an Indian arrow, and later developed cancer in it.

When Bill Camp was quite young, he once took care of Summers when Summers had the flu. During this time, Jim told Bill the story of the fight with the Indians. (Bill was born in 1869, and the fight occurred in 1880, so Bill would have been about 11 when the battle occurred.) It isn't clear just who was with Summers in the fight, but one of the party may well have been Ewing "Pinky" Baird, a Council pioneer who was also an inveterate Indian hater.

Summers and his comrades came upon the Indian camp early in the morning. This was on the Snake River at the mouth of what is now "Summers Creek." The Indians had evidently just left their beds, and one of them began to urinate. As Summers raised his rifle, he said to the man next to him, "Watch me stop the water."

After that first shot, which killed the Indian man, all hell broke loose. In the end, Summers was shot in the leg, and his group had to swim the snake River to escape.

Bill Camp, wondering just how true the story was, later went to the mouth of Summers Creek and found an impressive number of empty rifle cartridges, indicating that a hot gun battle had indeed happened there. The spot is underwater now, since the construction of Oxbow Dam.

Summers' relatives from Oregon are said to be the ones who put up the headstone at his grave. By the way, I briefly talked to Helena Schmidt about the location of Summers' grave. She said Shorty Childers mentioned something about the grave being in another Canyon.


[In this issue I began the story of Frency David, which is in my book about the history of the area between Council and the Seven Devils Mining District. I also noted that someone had given me the news that Lillian Swanstrom (Carl's wife) had died.]


Frenchy David


Info about the creation of Adams County and the courthouse, mostly contained in my Landmarks book.


A man called me a while back looking for information about George McCarty. McCarty lived on the Idaho side of the snake River, across from Homestead. He and his wife, Nelly, were well known for the strawberries that they raised and sold. In 1946 someone set their house on fire and then shot at George as he ran from the burning building. After that the McCarty's left the area and never came back. He was 84 years old at the time.

It might be that McCarty's past had caught up with him in some way. In his younger days, along with his brother and some other men, he had been a bank robber. He was thought to have been involved in several robberies in 1892 and '93 in Enterprise and North Powder, Oregon and in Roslin, Washington. He was tried for the Enterprise job, but the trial resulted in a hung jury.

McCarty established the Silver King mine in the Iron Dyke mining district on the Oregon side of the river. This mine, and the "Paymaster" claim in which he had an interest, were apparently quite profitable, as McCarty was said to have been living on money from these mines in his later years.

The man who called me was thinking about writing an article about McCarty.


one of the local spots you should not miss seeing is Hornet Creek Reservoir. As reservoirs go, it's not very big. The reason that it's impressive is mostly the location. It's beautiful.

This scenic reservoir, located at the head of the main branch of Hornet Creek, was constructed in 1905 by hornet Creek ranchers who later formed the hornet Creek Water Users Association. The Weiser semi- weekly signal for September 27, 1905 said, "Messers. A. H. Wilkie, HE Whin and O. C. Wilkie, the contractors on the big dam for the hornet Creek reservoir commenced work last week with several men and teams." Although O. C. (Oscar) Wilkie was listed as one of the contractors, he was only about 12 years old at the time. He October 25 issue of that paper said the dam was completed

. Evidently the dam was not very well designed. In June of the next year (1906) the dam broke, sending a wall of water down the creek. It is said to have taken out a number of trees, huge boulders, at least one bridge at the Peck place (the OK ranch now) and several fences. At the time, the reservoir was said to have covered about 25 acres and averaged 8 feet deep. I don't have any information about when the dam was rebuilt, but I would assume it was probably done so soon after it broke. From the looks of the dam now, I would guess work has since been done on it with modern equipment. If you plan a trip to hornet Creek reservoir, be prepared for one of the bumpy us brides you will ever have taken. The road is terrible.

The Peck place mentioned above is better known today as the old Armacost Place, the old Bill Hanson place, or the OK Ranch. It sits about 10 miles from town, just past where the paved portion of the Council-Cuprum Road once ended.

This place was settled by Andrew and Julietta pack who came to hornet Creek in 1882. He was 47, she was 31 years old. The small peak just northwest of their Homestead was named Peck Mountain in their honor. Julietta's maiden name was Gilmer, and the Gilmer's settled land here on Hornet Creek next to the Pecks about the same time that Andrew and Julietta arrived here. Andrew, who died in 1906, and Julietta, who died in 1912, are both buried in the Hornet Creek Cemetery.

Bill Hanson was one of the next owners of the Peck place. It was in 1935 that Helena Moore (a couple of years later her last name became Schmidt) came riding into the Hanson place with an emergency. Her mother, Carmeta Moore, had been knocked over by a horse in their corral, and she had badly broken her leg when she landed on a rock. The Moores lived at one of the most inaccessible ranches in the country, way down along the Wildhorse River. There was a telephone somewhere at Wildhorse, but it was very undependable and wasn't working at the time, so Helena had ridden over 20 miles to the Hanson to reach a phone. The phone at Hanson's wasn't working either, so Bill took Helena to Council in his pickup. They stopped at various places along the way, and the phone lines were out of order all the way to town.

Dr. Thurston came back out to the Hanson's with Bill and Helena, borrowed a horse from Bill, and rode all the way to Starveout Ranch to's set Carmeta's leg. Charlie Ham and Gene Perkins went along as well, and Helena seems to remember Vern Brewer being there too. Dr. Thurston took hi 8mms movie camera along, and footage from the trip is on the video that the museum is offering.

Even though he liked the outdoors and pack trips, Dr. Thurston wasn't the world's most avid horsemen. He kept asking Gene Perkins to make the stirrups longer and shorter because his legs were hurting. By the end of the journey, he was pretty well exhausted. Dr. Thurston was more at home behind the wheel of a car, and the faster it went the better.


As I mentioned last week, Bill Hanson owned the Peck place. Dick Armacost bought the Peck place from Hanson. Although it has been extensively remodeled, the house there is the original one that the pecks lived in, and is one of the oldest houses on Hornet Creek.

The old road looped around the other side (North) of, and fairly close to, the house. From what I hear, Dick Armacost didn't like the situation of having a heavily-traveled road running practically through his backyard. One day a logging truck came roaring through when Dick wasn't in the mood to put up with such irritation. He angrily threw the shovel he was holding at the truck. The shovel hit one of the tires just right, bounced right back, hitting Dick and about knocking him down.


Started describing the area north of Bear.


Smith Mt.


Sheltons, Smith Mt. Black Lake Road


Morgan Gifford's story of Isaac McMahan freighting contest from Weiser to Council, found in my Landmarks book.

Morgan Gifford was Moses Gifford's son and one of nine children, Morgan homesteaded about where the golf course is now. He was the brother of Ella Stevens and Ida Selby. Ella helped run Stevens Stage Station at East fork. Ida was Lorraine Selby's grandmother [Chester Selby's mother] who died of the flu in 1919.

Morgan ran the Council Journal-Advance newspaper for a short time, having bought it from L. S. Cool in 1904. Morgan had two sons, Aubrey and Norville, and a girl named Gertha. Carlos Weed went to school with them.

Street. Carlos mentioned that there are still some Locust trees at her old Homestead site. Another sister of Morgan's, Eliza, married Olaf Sorenson, the crack freighter in last week's story.

Eliza had a Homestead southeast of Council on Kidwell Lane. Olaf and Eliza's house was where David Lawrence live is now. [1935 Kidwell Lane] Part of her Homestead extended down to where Nello Jenkins senior now lives.

Olaf Sorenson died in the winter (I don't know what year), and he was buried on top of the little hill west of their house, where Stephani's live now. [1949 Kidwell Lane] Too little pine trees were dug up (their roots were actually sawed out of the frozen ground) and transported as grave markers for Olaf's remains – one at his head and the other at his feet. There was also a little girl buried there, and there may have been more graves there at one time. Carlos said something about their having been plans to make that hill into a park at one time. As far as anyone seems to know, any remains, except for Olaf's, were moved to local cemeteries. The general consensus is that he still rests there.

Years later, when the pine trees were pretty big, Neva Plummer built the present house in their shade. When she sold the house, the buyer cut down the trees. Recently an addition was built on to the house, over the top of Olaf's gravesite. No traces of a body were found during excavation for the addition.

Eliza Gifford Sorenson later married Charlie Draper.


Black Lake


Black Lake with personal observations:

The Fords located the Black Lake mail about 2500 feet below the lake and portal of the Maid of Erin mine, and over a mile from the Summit mine tunnel. It was built into a solid rock cliff that stood between the fork of two creeks.

An earthen dam is still there. As you go east around the north end of the lake to the non-Forest Service campgrounds, you cross the pipe line that carried water to the mill. It is above ground just as you cross the creek. I tapped on it, and and could hear the echo inside the pipe going way down the hill. It is about an 8-inch pipe that looks pretty crude because it was made from heavy sheet-metal that was bent around and riveted together at the seam.

At the mill site, there is little left but a few scraps of pipe, sheet metal, odds and ends of iron bolts and rods, some bricks and a few or tailings. From the pictures of the mill, I thought the cliff would be 100 feet high, but it's only about 30 feet high. Sections of the water pipe still runs up the hill from the mill site for quite a distance. Most of it is buried, but it is exposed in several places.


In 1901, construction was started on a gravity-operated aerial tramway which to carry the ore three quarters of a mile from the Summit mine to the mill below Black Lake. The unsupported span over the lake was 1,500 feet, and was thought to have been the longest single span in the world at that time. The cable for the tram was freighted to the Lake in one long piece, on two wagons. Anna Adams said that the crews worked almost a month "...jacking it up over high dive, [and getting it strung out] from the mine to the mill across the lake."

After a crew worked all winter to finish the mill, it began operating in May of 1902, with about fourty men employed, including those in the mines. The first bullion from the mill netted $5,000 after it was shipped to the gold mint in Denver.

The tramway was not completed before the mill started production, and the ore was probably hauled to the mill by wagons. By the time the mill shut down for the season in November, the tram was in place, but didn't operate properly. It was supposed to run by gravity, with the weight of the loaded ore buckets pulling the empty ones up. The Meadows Eagle announced, "The Salzer-Ford company has been compelled to assist their gravity aerial bucket tramway with water power. The long span across Black lake seems to be too much for the gravity system."

The next year (1903), the operation was really rolling, with sixty men employed. After the first eight days of operation in March, the mill yielded forty pounds of gold. This was in stark contrast to the copper mining part of the district, which was suffering a depressing lull..

Robert Barbour, the famous moonshiner, was the first Postmaster at the post office that was established at Black Lake on September 18 of that year. (Barbour was succeeded by John Nelson, a cook, who held the position until the post office was discontinued in October of 1907.)

By October, the Black Lake mines had produced $75,000 in gold. But the year was to end on a very sour note. It started when a shortcut was taken in processing the ore. The wet ore was initially put through a drier before it was crushed. It was discovered that the ore didn't need to be dried to process properly, so the mill shut down, and a conveyor belt was built to bypass the drier. After this was done, the mill processed wet ore for one afternoon, and then shut down.

The next morning was October 31 - Halloween. At 5:30 AM, the men awoke to someone yelling, "FIRE!". Smoke and flames were pouring out of the mill. A mad dash by all hands was made for water hoses. Careful plans had been laid for just such an emergency, even to the extent of placing the water hydrants inside the mill so that they would not be frozen in case of a fire during cold weather. The only problem was, the fire was also inside the mill, and it was too hot for anyone to enter. By despirate work, the men managed to save the bunk houses, stores and sawmill that were only a few yards away, but in a matter of minutes, the mill was little more than ashes.

It was thought that the most probable cause of the fire was spontaneous combustion caused by damp ore mixed with lime. But there was a rumor that someone nursing a grudge against the Fords had set it. Thomas Nelson, editor, the Cambridge Citizen newspaper had his own explanation. He said, "There has always been an unseen force holding back all kinds of progress in the Seven Devils, which may in a measure account for the burning of the Ford mill."

Regardless of the origin of the fire, operations at Black Lake came to a grinding halt. Since the first snow would fall any day, it was too late in the year to rebuild, and the camp was abandoned for the winter.

The Black Lake mill was only insured for $20,000 - just one fifth of what it had cost to build. In spite of their losses, the Ford brothers were not defeated, and immediately started making plans to rebuild.

More next week.


Construction on a new mill at Black Lake started in the summer of 1904, and took only ninety days to complete. In the process, a water-powered electrical plant was installed and all the buildings were wired for electric lights. This time some fire hydrants were placed outside of the buildings.

By early fall, the mill jumped into full production, processing 75 tons of ore per day - a 50% increase over the capacity of the old mill.

It must have seemed that editor Nelson. might have been right about an "unseen force" haunting mining efforts the Seven Devils when misfortune soon struck again. Only $25,000 in gold had been produced before a worker accidentally dropped a sledge hammer into the ore crusher, badly damaging it. Again, the entire operation was shut down.

While repairs were being made to the crusher, another blow came. Nick Klosaner's saloon and Bob Barbour's store (probably containing the post office) were totally destroyed by fire.

Still undaunted, the Fords forged ahead. They invested in an unusual luxury in those days: an air-driven drill. Drills were used, as they are now, to drill holes in which to place explosives. The usual method at the time was the old-fashioned way. A steel rod with a star-shaped tip on the drilling end was held by one man and driven by another with a sledge hammer.

In spite of all the confidence, in spite of the years of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested, the Black Lake mines began to struggle. In 1906, less than $10,000 worth of gold was produced. By 1909, no gold at all was reported.

In 1911, Ed Ford turned his attention back to a project that he had started years before. In 1905, he had found a place along Crane Creek, south of Indian Valley, where he thought a reservoir should be made. He worked on plans for the reservoir for several years. The dam must have been built shortly after1911. If anybody knows just when it was built, please let me know.

The final blow to the mines at Black Lake came with the outbreak of World War I in Europe. Germany was the primary source of the cyanide that was so vital to processing gold ore, and the Germans had other plans for their cyanide than exporting it to potential enemies like the United States. The price of the chemical shot up beyond reason. The mill was shut down for the last time in 1914, but a small crew kept working the mines.

In the spring of 1916, Sim Ford was making plans to work the mines another season. Before he could put his plans into action, all of his supplies burned when a good share of the town of Landore went up in flames. Also about that time, the remaining Salzer brother died, apparently without designating ownership of his share of his Black Lake interests. Rather than try to overcome these obstacles, the mines and the mill were abandoned. In some unexplained way, the Ford's and Salzer's Idaho Gold Coin Mining and Milling Company ceased to exist. As a result, there was no legal owner willing to take responsibility for all the equipment at the lake. It was simply left there.

It has been estimated that a total of only about $125,000 in gold was taken out of the mines at Black Lake by the Salzer - Ford partnership. This would have done little more than pay for just one of the mills they built. Winifred Lindsay, on the other hand, said that the company ended without any debt

By 1919, geologists, Livingston and Laney noted that most of the supplies and equipment at Black Lake had already ". . . been stolen or wantonly destroyed."

My father, Dick Fisk, remembers seeing the mill in the 1930s. He said there were hundreds of feet of new rope, cable and eight-inch pipe still there. There were scores of tin cans full of food, but with the labels rotted off, stacked in store rooms. The story of Alva Ingram hauling out lengths of pipe about this time is a classic illustration of what happened to much of the abandoned property.

More next week.


The abandoned property at Black Lake was eventually sold off by Adams County for back taxes. I believe the Forest Service owns much of the ground now. Ironically, the mill that was built back after the disastrous fire of 1903 was intentionally burned again during World War Two. This was done to salvage the scrap iron in it for the war effort.

Charlie Winkler claimed much of the tramway cable used at the Mesa Orchards came from the Black Lake tram. And I've been told that Hugh Addington said the cable from the Mesa tramway was later used to build the first ski lift at Sun Valley. If anyone has any more information on either of these stories, PLEASE tell me.

Today, the Summit mine above the lake is still very visible. The one remaining tunnel is about six feet tall and about that wide. It goes back into the mountain about 75 yards or more. There were two tunnels, and I assume this was the upper one. It followed an ore vein that was 200 feet long and about two feet wide by 500 feet deep. The lower tunnel was about 200 feet below the upper tunnel and went about 1,200 feet through rock, then about 1,000 feet on the ore vein.

The old tram supports have all fallen down now. Until a couple years ago, there was one standing on the edge of the cliff overlooking the lake. There are also long lengths of cable and a few broken and twisted ore buckets on the hillside between the Summit tunnel and the cliff. And there are still hundreds of rotting boards from the buildings that used to stand just back from the cliffs.

The Maid of Erin mine is also still very much in evidence. As I mentioned, it's about 300 yards east of the outlet of the lake at the north end. The base of a cabin still sits there, and there are a number of boards, peices of metal and a few bricks. Both of the two tunnels there have collapsed. The lower tunnel went about 800 feet into the mountain. Where it collapsed, there are a couple of small openings to the surface where very cold air blows out like and air conditioner. There has to be another opening for that air to circulate through like that. It isn't coming through the upper tunnel because it's completely closed off. It must be the vertical shaft. More on that later.

The quartz vein at the Maid of Erin was very narrow, varying in width from only a few inches, up to about three feet. It is now exposed where the lower portal collapsed. The quartz has a very pretty reddish purple color mixed in with a small amount of white.

The Maid of Erin was reworked in the late 1930s by a crew hired by Howard Hinsdale of Portland, Oregon his partner, a man named Higgins, who was also from that area.. Before it was reworked, the tunnel dead-ended at the 800 foot point mentioned above, and a shaft may have gone upwards for some distance from there. A shaft of some kind may have gone completely to the surface, accounting for the strong draft that came through the mine even before it was reworked. The reworking opened (or reopened) a shaft straight up, all the way to the top of the mountain. Men climbed up the shaft on wooden ladders or hiked up the mountain to the top and then climbed down into the shaft on ladders. There were landings and side tunnels (drifts) about every 50 to 100 feet along the shaft. On the opposite side of the shaft from the ladders was an ore shoot leading to the tunnel below. Ore was dumped into this chute to get it to ore cars which ran on tracks in the tunnel at the bottom.

The ore was taken to the mill at Placer Basin for processing. Alta Ingram used his 1 1/2 or two ton truck to haul it. The road was in no better shape than it is today, and was very hard on tires.

Placer Basin was being reworked by Hinsdale and Higgins also, starting about 1934. The claims were owned by the Hamill family of Fruitvale. Gilbert and Nellie Hamill and their sons, Ray and Harold, moved here in 1910 when they bought 80 acres at foot of Fort Hall hill. While Ray was working for the Forest Service in the 1930s, he became interested in Placer Basin. The Hamills paid $10,000 for the property. Before the mill was built, the ore was shipped to Murry, Utah for smelting. The mine was closed in 1942 by Federal order because only strategic metal could be mined during the war.

A "mucker" working for Hinsdale and Higgins was paid $4.50 per day. They did all the least skilled work - shoveling ore into the cars, etc. A "miner" was paid $5.00 per day. They did all the pick work, drilling and blasting. This was good money during the depression, especially when people were thankful for any kind of job.

I need to thank Lloyd Hamill, Robert Thompson, and especially Paul Phillips, for much of the information in this week's column.


I found some information concerning Olaf Sorenson's grave. When Eliza Sorenson Draper died in 1935, the paper said Olaf died in 1905 and "is buried in the Kesler Cemetery". So maybe his body was moved off of the hill after all. Just goes to show, once more, that the truth doesn't always make the best story.

Last year Robert Thompson sent me a list of some of the people he remembered working at Placer Basin and the "Smith Mountain Mill" in the 1930s. I'm just gonna throw 'em in for those of you who remember these people.

Owner - Howard Hinsdale of Portland, Oregon - also owner of Umpqua Navigation (tug boats, etc.) - later traded it for stock in Bohemia Lumber Co.

Superintendent of mine - Carl Ingram. Foreman and shift boss was his son, Walt Ingram. Chet, his younger brother, was one of the miners.

Cleve Reed was a blacksmith. Mrs. Reed (Lulu) was head cook. She was the mother of Frankie Ingram (a miner) - his wife, Mildred, worked in the cook house.

Harold Burns was the teamster.

From Fruitvale: Fred Glenn (ran hoist), Hub Fisk, Ray "Stub" Yantis, Fred Yantis, Bill Baker, Roy Benz, Clifford "Nip" McMahan, Robert Thompson

From Council - Byron "Buff" Hallett, Floyd Gilmer, Bill Watson, Penny Emery, Ben Barbour, Cecil Huston and his uncle, Bill Huston, Dick Blurton, Merle Ball, Cecil Ball (who was killed in a cave in), Asa Whitney and sons, A.D., Floyd and Melvin Whitney - Chet Selby, Paul and Hank Phillips, Mr. Lee (older man) and two sons, Verne Lee (who was the diesel engineer and a good one) - the younger Lee brother's first name I can't recall, Emsley Glenn (who was killed by a falling tree - Earnest Lutiger was working with him in the woods cutting mine timbers), Max Boesigger was another diesel engineer from Boise (was captured on Wake Island in WWII), Ray (Roy?) Armacost, Kermit Krigbaum.

From Oregon - Roy (Ray?) Rockwell, Ellis Allen, Carnahan (older man), Fred & Hank Titus, Fred Davis, Mary Gover (worked in cookhouse) Floyd Pollard, Ben South.

Ray Lindgren, from Bear, was the step son of Jesse Smith. Jesse's brother, Bill Smith, helped blacksmith, Cleve Reed. Mrs. Smith worked in the cookhouse.

From Troy, Idaho - Calvin Suksdorf and son Calvin, Tommy Gregg (don't know where he was from - was a cousin of Chet & Walt Ingram)

Carl Anderson from Portland was a mining engineer. His son, Johnny, worked there some also. Fred Bartels worked with Carl Anderson. He was from Cottage Grove, Oregon. Owen Terry was another engineer.

Alva Ingram did a lot of trucking up to the mine and mill (hauled cordwood from Landore that had been cut during WWI.)

_?_ Phillips also worked for Bill Hunsacker at a small mine below Placer Basin. It was located below the road on the last steep grade before the Basin. I believe it was called the Little Giant. [Both Hank and Paul Phillips worked there at the Little Giant. It was about 1/4 to 1/2 mile east of the main road. The road to it left the main road just at the foot of the steep grade before Placer Basin. Bill Hunsacker built a cabin there about 100 yard before the turn off to the mine on the west side of the main road.]

Roy Garrison also worked some at Placer Basin. Also Harry Raines.

Museum notes - We are planning an exhibit that we need help with. There are some items that we would like to see if someone would donate to the museum, or loan for a minimum of two years. For a pioneer house exhibit we need the following items, made before 1900, or copied from a pre-1900 pattern: a half-size (or small) bed, a hoosier (semi-portable kitchen cabinet), a kerosene lamp, an old fashioned apron (maybe someone could make one?), and a trunk. If you have any of these, or have other things that would fit into this exhibit, please call Connie Mocaby at 253-4408

Also, we still need help at the museum. We're usually there on Tuesdays from 10:00 AM to about 4:00 PM. Our goal now is to have it open this spring. We're going to need volunteers to man the place.


Like many of the mines in the Seven Devils district, the Iron Springs mining operation lost money for virtually everyone involved with it. Whether it was simply an elaborate scam, as many claimed, is not clear. But in its several years of operation it is said that not one shipment of ore ever left Iron Springs.

The story of Rankin Mill parallels that of Iron Springs. Both camps were being developed at about the same time, and eventually had the same owners.

Not long after the Ford brothers built the road to Black Lake in 1900, H.D. Rankin appeared on the scene. Rankin, a chemist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had invented a machine that could make nitric acid by combining the molecules of air and water by means of an electrical charge. Nitric acid was used in a leeching process to extract gold from gold bearing ore, and Rankin's main objective would seem not to have been to make his fortune by merely mining gold. He was an ambitious business man, and the principle stockholder in the Rankin Chemical Reduction Company based in Chicago, which reportedly had assets worth about $10 million. If he could find a place to prove that his nitric acid making device would be a practical part of gold mining operations, he could revolutionize the industry. Then, as became a familiar theme in the Seven Devils, he could find his pot of gold in the pockets of investors in his company stock rather than in the ground.

Rankin agreed to buy several mines on the West Fork of Rapid River, about 6 miles north of Iron Springs, from Tom, George, and Jim Potter, and Jim Ross. The Star, Jackley and Champion mines were the principle claims. When the Iron Springs Company built a road into its claims in 1902 Rankin built a road from his holdings to connect with it.

Rankin's operation in the Seven Devils was called the Rankin General Milling Company. At a cost of $50,000, he built an ore mill, a nitric acid "factory" and a hydroelectric plant to power them

and provide lighting. Rankin was evidently in such a hurry to get his operation going that he had some of the equipment brought into this remote location in the dead of winter. The Cambridge newspaper for Jan 9, 1903 reported that the Rankin Mill machinery had made it as far as Black Lake. The paper said the job had taken fifty horses to get it through snow up to fifty feet deep.

About a quarter mile up stream from the mill, a small community sprang up where about 55 Rankin employees lived. The little town was named "Rand", evidently after a man by that name. A post office under that name was established in the fall of 1903. Ruth Lake (about 2 miles south of Rankin Mill) was named after Mr. Rand's daughter, Ruth Rand, who was the first child born in the town. A Forest Service sign identifies the site as "Old Town", but it was not known by that name during its active existence. Not much is known about the town, except that it also had a hotel and a blacksmith shop. The community

eceived its mail by way of Pollock, and supplies often came by pack train from Grangeville.

More next week.

We're still making progress a little at a time at the museum. We got calls on several of the items we needed for the house exhibit. Now we would like to get an old fashioned house dress that is small enough to fit on a mannequin. It needs to fit into the 1900, or before, time slot. We may also need shoes for that mannequin. Some of you who made, or have, clothes from the Centennial might think about what you have that you could loan or donate.

Another thing we need is old fashioned windows and doors with windows to put into the walls of several planned exhibits, like a sheriff's office, doctor's office and dentist's office. These should fit into a 1900 to 1930 time frame (or maybe a little later). They don't necessarily have to have glass in them, as we can replace it. An old screen door might even work if it's one that we can put glass or Plexiglas into. The idea is to place these so that the exhibit can be viewed through them, but the items will be protected from handling, etc. If you ever get a chance to visit the Idaho Falls museum, they have a fantastic little town set up on the lower floor. We can't hope to match that, at least not yet, but that's the general idea that we are shooting for with these exhibits. The sheriff's office is the one that excites me the most because we have so many things that Bill Winkler used when he was sheriff.

Two other items we will need: Any track lights, track light components, or similar, small spot-type lights. Old-fashioned wall paper for the rooms mentioned above.

Oh, there is one other thing we could really use: HELP. We are usually at the museum on Tuesdays starting at 10 AM. Drop in to help, or just see what we're doing.


In September of 1903 the newspapers reported, "These facts have been made evident by a short test run made at the Rankin mill on Rapid river Monday evening, when, in the absence of a lot of necessary machinery, 50 pounds of nitric acid, the main reducing agent, sufficient to reduce 2 1/2 tons of ore, was manufactured from the air we breathe, in one hour and fifteen minutes, and the fact was also demonstrated that ore can be reduced at a cost of less than two mills per pound." "The success of the Rankin process will make it possible for every mine of any value to be worked at a profit. The mine owner can do the work himself if necessary and will not need more than a week's grub stake to start in with." In January of 1904, the Weiser Signal claimed that Rankin had produced 500 pounds of Nitric acid in only thirty minutes.

As so often was the case in the Seven Devils, much of the acclaim about the success of Rankin's process was exaggeration or outright falsehood. Much of the hyperbole was no doubt supplied to the newspapers by Rankin himself. For one thing, the equipment needed was not simple or cheap. Just the ditch and flume to bring water power to the machinery at Rankin's mill was over a mile long and must have cost more than "a week's grub stake".

Only a month after the Signal's fantastic claims about how much nitric acid Rankin was producing, it reported that the power the electric plant could generate was insufficient to run all of his equipment. Rankin had enough power for his acid factory and lighting, but not enough for the ore mill. This, however, may have only been what Rankin told the paper in trying to save face and the faith of investors in his invention. It is probable that he didn't have enough voltage to make nitric acid all along. Nitric acid (HNO/3) is composed of hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen makes up 11.1% of water, and is easily combined with oxygen, which composes 21% of earth's atmosphere. Nitrogen, on the other hand is much harder to extract from the air. Even though it makes up 78% of our atmosphere, it takes a very powerful surge of electricity, such as a lightening bolt, to link together the oxygen and nitrogen as Rankin was trying to do.

The problems with his nitric acid mill were not the only clouds in Rankin's sky. He still hadn't paid for the claims he had taken over. By early 1904, the Potter brothers were tired of waiting for their money. They locked up the Star mine which was only about 50 yards above the mill, stood at the mine entrance with rifles, and would not let Rankin's employees remove any ore. (James Potter claimed the whole story was false.) The confrontation wound up in court, and the Potters and their partner Jim Ross won the case. Apparently this was too much for Rankin. In the summer of 1904, the post office closed and everything was abandoned. It is said that Rankin walked out of Rapid River with nothing but the clothes on his back. But Rankin was not totally defeated. It was later reported that he had a large nitric acid making plant in Joliet, Illinois, and was planning one at Salt Lake City.

In 1905, the Iron Springs Company bought out the Rankin Mill properties. The ore mill was converted into a more traditional cyanide plant.

When the Iron Springs company went under the camp was again abandoned. The wagon road to Rankin Mill soon deteriorated, as there was no reason to maintain it. Because the area was so remote the buildings and equipment at Rankin's diggings were left mostly undisturbed. As late as the early 1950s several of the buildings were still standing. The last I heard there were rotting ruins of many of the buildings, in addition to the heavy machinery of the mill. An ore car may still sit on a section of rail that ran from the mill to the portal of the old Star mine. At the site of the blacksmith shop, remains of the hearth, old wagon parts, and the metal frame of the bellows may still be there.

Museum notes. Toward the end of the year, people think about ways they can allocate money for the best tax advantage before January first. Remember that Idaho has a 50% tax credit for donations to educational institutions like your museum. The maximum total you can donate and get a tax credit is $100. The 50% credit means you get half the amount you donated taken off of what you owe the state in taxes. The State is actually giving half your money back to encourage you to donate. For those of you who would like to help the museum, but don't have time, or live too far away, this would be a great way to help out.

The museum would like to thank Stan Matthews for loaning the museum some great items for exhibits. I'll be writing more about what we need. One of our biggest concerns is the need for volunteers to man the museum next summer. Please think about how you could help in that way, by either volunteering or by helping to find people who will. Bear in mind the idea that your club or organization could help in this way.

Since this is the last issue of the paper before Christmas, I hope you all have a great one. If you gather around the old photo albums, how about doing your family a big favor: write on the pictures who is who, and other information, before that knowledge is lost.


Two of the first things people notice when they drive trough Council are the old steam-powered tractors sitting in the city park. This type of machine was originally called a "steam traction engine". I don't know just exactly when traction engines started being used in the Council area. Stationary steam engines were used for a long time at places like the Seven Devils, but I don't think these tractors appeared until at least some time after 1900.

The first portable steam engines appeared in the eastern U.S. about 1855, and were used only for plowing fields. Because it took time for a suitable steering mechanism to be developed, they did not come into common use until the late 1870s. The first mention of a steam tractor that I have found in this general area was in the Weiser Signal in 1905. In the Council area the Wilkie family, on Hornet Creek, were some of the first people to use steam tractors. They used traction engines to build the Ridge Road about 1909, and the road was even called the "Traction Engine Road" for awhile. I have no doubt that Traction Gulch, which is a tributary of North Hornet Creek, is so named because the road either came up it or near it.

The most common use of traction engines here seems to have been to power threshing machines and sawmills. The Wilkies used their engines to power several sawmills and planing mills that operated all over this area. Prior to these portable steam engines, sawmills were limited to locations where water power was available, such as at the original Wilkie mill sight near the Hornet Guard Station.

Old newspapers mention threshers operated by Jackie Duree, the Winklers, and Press Anderson before the turn of the century. These may have been big combine-like machines that were pulled through the fields by huge teams of horses. I don't know just when people started using steam engines to power stationary threshers, but it was common by the 1920s.

Many of the farmers would get together and use the few available threshers. Pug Robertson of Bear, and Jim Henson of Pleasant Ridge were two men in this area that traveled around at harvest time, pulling a thresher from farm to farm behind their steam traction engines. Looking at the photos we have, Pug's steam engine appears to have been made by the Rumely Products Co. This engine probably weighed about 10 tons, and had 20 horse power at the draw bar. (Not very powerful compared to modern tractors.)

Threshers were also manufactured by many of the same companies who built steam engines. Pug's thresher looks very much like an "Agitator" model, made by J.I. Case before 1900. These old-time threshers used the "vibration" or "shaker" principle to separate the grain from the straw. This method was put to use in the 1850's, and the basic technology is still used in most modern combine harvesters.

One aspect of operating these old engines is one that is seldom seen anymore. That is the use of a belt, run from the engine to the machinery to be powered. (If I get something wrong here, some of you older and wiser readers please call me and set me straight.)

It wasn't that long ago that most tractors came equipped with a large, flat-surfaced pulley to run a belt. One end of the belt went around the pulley on the tractor (or steam engine) and the other end went around a similar pulley on the thresher or other machine to be powered. Although I will be writing in past tense, I realize that some farmers and ranchers are still using some belt-powered equipment.

One thing that always intrigued me was that the pulley was sometimes shaped the opposite way that it seemed it should be: bigger around in the middle than on the edges. This made the belt grip harder in the middle, and that caused the belt to center on the pulley. At least that was how it was supposed to work. It took some maneuvering of the tractor to line up its pulley just right with the machine's pulley.

The belts varied in width from three or four inches for smaller jobs, and up to about eight to ten inches wide to run a large machine. Sometimes the belts were very long, with the engine and machine being ten, twenty, or even more feet from each other. Depending on the desired direction of rotation of the machine's pulley, the belt was sometimes given a half turn between the engine and the machine, giving it the appearance of a figure eight.

The belts were made of a fiber that was impregnated with a rubber type substance. The ends were laced together with leather strings, or with special clamp that looked like a row of connected staples. To get the belt to grip better, "belt dressing" was applied to it. Belt dressing was a sticky substance with the consistency something like tar. It's too bad that smells can't be written down or recorded. The smell of a hot belt and belt dressing is pretty unique.

Needless to say, this kind of belt hook up was not something you wanted to be careless around. A loose flap of clothing or a hand could get caught between the belt and pulley, and you could get badly hurt or killed.

More next week.



With stationary threshers, the grain had to be cut, bundled and tied into sheaves, and hauled to the thresher. The sheaves were thrown into a feeder opening. The cleaned grain came out a chute and into a sack. Each sack was sewn closed by hand, with string and a special needle which was usually about 3 to 5 inches long. Sack sewers became very skillful, and took pride in the speed and quality of their work. The straw and chaff came out of the thresher through a long pipe or conveyer, making a big pile on the ground.

Great care had to be taken that sparks from the steam engine's smoke stack didn't land on the straw pile, as it was extremely flammable. The loss of the straw and chaff would not be the real problem; the grain field could turn into a raging inferno in a matter of seconds. The very flared smoke stack on the Case engine in the park. was designed to reduce the number of hot sparks that made it out the stack.

In addition to the crew directly involved in threshing the grain, it sometimes took two or more men to operate the steam engine, including hauling wood (or coal), and water. One of the motivations toward the development of gas powered tractors, aside from reduced fire danger, was to reduce the number of men needed to run a threshing operation.

The Case engine in the park is a 20 horse power model, patented in 1899. This may be the one that the Wilkies bought and took to their operations on Hornet Creek in the summer of 1910. It is said that this engine was used by Jim Hensen to power the thresher that he operated on the Ridge and the Fruitvale area. It may also have been used for plowing in that area.

In later years, Lawrence Warner used this engine to power a sawmill near Bear. After Warner was done with it, Hugh Addington and Merlin Naser bought it. They also acquired an engine, made by the Advance Thresher Company, that they found abandoned at Placer Basin. The two men did extensive repairs on this second engine to get it running. Both engines were driven to Council under their own power. The bars, or lugs, that were originally bolted onto the rear wheels to provide traction were removed so they wouldn't damage the roads on the trip to Council .

As Merlin was driving the Wilkie engine to town, he oversteered and it tipped over on its side in the Summit Creek draw between the Kramer summit and the North Hornet summit. Both the engine and Merlin were unhurt in the accident. The engine was left there until the next spring, when they got a logging truck to stop and help tip the engine back upright. Merlin and Hugh drove the engines in parades for several years. After Naser died, Addington parked them in the park in the center of Council where they remain today. Merlin Naser's son, Delbert, donated his interest in the Advance engine to the town of Council. It is my understanding that Hugh Addington's son, Bruce still has the other percentage of ownership.

The Advance Thresher Company (est. 1881), was bought by the Rumely Co. in 1911. The engine in the park is probably a 12 to 16 horse power tractor. As with most other steam engine manufacturers, the Advance Company also made threshers.

The rear wheels of Advance engines were generally placed farther forward than most. Most traction engine builders reasoned that the rear wheels should have all the weight possible on them. The Advance company, however, claimed that the most favorable footing for the drive-wheels was where the engine would have sufficient power to barely slip the wheels. They reasoned that any additional weight on the drive-wheels would serve no good purpose, and would bog the engine down in soft ground. By transferring the excess of weight from the drive to the front wheels, a better steering engine resulted.

It's pretty hard to notice the wheel placement at the moment, since a mountain of snow has been piled on the poor old engine.

Just as an interesting side note, Hugh Addington's father, Bud, tried to sell steam-powered cars when he owned the Addington Auto Company in what is now the "Ace" building, just across the street to the east of the old steam engines. An ad in the Adams County Leader, Dec 31, 1920, said that these Baker Steamer autos and trucks ran on any oil type fuel. This made them less expensive to operate, plus the vehicles got 20 to 30 miles per gallon. Water was condensed after becoming steam, and then reused. The ad said that there were fewer moving parts than in a gas engine, they lasted longer, and needed fewer repairs. The ad said that these vehicles would be the "wave of the future".


By this time guess most of you realize that the flooding we just went through is a pretty historic event. I haven't heard of a living person who remembers anything this bad along the Weiser River. It reminded me of stories of 1890. I already wrote about this in one of my columns, but it seems appropriate to look it over again since it is so similar to our current situation.

By 1888 it had been twelve years since the first family ,the Mosers, had arrived, and there were quite a number of homesteads in and around the Council Valley. The community was in its infancy. Here are some of the things that occurred that summer:

John Peters established the first store here, and the makings of a town were starting to form around it about a mile north of the present town. Calvin White established the first store in the Meadows Valley. Ten bridges were built over the Weiser River between Council and Price Valley. (Before that it was necessary to ford the river a couple dozen times to make that trip.) The first wagon load of copper ore was taken out of the Seven Devils.

The winter of 1888 - '89 was very mild, with little snow. By the following summer, a severe drought had set in. The Weiser River was lower than anyone could remember, and the water was warm. The Snake River was so low at Weiser that a man was able to drive a wagon across it, and the water barely came up past the axles. In a time when many, if not most, people's livelihoods depended on growing crops or a big garden a drought like this one was very serious.

Idaho was only a territory then. That November the vote was taken to determine whether it would become a state. Council Valley people voted 30 to 28 against it. (The rest of the Territory was in favor, and the State was admitted to the Union the next summer.)

By the fall of 1889, people were literally praying for rain or snow. That winter, their prayers were answered ... and answered ... and answered. Snow fell early, and kept coming. By January, there was four feet in Middle Valley (Midvale). Mail carriers had trouble getting through the canyon between Council and Meadows, and thirty feet of snow was reported at Warren. For some reason, the precipitation was not consistent throughout the region. In some places, like Bear and Cuprum, the snow level was at, or even below, normal.

On the first day of February, the snow had settled to three or four feet deep in the Council Valley. That was the day it started raining.

You may realize that if we had had ice in the rivers this year, the flooding would have been even worse in places. In 1890 thick layers of ice broke up and formed huge jams all along the Snake and Weiser Rivers. Angry chocolate torrents hurled headlong over riverbanks, destroying everything in their path. Horses, cattle, sheep and buildings were swept away like specks of dust in a windstorm. On Hornet Creek alone 88 head of cattle and horses were drowned. Mud and rock slides wiped out wagon roads and railroads. Every one of the new bridges over the Weiser River between Council and Meadows was utterly obliterated. Transportation all over the region was at a complete standstill.

On the first of February there had been three to four feet of snow in the Council Valley. By the end of the month there was so much bare ground that some ranchers turned their cattle out to graze.

This flooding sounds even worse than what we just had. Of course in those days life was much different than it is now. First, there were far fewer people, buildings, etc. here to damage. The roads were nothing more than dirt wagon trails, and were a lot cheaper to repair. All ten bridges up the canyon only cost $540 total to build. (Of course that would be something like $40,000 in today's money.) It would have been a lot of work to repair a washed out place in a road though because they had no machinery - just horse and man power. Nobody had electricity, so nobody missed it - same for TV, telephone or radio. Everybody had wood stoves for heat and cooking. Nobody was used to getting into a vehicle and getting to Weiser in an hour. It took two days with a wagon when the roads were in good shape. And nobody dreamed anyone would ever fly anywhere.

I started to write that there was no railroad closer than Weiser to wash out. It's pretty ironic that were basically back to the same situation on that score.

I tried to get out and videotape the flooding in the area, but I could only make it a couple hundred yards from home, except up West Fork. What I would like to do is compile a video of the flooding by getting some of the footage that other people took. Still photos would work nicely too. If it comes together, I'll put a copy in the library. If you would like to contribute to this video give me a call or drop tapes or photos off at the library. Hopefully this won't happen again in our lifetimes, and we need to get a record of it.


Researching and writing history can be tricky. I try very hard to be accurate and factual in my writing, and yet I know that some of what I write is untrue. All the information I get came from a human being in one way or another. All history is someone's version of what happened. Often the stories I write were filtered through the viewpoint of several people. For example, much of my historical information comes from old Salubria, Cambridge, Weiser and Council newspapers. What was written in them was usually related to the editor by someone else. If he was lucky it was eye witness; if not he got the story from someone who heard it from a first-hand observer. The editor wrote his understanding of the story, and then I write my understanding of his story and put it into the context of my knowledge and understanding of the bigger picture. So you can see that there is oportunity for misinformation to creep in.

Even if you get the facts right, there is the interpretation to worry about. Historian, Shelby Foote, once said, "Facts are just the bare bones out of which truth is made." Last week I mentioned that the citizens of Council Valley voted 30 to 28 against statehood in 1889. Then I said, "The rest of the Territory was in favor, and the State was admitted to the Union the next summer." A friend of mine took that to mean that every other part of the territory, except Council Valley, voted for statehood. Of course I knew what I meant, but I didn't word it carefully enough. I should have said something like, "A majority of the voters in the rest of the territory as a whole voted in favor, . . ." It makes we wonder how many times I've miss-worded something, or how many times I've misinterpreted what someone else wrote and then passed it on.

Sometimes people see the same event differently, and there is more than one version of the same story. If the originators of both versions are convinced they have the one and only true account, it gets a little perplexing.

And even hindsight changes with time. It's been said that what is told as history not only tells us about the past, but tells us much about the time in which it was told. Current conditions and social attitudes influence the viewpoint of any historian. Writers interpret events in a way that fits with their own sense of values and the cultural attitude of their audience (readers).

For instance in the last century writers didn't have any reservations about denigrating people who were different from the "norm" in any way. Newspapers openly printed slanderous statements about blacks, Chinese, Japanese, Mormons, American Indians, and even ethnic groups that we don't think of as minorities anymore.

One thing that became obvious early in my research was that people will often choose to pass on an exciting fictional story over a not-so-exciting true account. This has led to a number of inaccurate, local myths. I was bemoaning this fact to Frank Anderson one day a few years ago. He just grinned and said, "A lie well told and stuck to is better than the truth." That must have been the attitude of "Pinky" Baird. His story illustrates both changes in cultural attitudes and the fact that people will sometimes just lie.

Ewing Craig Baird, nicknamed "Pinky", was an old-time Indian fighter who lived in Council. The story of his childhood says that Indians killed several members of his family, and that this resulted in Baird having a life-long hatred of Indians. There is a pair of Indian moccasins in the Council museum that he gave to Bill Winkler. Baird told Winkler that the moccasins had belonged to local Shoshoni chief, Eagle Eye. According to Baird the last time he saw Eagle Eye alive was when the chief was standing in a stream getting a drink. Baird said that the Indian jumped in the air and fell dead, and that's how he got the moccasins. In other words this was Baird's way of bragging that he had killed Eagle Eye. Today we would call it cold-blooded murder. In those days, Baird was looked up to for eliminating a "bloodthirsty savage".

As to the truth of the story, Eagle Eye actually died of natural causes. Baird claimed to have killed more than one Indian in this area, so he may have murdered an Indian he thought was Eagle Eye. By the way Eagle Eye was known, by informed people, as more of a peace maker than a warrior. Less knowledgeable people thoughtlessly classified him, along with all Indians, as a savage killer.

The museum still needs someone to donate a door. We would like one that is fairly old-fashioned with a large window in the upper half. It doesn't matter if it is a single pane of glass or several smaller ones. If it doesn't have glass in it we can replace it. The window area needs to be large enough that part of a room exhibit can be easily viewed through it. If you have one you can part with, please give me a call. 253-4582

Also, some of us who are working on the video about the railroad would like to borrow any photos, videos or home movies you have of local trains or anything to do with the railroad. Give me a call if you can share any.


This week I'm going to start basing a series of columns on a really priceless manuscript that Edna Johnson let me copy. It is basically an autobiography written by Ida Logan Hitt. She was the wife of A.F. Hitt, the man after whom Hitt Mountain, near Cambridge, is named. It was written in the late 1930s when she was in her late 70s. She died at the age of 81 in 1939 at Portland.

Ida's mother was Lavina Anderson who married David Logan. When Logan died, she remarried Tom Price in 1884. Tom Price is who Price Valley is named for. Lavina's brothers, John and Rufus Anderson, were well known Indian Valley pioneers.

Ida had distinct memories of coming west in a wagon train in 1868. The 1860s was the worst decade of violence between whites and Indians in American history. One story in particular illustrates how afraid of Indians people sometimes were. One morning the group saw what they thought were Indians coming from a defile in the Black Hills.

"They came single file, and seemed to be coming directly to our camp. There being only one man and two pistols, one of the guns was offered to the man. He refused it, ran and crawled under the bed, wrapping a buffalo robe around him, also covering up his head and face. My mother took the discarded weapon, determined to do what she could to defend her children. Another woman having the other, they were ready to die fighting. The Indians kept coming until at least 300 warriors were in sight, a formidable array for two women with revolvers to fight. Other women armed themselves with axes, butcher knives and clubs; one had a broom. I was 9 years old and remember this vividly. In the excitement they failed to notice that the hostile band was passing by the camp some hundred yards away. All at once the procession stopped and the Indians turned their faces directly toward us. Oh what joy! They were antelope. After staring a moment, away they ran. My mother dropped the pistol and sat down on the floor of the tent. Most of the women began to cry. For my part, I could not understand why they cried when they found there was not danger."

It's beyond me why they would have been traveling in such a small group, and were so poorly armed. Apparently Ida's father wasn't with the family because he had been drafted into the army. There are places in this manuscript that are very vague, or where things are left out.

The Logans had planned to go on to Oregon, but decided to stay at Weiser when they found a relative living there. Soon they moved on to Middle Valley (Midvale).

In those days hogs were a common animal to raise - both for sale and home consumption. Council's first family, the Mosers, sometimes drove large herds of hogs to the Boise Basin to sell them to the miners there. Ida wrote of her family's experiences: "As the spring advanced the hogs were turned out to forage, but were fed a little wheat in the evening so they would come to their covered log pen. It was the fear of bear that made such a pen necessary. One night a bear came. We heard the pig squeal, but when the men arrived with their guns the bear was gone, taking a nice young shoat along. He had coolly pulled four logs off, seized the pig and was gone. It showed it was a large bear, perhaps a grizzly; his footprint was enormous."

It was quite common during the early settlement of the valleys along the Weiser River for farmers to have problems with bears killing livestock; especially pigs. In 1882, George Moser and some other men pursued a bear that had been killing Moser's pigs. After the dogs cornered the bear, it attacked Moser, badly wounding him by tearing away chunks of flesh from his legs. Moser recovered, but the wounds bothered him the rest of his life.

Some reports say that the bear that attacked Moser was a grizzly, but this has not been confirmed. (The museum has a few claws that are said to be from this bear, and they do look like grizzly claws.) Early reports of bear incidents were not usually clear as to the species of the bear. People in those days seemed very inclined to exaggerate and overdramatize just about any aspect of life, so some stories about grizzly bears probably really involved black bears. There probably were, however, a few grizzlies in the Council area. The abundant salmon in the Weiser River would have been an ideal food source for them.

A grizzly was said to have been killing livestock near Alpine in 1874. This animal reportedly weighed over 600 pounds and had a ten inch long track. In 1896, Gilbert Smith, the State Senator from Meadows, killed a bear that reportedly measured 9 1/2 feet from tip of nose to end of tail.

More next week.


History Corner

by Dale Fisk

Continuing from Ida Hitt's autobiography:

"There was no travel during the winter excepting the mail man coming by once a week. Before spring we ran out of flour and had to grind wheat on the coffee mill for graham flour to make bread. There was no chance to get any supplies until the roads could be traveled in the spring, as it was 150 miles to Boise, our nearest market. We also ran out of butter; as everyone packed their butter in summer for winter, all the cows were dried up in the late fall, with no milk. (We knew nothing about canned milk; think it hadn't as yet been invented.)"

"When spring came Uncle John and John Sailing took up homesteads across the Weiser River, Making it 2 miles to their places. No one planted anything but gardens, as the men could go to other valley's and work thru thrashing and get all the wheat they needed."

"One day a man came and made a proposition to Ma & Pa that he furnish the cows and they milk and make butter for half of it. It was soon arranged and the man brought the cows and their calves. In those days it was not known to take the calf away from its mother and feed it milk. There was plenty of range for the cows. There were 15 of them, Father milked 7, Mary 5, and I three of the gentlest. But alas, no more sleeping mornings until ready to get up. At 5:30 we had to crawl out. Many mornings it seemed I just couldn't, but up I had to get. Besides all the fresh butter we could use, we had lots of cream and milk to use, also cottage cheese. Mother made quantities as it was good for the chickens too, also milk to feed the hogs. The butter was worked over twice, then packed in wooden tubs made for that purpose, 50 lbs. in each. Every one ate packed butter thru the winter and early spring, in fact until the last of May. As the cows ate grass on the range they also ate wild onions that grew up as early as the grass, but by the last of May were withered and the seed blown away."

About 1872 the Logan family moved to the Salubria Valley. This is the valley in which Cambridge sits now. Salubria was the only town there until the railroad came in 1899. The town of Salubria was a little over a mile south east of present-day Cambridge. Mary, Ida's older sister who was sixteen, married Frank Mickey in 1873. "As Mr. Cuddy had moved to Cuddy Mtn., built a saw and flour mill, my sister's husband was among the foremost pioneers."

"As soon as the law allowed, there was a son born to the Mickeys. When the Nez Perce war broke out on the 20th of June 1877, they had 3 children, Irwin, Cora and Everet; the latter was not yet two. In the meantime my Uncle John and Uncle Rufus had moved to Indian Valley; my mother also with us 3 children. By this time I was getting along in years, was 19 years old. In that time I had six proposals of marriage, but would have none of them until the handsome young Mr. Hitt came along, at least I thought him the handsomest man on this earth, or any other. We were engaged for 2 years, as he had bought his partner out and had to pay it off before we could marry. The Indian war changed that."

Continued next week.

Articles from 2-1-97 thru this one (3-21-97) are about Ida Hitt and are straight out of my “Landmarks” book.

This is the end of 3-21:

There are so many mistakes and distortions in Ida's version of this story that it would take a whole column to straighten them out. More from Ida next week.

I'm told that Dr. Gerber died in the summer of 1990. She was born in September of 1889, so she was almost 101 years old. We have the walls of "her" office finished in the museum. (Actually, we have built a three-room complex with a sheriff's office, Dr. Gerber's office, and a medical office that will probably be Dr. Brown's office, more or less.) What I would like is for people to give us quotes about Dr. Gerber that we can print and place in the exhibit. My plan is to just put up the quote, not necessarily who said it, so don't be afraid to be honest. If you can help us, please write down a very short statement about an experience with Dr. Gerber. Here's an example of one I'd like to use: "I've gone to sleep in a lot of dentist's chairs, but I never went to sleep in hers." Please either mail your quote to me at box 252, Council, or call me at 253-4582. Even if you just have a story that we might be able to get a quote out of, give me a call.

Another thing we would like to do is stuff a chicken to put in her office exhibit. That may sound odd to someone who is unfamiliar with Dr. Gerber, but if she was just your average dentist do you think we would be making a whole exhibit in the museum around her? It will be an interesting exhibit. Anyway, we have a volunteer to do the stuffing, and think we think we may have someone willing to give us a chicken. But if you have a chicken that you are willing to give to the cause, keep us in mind. I'm told she raised Bantam chickens, among others.

If anyone has some extra 7" stove pipe, we need a section about 3 feet long, an elbow, and a short piece, maybe about 6 inches long for the stove in Bill Winkler's sheriff's office.

As always, we can still use help at the museum every Tuesday.

3-28 Ida Hitt's memoirs continued. It is 1878, after the Long Valley Massacre.

More next week.

4-3-97 This will conclude Ida Hitt's memoirs. We pick up her story about 1884.

The man Amos Hitt sold his sawmill to was Frederick Wilkie. I found mention of the sale in an 1885 newspaper. Wilkie operated it near the present site of the old Hornet Creek Guard Station. It was one of the first sawmills to operate in the Council area. Ida continues:

Ida Hitt had nine children. She wrote the manuscript that I have quoted from in the late 1930s. He died in Portland, Oregon in 1939 at the age of 81.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading Ida's writing. I found it fascinating to read a first hand account of such dramatic events as the Nez Perce and Bannock Wars, and how they effected the people who lived in this area. In some ways those times were not very long ago. It's amazing how much things have changed.

I also hope that this makes you realize how valuable your memoirs could be to your family someday. If you recall, some time back I said that it would be a priceless gift to your descendants for you to write down the story of your life. You may not have lived through such dramatic days as Ida Hitt, but things are always changing. Someday it will even be interesting to hear about the first computers we had just a few years ago because they will seem so crude by future standards. What am I saying?! A computer more than three or four years old is already behind the times. Anyway, if you haven't written anything down yet, there's no time like the present.

I'm still looking for Dr. Gerber quotes to use. I got a couple of good ones this week.

In 1996, volunteers spent over 600 hours working on the museum. That's the equivalent of one person working almost four months. And that's not counting MANY hours some have spent at home working on museum projects. Because of the legal requirements concerning the bidding process I don't feel I'm at liberty to say too much yet, but the museum addition is going to built this summer. We are planning to follow the example of the Cambridge Museum, and open the "old" part of the museum (which will be almost totally new exhibits) on about May 15. The plan is to have it open from 10 AM to 4 PM. We will need volunteers to be at the museum for one of the two, three-hour shifts each day: 10:00 to 1:00 and 1:00 to 4:00.

I'm still very willing to take any pennies you may want to donate to the museum. Another fund raiser that Connie Mocaby is organizing is a home tour in June. She has several homes lined up but needs a few more. If you have an interesting house in the Council area that people would enjoy seeing, please give Connie a call.

4-10-97 I ran across an old "Frontier Times" magazine from May 1977 that has an article by Charles Luck, a man who came through Council in 1902 on his way to the gold fields at Thunder Mountain. Gold was discovered at Thunder Mountain in 1896 by the Caswell brothers. They were friends with Arthur Huntley who owned a ranch just south of Cuprum where the Speropulos place is now. The Caswells cut Huntley in on their discovery because he gave them a grubstaked of $50. The gold deposits at Thunder Mountain turned out to be very big, and they all became rich.

By 1902 Thunder Mountain was big news, and a gold rush started to the area. The railroad had reached Council the year before, and since this was the nearest rail point to Thunder Mountain hundreds of people came through here.

Mr. Luck wrote: "In May I joined the stream and assembled my outfit at Council, the railroad terminus on the west. There we camped for a while and watched the crowds go by. It was an outfitting station. The traders in that little town made money."

"As pack horses were an essential part of every outfit, every available horse was bought and then the boys scoured the hill for cayuses. They drove them into corrals, wild eyed and with kinks in their tails. They roped and threw them, put on a breaking bridle, slipped the blinder over their eyes, cinched on a pack saddle and sacks of sand and let them buck. After two or three days of this they sold them to the Argonauts from the East for trustworthy pack horses. And the Easterners bought greedily. They knew a horse when they saw one. It was an animal with four legs, one on each corner."

In the midst of this scramble, wagon loads of building supplies were making their way to Arthur Huntley's ranch where he was constructing an extravagant, three-story mansion.

Earl Wayland Bowman arrived in Council in 1902, and later gave a vivid description of the town:

"Dirty? My gracious! There were pigs wallowing along the streets, beer kegs piled out by the half dozen saloons, trash and litter everywhere and dogs - dogs! Suffering saints, I never dreamed there could be so many in a place so small!"

"Don't you remember the ricks of manure that lined the main street - the accumulation of God knows how many years from the old barn where the stage horses were kept?"

"The Thunder Mountain rush was on, and everything was hurry and hustle and rustle. Pack trains stood in front of Lowe & Peter's . . ." [This store was where Adams County Real Estate is now.]

"Freight wagons and mountain outfits lined the streets and Haworth's, Weed & Criss', McMahan's were busy - busy loading them for the hungry rush to the Devils, the Big Creek country, Thunder Mountain, Warrens." [Weed & Criss' store was where the Council Valley Market parking lot is now. McMahan's was about where the public restrooms are, south of the park.]

"There was money everywhere. Things were moving and Lew Shaw's, Denny Ryan's, the Old Overland Bar - where Bob Braden mixed any sort you wanted - and all the other irrigation emporiums saved the populace from perishing on the arid desert of unquenched thirst!" [The Overland was where the Ace is now.]

In spite of Bowman's mention of freight wagons, etc. loading ". . . for the hungry rush to the Devils, . . ." the Seven Devils mining district was having a dismal year. After the Thunder Mountain gold rush subsided somewhat, the nearness of the railroad helped revive the boom in the Devils. As many as eighty wagons were eventually employed by the mines to haul ore. They turned the road along Hornet Creek, and the streets of Council, into a river of dust as they rolled through town to unload heavy sacks of ore onto train cars at the east end of town.

It was in 1902 that the first automobile that had ever passed through Council stopped a few minutes in the town square. At this time cars were little more than a rich man's toy. Most local people had never seen a car, and it drew quite a crowd. Lucy McMahan said that the car created as much excitement in Council as when Lindbergh later flew nonstop across the Atlantic.


Those of you who have only been taking the Adams County Leader were probably a little surprised last week to get a copy of the Record instead. The merger of the Leader and the Record happened very quickly.

For those of you who enjoy the History Corner, you won't be without it because of the merger. It's hard to believe, but I have been writing this column for both papers for three years now. I intend to continue writing it for the Adams County Record for as long as I can come up with a new subject each week.

While looking for a subject to write about this week I ran across my notes on a colorful character who used to live here: Hannibal F. Johnson.

Johnson was a miner and poet, who acquired the title "Seven Devils Johnson" from the local residents. Johnson, born in Indiana in 1830, came west looking for gold, and was in the Boise area in the early 1850's. He later located a mining claim in the Seven Devils about 1884.

The first time that I know of that Johnson became a published poet was in the Weiser Leader, Sept 27, 1889. A 24 verse poem by Johnson was printed in that edition of the paper, but his name was not even mentioned. Credit for the poem was given simply to "a Seven Devils Miner". A number of you have probably heard or read this well-known poem that begins:

"I'm sitting on a mountain high

With blood and thunder in my eye,

For I've been trying for an hour

To bake a cake with Cuddy flour.

But damn the stuff, it will not rise.

And that's why blood is in my eyes.

It's not because the dough's not sour,

For sour as hell is Cuddy's flour."

Johnson wrote the poem as good-natured teasing of John Cuddy. Cuddy was having trouble adjusting the burrs in his flour mill near Salubria, and they were not grinding the wheat properly. The newspaper said of Johnson's poem: "We publish the same by request, believing it to be written in a good spirit toward Mr. Cuddy and that it is aimed as a farewell to his burr mill flour." The editor went on to say that Cuddy had installed new milling equipment, and implied this should improve the quality of Cuddy's flour significantly.

About a month later, in the Oct 25, 1889 issue, the paper printed another of Johnson's poems, "Farewell to Idaho". Again, credit was given only to "A Seven Devil Miner".

In 1892 Johnson ran for the office of Washington County Senator against T.C. Galloway, of Weiser. During the campaign, Galloway called Johnson "Pine Tree Johnson", claiming that Johnson had real no home and lived under a pine tree.

By this time, Galloway had already become a living legend in this part of Idaho. You may remember him being mentioned a couple of time in Ida Hitt's memoirs. Galloway was a pioneer and pillar of the Weiser community, and led a group of volunteer militia during the Indian Wars of the 1870s. A street in Weiser is named after him. In spite of the fact that Johnson had to have been a relative unknown, Johnson won the election and served one term.

More on Seven Devils Johnson next week.

4-24-97 In the early 1890's R.E. Lockwood, for whom Lockwood Saddle is named, was doing some mining in the Seven Devils. He was staying at a camp in the head of Rapid River near the North Star mine. One evening Hannibal "Seven Devils" Johnson visited the camp, and all of the men present became caught up in lofty discussions of philosophy and literature. Lockwood later wrote that it was a "feast of reason and a flow of soul". Johnson recited one of his poems for the group:

"Some sing of life in cities fair.

Some sing of homes in valleys green

Some sing of pleasures on the beach.

Where wealth and gayeties are seen.

But I will sing of grandest scenes

That ever met the human eye.

Of forests green, of crystal streams,

Of turrets reaching to the sky."

Lockwood recalled, "There, with true nature in all her vastness and grandeur spread out beneath us, (we were at an altitude of about 8,000 feet) with the green forests stretching away for miles, with mountain 'turrets reaching to the sky' above us, it was easy to appreciate the impulses which inspired the lines."

I'm not sure if Lockwood already knew Johnson at this time, or if this was their first meeting. I'm also not sure if Lockwood was the editor of the Weiser Signal newspaper at the time that Johnson's poems were first printed in that paper. He was the Signal editor around this time, and must have been associated with the paper when the campfire recitation occurred. At any rate, Lockwood was so enthusiastic about Johnson's poems that he risked his own money in 1895 to publish a 125 page book of the poets works, entitled "Poems of Idaho". The book sold for 50 cents. I've never seen a copy of it, but I remember finding it listed awhile back as being in an Idaho library somewhere. Many of Johnson's poems were about mining and life in the Seven Devils.

Johnson apparently never married, and did a great deal of traveling from place to place around the country, pulling a two-wheeled cart. He was a good natured man with a keen sense of humor, and seemed to be liked by almost everyone.

In a time when doctors were few and far between, Johnson was in demand as an authority on home remedies. His father was a doctor, and had built the first house in Carthage, Missouri, where Hannibal grew up and was educated. He studied medicine with his father, but not liking the profession he abandoned it.

Since last week, I ran across some info that should have gone with Johnson's early history. He crossed the plains with his parents by covered wagon, coming to Eugene, Oregon in 1853. He mined until the outbreak of the Rogue River Indian War when he became a soldier. After his first term of enlistment he and five other soldiers were surrounded by 125 Indians. One of the soldiers was killed, but the rest escaped. In 1858 Johnson was part of the Frazier River gold rush. In 1862 he came to Florence and Buffalo Hump, then

arren, Walla Walla, and Auburn, Ore. He packed and freighted to the Boise Basin until 1865. That fall, he took a 28 animal pack string to Blackfoot, Montana, where he sold the pack outfit and started mining. In 1868 he came to the Salmon River country and then Willamette Valley of Oregon. Last week I said he came to the Seven Devils about 1884. This info says he came to the Devils in 1882 and located the Golden Eagle mine. He exhibited some very rich ore from that mine at the Worlds Fair. He was offered $36,000 for this and other claims, but turned the offer down.

I'll have more on Seven Devils Johnson next week.

I got a call from Eldora Peebles on Monday. She lived in the Council area for years and now lives in Weiser. She says hello to all her old friends up here.


Hannibal Johnson had four sisters and two brothers. One brother, Pleasant W. Johnson, was seven years younger than "Seven Devils", and lived with Hannibal on Rapid River at one time. Pleasant W. Johnson was always called P.W. Johnson in newspapers. People were almost always referred to by their first two initials in early newspapers. I have sometimes read about someone in a decade's worth of papers before learning their first name.

It may well have been P.W. Johnson that induced his better-known brother to Idaho. P.W. came to Idaho in 1861, and lived in Florence during the gold rush there. He claimed to have owned the first ounce of gold that was mined at Warren. In 1862 he went to the Boise Basin, then explored Oregon and Nevada as a prospector. P.W. came to Council in 1900 at the age of 63. In the census for that year he is listed as an accountant by trade. Within two years of coming here, he was a "senior member of S. Haworth & Co" and secretary of the Council Board of Trade (which apparently was a kind of promotional organization for the Council area). He shared his brother's interest in mining, and jointly owned a gold mine with Hannibal on Rapid River. He also had claims near Iron Springs and Thunder Mountain. Another thing P.W. had in common with Hannibal is that he also never married.

In 1903 through 1905 P.W. Johnson is listed as chairman of Council Board of Trustees. This would probably be the equivalent of a mayor's position. In 1905 he was working on a second book: "Fifty Years Out of Congress" ( a history of the Northwest). His first literary work had been "Johnson's Encyclopedia of Transportation", which became an industry standard. He wrote it during 8 years of employment (1880-1888) as General Freight Agent for a steam ship line on the Oregon coast.

One source says that P.W. Johnson homesteaded on White Bird Ridge after leaving Council.

Some of the activities of Hannibal Johnson can be traced by following old newspaper accounts:

Salubria Citizen, Apr 21, 1899 - Seven Devils Johnson is "canvassing for two books . . .'The Illustrated New Testament' and a history of our war with Spain." [I assume "canvassing" means selling door to door, more or less.]

Cambridge Citizen, Mar 15, 1901 - "H.F. Johnson has taken the agency for a chemical fire extinguisher, and will be traveling the area demonstrating what his machine will do."

Johnson played the fiddle, and is said to have held it in a unique way. Someone described it as "holding it on his lap" instead of under his chin. I would guess that he held it in the way some Cajun fiddlers do, in the crook of his elbow. When someone is holding a fiddle like this, while sitting, the elbow is often rested on the leg, giving the appearance of having the instrument in one's lap.

Hannibal Johnson must have been a truly remarkable man. At the time Lockwood heard his poetry around the campfire, Johnson was over 70 years old and was still wandering some of the most rugged pieces of real estate on earth. At some point between 1906 and 1910, when he was between 76 and 80 years old, Johnson claimed a 160 acre homestead at one of his mining claims near Rankin Mill in the Seven Devils. Although it would have been a very high elevation to have an orchard, it is said that he established one there, with about 100 trees on approximately two acres. I've read that some of the trees are still there. Hannibal also raised chickens and had a large garden covering about one and a half acres. His home was a 18 X 20 one-room log cabin. In this house, he had a sizable library, and did a lot of writing. He got a pension of $8.00 per month from his Indian fighting days on the Rogue River. He walked 10 miles to old Pollock to get his mail, and occasionally lectured in Riggins on political subjects. I have heard that Johnson Creek (the one closer to Pollock) was named after Seven Devils Johnson.

Johnson's "claim" to his homestead was not a legal one. He was required to file under the Homestead Act of June 11, 1906 (concerning homesteads on federal land) but, he insisted that he didn't need to because he had been living there before the forest reserve was created. The Forest Service eventually persuaded him to apply properly, and his application was approved in 1910.

Johnson sold his homestead to Jay Rhodes at some point. This location later became "Hannibal Ranger Station".

Apparently Johnson wasn't living at his homestead very much during the time he was getting his homestead approved. He is said to have moved to California in 1910, the year his homestead was approved.

During his last few years in Idaho, Johnson spent his summers near Pollock where he had mining properties, and spent the winters with the Alex Kesler family at Council. One source says that he was spending his winters with a niece in California before he moved there year 'round. Another source says he spent considerable time in later years at the Robinson ranch on Bear Creek.

Johnson returned to visit friends in Idaho about 1930 at the age of 100. He died not long after that trip, and true to the unusual way he lived, he was one of the few men to speak at his own funeral. Johnson had brought the first phonograph to the Council Valley, and he must have had an unusual interest, for his time, in phonographs and recording. With extraordinary foresight, and the help of Robert Young of Council, Johnson recorded his funeral oration on a phonograph record. Part of the agreement when he sold his homestead to Jay Rhodes was that Rhodes was to see that the recording he made was played at his funeral. And it was.

Connie Mocaby is organizing a home tour for June to raise money for the museum. She already has several interesting homes lined up, but would like a few more. If you are interested in helping the museum by allowing your house to be shown, please give Connie a call at 253-4408.

I mentioned that we plan to stuff a chicken for Dr. Gerber's office, and I thought we had someone in mind who might donate a chicken. My mistake. We need someone to donate a chicken - preferably a bantee.

Your club or civic organization may get a letter from the museum (or may already have received one) about helping with volunteers to man the museum this summer. Please give it serious consideration. We haven't determined an exact opening date at this moment, but should by the time this hits the presses. It will be some time in the second half of May.

History Corner 5-9-97

I have a question. Does anyone know where the Cuprum school used to be? I'm not talking about he Landore - Decorah school, but one that used to be at Cuprum itself. The museum has a picture with the school in the background, but I don't know where it was. The old bell from the school is still at Cuprum, sitting in someone's yard.

We have had some nice donations and loans made to the museum in the last few weeks. Shirley White brought in a dinner fork she found at the old Middle Fork CCC camp. It has "CCC" stamped on it and a number that I think is probably the camp number. Bud Gross brought in an old fire extinguisher. Shirley Glimser donated some old shoe lasts from Ralph Finn's shoe repair shop that stood where Glimser's Adams County Real Estate building is now.

Henry Daniels donated several nice odds and ends for our mining exhibit. He really helped our mine tunnel exhibit by loaning us an ore cart and rails to put it on. It was just what that exhibit needed. Henry is also going to do a painting for the museum that will be part of the Native American exhibit. It will be a scene showing a big, native festival as seen from "school house hill". For those of you unfamiliar with Council's history, Council got its name from these Indian gatherings. Indians met here from all over the Northwest to have a big party and harvest salmon. Early, white pioneers thought these big festivals were "council meetings", and so called this the Council Valley.

Jack Wassard made a beautiful and authentic atlatl for the Native American exhibit. The atlatl was a weapon what natives used for thousands of years before they got bows and arrows. You'll have to come in an see it.

I should also mention some donations that were made not so recently. Tod Nelson donated a big section of wooden pipe that was first used as water pipe in Council and then installed for irrigation at the Gould ranch. Boise Cascade gave us the old mill whistle. Sue Lambert donated an old-time kitchen apron. (By the way, Sue, we haven't forgotten the receipt. Please be patient.) Don Wood donated an outdated resuscitation kit that was used in Council.

On behalf of the museum and the community, I would like to thank all the people who have donated or loaned items, or who have helped the museum in other ways. There is so much to do, so few people, and so little time that we often neglect to show adequate appreciation. So, thank you!

We have finally figured out when the museum will open: May 31st. We have sent out several letters to local organizations asking for help in staffing the museum this summer. The museum will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM, and Sundays from 1 PM to 4 PM. This way the day can be covered by two, three-hour shifts. Three hours is not that much time to give at a time, and it will probably even be fun. We may find it hard to find people who are willing to give up three hours out of their weekend or holiday, so please give that some thought. If you can help, please call Mary Sterner at 253-6930.

Over the past few months, a few people have mentioned that they might be able volunteer at the museum for a shift or two. Those people need to call Mary. We may have forgotten that you said anything, or may not know if you are still able to help, so please call.

We are still looking for a chicken to stuff for Dr. Gerber's office. If you have one you can part with, please give me a call at 253-4582.

The museum is still collecting pennies for the past, so if you have a pile of pennies lying around that you don't want to mess with, give me a call.

Sometime before our opening on May 31, we are going to put a "MUSEUM" sign with four-foot-high letters on the front of the museum. Dale Lyttle has the letters finished. Now it's a matter of getting Idaho Power, or someone else with some kind of hoist that will reach that high, to help us put the sign up. It's about 30 feet up to where the letters need to be bolted on. I if this sounds like fun to you, or if you have a farm hand, etc., that will reach up to 25 feet or more, give me a call. We can also use a few hands that aren't too afraid of heights.

History Corner 5-15-97

When I was preschool age, in the mid 1950s, I remember going to a couple of activities at the Fruitvale school. I had older cousins who attended there. It was about that time that the Fruitvale school closed. It wasn't too long until Lillian and Marvin Imler bought it and converted it into a house. They're both gone now, but the house still overlooks Fruitvale, just up the hill east of the old post office / store. It's boarded up now and gets little, if any, use.

When the Fruitvale school closed, the kids were bussed to Council. This was the story of many of the similar, little, community schools in this area. During the 1940s and 1950s many of them were closed and the students were bussed to Council. Bear was one of the last holdouts, closing in 1968.

I remember visiting the grade school at Council after my older brother, Clint, started attending there. Being a kid, one of my most vivid memories are of the big slide at one end of the building. It was for a fire escape, but, at the time, it was more likely to be used in case the old building started to collapse. I don't know if the kids ever actually slid down that slide during fire (or collapse) drills, but it was my impression that they did. I thought it must have been tremendous fun, and I was very envious.

Getting back to the danger of the building collapsing. I seem to remember hearing that they had drills like fire drills for the kids to practice how they would get out of the building if it started to fall down. At the time, that too sounded exciting. I don't imagine it made any parents very happy. I didn't know much about the old school building until I started doing all this research a few years ago.

The school was built in 1907 to replace the overcrowded one on "school house hill" just north of downtown Council. After the railroad had reached Council in 1901, the population had increase a lot. An additional wing had been put on the school on the hill, almost doubling its size, but it soon became too small as well. In 1907 a two story brick school was built in a field at the southeast end of town. This was just east, across the street from the present LDS church, about where Economy Roofing stacks some of their trusses, etc. There is a photograph of the old school over the door of Economy Roofing.

For some time there was only a grade school in Council, and in other small, rural Idaho towns. Council students who wanted to go on to high school had to go at least as far as Weiser. A few years after the brick school was built, high school classes were started in this building. By 1922 there were seven high school rooms in the school. I think it was about this time that another wing was added to the school because it was getting too crowded.

Many people who grew up in Council have countless memories of days spent at this old school. If any of you care to write down any of them, I'd like to hear from you. If you do write, please let me know if I can use your stories in my column.

By 1957 the school was in bad shape. A Boise engineer was called in to examine it. The following are snippets from the engineers report printed Adams County Leader, Dec 27, 1957:

"The Council grade school building is a composite of two buildings. The west half is a brick-veneered, wood frame structure approximately 50 years old. The veneer on the west wall has collapsed and been replaced with wood sheathing. The east half is approximately 40 years old. It has masonry (2-course) brick exterior walls . . . ."

"The interior of the entire building has been finished with wood lath and plaster. This has been replaced on most of the ceiling by acoustical fiber board."

Many of you probably read that part about lath and plaster without a second thought, but some of you younger readers may not know what lath a plaster walls and ceilings were. I say "were" because I don't know that it's ever done anymore. "Lath" was a subsurface made from strips of wood. Each strip was about 1 to 1 1/2" wide and about an eighth inch thick (or a little thicker). The lath strips were nailed to the studs and ceiling joists and spaced about a quarter inch or less apart. Plaster was then applied over the lath. The lath is what held the plaster to the wall or ceiling because some of the plaster oozed though between the strips to anchor it. I think plaster was put on in at least two coats - a "scratch" coat and a finish coat. Plastering used to be a trade in itself, and probably took some skill to do it right. Most old buildings have, or had, lath and plaster walls and ceilings. I'm not sure when it started being used, but drywall (sheetrock) has pretty much, if not completely, replaced lath and plaster. Drywall is much cheaper, more durable, and easier to install.

More on the old school next week.

On Monday, Andy Roundtree from Idaho Power came up with a hoist, and we put up the "MUSEUM" sign on the north side of the building. We're hoping people can't drive through town without seeing it. Dale Lyttle made and painted the letters. Dale and his dad, Lee, ran the ground operations while Andy and I threaded our way through the power lines and bolted the letters on.

If you didn't catch it, the museum is going to open on May 31st. We won't be "done" by any means, but I think you will be impressed with the changes so far.

We have learned that the museum qualifies for the Senior Community Service Employment Program. That's a Federal program that pays people who qualify to work at certain jobs. What we hope to do is get a few people to man the museum this summer so we can cut down on the volunteer requirements. We already have one interested person, and we would like to have a couple more. The job pays minimum wage, and would entail being at the museum and performing a few light duties from 10 AM to 4 PM. We will try to be flexible on who works what days. To qualify, you must be 55 or older and have no more than a certain income ($9,865 for a family of one, $13, 265 for a family of two). If you qualify and are interested, please call me right away at 253-4582.

This does not mean that we won't need volunteers. We appreciate those who have expressed interest so far. This is a real head-scratcher as to just how to arrange scheduling while keeping all our options open. I hope you will all bear with us while we muddle our way through our first season.


Carlos Weed called me with a few details on the old brick school. He and it were born the same year: 1907. He started school there in 1914. The addition was started in the summer of 1922. That summer the basement was excavated and plumbing was installed - something the older part of the school didn't have. That fall, a cold snap hit, froze all the pipes, and caused them to burst. It must have been disappointing to have to continue using the outdoor toilets until new plumbing could be installed.

By 1957 the old school was in bad shape. A Boise engineer was called in to examine it. The following are snippets from the engineers report printed Adams County Leader, Dec 27, 1957:

"The Council grade school building is a composite of two buildings. The west half is a brick-veneered, wood frame structure approximately 50 years old. The veneer on the west wall has collapsed and been replaced with wood sheathing. The east half is approximately 40 years old. It has masonry (2-course) brick exterior walls . . . ."

"The interior of the entire building has been finished with wood lath and plaster. This has been replaced on most of the ceiling by acoustical fiber board."

Many of you probably read that part about lath and plaster without a second thought, but some of you younger readers may not know what lath a plaster walls and ceilings were. I say "were" because I don't know that it's ever done anymore. "Lath" was a subsurface made from strips of wood. Each strip was about 1 to 1 1/2" wide and almost a quarter inch thick or so. The lath strips were nailed to the studs and ceiling joists and spaced about a quarter inch or less apart. Plaster was then applied over the lath. The lath is what held the plaster to the wall or ceiling because some of the plaster oozed though between the wood strips to anchor it. I think plaster was put on in at least two coats - a "scratch" coat and a finish coat. Plastering used to be a trade in itself, and took some skill to do it right. Most old buildings have, or had, lath and plaster walls and ceilings. I'm not sure when it started being used, but drywall (sheetrock) has pretty much, if not completely, replaced lath and plaster. Drywall is much cheaper, more durable, and easier to install.

The engineer continued his report, referring to the two foot crawl space under the first floor and then to the foundation.

"The foundation wall under the west half is of stone and mortar is approximately 2 feet thick. There are stone and mortar pilasters 16 feet apart under the first floor beams. The mortar between the stones has almost completely deteriorated in the visible areas. It is possible to remove this mortar with very little effort since it is about the same consistency as damp sand. The exterior of the foundation above the ground line also shows signs of extensive deterioration. In several spots, the concrete can be scraped away with the bare hand."

Referring to the 8"X8" wood columns that supported the first floor: "Several columns are rotted at the ground line to the size of a 3"X3" member."

"The masonry on the exterior walls is in an advanced state of decomposition. The bricks are badly weathered and their surfaces are generally soft. The mortar between the brick is generally soft and it was noticed in some particular areas, is completely gone on the outside course of brick."

"Above the first floor windows on the south side, the masonry has bulged out to a severe degree. Since the inside wall appears unchanged, this displacement is no doubt in the outer course of brick only, which means that the two courses of brick have separated and rain water may be trapped in this area. If this should be the case, it would take very little freezing and thawing to completely disengage this part of the wall from the structure. Since this is one of the major bearing walls in the east half of the building, a failure in this area would cause a general collapse."

The engineer said a wall on the east end of the building was also leaning slightly: "Some of this displacement appears to be recent, and a wall failure in this area could be imminent."

The electric wiring was ". . . composed of cloth-insulated wires supported on porcelain split-knobs. . . ." ". . . this type of wiring is outdated and creates a definite fire hazard."

"In our opinion, the physical condition of the structure is such that a general failure could occur at any time. It is impossible to predict whether extensive collapse will occur immediately, or whether the structure might remain reasonably intact for a few more months or even a few more years. It is apparent that the building is structurally dangerous and far below reasonable standards of safety for a public building of this nature."

"We recommend that you take immediate action to condemn the building for further use in the interest of the safety of its occupants."

More next week.

Time is running short folks. We need volunteers to man the museum. We would like to get the first two weeks booked as soon as possible. The SCSEP program to pay people to be at the museum is not a sure thing at this point, and we want to be prepared. Please call Mary Sterner at 253-6963. If she's not home, give me a call (253-4582) and tell me what days and times would fit your schedule.


The old brick school was condemned and closed in December of 1957. The students had an extended Christmas vacation, then began classes on January 6, 1959. Since the old school could not be used, superintendent Jack Wing and a number of volunteers had to improvise. Books and other teaching supplies and equipment were hauled to locations all over the community. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classes were conducted in the Legion Hall, with "the split grade" at City Hall. The 4th, 5th and 6th grades were bused all the way to the Mesa school. The 7th and 8th grades were conducted in rooms in the high school.

(I've covered the story of the high school in a previous column. The short version is that the old brick school got very overcrowded, so a new high school was built in 1941. It stood on the same spot as the present Council High School. More on that later.)

Covering the story of the unique classroom locations, the Adams County Leader, January 10, 1958 reported: "The hot lunch program has been organized and is now functioning again with the IOOF hall being used as headquarters. by staggering the dinner hours, the hall has been most satisfactory. The hot lunches are also being transported to the Mesa school by means of private vehicles."

For those of you who aren't familiar with the old IOOF Hall. It stood where the east section of Shaver's is now. It was a two story building with a false front, built in 1905. I think most of us remember it as being white, but it was painted a dark color in it's early years.

Even as classes were first starting the scattered locations, the School Board was beginning to plan the construction of a new grade school. It was to be built, ". . . just south of the high school, on the property where the baseball diamond was formerly located. The new ball diamond will be located further south on the former Jim Winkler property." The cost of the new school was estimated at $176,576.00.

Everybody got through the remainder of the school year with classes in the odd locations. That fall, school started, using the same, or similar, places. Here's where my memories kick in again. I turned six years old in 1958. There was no kindergarten in Council then, so when I turned six I started school in the first grade. Our classroom was in the basement of the Legion Hall, in the southwest corner. Our teacher was Erma Armacost. One thing that stands out in my memory is the how the burning coal from the furnace smelled. That's not a very common smell anymore since few places heat with coal these days.

I'm not sure when the new grade school was finished and we moved to it, but the school was dedicated on February 28, 1959. The new building seemed very big and very nice.

Five years later the high school had become overcrowded. On May 18, 1964 local citizens voted on a "plant facilities fund levy". It was said that if the levy passed it would, ". . . provide for future expansion of the [high] school building or buildings without the necessity of an expensive bond sale." The levy failed. That October the levy became irrelevant when the high school burned to the ground. There were wild rumors that superintendent Wing had set the fire because he was so frustrated that the levy had not passed. The actual cause of the fire was never discovered.

For the second time in less than a decade, Council students attended classes all over town. I remember them using the Legion Hall, the IOOF Hall, and the Congregational church annex. There may have been more places, but I don't remember them. Incidentally, this was at least the third time that students attended classes all over Council. Before the old high school was finished in 1941, the old brick school had become so crowded that the high school kids went from building to building to attend classes.

Construction started on a new high school (the present one) in the spring or summer of 1965. As luck would have it, the building was finished in 1966, just as I was starting high school. It was as if every time I started attending another school they built a new on for me. Everything in the new high school was new - the desks, chairs, books, doors, walls, PE equipment, . . . everything. There was not a mark or a scratch anywhere.

Don't forget the museum is opening Saturday. Drop by between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.. For this summer, the museum will be open those hours Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.


Carlos weed called me with a few details on the old brick school. He, and it, were born the same year: 1907. He started school there in 1914. The addition was started in the summer of 1922. That summer the basement was excavated and plumbing was installed – something the older part of the school didn't have. That fall, a cold snap hit, froze all the pipes, and cause them to burst. It must have been disappointing to have to continue using the outdoor toilets until new plumbing could be installed.

By 1957 the old school was in bad shape. A Boise engineer was called in to examine it. The following are snippets from the engineers report printed in the Adams County Leader, December 27, 1957.

After a structural inspection of the Council school by an engineering firm, the school board has condemned the building. A long report from Engineer Earl C. Reynolds, Jr. was printed, containing the following information.

The older part of the building was constructed in 1907. “The veneer on the west wall has collapsed and been replaced with wood sheathing. The east half is approximately 40 years old. It has masonry (two-course) brick exterior walls.”

"The interior of the entire building has been finished with wood lath and plaster. This has been replaced on most of the ceiling by acoustical fiberboard."

West half: “There are stone and mortar pilasters 16 feet apart under the first floor beams. The mortar between the stones has almost completely deteriorated in the visible areas. It is possible to remove this mortar with very little effort, since it is about the same consistency as damp sand.”

“The foundation wall under the East half is 18-inch concrete. These walls contain several flaws that allow water to seep in from the outside. In some areas the walls have exfoliated to a depth of 2 inches. No reinforcing was visible. The exterior of the foundation above the ground line also shows signs of extensive deterioration. In several spots, the concrete can be scraped away with the bare hand.” Some beams in the crawl space are partially rotted. The roof is metal placed over the original wood shingles.

“The masonry on the exterior walls is in an advanced state of decomposition. The bricks are badly weathered and their surfaces are generally soft. The mortar between the brick is generally soft and it was noticed in some particular areas, is completely gone on the outside course of brick. These areas are most evident on the south and east walls. The concrete window sills are badly deteriorated, particularly on the south side of the building.”

“Above the first floor windows on the south side, the masonry has bulged out to a severe degree. Since the inside wall appears unchanged, this displacement is no doubt in the outer course of brick only, which means that the two courses of brick have separated and rain water may be trapped in this area. If this should be the case, it would take very little freezing and thawing to completely disengage this part of the wall from the structure. Since this is one of the major bearing walls in the east half of the building, a failure in this area would cause a general collapse.”

“The masonry wall on the east end shows a leaning displacement of approximately 1 ½ inches at the top.” “Some of this displacement appears to be recent, and a wall failure in this area could be imminent.”

“The electrical wiring in the attic and the basement is exposed. It is composed of cloth-insulated wires supported on porcelain split-knobs attached to the floor and ceiling joists. Although there were no apparent breaks in the insulation, this type of wiring is outdated and creates a definite fire hazard.”

“The building is heated by a central, coal-burning furnace.” A recent inspection showed, “an increase in the size of the cracks at the east end of the stairway landing next to the east wall.”

“In view of the recent movements observed, it is entirely possible that failure of the masonry in this structure could occur at any time.”

“In our opinion, the physical condition of the structure is such that a general failure could occur at any time. It is impossible to predict whether extensive collapse will occur immediately or whether the structure might remain reasonably intact for a few more months or even a few more years. It is apparent that the building is structurally dangerous and far below reasonable standards of safety for a public building of this nature.”

“We recommend that you take immediate action to condemn the building for future use in the interest of the safety of its occupants.”

Many of you probably read the part about lath and plaster without a second thought, but some of you young readers may not know what lath and plaster walls and ceilings were. I say "were" because I don't know that it is ever done anymore. Lath was a subsurface made from strips of wood. Each strip was about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide and almost a quarter inch thick or so. The lath strips were nailed to the studs and ceiling joists and spaced about a quarter inch apart. Plaster was then applied over the lath. The lath is what held the plaster to the wall or ceiling because some of the plaster oozed between the wood strips to anchor it.

Plaster was put on in at least two coats – a "scratch" coat and a finish coat. Plastering use to be a trade in itself, and took some skill to do it right. Most old buildings have, or had, lath and plaster walls and ceilings. I'm not sure when it started being used, but drywall (sheet rock) has pretty much, if not completely, replaced lath and plaster. Drywall is much cheaper, more durable, and easier to install.

6-12-97 Larry Kingsbury, the Payette National Forest Archaeologist, sent me a copy of a letter he ran across, and I thought some you might enjoy it. It is from a scout named Thomas Singleton. As usual, some of the handwriting is hard to read. Anything within brackets are my comments or questions. Eagle Eye, mentioned here, was considered the most prominent Shoshoni leader in this area.

"Fort Boise, I.T. [Idaho Territory] January 31st, 1869


"I have the honor to report that in compliance with Special Order No 4, dated [11th?] Ins. Fort Boise, I.T. January 18th 1869. I left this Post on the 19th inst. with Sergeant Howard, Privates Vernen of Co. "H" 23rd Infy. and 3 Indian Scouts provided with ten days rations and the necessary transportation, forage, etc., for the purpose of ascertaining if Eagle Eye and his Warriors were still in the vicinity of Middle Fork of the Weiser River, I.T.

19th - Marched ten miles, and Camped at Dry Creek.

20 - Marched twenty five miles, and camped at Stuarts Station, on the Payett [sic] River.

21st - Crossed the Payett River, and followed a trail leading due north, and camped at the head of Big Willow Creek - distance marched 30 miles.

22nd - Marched 30 miles, and camped at night on Crain Creek. The country through which we marched after leaving Big Willow Creek is very rough. The snow varying from 3 to 4 feet deep. At 7 O'clock P.M. it commenced snowing, and continued 3 hours with very cold wind from the north.

23 - Marched a few miles up Crain Creek, and came upon a trail which we followed all day, and which finally brought us into Eagle Eye's Camp, which is at the head of the South East Creek of the Weiser River, about forty miles from Crain Creek.

[This location would seem to be along the Little Weiser River east of Indian Valley.]

Eagle Eye's Camp is situated in a deep rivine. The country on the south side is very uneven, on the north side are the Weiser Mountains. The Indians having discovered us descending the hill signaled our coming by giving a few yells, and running from one lodge to another, for about five minutes when they all disappeared with the exception of one who proved to be Eagle Eye's second chief. He came out to meet us. I informed him that we were friends from Boise, and had come to visit Eagle Eye and his warriors. He then reached me his hand in token of friendship and passed 'round among the scouts. The leading the way, we advanced into camp when Eagle Eye and his band came out and bid us welcome. I found two white men living in the camp and that a third one lived there, but had gone down to the Settlement to purchase stores. I ordered the two remaining out of camp. I also ascertained that 10 warriors with 18 women and children (the most miserable party I ever beheld) arrived in Eagle Eye's camp on the 14th inst.

24th - Had conversation with Eagle Eye and his warriors and learned from them that the reason of Eagle Eye's not reporting at Fort Boise as he agreed at the time Col. Sinclair brought him in, was occasioned by these three white men above mentioned who it seems have been tampering with him. Eagle Eye promises faithfully that he will try his utmost to keep the white men away from their camp in future, and to report at Fort Boise every moon.

I gave the Indians that came into Eagle Eye's camp on the 14th inst. to distinctly understand that if any of them left camp at anytime, Eagle Eye's warriors would go out and kill them. They resolved to be submissive, and to accept Eagle Eye as their Big Chief."

I'll continue with this letter next week.

We now have two people to staff the museum for the summer. Bobby Darland and Mike Ward are being paid through a Federal program that aims to give senior citizens a toehold to get back into the work force. Please stop in and see the museum soon.

I just got back from Wenatchee, Washington where my daughter graduated from high school (with honors and in the top 10% or her class of 320 kids). We stopped in Coeur d'Alene to see Jeff Connaway. Since leaving Council he has developed quite a sign business there. He had to demonstrate his computer-operated sign machine for me, and in doing so, made the museum a nice sign for the front door with the hours the museum is open. Great guy!

Don't forget the home tour on the 21st. This is an oportunity to have a fun day and contribute to your community. What could be better?

6-19-97 First I need to apologize for the mix-up in my columns for the past couple weeks. In my rush to leave on my trip to Washington the same column got printed twice. I have one more column written about Council's schools that I will put in next week. In the mean time, here is the second half of Thomas Singleton's letter from January 1869:

"Twelve inches of snow fell during my 36 hours stay in [Eagle Eye's] camp.

25th - Left for Fort Boise, I.T. Owing to the quantity of snow that fell during my stay in Eagle Eye's camp, and not deeming it advisable to recross the country through which we came, on account of the increase of snow, I therefore concluded to take the road leading through the settlements. In passing through the upper Valley. I found the snow three feet deep and it was very difficult to keep the trail. Camped at the three Forks of the Weiser River twenty miles from Indian camp.

[The "settlements" must mean the new towns along the Weiser River, most of which started to be occupied by homesteaders just the previous spring (1868). The "upper Valley" refers to Indian Valley. The Council Valley was only occupied by Henry Childs, and possibly another bachelor or two. There were no wagon trails, much less roads, north of Indian Valley. "The three forks of the Weiser River" must refer to the Cambridge / Salubria vicinity, since that's where the Weiser is joined by Pine Creek and the Little Weiser.]

26th - Crossed the divide from the upper Valley to the Middle Valley. Snow from three to four feet deep. Camped on Mans [sic] Creek distance marched 16 miles.

27th - Marched from Mans Creek to the head waters of the lower Valley. Commenced raining at 3 O'clock PM and continued until dark, when we camped at the head of lower [obscured by National Archives stamp] marched 25 miles.

28th - Marched 32 miles and camped at Butter Milk Ranch.

29th - Marched 32 miles and camped at Stuart's Station on the Payett River

30th - Marched 12 miles and camped at [unclear] Burges [?] Payett Ranch

31st - Marched 28 miles and reached Fort Boise I.T. at 6 o'clock P.M.

Total distance marched 330 miles.

I am Sir,

very respectfully,

Your obdt. Servt.

Thomas Singleton,

Interpreter and

Chief of Scouts


The Post Adjutant

Fort Boise I.T."

I my column for two weeks ago but not printed I thanked the volunteers who acted as hosts at the museum during our opening week. But since they never saw it, THANK YOU! We couldn't have been open without you. As I said last week, we now have two people who are being paid (thru a Federal program) to be at the museum. This should mean that we won't need volunteers except for an occasional emergency. So if you scheduled a shift at the in advance, you won't need to do it now.

Another thank you goes to Dale Lyttle for the nice "Museum Entrance" sign out front. It looks great.

It's here folks - your chance to help the museum and have a good time. The home tour is Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM. Last I heard, we hadn't sold enough tickets to even pay our printing costs. Please buy a ticket at U.S. Bank or the Frame Studio in Council, or at U.S. Bank or the Heartland Studio in Cambridge, or in New Meadows at Key Bank or Beyond the Trees, or in McCall at Key Bank or Krahns.


Bob Hagar wrote to me with some memories of the old Council school:

"Enjoyed your column in last week's Record about the old grade school. Since our family lived about a block from the school (three blocks when the snow was too deep to take the 'short cut'). I recall how some of us kids eagerly watched while the covered fire escape slide you mentioned in your column was being built on the north side of the building. The slide was wide and the bottom was lined with a piece of slick metal . . . and it was a test of a kid's athletic ability to try to crawl or walk up the slide. . . until somebody boarded up the bottom of the slide during the summertime. A few other memories about the old building follow. Why is it one always remembers the forbidden activities? Of course it was the 'other kids' who always did them:

-Finding the access to the 'attic' in the building and hiding out in the belfry or tampering with the bell so it couldn't be rung on time.

-During some of the winter power failures they would dismiss school if the temperature in the room dropped below a certain value, so as soon as the teacher would step out of the room for a few minutes, enterprising students would hang the thermometer out the window to hasten the process.

-When the snow would start to melt on the time roof it would create some great overhangs of snow and ice. A well thrown snow ball would bury an unsuspecting classmate who might be passing beneath.

-During one particularly severe winter the snow piled up so deep under the eves that the quickest exit from the building at recess or lunch would be to jump out the second story window after distracting the poor teacher.

-The ice on the steep steps on the west side of the building was great for sledding, except don't slip backwards as I did early one afternoon while in the second grade and then having to wait until nearly midnight until Doc Thurston got back into town so he could set and cast my broken arm.

-I wonder if anyone knows what happened to the swing sets and merry-go-round that were on the school grounds. As I recall they were ruggedly fabricated from heavy pipes and should survive today somewhere. Very heavy. It took a crew of several kids to carry the merry-go-round that from the school grounds to the middle of the highway 95 in front of the People's Theater on Halloween night."


I'm not sure what happened to the swing set. (Wasn't it in the park by the courthouse?) The County Commissioners just gave the merry-go-round to the museum. I thought maybe it was as old as the school (1907), but the date on it says 1928. It is heavy too. Roy Mocaby lifted it onto a trailer with his tractor so we could haul it off. It must have been quite a job for kids to carry to the highway. When the museum addition is done, we plan to put it on the grounds somewhere - either fixed up and working, or as a stationary "bench", depending on how safe we can make it and if the City approves.

Bob Hagar's memory about rigging the school bell reminds me of a story I once heard about a school bell at Garden Valley. The kids turned the bell upside down and filled it with fresh cow manure. When the teacher pulled the rope the next morning, the whole load came down on top of her or him.

Some time I'd like to collect stories about local Halloween pranks pulled in the past. If any of you care to write or call me about those, it might make an interesting column. Seems like I remember someone saying something about a wagon being taken apart and reassembled on top of Sam Criss's store where Shavers is now.



Last week I quoted the Idaho Magazine from December 1905 as it outlined Council's attributes. I'll continue quoting from it, and add comments.

"Among its [Council's] engines of civilization is an inviting, three department school house, which tops Council Hill." This is the hill just north of downtown. It has been labeled with several names, but the one I'm most familiar with is "school house hill". This is the school that was replaced in 1907 by the brick school I've been writing about.

"Some 150 pupils are presided over by an able corps of teachers; Prof. G.F. Gregg, principal, who is admirably assisted by Mrs. Olive Freehafer and Miss Maud Peters." That's a lot of kids to put into what was a relatively small building!

Two of the teachers, George Gregg and Maud Peters married each other seven months after this article was published. Maud was the daughter of John Peters, an ambitious, Weiser businessman who built the first store in the Council Valley. After marrying Maud, George Gregg joined his father-in-law in running a couple of successive business here.

Gregg was later appointed as the first probate judge in Adams County. He is shown in the well-known picture of the first County officials in 1911. (This picture is currently on display on the outside wall of the Bill Winkler's sheriff's office in the museum.) In this photo Gregg looks very gaunt. The reason is that he had tuberculosis. He died from it only three years later, in 1914.

The other teacher, Olive Freehafer would have been a relative of our former Senator, Jim McClure.

"The Congregational Church is an architectural gem, as also is its parsonage, structures which together represent an outlay of at least $2,500, and the soul's health of this community is zealously looked after by the members of this denomination." Neither of these buildings are standing today. The article refers to the old Congregational church that was demolished and replaced by the present church in 1950. The old church sat where the church's parking lot is now. The parsonage was torn down just a year or two ago.

"The I.O.O.F. have recently erected a $3,500 building, one of the most commanding and pretentious in the town. Fraternally the place is well represented by the I.O.O.F. [Odd Fellows], Rebecahs, K.O.F.M., L.O.T.M., and United Artisans." I've written about the Odd Fellows Hall that stood where the eastern section of Shaver's is now. The tall, false-front building was a landmark in Council for many years. I have to wonder if the K.O.F.M. was a misprint and should have been K.O.T.M. (Knights of the Macabes). I don't know what L.O.T.M. was unless it was a ladies' auxiliary to the K.O.T.M. I don't have a clue about the United Artisans.

"The Advance [newspaper], since 1901, has jealously guarded the interests of all this section and has proven a potent factor in its moral and material advancement. Its founder and conductor meanwhile has been L.S. Cool." Levi S. Cool's brother, Fred Cool may have been better known than Levi was. Fred was Dale Donnelly's partner for many years in the Cool and Donnelly Feed Store. It sat about where the public restrooms are now, south of the town square.

The list of Council's businesses reflects the differences in the area's economy and needs compared to the present. "On Council's commercial, industrial and professional calendar we find six general stores, one drug store, one planing mill, three saw mills, one harness shop, one hotel, three livery stables, three blacksmith shops, three restaurants, one bakery, one jeweler, two millinery stores, one newspaper, one physician, two attorneys, one meat market, two barber shops, four saloons, two stage lines, one lodging house, four contractors, builders and carpenters."

7-17-97 I forgot last week to thank Terri McFadden Ellsworth for the "Time Out" doll she made to raise money for the museum. It was really cute. Terri is a alumnus of Council High School from the days when I walked those halls. Her doll was auctioned off in the park on the 4th, and, unfortunately, it only brought a fraction of what the dolls regularly sell for. We really appreciate all the work she did in making the doll.

Bruce Addington's daughter, Carolyn Addington McDonald loaned the museum several old, family photo albums so we could copy any photos we wanted from them. Thanks Carolyn!

Dave Mink came through with some Mesa Applesauce cans with labels on them! Thanks Dave! This seems to me what the museum is all about: preserving things like these labels that are so unique and meaningful to this area. We're still looking for a Meadows Valley Pea label.

Dave also loaned us some old letters from Mesa that he was given. They are so interesting that I thought you might like to read parts of them. For those of you who are new to the area, Mesa Orchards was one of the biggest orchards in the Northwest. Some claimed it was the biggest in the world. It was spread out over the rolling hills around the present site of Mesa, about eight miles south of Council.

The letters were all written in 1930, the beginning of the Great Depression, so many of them concern overdue bills.

One such letter is from William Lemon, the editor of the Adams County Leader. It is actually dated Dec. 1, 1929:

"E.G. [Enderse Van Hoesen]: Taxes and other items are causing me to squirm a little and a check will be appreciated at this time. I did not send the bill to Edwin Snow for publication of the Mesa Sheep Co. dissolution notice. It was $9.00. I can send it to him if necessary. Lemon."

The Van Hoesen family operated the orchards at the time, along with H.J. Woodmansee. I believe Enderse was the Secretary / Treasurer for the Company. One of the letter heads still in use in 1931 says "Van Hoesen and Seymour". Charles Seymour was killed in a fire at Mesa in December of 1920, and off the top of my head, I don't know if another Seymour was involved in the orchards after that.

Many of the letters are to or from "Reilly Atkinson & Company, Inc." of Boise. Apparently the orchards bought many of their supplies from them. One letter contains revealing details about the operation:

"Gentlemen: The writer was sorry to have missed you when he called on you at Mesa the other day. No doubt your brother has given you the inventory as shown on our books. You will note from this inventory you are considerably back on your payments as per our contract for this year. Briefly, our records show - bushel tub baskets - 65,197 - which is approximately eight cars of baskets and you inventory on this item as of last Thursday was approximately 600 dozen, making you short on your payments in the neighborhood of $10,290.00 covering approximately seven cars."

"Our records show you have on hand - 19" corrugated caps - 79,399 but you actually have not over three or four thousand on hand, as of last Thursday, making a shortage on payments on this item of approximately $1,080.00."

"As to Liners, our records show - bushel Hiat Liners - 100,299 - whereas you have on hand three or four thousand, making a shortage of payments on this item approximately $2,220.00. The above makes a grand total amounting to $13,590.00 which has not been reported by you, but which has been used."

The above, with the notes which we hold, amounting to $13,500.00, plus merchandised invoiced to you on direct shipments and items out of our Payette stock, also the two shipments of paper, all totaling $3,349.74 makes a grand total owing to us by you of $30,439.74 which is entirely too much for you to be owing us at this time of the year Our agreement was that you were to pay for merchandise used and you were to remit to us each week. We realize that you have been away for some time and no doubt have gotten behind in your payments, but we want you to know the exact status of your account, as it is a very serious matter with us. We have our trade acceptances coming due each day and we are needing money very badly to take care of our own obligations."

"Assuming these figures are correct we see no reason why you can not make additional remittances at this time as the total owing us is much greater tan the merchandise which you have actually on hand."

More next week.

I just found out that the Indian Valley Community Church is 100 years old this year, and there will be an open house on August 2nd and 3rd. I'll have more information on this next week.

The biggest news is that this week we are finally advertising bids for the museum addition! I don't have many details at the moment, but things are going to be moving rapidly very soon.


The thing that makes history interesting is how it relates to the way things are now. One example of this is the Indian Valley Community Church. It is 100 years old this year, and an open house will be taking place on Saturday and Sunday, August 2nd and 3rd, to celebrate the centennial of this local institution. The church will be open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday (the 2nd). Then on Sunday the regular services will start at 10:00 AM and last until 12:30. Following the services there will be a potluck dinner.

The church was originally built nearby on land donated by Sylvester Haworth (Mrs. John Manning's father). Mr. Haworth also gave the community an acre for the Indian Valley Cemetery.

Construction on the church was started in 1897, but it was not completely finished because the cost was more than had been estimated. A $400 interest-free loan was obtained in the fall of 1898 to finish the building. That may not sound like a lot of money by modern standards, but at average wages of one dollar for a ten-hour day, that would be roughly the equivalent of $32,000 today. (That's figuring an eight-hour day at $10 per hour times 400.) The loan was finally paid off 68 years later.

The Deacons of the church in 1897 are listed as: J. Alva Steward, Andy Lay, J.W. Hildereth, H.J. Imler, David Hutchinson, Mrs. Harriet Hutchinson, Mrs. Gray, and Marquetta Byers.

For most of its existence, the church has had only temporary pastors. Records show that in 1902, a lay minister named Boylan was paid $100 to shepherd the congregation for one year. The money was raised through pledges. Again the relative value of money at the time is noticeable, as many of the pledges were for 25 or 50 cents. What must have seemed like a very expensive bell was purchased for the church about that time by A.J. Huddleson of Cambridge for $68.40.

Reverend Howard Stover, who came to the Congregational Church in Council in 1905 and left in 1914, also pastored the Indian Valley church for several years. It was very popular in those days for every community to have a band. Under Reverend Stover's supervision, one was organized at Indian Valley. The band's 14 members consisted of 13 young men: Thomas and Clarence Hutchinson, Ellis Snow, Earl Byers, Willard, Jess and Albert McDowell, Tilford Lindsay, Roy and Jim Hern, Phillip, and Bob and Paul Ware - and one girl: Orrill Lewis.

Early records of the church are sketchy. It was incorporated October 13, 1913. The next year the church was moved to its present location. It was put on skids and pulled by an astonishing 25 teams of horses! This must have been quite an event, and taken more than a little horsemanship.

The land for the new location was donated by Jim and Flora Linder.

At some point, the Pastor of the church was the one who held the mortgage, and the land where the church had formerly been was given to him to clear the debt. He later sold the property to Tom Murphy.

Records from 1916 on are almost nonexistent. It is known that two American Sunday School Missionaries - a Mr. Chandler and a Mr. McKay - worked in the Indian Valley area.

There was a period when attendance at the church was very low. During this time, Hildred Manning, Hazel Johnson, and their daughters walked to church every Sunday to keep the Sunday School open.

In the spring of 1949 there seemed to be a revival of interest in the church. Money was raised for repairs. The place where the "annex" was pulling away from the main auditorium was fixed, and the building was painted.

One of the more interesting fix-ups was replacing the two front doors which were damaged during what must have been a wild a dance one night.

The first couple on record as being married in the church was Lucille Manning and Richard Higgins in 1952. As part of the wedding preparations, the bride's parents bought new wall paneling for the church, and it was installed by Duane Borror, a youth pastor from Cambridge.

By 1955 the floor was so worn in one place that it was feared that someone might fall through it. Again, money was raised and a crew of local men spent three days putting in a new floor.

I'll have more on the Indian Valley Community Church next week.

The initial blueprints for the museum addition are at the museum for anyone who cares to look at them.

7-31-97 The story of the church in fairly recent times is mostly one of repair and improvement to the building and its facilities. In every case, it took hard work and dedication on the part of local people.

In 1955 a memorial fund was started. Among other projects, it paid for new windows and casings.

When the Baptist church in Cambridge bought new pews, the Indian Valley church bought their old ones for $80.00. At one point the foundation of the church had settled badly. It took more than two years to raise the money to repair it.

There was a great deal of trouble getting the deed to the church settled. It took about 30 years to get everything straightened out.

In 1970 a furnace was installed. At some point, Jolaine Huey and her class cleaned up a room in the upstairs of the annex. A stairway was built to it, and it was converted it into a classroom. Other improvements over the years include a new vestibule, new doors, a cross, and pew seat covers.

In 1985 & '86 a fellowship room, kitchen and bathrooms were added. The added rooms had "modern day", low-maintinance siding, and an on-going effort is being made to side the entire building with it. In 1986 & '87 water was piped to the church. This added a very big convenience. In 1987 & '88 the sidewalks were expanded.

This year Malcolm Huey bought a organ at an auction and gave it to the church.

The work on the church is, of course, an on-going effort. The belfry has been repaired three times over the years, and is in need of work again. The floor in one part of the sanctuary is starting to sag.. The chimney needs to be torn down and the wall straightened. The roof and the ceiling need work. If the past is any indication, these projects, and more, will be accomplished by people with the same kind of spirit and dedication that has been evident at Indian Valley since pioneer days.

One of the most enjoyable parts of my researching local history has been reading old newspapers. To finish out this weeks column, here are a few of my notes concerning Indian Valley from the newspapapers:

Idaho Citizen, Oct 30, 1891 - New Post office established at Isaac McMahan's store in Indian Valley called Alpine. Lucy McMahan - postmaster.

Salubria Citizen, Feb 24, 1899 –

The stage will now leave Weiser at 7 a.m., railroad time, and arrives at Salubria at 2 p.m. "The time for the trip from Meadows to Weiser is 27 hours. This will cause the stage to make the trip from Indian Valley to Meadows in the night."

Weiser Signal, Jan 28, 1905 - The Dale literary society debated the Indian Valley literary society.

Council Leader, Jan 1, 1909 - Middle Valley has 25 phones. Indian Valley has 27.

Council Leader, Sept 9, 1910 - A.E. Hinke to build hotel in Indian Valley 30' X 56'

Council Leader, Aug 1, 1912 - "As many as 20 wagon loads of people from Indian Valley, Cambridge and other points have passed through here yesterday and today on their way to the hills north of town after huckleberries."

Council Leader, Aug 22, 1912 - The Indian Valley Post office and telephone exchange have been moved from the A.M. Henke building to the IOOF hall.

Council Leader, Dec 11, 1914 - "...new road directly west from village of Indian Valley and connecting with the public road at the Richland school house." A new concrete and steel bridge across the Little Weiser River will save miles.

Council Leader, Feb 19, 1915 - Phone lines are hooked directly to Indian Valley now "and we can talk to our neighbors to the south at 15 cents per talk instead of 40 cents, as heretofore."

Council Leader, Sept 10, 1915 - New school room at Indian Valley.

You may have noticed that some demolition is happening on the south side of the museum to get ready for the addition. By the time you read this, the bids on the job will have been opened. I will announce the contractor next week.

8-7-97 First, the big news. After five years of work and frustration, the plans for the addition to the museum are finally starting to become more than a dream. The job will be done by McAlvain construction.

Many of you remember, or still know, Doug and Sarina McAlvain. They used to live at Fruitvale, and they still have a weekend house there. (It was on the home tour.) Doug told me some time back that he would build the addition for the money we had available, and he would donate whatever it cost him over that. Torry McAlvain (Doug's son) has been planning the project along with Clinton Yaka (who married Tuesday McAlvain) of BRS Architects in Boise.

I couldn't say much about this until now because we were legally obligated to advertise for bids, even though we couldn't imagine anyone underbidding McAlvain Construction. Their company was the one and only bidder. Construction should start any day!

My writing about Mesa Orchards got sidetracked because of the Indian Valley Church doings, but now I'll get back to it.

There are several names in the old records Dave Mink loaned me that are mentioned as having apples packed or shipped by the Mesa Company, or who bought baskets, etc.: Tom Nichols, Charles Lappin, Stephan Nock (Mesa), Phil Bury (Mesa), Gray Brothers (Mesa), Frank Messing (Mesa), A.H. Keckler, Clyde Rush (Mesa), H.L. Brooks, a Mr. Dahlgren, Hoover, I.L. Thurston, Wing, Walling.

Other items from the old Mesa files:

A bill from Reilly Atkinson & Co. of Boise lists three 8 foot ladders and two 10 foot ladders at 50 cents per foot - twenty 10 foot, and six 12 foot "Larson" ladders at 48 cents per foot.

A hand-written letter from Kenneth Harrington dated Nov. 13, 1930: "Dear Sir, I have never received my check for the last apple picking. I left my name and address so the check could be mailed to me. I am sure it has been overlooked." The letter is written in pencil, as are many of the other documents. It must have been much easier to write with them instead of the old fountain pens or other types of pens. A note at the bottom, in different handwriting, says,"mail check - $19.28" and below it, "check mailed 11/22/30".

Another letter: "January 18, 1930 - Mr. Henry Heimsoth, Council, Idaho - Dear Mr. Heimsoth: We believe that we have a bay horse of yors down at our barn and we will appreciate it if you will come up and see if it is yours because if it isn't we want to advertise this horse at once. Very truly yours, Mesa Orchard Company."

And another, unsigned letter from the orchards, concerning Lost Valley Reservoir: "April 10, 1930 - Mr. Ed Holbrook, Tamarack, Idaho - Dear Mr. Holbrook: I am enclosing a few post cards which you can fill out and send to me after you make a trip to the reservoir. Keep track of your time and we will adjust it with you. I do not think it is necessary to go over more than three times a week until the water gets up to the concrete part in the spillway. Would like to get it about half way up on the concrete before opening the gate very much so that we can be sure of filling the reservoir. If there isn't much change perhaps you had better shut the gate again."

You may know that the Mesa Company had the reservoir built so that they could trade water rights from it for water rights from Middle Fork. Just what their involvement was in the management of the reservoir, I don't know, but they evidently kept a close eye on it at this time. I seem to remember seeing the Van Hoesen name on old Lost Valley Reservoir Company documents.

A letter from Holbrook about this time said, "I went over to the dam yesterday and I had some time getting over from Strawberry. It took 7 hours to make the trip. There was a lot of snow on the north slopes. The water stood at 1770. I will go over again tomorrow and that will give me some idea how fast it is raising."

8-14-97 More from the 1930 Mesa Orchards file cabinet.

There are a number of letters similar to the one from Harry J. Deally & Co. of Pittsburgh that begins, "We would be pleased to represent you in this immediate territory as to the sale of any fruits or vegetables you may have to offer in car lots." Others like it in the file are from dealers in New Orleans, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, New York, Dallas, Houston Tulsa, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Memphis, Kansas City, and St. Louis.

A letter from Mesa states: "The Mesa Orchard Company grew and shipped a total of 265 cars of fruit during the past season. Five cars of the above consisted of pears and eighteen cars of peaches, leaving a balance of 242 cars straight apples. Our fruit this season will be sold through the Federated Fruit & Vegetable Growers, Inc. of new York City."

In letters referring to a financial statement, total assets of the Mesa Company are listed at $438,286.68. $197,828.45 of that amount was the value of buildings, the tramway, machinery and equipment, leaving $240,464.23 worth of land and fruit trees. Liabilities totaled $111,858.09 most of which was not in the form of bank loans, but "carried in the east on a long term proposition."

Mrs. Albert Campbell wrote: "Would you please ship a box of Delicious apples to my sister, Mrs. Henry Fouts, 501 West Lincoln St., Clarinda, Iowa. I want choice apples, but not the extra large size. I hope they are not all gone. Please send them by express, C.O.D. I am enclosing a check for you to fill out for the price of the apples."

Another letter asking apples to be mailed came from the Council Pharmacy. The letterhead says, "Council Pharmacy, The Rexall Store - A.E. Alcorn, Proprietor - Drugs, Tobaccos, Stationery, School Supplies".

Another Council business that wrote to Mesa is one that you may be less familiar with. The letterhead reads, "Council Box and Lumber Co. - Manufacturers of Pondosa Pine & Box Shooks". According to an invoice in the file, the Orchards bought "88 bundles Tops and Bottoms" from the company. The sawmill operated by this company was located just north of the old "stock yards" in the west part of town. A big cement foundation used for the sawmill's machinery still sits in June Ryals's back yard.

Joseph Carr represented the "New Zealand Insurance Company, Limited". A letter from Carr billed the Orchards for a policy covering $3,000 worth of merchandise in the company store. Coincidentally, Carr was also a pioneer fruit grower in this area. He is credited as being one of the people who started the fruit industry here, and was the originator of the name "Mesa Orchards".

A loan agreement in the file from the Continental Oil Company lists a "T-176 G&B hand operated visible pump", along with hose, nozzle, a "Conoco advertising globe" and three "60-gallon Bennett Hi-boys".

A letter from United States Cold Storage Company of Kansas City, Mo. begins, "Dear Mr. Van Hoesen: Perhaps you remember our conversation in regard to the motion picture film of your orchard operations. I would like very much to run this picture in our booth at the Apple Show to be held in Kansas City, December 11th and 12th of this year. I am sure it would be of great interest to the attending growers, and it would also advertise your product on this market. If you can conveniently send me the film I shall take good care of it and promise to return it immediately after the show." Van Hoesen wrote back, "I have just returned from a two weeks trip to the coast where Mrs. Van Hoesen is now recuperating from an operation." "It certainly would have been fine to have shown the movies of our operations here at Mesa at the Apple Show. However, there is no way of getting the films back from you in time. They would have to go by parcel post air mail and on account of our train service the parcel would arrive in Kansas City too late. However, if you desire the film at any other time, please let me know and I will send them to you."

Those films may still be somewhere on a shelf. The chances of us getting copies of them may be slim, but wouldn't they be priceless? Drennan Lindsay tells me that Enderse Van Hoesen's daughter, Beth (Mrs. Mark Adams) is living in San Francisco. Drennan said she thinks Mynderse Van Hoesen's son, David, is also living in that area. If anyone out there has more information on how to contact these people, or about the films mentioned, please contact me.

8-21-97 Awhile back Bobbie Darland brought a jar to the museum. It has a label on it that reads: "Council Valley Brand Dill Pickles - One Quart - Packed by J.R. Finn & Sons - Council, Idaho. On the jar's green label is a drawing of a mountain valley in which several Indians are gathered. One of the Indians, wearing a war bonnet, is holding up a jar. The jar on which the label is glued is an ordinary Kerr canning jar. This is the first I had ever heard of the Finns marketing dill pickles. If anyone has more information about these pickles, let me know.

I know Ralph Finn was an interesting person, and I think he made goose calls, among other things. It might be interesting to do an exhibit around him some time if we can gather enough interesting items. If anyone has some memorabilia of Ralph's that they would like to donate, bring it by the museum. If we get enough interest, we might like to take a few things on loan too. I don't know where Eunice Finn moved to, but if anyone knows her well enough to ask her about items she might be willing to donate or loan . . . .

Along the line of labels, I still haven't heard anything about a Meadows Valley Pea can label. I heard that Bob Rumiser may have had a can with the label on it a few years back. I guess Bob has passed on, but maybe this will give someone out there a place to start looking.

Some of you may have read an article about our museum in the Argus Observer a few weeks ago. It had a lot of mistakes in it, but they say any publicity is good publicity.

I'll finish up with a couple more items from the Mesa file. On Feb 5, 1930 Enderse VanHoesen wrote a letter to the "General Insurance Company of America" agent in Weiser: "We had a fire on December 10th around noon which destroyed our boiler-house. You are probably aware of the fact that we were washing apples at the time and since our water supply was shut off we were compelled to use a portable electric motor and pump to pump water to the boiler. This portable outfit we use for irrigation purposes and for other work dealing with our orchard business." He went on to list the prices of a pump and electric motor that was lost in the fire. The total loss was $85.

As I mentioned before, many of the letters in the files concerned debts owed by Mesa. The most interesting one was from the "Stubbs Electric Company" of Portland. At the top of the letter, a straight pin is stuck through he paper. The letter reads, "Gentlemen: Here's a pin. Looks a good deal like any other pin -- doesn't it? But it isn't an ordinary 'common or garden variety' pin. It is a really and truly magic pin. It will relieve you of a lot of bother, and us a lot of worry. It will set you square with us, and help us square up with the other fellow -- so be careful don't lose it. Better be sure of it and play safe, for it is the pin you will want to use to attach your check to this letter in payment of your balance as of January 31st which amounted to $14.95. Thank you for the check. No charge for the smile we hope you get out of this little letter."

Below the signature of the credit manager is typed, "P.S. Please hurry. We want to use the magic pin on another fellow."

Straight pins used to be used a lot instead of paper clips, and they worked very well to hold papers together. I suppose they were a little painful once in a while if you handled them wrong.

A letter to Myderse VanHoesen from Martin Calwhite of Weiser on May 15, 1930: "Dear Friend, This is a confidential letter to you. Sanford Becktel worked for me about 2 mos. I find him very crooked and can't be trusted. I think he has gone to Mesa to get work of you. Mr. Williams the Banker here will tell you the same. I feel you are a friend of mine is the reason for letting you know. P.S. He is a penitentiary bird."

As I write this, nothing has been done on the museum addition except for demolition work that I did with help from a few guests of our county jail. They were great help by the way, and we appreciate it. Hopefully we'll see big things happen on the addition soon.

8-28-97 About a month ago I quoted from articles the Idaho Magazine from December 1905 about the Council area. I got sidetracked by other subjects, but I want to come back to that magazine because it gives such a detailed picture of life in this area that year.

One paragraph said, "Alluring indeed are the inducements hereabouts for the establishment of a woolen mill as at least 200,000 head of sheep are grazed in the environs of Council; and excelsior factory, for dense and almost incalculable is the growth of cottonwood in all the country side. And this balm or cottonwood, it has been demonstrated by experiment, makes the finest kind of pulp for wrapping and printing papers, and excelsior for mattress stuffing amid for packing purposes."

Why the writer jumped from sheep to cottonwood trees in one sentence eludes me. My dictionary says "excelsior" is "fine curled wood shavings used especially for packing fragile items". I would assume that cottonwood trees must have covered much of the valleys along local rivers before fields were cleared. I know this was the case along the West Fork, plus there were great masses of brush.

"Apples grown in this region are distinguished as among the finest and most delicately flavored of any grown in the United States. Moreover, it is noteworthy of all fruits produced here that they are absolutely free from all worms or other pests. Tempting opening here also for a bank, a creamery, a laundry, an electric light and power plant, a foundry and flouring mill. There is an exceptional opportunity for the founding of a horse ranch hereabouts and the introduction of blooded cattle and horses in is needed."

As far as a bank was concerned, the "First Bank of Council" was being planned at least a month before this issue of the magazine was printed. The Nov 18, 1905 issue of the Council Leader said, "A bank for Council is an assured fact. The directors for the first year are C.M. Jorgans, J.F. Lowe, Frank Hahn, Isaac McMahan, and John Ennis." The bank had no building in which to do business as yet, but rented half of the first floor of the Odd Fellows Hall. Harry Criss rented the other half for his store. The bank opened on February 1, 1906.

In April of 1909, Jim Winkler got the contract to build a new building for the bank. By September the building was completed. It is still standing and very familiar to everyone here as the present Drug Store. Apparently the bank moved into one half of the building in 1909, and Sam Criss used the other half as a general merchandise store.

This was a boom period for Council, and the area was growing faster than anyone could keep track. In February of 1910 Council got a second bank. The "Council State Bank" opened in a small building belonging to William Fifer. It was located about where Shaver's parking lot is today. Fifer ran a jewelry store there for many years. Being a "jeweler" in those days usually involved watch and clock repair. A clock that Fifer made, or at least sold, is hanging in the Adams County Courthouse, and still works.

When the big fire of 1915 destroyed much of downtown Council, the cement walls of the First Bank of Council (the present drug store) were what stopped the flames from spreading farther west.

The First Bank of Council failed in January of 1926. This infamous event is well remembered by older members of our community. Whenever the subject of the failure of the bank comes up, the name N.H. Rubottom immediately surfaces. Because he was the bank president, he was blamed for the failure and the consequent loss of money by many people here. Rubottom was arrested and charged with embezzlement of $1300. The atmosphere in Council was so heated that the trial was moved to Weiser. He was found not guilty, but never came back to Council.

In January of 1940 the Adams County Bank opened in the former First Bank of Council building (drug store). Before that time, the building had been used by the Howell Company as a furniture display area. A doorway was cut through the cement wall "to allow entrance from the store". In the back of the "Elite Repeats" store, there is now a vault door with "Adams County Bank" written on it. This vault door was moved there from the old bank next door.

In 1941 the building that is now the Council Valley Market was built, and the Adams County Bank moved into half of it. The other half became the Golden Rule store. I remember that store still being in business in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The first bank in my memory here was the Idaho First National, located in what is now the dry goods department of Shaver's. If I remember right, it went from there to the present bank site.

As I write this the museum board hasn't decided how much longer the museum will be open this fall. The program for our paid employees runs out at the end of August, so we are going to need volunteers to host the museum until it closes.

9-4-97 I would like to thank Phil Soulen for calling me with Beth Van Hoesen's address and phone number. Phil's father was a brother of Enderse Van Hoesen's wife, Freda. I'm going to see if she, or some of the other family members has any photos or other memorabilia from Mesa that they would be willing to share with our community.

Since I've been writing about Mesa, and because of a lack of time to write lately, I'm going to review some of what I've already written in this column about the local fruit industry.

Early settlers in the Council area tried to be as self sufficient as possible. This was partly because they were so far from any place to buy things even if they had a way to generate cash to make such purchases. But they also had a strong sense of individualism and independence that lingers in some of their descendants to this day. Whatever they could not or would not buy they either made, grew, or got by without.

Naturally food production was basic to their survival, and they tried growing a wide variety of crops. Early favorites were corn and beans. In the early 1890s one traveler through the valley noted that these two vegetables were being planted in almost every field. Sugar cane was grown here very early on, and later, in the 1920s and 1930s, sugar beets were a popular crop. Just after 1900 peanuts and tobacco were grown in Washington County (which included Council at the time), but this was probably in warmer climates closer to Weiser.

One agricultural endeavor that was an early and immediate success here was fruit; especially apples. George Moser and George Winkler planted the first fruit trees in the Council Valley at about the same time, around 1880. Winkler was the first to actually harvest any fruit.

Although many early settlers grew a few fruit trees for their own use William and Dora Black, who settled on Hornet Creek about 1888, are generally credited with starting the first commercial orchard in the county. The Black place is now the Gossard Ranch. Samples of fruit from the Black's orchard took a prize at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and some of their fruit was even sent to London and Paris for exhibition.

Even though local fruit was of high quality the market was mostly limited to local sales for lack of a timely means of transporting it. This changed with the arrival of the railroad at Council in 1901. By 1904 B.B. Day, who now owned the Black place on Hornet Creek, was shipping apples to markets as distant as Walla Walla and Nampa. The next year, he was sending apples to Chicago by the railroad car full, and area farmers were beginning realize that there was money to be made in fruit. By the end of 1905 about 5,000 new fruit trees had been planted in the Council area. The same number of trees were planted here in the spring of 1906.

Other fruit pioneers in the Council area about this time were A.E. Wiffin, Seward Piper, Morgan Gifford, Eliza Sorenson, and Joseph Carr. These orchards were on the slopes just east of town. Carr, who arrived here in 1903, is credited by some as initiating the fruit growing boom in the Council Valley. In 1907 he took an exhibit of apples to the National Horticultural congress at Council Bluffs, Iowa, and brought home seven silver cups as prizes, plus a number of medals and ribbons. At least one of these cups, along with others won between 1907 and 1909, are in the Council Valley Museum.

That same year (1907) local fruit men organized the Council Valley Fruit Growers Association. They encouraged the planting and promotion of commercial orchards, and triggered a dynamic chapter in Council's history.

By 1908 there were about 175 acres of young fruit trees growing in the Council area. The Growers Association sent an exhibit to the Boise fair, and won 22 first prizes and 8 second prizes on their apples. And apples were again sent to the National Horticultural Congress in Council Bluffs, Iowa where they won 17 prizes.

Suddenly, orchards were the rage in the area, and it seemed that everyone was jumping onto the band wagon. Local business men came up with a logo depicting a red apple accompanied by the slogan "The Home of the Big Red Apple" which was placed on envelopes, banners, and other promotional material. A corporation called the "Washington County Land and Development Company" was organized to promote the development of the Council Valley.

The editor of the Council Leader newspaper championed the cause by bragging, ". . . Council Valley possesses a peculiar climatic condition which worms cannot become climated to." He also claimed, "An apple failure on account of frost is something that has never been known of here."

In the spring of 1909, about 20,500 young fruit trees were shipped to the Council Valley to be planted. The Forest Service even joined in the frenzy by designating the Stevens Ranger Station near the East Fork of the Weiser River as an experiment station where various fruit trees were to be grown to determine which varieties were best adapted for the local climate.

9-11-97 The most ambitious fruit-growing plan of all in 1909 was a project that would eventually be called the "Mesa Orchards Company". The goal was nothing less than the biggest orchard in the United States to be planted on a mesa eight miles south of Council. There was already a post office at this location in 1908, under the name "Middle Fork". The name of the post office wasn't changed to "Mesa" until 1912.

J.J. Allison started the idea for Mesa Orchards in 1908. He had searched all over the West for five years for just such a place. The land he found south of Council was being dry farmed without much success by several homesteaders. Allison interested eastern investors, and organized the Weiser Valley Land & Water Company which purchased several thousand acres from the homesteaders. The company then sold ten acre parcels to individual investors at $400 to $500 per acre. For that price, the company would plant fruit trees, care for them for five years, plus pay 3% interest on the buyer's investment. After five years, the owner could operate independently, or the company would continue to do the work for 10% of the net profit from the land. The company would also build a house for the buyer at what it cost the company for "materials, labor, and supervision".

Construction on Mesa projects actually began in 1909. Some tree planting was done in 1910, but irrigation was not adequate, and most of the trees died. An ambitious scheme was devised whereby they would take irrigation water for the orchard out of the Middle Fork of the Weiser River. The only problem was that all the water rights to this river had already been taken. Their solution was to build a $50,000 dam on Lost Creek, about 25 miles to the north, where they could obtain water rights. They would then trade this reservoir water for water they would take from the Middle Fork. But before a single drop of water could be put on the Mesa Company's land an elaborate, seven-mile-long, wooden flume would have to be built to convey the water from the Middle Fork, plus several miles of ditches (at an estimated cost of $300,000) would have to be dug. Water was hauled in barrels on wagons until the irrigation system was finally completed in 1911.

By the fall of 1909 the Lost Valley Reservoir dam had been completed and Council Valley fruit had won several more top prizes at the Horticultural Congress in Council Bluffs. The Mesa Company had ordered 80,000 nursery trees to set out the following spring, was building a sawmill on the Middle Fork to cut lumber for the flumes, and had 100 men employed digging ditches.

Also in 1909 a new townsite was established about seven miles north of Council. In keeping with the local trend of the day it was called "Fruitvale", and most of the streets were named after apple varieties. The name "Fruitvale" was the idea of Lucy McMahan. There was also a division of Weiser named Fruitvale at the time.

Mentioning Lucy McMahan reminds me to get on my soapbox about misspelled street names. As you know, it irritates me that the street in town named after the first family who settled here, the Mosers, is spelled "Mosher" Avenue. Now they have named a lane at Fruitvale after the McMahans and spelled it "McMahon". (#*'~@!!!! )

Profits on investments in apples in 1909 were said to be $100 per acre on six year old trees, and $600 per acre on 10 to 12 year old trees. Peaches, pears, plums, grapes and prunes were also becoming popular. And strawberries were a favorite, yielding $500 to $900 per acre to the grower. Considering how fast and loose promoters played with facts and figures it is anyone's guess as to what the actual profits were.

The desire of investors and homesteaders to get in on this type of money-making band wagon produced a multitude of land schemes during this general time period. A popular practice of promoters was to buy land cheap, plant fruit trees, then sell tracts at high prices to people from the east who had idealistic visions of a homestead in the great western outdoors. Thousands of acres were exploited in this manner, and it had a negative influence on fruit prices at times, even though the land involved was often not suitable for growing fruit.

In the spring of 1910, local growers ordered 300,000 more trees, and the Mesa Orchards Co. was hiring every man they could find.

More next week.

Guess what!? Work has begun on the museum addition! Finally.

9-18-97 By 1912 another ambitious fruit growing effort was starting on the slopes north east of Council, east of highway 95 between Orchard Road and Mill Creek Road. The power house behind this project, called "The Council Valley Orchards", was C.E. Miesse (pronounced Mee-see) of Chicago. Miesse had been the president of the Weiser Valley Land and Water Co., but had resigned. Now, as president of this new company, he was overseeing the planting of 17,000 peach trees, 2,000 pear trees, and the addition of 13,000 apple trees on land that a short time earlier had grown nothing but ". . . sage brush, rocks and a tangled mass of shrubbery, . . ." The goal was a 500 acre orchard that would employ 75 to 100 men seasonally and 1500 workers to harvest the crop.

The "Orchard District", as this area came to be known, included independent fruit growers along with those in the "Council Orchard Company". The district developed rapidly, and soon had a population that supported its own school. The "Orchard School" was on the south east corner of the intersection of Mill Creek road and Missman road.

Since newly planted fruit trees would not yield a crop until they had acquired some degree of maturity both the Mesa and Council orchards adopted the successful practice of growing potatoes between the young trees. Asparagus was another crop grown in this way at Mesa. The plants kept sprouting up for years after the company had stopped planting them.

In 1911 the Mesa Orchards Company built a temporary school. In the summer of 1912, one of the more expensive school houses in Adams County was built at Mesa at a cost of about $5,000. The brick building had two classrooms plus an assembly room for public gatherings. All this for only nine students initially.

By the fall of 1912 it was estimated that there were 3,000 acres of orchard, worth at least $500 per acre, within a twelve and a half mile radius of Council. The reputation of the Council area as a fruit-growing cornucopia was attracting investors from all over the U.S.

That fall some Illinois men arrived to look at the local orchards. According to the Council Leader, they had heard that ". . . Council Valley was regarded as one of the safest and best fruit districts in the state, . . .", and they proclaimed this area was ". . . almost a miracle in fruit raising." The editor, who accompanied the men on their local tour, went on to say, "While going through Mr. Hildenbrand's big orchard he offered us one hundred dollars if we could find a single worm in his orchard."

Even though the orchards didn't seem to have any problems with insect pests, "blight", a contagious disease that killed trees, was present and very much feared. A State fruit inspector made regular examinations of local orchards, and outbreaks of this affliction were taken very seriously. Several local orchard men were actually arrested and tried in court for not destroying their infected trees after the inspector had ordered them to do so.

Local fruit growing businesses continued to be successful, even through the agricultural depression of the 1920s, and provided badly needed seasonal jobs for local residents. But this self-proclaimed fruit grower's Eden was not to be without its serpent. As the automobile became more common, and people and goods traveled faster and farther, noxious weeds and crop damaging insects began hitch-hiking into the area. By 1920 the blister mite, one of the worst enemies of fruit growers of that time, had appeared in orchards at Council and Mesa.

In 1920 the Mesa Company finished a unique, $45,000 tramway to carry fruit to the railroad three and a half miles to the north. It consisted of 48 wooden towers which varied in height from 20 to 45 feet. Its 42 steel baskets each carried six to eight boxes of fruit.

The community at Mesa had its own general store /post office, a school, several homes and a dozen smaller cottages, a bunkhouse, a machine shop, a number of packing sheds, storage cellars, company cookhouse, and other buildings. One feature that the original promotion had promised never became a reality. Originally, a railroad depot was planned near the foot of the mesa, and a trolley line was to take passengers to and from the depot there.

It is hard to say whether the Mesa Orchards Company achieved its goal of having the biggest orchard in the nation. Some have claimed that it was the biggest orchard in the world. Since human nature ardently follows the adage that a good story is better than the truth, the actual size of the orchard in comparison to its peers is hard to pin down. At its peak from 1920 to 1929, there were 1,200 acres actually growing fruit trees at Mesa: significantly short of its goal of 4,000 acres. During apple harvest, about 200 pickers were employed and the company had a total payroll of about $150,000. A 1929 issue of the Adams County Leader printed what may be a realistic estimation of the Mesa Orchards as, ". . . one of the largest commercial orchards under one head operated anywhere in the northwest."

More next week.

Last week Charlie Fry's daughters came in and donated some great pictures of the Van Hoesens and Mesa. One is a color, panoramic shot of the orchards from end to end, and shows the school, store, the houses, packing sheds, etc. The museum is working on collecting labels from Mesa fruit boxes, etc. It is now possible to reproduce them with a laser color copier so that they look exactly like the original. Aside from the value of exhibiting them, we may be able to frame the copies and sell them to raise funds.

The museum has now officially closed for the 1997 season. Sunday, September 14 was the last open day. Many thanks go to the volunteers who hosted the museum for the last two weeks. When we reopen next summer we will probably be operating with volunteers only, so we will need people to help. I'm hoping a number of you will donate one three-hour shift a week so that we don't have to continually recruit people.

9-25-97 During the 1920s the Orchard district expanded until fruit trees covered almost the entire area between Mill Creek and Orchard Road east of the highway. Men such as William Hoover, Lawson Hill, Addison Missman, Tom Nichols and Frank Scholl were some of its prominent producers. These men, and others, built "packing plants" where apples were sorted, boxed, and then shipped via the railroad.

Hoover's packing plant was located on the south east corner where Orchard Road and Missman Road intersect. When it was built in 1926 it was said to be the biggest one in the Council area, second only to Mesa's. It had a cement floo r, contained a grading machine, and could store almost 80 railroad car loads of apples. (The largest cars held 795 boxes and took about a day to load.) When the packing plant was built, it took six railroad car loads of wood shavings for insulation to fill the walls. Hoover employed 40 pickers in 1927, and kept at least 40 more workers busy at the packing plant.

Each box of apples from the Hoover plant was labeled with the number and kind of apples. Another large label on the end of the box featured a big red apple on which was printed, "Council Brand, Idaho Apples". Also on the apple was the image of several Indian chief's holding a council meeting. (If anyone out there has one of these labels, or other produce labels from this area, please consider loaning them to the museum for us to photocopy. Call me if you can help... 253-4582)

In the early 1920s a railroad spur was built to service the packing plants in the Orchard area, and the power line was extended to them as well. The rail spur left the main line about where Orchard road now crosses the old railroad grade and went straight east about to the highway. Addison Missman (for whom Missman road is named) built a big packing plant next to the main rail line and just north of the new spur. Bill Hoover built a second building along the south side of the spur, near the highway, from which to load fruit into railroad cars. Frank Scholl had a similar structure between Hoover's loading facility and the main railroad.

Charles Lappin had an orchard to the north of the Orchard district on Lappin Lane. (Lappin Lane of course is named after him.) Lappin had one of the first commercial orchards in the valley when the "fruit boom" began about 1907. In 1927 he employed 35 workers during the apple harvest. Frank Galey was another well known fruit man. He had a sizable orchard on Mill Creek.

Lawson Hill's place was on the south east corner of Mill creek road and Orchard Road, and Bill Spahr's was just across the road to the north. Mrs. Spahr (Lucy) taught school at the Orchard school for a time, in the 1920s. At this writing, the old Spahr orchard is the only orchard in that district that has remained more or less intact. The Spahr house (still standing at this writing) drew attention as being unusual when it was built in 1935. It was built out of rock, and also sat on a natural rock foundation from which the basement was reportedly created with dynamite.

Tom Nichols built a packing house on the north side of Orchard Road, about a quarter mile east of Missman Road, in 1924. Years later Herb Woods converted the packing shed into a home where he and his wife, Jewel, live now.

More next week.

10-3-97 The stock market crash in the fall of 1929 proved to be the beginning of the end for the local fruit industry. As the nation sank into the Great Depression local orchards were pulled down with it as fruit prices plummeted.

As the fruit market failed to yield an adequate return, trees in the Orchard district were not maintained as well as they had been. The trees were older now, requiring more water, and water had become harder to get. Disease began to spread through the orchards, and many of the trees were destroyed. Only those trees that received adequate water and care survived the Depression years. Eventually all of the land in the Orchard district was sold off for homes and small farms.

By the mid 1930s the Mesa Orchards were so far in debt that the court ordered its property to be sold. The property was purchased by the Western Idaho Production Credit Association.

The Mesa tramway stopped being used about 1934. After the North - South Highway was built and paved down the hill to the railroad, trucks were used to haul the apples to the tracks. In 1940, the tramway towers were in such dilapidated condition that the highway department declared the tram a safety hazard, and it was torn down. One story says that parts of the tram were taken to Sun Valley and used for the first ski lift there.

During World War II, the government used houses at Mesa to hold a few Japanese families in detention.

The Production Credit Association sold the orchards to A.H. Burroughs Jr. in 1943. Burroughs was a relative of the founders of the Burroughs calculator company. He ran the orchards for 11 years, and established a cannery that made applesauce from the inferior apples. By that time there were only 700 productive acres. (We just got the photocopies of our Mesa Applesauce labels done. They look great.)

The 1945 and 1946 seasons stood out as being profitable. Demand and prices for apples were high.

The wooden flume continued to be used up until Burroughs sold to the Byron Ball family in 1954. It was abandoned when government regulations made the cost of rebuilding unreasonable. I picked up an interesting piece of information about the flume recently. I'm told the Middle Fork downstream from the flume's diversion dam used to go dry during the summer because of heavy irrigation by Mesa.

After the flume was abandoned, there was no use keeping the water rights from the Middle Fork, and they were sold. After a series of crop failures and the death of Mr. Ball, the orchards fell into disuse. About 1967 Emma Ball sold to rancher from Parma who took out many of the trees for pasture. Later the deal fell through. Much of the land has since been used for livestock production or sold off to individuals.

Water would prove to be a critical issue at Mesa from the beginning to the end. In 1994, much of the land at Mesa was subdivided, and lots were sold for home sites. Wells started going dry as the water table sank.

Even if it were possible to resurrect the success of Council's fruit growing glory days it could never be the same. Modern fruit orchards, like many other businesses, have streamlined and standardized their product for mass consumption until only a few varieties are now grown. Local orchards used to grow many varieties of apples that few of us have even heard of today. In 1904 B.B. Day exhibited 43 varieties of apples at the Idaho State Fair. Seventy-five varieties were exhibited from Washington County. Since 1900, about 6,000 known varieties of apples (86% of those ever on record) have become extinct.

Perhaps the most sad and fitting epitaph for Council Valley's fruit industry came when the last of the apple trees planted by Council's first family were cut down. George Moser had planted an orchard where the high school now sits. By 1941 all but three of the original trees had died or were removed. Out of respect for this Moser legacy, the street even curved around these last trees where they grew on the corner, north west of the, then new, high school. They were thought to be the oldest trees in the valley. These stalwart old Landmarks that had witnessed the birth of a community, gave their lives to the bulldozer for street improvements in May of 1942.

10-9-97 Some of you know that, in addition to a general history book, I have been working on a self-guided tour book about the area from Council to the Seven Devils Mining District. I have a very rough draft done on the general history, but haven't had time to work on it lately. The tour book is not even to the rough draft stage yet. I'm going to put some of it in my columns so that you readers can tell me where I go wrong or add to the info I've gathered. If you read something here that you know if wrong, or if you can add to the story please contact me.

I don't have much on the Hornet Creek Cemetery. The earliest grave, according to my info, is that of Charles Adams who was interred here in about 1884. I have no idea who he was. In the following decades, many Hornet Creek pioneers were buried here.

According to the Adams County Leader for Sept. 8, 1922, Hornet Creek residents formed a corporation to "...legally hold in trust the title to the Hornet Creek cemetery, and to procure and hold title to a road leading to the same, and to transact any business...." concerning the cemetery. Except for the fact that it is still an active cemetery, that's about all I can find on it.

The old road up Hornet Creek used to swing north to cross North Hornet Creek above where it currently crosses it. The old route and bridge abutments are still in evidence.

If anyone knows who first settled the place here where Hortons live now, or if you know any interesting stories about the place, please tell me. I remember a big, old, square house stood south of where Horton's is.

Before bridges were common on country roads such as this, crossing even small streams like North Hornet could be a hair raising experience during spring runoff. In the April of 1913, Bert Rose had to cross North Hornet Creek here as he came home from Council. The Adams County Leader reported his experience:

When he drove into the creek the current was so strong that the horses and buggy were carried down stream about 300 feet and it was all he could do to save the horses by cutting the tugs and freeing them.

The buggy was wrecked, and besides this, he lost his valuable slide trombone, together with a bill of groceries, hardware, etc., which he was taking out to his ranch.

Mr. Rose had a desperate struggle with the furious waters even to save his team, and can count himself fortunate, although the loss falls heavy on him.

I may regret this because there are so many members of this family out there, but I'm gonna make a brief stab at the history of the Harrington family.

The Harrington family has roots in the Council area that go back to the very earliest settlers here. I run into a problem right of the bat. The earliest Harrington patriarch here, William Reil Harrington (1835 - 1922), was known by his middle name which was spelled either "Reil" or "Rayle". Evea Harrington Powers tells me she has settled on "Rayle" as the correct spelling. On the other hand, just about all the newspapers and other writings have spelled it "Reil". Also, he was said to have had the nick name "Riley". This would have been a play on his middle name, and leads me to think the name had a long "I" sound as opposed to a long "A". Words spelled with "ei" are often pronounced as a long "I". Do any of you family members have any more information?

Reil Harrington married Martha Loveless, in Illinois. Martha and Reil had three sons, James, Robert and Lewis, and one daughter Mary. Martha died in Kansas in 1871, when her children were very young. Martha's father, Zadock Loveless was one of the very first settlers in the Council Valley, arriving with his son, William, about 1877. Reil and his children came to settle in Indian Valley about the same time that Loveless came to the Council Valley (1877). About 1881, Reil moved his family to Hornet Creek. Can anyone tell me where they lived? Reil's brother, Clark, also came to Hornet Creek about this time. Clark was the first postmaster at Upper Dale.

Mary Harrington married John Draper and had several children. One son, Jim, was one of the first automobile wreck fatalities in Adams County. Mary never learned to read or write, but she was very knowledgeable about folk medicine. When her grand-niece, Evea Harrington was born, the baby's navel didn't heal correctly. Evea's mother had followed the standard practice of scorching a square of cloth and putting it over the belly button, but for some reason, it still failed to heal. Aunt Mary placed four plump raisins around the navel area, and it healed perfectly.

Lewis Harrington moved to Kooskia, Idaho where he died in 1961 at the age of 100. I have no idea what became of James Harrington.

Robert Harrington began what would become the biggest and best known families on Hornet Creek when he married Lillie Montgomery in 1890. Their first home was about three miles up Hornet Creek from Council, near the old Henry Childs place. This is near where the Old Hornet Road leaves the Council - Cuprum Road. They had their first child, Elsie, there. Family lore says that one day, when Robert happened to be in a discouraged mood, a man came along and offered to trade him a jackknife for the property. Robert took him up on the deal, and moved to North Hornet Creek. Over the following years, they brought 15 more children into the world at this ranch. One died in infancy.

The Harrington family tree has to be the most complex and interlinked ones anywhere. You know how they say that half the people in Council are related to each other. I'd guess that at least half of those are related to the Harringtons in some way. One interesting aspect of the Harrington story is that four of Robert's sons married all four of Bill Marks's daughters.

10-16-97 No sooner had I decided to leave the subject of Mesa and go to the Council - Seven Devils tour than I received some great Mesa material, so I'm going to be revisiting that subject for the next few columns.

I recently got a reply from a letter I wrote to Beth Van Hoesen, daughter of Enderse and Freda Van Hoesen. She says:

"For starters I am sending you some notes by my uncle, Myderse Van Hoesen, about Mesa. I also have a scrapbook of photos and clippings about the orchard, and I'm quite sure I have the [movie] footage of the Mesa Orchards operations you mentioned. It may take awhile to locate it."

"At the moment I am recovering from hip surgery but I'll get about it as soon as I can be more active. I'm excited about your project and a museum at Council. My mother, Freda Van Hoesen, is still living at age 97. Her mind is clear, so perhaps I can get some more information from her."

"I lived at Mesa until I was 7 years old and went to the Mesa school for the first grade. We lived in the 3rd of the large houses. When the men returned from work they would parade in front of our house. I had both a lemonade stand and later had a rummage sale from clothes in our attic. My father put a stop to that when he found me selling his tux."

I remember my father auctioning box lunches in the hall above the garage. The men would eat with whoever's lunch they bid on. They put benches in for movies. I remember seeing 'King Kong' and 'Little Miss Marker' ."

"A friend of mine, Zelda Mae Semour lived down the road in a two room shack. I went to her home once. The main room was dark, and an old man was sleeping on a bunk in his underwear. Another man in overalls was eating beans out of a can. Her mother told Zelda Mae to take me into the bedroom, a light cheery room with violet chenille bedspread and a doll with a satin skirt on the pillow. What a contrast from the dark living room. There were 500 transient apple pickers at harvest time. Few of the school children had shoes."

"The spring was beautiful with the trees in bloom, gardens with lilies of the valley and lilacs. In summer we often went to McCall to visit my Uncle Harry Soulen and cousin Phil. We also went to Starkey on the way to McCall."

This week I'll start on the notes that Myderse Van Hoesen wrote about Mesa, and I'll continue it next week. Myderse wrote the following in February of 1973:

"As I recall, it was either Dr. Carter or Captain Carter who interested a number of Eastern financial people, particularly in the New York, Pittsburgh or Philadelphia areas, in the development of a fruit orchard on the "Mesa" in Idaho. I well remember some of the publicity which stated that the sage and buck brush grew "more lush" on the Mesa than on the surrounding country side. Why shouldn't fruit trees do the same?"

Apparently a number of those who invested in the development grew impatient with the time involved for fruit trees to mature, and when asked to put up more money they decided to send my father, David W. Van Hoesen, then a practicing corporation lawyer in central New York State, to Idaho to investigate the project and report back. My father became quite enthusiastic about the possibilities at Mesa, and advised his 'clients' that they should 'stay with the project'. When some of them refused to go along my father bought out their interests and finally became so heavily involved financially, that he decided to give up his law practice and go into the fruit business a 'Mesa'. I think he was influenced by an inherent desire to be a producer rather than just a consumer, of some of the good things in life. I think we would now call it adding to the Gross National Product. I also know that he wanted to get into a business that Enderse, my brother, and I could work into and perhaps take over."

"When the decision was made, probably sometime around 1913 or 1914, my father influenced J.P. Gray, a close friend and business associate, to become a partner with him in the project and to go to Idaho to take over the management of the orchard development. Jude Gray did excellent work in bringing the Orchard into production. He was the Postmaster at Mesa, did all of the buying for the store and the numerous operating supplies for the Orchard, and sold and shipped the fruit. I recall that during this period the jack rabbit became and orchard pest, particularly in the winter when they would girdle the trees just above the snow line. Jude Gray started raising Beagle Hounds, as they could tire out and run down a jack rabbit, and he raised some prize specimen of Beagles. I can almost still hear them yelping profusely on a rabbit chase. I presume they scared to death about as many rabbits as they caught, but they kept them under control."

Continued next week.

10-23-97 Mynders Van Hoesen's writing, continued from last week:

"In the early Spring of 1918, about the middle of March, my brother, Enderse, our cousin Van Hart, and I arrived at a railroad siding several miles from Mesa on the "Pin" road, (The Pacific and Idaho Northern). Our trunks and belongings were dumped off the one car train into the snow at the siding, and we shivered in the cold waiting for a sleigh from Mesa to come and pick us up, and wondering why we had ever agreed to give up the comforts we had become accustomed to and come to this god-forsaken place. There wasn't a person or habitation in sight. But after we were established in a tent on the townsite and had been given a hot dinner at the cook house, then about a half mile from the townsite at the barns and livestock area, we became enthusiastic again."

"It was some time before our arrival at Mesa that my father had made an offer to J.P. Gray either to buy him out or to sell out to him at a specified price. Jude Gray elected to sell and later went into the fruit business near Nampa, Idaho, quite successfully as I recall."

"My father came to Idaho in March of 1919, after having disposed of all his interests in New York State. He brought with him, as a partner, Charles P. Seymour, a long time friend and business associate, and until Mr. Seymour's death in the packing house fire, I think some time in 1920 or 1921 [It was December 1920], the Orchard was owned a operated by the partnership of Van Hoesen and Seymour."

"It was during this period, commencing in the Spring of 1919, that an extensive building program was undertaken. The store and Post Office were greatly enlarged. Harry Mills, assisted by his good wife, Lyda, had complete management of the store during the entire Van Hoesen era at Mesa. My brother, Enderse, assisted by Lillian Pettit, a sister of Clyde Rush, was the Post Master. Lillian also did all of the book-keeping for the entire operation, including payroll records, and assisted in the store during rush hours."

"A large cookhouse facility was built near the store, and a fully equipped garage and machine shop with a community entertainment center on the second floor, was rushed to completion. It was during this time that the Van Hoesen and Seymour houses were built as well as several smaller houses for the year 'round employees. The packing house and fruit storage buildings were enlarged and the equipment modernized, and a separate warehouse for storage of orchard machinery and equipment was constructed. A well was drilled in the center of the townsite, after Bill Lynch, our head carpenter, located an underground stream with the use of a willow wand. A nearly adequate supply of excellent water for domestic purposes was obtained, and we thereafter enjoyed the luxury of good water under pressure, and no longer had to melt snow in the winter for cooking, washing and bathing."

"One of the unique facilities conceived by my father, and constructed during this period, was the aerial tramway running from the packing house over the rolling country about three and one-half miles down to a new siding, 'Mesa', on the 'Pin' road where we also built a storage facility. While quite a tourist attraction, the tramway was an absolute necessity during those next few years. the roadway was almost impassable in the winter months when much of the fruit was shipped, even for the teams of horses and sleighs, and it was difficult to keep the fruit from freezing on the long haul to the siding. We could cover the tramway carriers with heavy water-proofed canvass which protected the boxes and baskets of fruit during the shorter trip from rain, cold, and sleet. Also the tramway could load cars at the siding twenty four hours a day without the resulting mix-up when one sleigh load of fruit would arrive out of sequence, and destined for a different car than the one being loaded. The tramway received a lot of publicity. I recall a couple of fellows arriving at the Orchards one day and asking if they could inspect the tramway. It turned out they were from Honolulu and had been sent to Mesa by some Hawaiian Pineapple interests to ascertain if a tramway would be feasible to transport pineapples from the fields to the cannery. Incidentally, we thought they would be impressed when we told them we had about 1250 acres in fruit trees, but upon being asked their acreage they replied that the small area they were thinking about contained about 12,000 acres."

10-30-97 "After the death of Mr. Seymour sometime around 1920, my father took in as a partner Horace Woodmansee, who had had a successful business career with the Wickwire-Spencer Steel Company in central New York State, and a long time friend of my father. The Woodmansee family moved into the Seymour house. The third home in this area was built for Enderse I believe some time in the fall of 1922."

"Mr. Woodmansee was instrumental in building an Evaporator near the packing house to take care of some of the unmarketable fruit. It was quite successful although we had to ship in several cars of coke, by tramway of course, to burn in the furnaces to "evaporate" the apples."

"Mr. Woodmansee also engineered the construction of 'earthen storage houses', (underground storage), when the production of the Orchard exceeded the capacity of the existing storage space. It also permitted us to hold more of the fruit longer and wait for a possible rise in the market price."

"It was in November of 1921 that David W. Van Hoesen was elected State Senator from Adams County - a Democrat from a strongly Republican County. He was serving a second term in Boise when he died on January 15, 1923. His son, Enderse was appointed to fill out his term and he was elected for a second term as Senator from Adams County."

"Soon after my father's death, George Donart, with his usual astuteness and wisdom recommended and then took care of the incorporation of the orchards and we were thereafter known as the Mesa Orchards Company. Throughout all the years we were at Mesa we leaned heavily upon George Donart for advice and help and he never failed us."

"Each fall of the year, when the picking season started, many families from several miles around Mesa would move to the town-site, set up camp and help pick and pack the fruit. the fruit harvest and packing could not have been accomplished without the hard work and loyalty of these fine families. For wrap packing the apples, which is quite an art, 'apple knockers' would appear from as far away as Florida, Texas and Southern California, where the season was earlier and the harvesting and packing just completed. The favorite place to stay for this 'elite' group of individuals was the home of 'Mother Rush' as she was known to all, the mother of Clyde rush. She took care of them each year and catered to their idiosyncrasies, which they loved."

"In our early days at Mesa the Van Hoesen and Seymour wives, and later Mrs. Woodmansee conducted religious services each Sunday in the School House. The services were well attended in spite of the fact that usually there had been an all night dance with supper or breakfast in the dance hall above the garage, or a late movie with the hand operated moving picture machine. Bill Evans, who for many years drove his team of mules to Council and back every day except Sunday with the mail and supplies, used to occasionally bring movie films on Saturdays from the theater in Council. After running them we would put them on the early morning stage coach for delivery at Weiser. I don't think anyone connected with the consignment knew that the films had been hi-jacked for showing in Mesa. Later and after the North and South HIghway had been constructed through Mesa and into Council, Howard Rush, Clyde's younger brother, used his truck to carry the mail and supplies and to perform the many errands in Council that were always requested."

"During all of the Van Hoesen 'era' at Mesa there were a few 'outside' owners, most of them the original investors who had 'stayed with the project' and owned one, two or three ten acre tracts in the Orchards. These Orchard tracts were cared for and operated under contracts with the owners along with the balance of the Orchards under our management. In addition there were several 'Local' owners who lived on their tracts and cared for them individually. Some of these were Clyde Rush, Gus Keckler, Peter Dahlgren, John DenBoer, H.L. Brooks, Stephen Nock, the Messingers, Ed Hart and perhaps one or two more."

"Fruit shipped from Mesa ended up in some of the strangest places. I recall receiving a letter from a fellow in Cairo Egypt, enclosing a wrapper from one of our apples, telling how much he had paid for the apple and wondering how much we got out of it."

"We eventually found a market for some of our highly colored small red apples. We learned that in the Netherlands and some of the Scandinavian countries it was customary to tie small red apples on trees for Christmas, since after Christmas they could be eaten. Numerous car loads of these small red apples were shipped to Holland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark to arrive just before Christmas."

"We had a lot of fun at Mesa and it hurts us to see the trees pulled up."

11-6-97 This week I'll get back to our tour going toward the Seven Devils.

Upper Dale was originally known simply as "Dale" until a school was built much closer to town that was called "Lower Dale". The first Postmaster at Dale was Clark Harrington in 1888. The post office was almost certainly in Harrington's house, and as postmasters changed over the years the office moved to the home of the new postmaster. At one time the post office is mentioned as being a short distance south of the school. I have heard that Lee Cole's place was a post office at one time. In 1899 Mrs. Mose Elliott was postmaster. The Weiser Signal, Jan 28, 1905 mentioned that the Dale literary society debated the Indian Valley literary society. It also said that the "...postoffice has lately moved from Mose Elliott's to Grandpa Wilkie's." In 1908 George T. Russell is mentioned as postmaster at Dale.

The Upper Dale school has been a landmark on Hornet Creek for many years. As near as I can tell, the present building was built about 1910. There was another school building there before that. Robert Harrington and his brothers and sisters got at least some of their educations there. I really need more information about the school if anyone can help me. It must have closed sometime in the 1940s or '50s, but I'd like to find more precise info. I have also read that the building was sold to the community for $1.00 about 1956. Can anyone confirm that? If you can fill me in, please call. (253-4582)

While I'm asking for information, here's another question. The museum has some square nails that are said to be from "the Mather house" that was torn down in 1959. The house may have been built about 1890. I'd like to know where that house was, and any other information about it. If you know something about the Upper Dale school or this house, please don't assume that someone else has already called. I don't usually get many calls in response to questions.

The original, main road turned west just past the school and is now called Upper Dale road. When the county abandoned it for the present route of the Council - Cuprum Road in 1900, Billie and Dora Black and Dora's father, Jeremiah Elliott, had only lived along the old road for a few years, and they were very angry about the change. The families of O.S. Shearer, Andrew Peck and Robert Nelson benefited by the new road running closer to their houses.

A long letter from "Hornet creek residents" appeared in the Salubria Citizen newspaper, blasting the road change. In part it read, "Mr. Peck abandoned his location on the road for another ... and now by cunningly devised schemes and questionable methods seeks to deprive his old neighbors ... of the county road ... if they do not keep the road as the county road, they will have gotten a good private road at public expense, . . . ." Commenting on the new stretch of road the letter said, "Yes, they will have a good road over a rocky hill for about a mile, with large rocks above it which will be continually rolling down into the road, and a swamp stretch for about 300 yards. The road is about two miles long, for which they seek to throw out one and one-half miles of the best road between Council and the Seven Devils."

The house that stands just across the creek west of the Upper Dale school is an old one. Fred A. Wilkie ( the oldest son of Frederick Wilkie) lived here when he moved back to the area in 1900. (I'll have more on the Wilkies later.) In 1925, when Wilkie failed to pay his property taxes on this place, William R. Shaw was the highest bidder at the County auction.

Bill Shaw was one of Idaho's earliest pioneers. His life began on the plains of Missouri where he was born during his parents trip west in a wagon train in 1858. After living for a few years in Wyoming, the family moved to the present site of Weiser in 1866 or '67 and developed a homestead. During the Nez Perce and Bannock Wars of 1877 and '78, Bill served as a scout under Captain Galloway in the Idaho Volunteer Militia. He was only 18 years old when he enlisted. When he was 19 he swam the Snake about a mile below Weiser to recover horses that had been stolen by Indians.

Bill married his wife, Lena, in 1882. They eventually had 13 children. Two of them were twin girls that caught whooping cough and died at the age of only five months. Bill and Lena came to live on Hornet Creek (at another location) in 1917. About 1934 Bill made medial history in the Council area by surviving spotted fever at the age of 76. Bill and Lena Shaw both died in 1942.

Bill's and Lena's son, Delbert Shaw, was the best known of their offspring. Although he pursued several other vocations, "Deb", as everyone called him, became renowned as a rattlesnake hunter.

Continued next week.

Have you seen how the museum addition is progressing? It really feels good to see five years of dreaming and work finally becoming a reality. For those of you who live outside the area, the addition is all framed and is scheduled to be completed (to the point where we will do the finish work) by about November 15.

I'd like to remind you that Idaho has a very generous tax credit for donations to institutions like our museum. You get half of your donation taken off of your State taxes! In other words if donate $40 you actually only lose $20 out of pocket after the tax credit. The maximum you can give and still get a tax credit is $100 which will get you the maximum credit of $50. Something to think about as the end of the year grows nearer. Also, the museum is going to be VERY much in need of funds after paying off the addition and building new exhibits to fill it. Please send donations to "Council Valley Museum, Box 252, Council, ID 83612".

11-13-97 Since last week I was informed that Mose and Hattie Elliott sold the land for the Upper Dale School to Adams County in September of 1902 for $50. The school was evidently built in 1903. [Phone conversation with Doris Harrington, Nov 1997: She has a deed showing Mose and Hattie Elliott sold Adams County the land for the school for $50 in 1902. There was a previous school - a frame building that stood near the newer school until it was moved up the valley about half way to Greenwood's. ]

More on the Shaw family who lived near the school:

Bill's and Lena's son, Delbert Shaw, was the best known of their offspring. Although he pursued several other vocations, "Deb", as everyone called him, became renowned as a rattlesnake hunter.

Deb was a butcher, and ran the Council Meat Market in the early 1930s. In part, the rattlesnake hunting was just another aspect of this line of work. He shipped snake meat to restaurants back east.

Deb harvested rattlers in the spring as the snakes came out of their winter dens, and again in the fall as they congregated at the same dens. He took the snakes alive, using a wire hook fastened to the end of a broom handle. The snakes were put into a burlap bag until Shaw got home. Here they were transferred to barrels where they were kept until they were killed, frozen and shipped. For a time Deb also shipped live snakes to be milked for their venom and for use in zoos.

In spite of handling live snakes for over thirty years, Deb Shaw was never bitten by one. He did have some close calls when rattlers struck his pant legs, shirtsleeves, and one time even the top of his head but failed to break the skin. He also had other alarming incidents. One time Deb came home with three or four snakes in a sack and didn't bother to transfer them to a barrel. Instead he put the sack on the floor in his house, putting off the job until after a good nights rest. The next morning he awoke to find a rattler coiled and rattling in the middle of the floor. He began to wonder where the rest of them were - under the bed, or hidden in some other dark corner, ready to ambush him? As it turned out, only the one snake had escaped.

In 1960 Deb achieved a few minutes of national fame when he appeared on the popular TV program, "What's My Line".

One of Deb's favorite spots to find snakes was along North Hornet Creek. As early as 1906, rattlesnakes were a problem there. That year, the Weiser newspaper reported, "For a number of years there has been known to exist a number of dens of these snakes along the rocky bluffs that border Hornet creek valley, and a few years ago an effort was made to exterminate the largest colony, at which time more than three hundred were killed in one day without exhausting the supply. Failing in the effort to kill them the ranchers living adjacent to the den fenced the snakes in with a tight board fence." The last comment is probably a classic example of newspaper humor of that time.

Deb was not the first in the area to profit from hunting rattlesnakes. In 1912, the Council Leader reported that R.B. Bailey of Glendale, "... expects to hunt rattlesnakes for a livelihood the coming summer. He was very successful last season in killing rattlers, having killed something like two thousand, which averaged him three dollars each, or $6,000 for the summer's catch." The paper said that Bailey marketed the hides, oil, poison and gall. If he actually made that much money it would have been a small fortune in those days.

Deb and his father also did some mining in the Seven Devils. In 1936, they had just finished blasting out a mining hole. One charge hadn't gone off, but did so just as Deb bent over to look in the hole. A shower of rock was driven into his face and chest. This type of accident was called a "missed hole" and was not an uncommon occurrence in mining districts. Deb had to be taken to Boise to have some of the rock removed. It soon became apparent that the most serious damage had been done to Deb's eyes, and he never recovered the sight in one of them.

Deb was not so lucky in another accident. He was climbing through a barbed wire fence when the shotgun he was carrying went off. The charge hit him in the chest, killing him.

Can somebody tell me what year Deb died?

I think I was told that the film that was made showing Deb handling snakes has been lost, but there are still some pieces that were edited from the final footage. I'll be looking into getting copies of these for the museum.

The museum is trying to assemble and exhibit on the local fruit industry for our upcoming season. If you have items related to this subject that you think would be interesting for this exhibit please let me know if you could loan or donate them. We don't really have much except pictures (we welcome more of them too). We especially want box or basket labels. Also, if you would like to help with this project, we need all we can get.

Also - would the person who dropped off the Mesa apple box please remind me who you are? So many people mention things to me, and my memory leaks like a sieve.

11-20-97 I need to say thanks to several people. First, to Bob Hildeman of US Bank in Boise for some very personal service. Bob is helping us bridge the financial gap between paying for the museum addition and the time we get our grant money a couple months from now.

The next thank you, and it's a big one, goes to Sid and Amy Fry. Sid is Charlie and Elsie Fry's son. When Elsie died this past summer, Sid inherited a portion of her savings. Sid and Amy felt that Elsie would have liked the money to be donated to the Council museum, so that's just what they did. Their donation was made in memory of Charlie and Elsie Fry. We appreciate this so much! It couldn't have come at a better time. We are facing some serious expenses as we start telling the story of Council's past with exhibits in our new addition.

Remember, we need fruit industry related artifacts, either loaned or donated. Another thing that is very needed is "oral histories". There is a real need to collect stories from people who worked at Mesa and other orchards in this area. I wish I had the time to do this, but I simply don't. If you are interested in interviewing someone, maybe you have a relative who would talk to you on tape, let me know. Also, you people who have personal memories of Mesa, or for that matter any other stories from our past, you could write them down or record them on tape. All you have to do is look around to see how much the world is changing. If you and I don't preserve a record of how things were, no one will.

Sid Fry sent a few memories along with the donation: "I lived in the Orchard area, kitty corner from the Hoover Packing House from about 1938 to 1948, and the first job I ever had was driving a John Deere tractor pulling a sprayer through the orchards of John Hoover."

"My first school was the Orchard School, and I remember sometimes getting there by riding behind my friend Cecil Vogt on his one-eyed horse named 'Nancy'. I also recall the day Mrs. Burt wrestled Galen York to the floor and soaped his mouth for using foul language. I was talking to him a couple years ago and he also recalled that event, but in addition remembered that I was the one that ran outside to the water pump and found the soap that she used."

"Dale, my wife and I still have the 'Fry Ranch' up the Middle Fork where Mesa had their dam and the flume and siphons originated. The ranch brings us back to the Council area, and the next time we are over there we will see you and the museum. I hope someone has given you a picture of that Orchard School."

As to the picture of the Orchard School, no we have never been able to find one. If anyone has one, please let us copy it!

I suppose the news will be in this issue of the paper, but I heard that Irene McMahan died last week. She was 102 years old. Irene was a member of the McDowell family who pioneered Indian Valley. She married into the McMahan family which was another pioneering family, here and at Fruitvale. This reminds me of how sad it is that the lane at Fruitvale that was named after the McMahan family is misspelled as "McMahon". (I'm also not gonna let up on this ridiculous "Mosher" Avenue that should be spelled "Moser" issue until something is done about it!)

Sally Thurston Clark was the one who told me about Irene's passing. Sally remarked about Harriet Rogers, who also died recently at the age of 104, and she (Sally) said, "Those old gals are probably upstairs laughing at us." Well put.

Well, I've about used up my quota of ink and didn't get back to the Council - Seven Devils tour route. I'll get back to it eventually. Stay tuned.

11-26-97 Back to our Council - Seven Devils tour. I wrote about the Black place a long time ago, but I hope you won't mind if I do a quick review.

In 1889 William and Dora Black and their two sons settled on the Hornet Creek ranch that is owned now by the Gossard family. They came from Spokane, Washington to live near her father, Jeremiah Elliott, who had settled here five years earlier.

A year after they arrived, the Blacks traded a milk cow to a nursery man in Boise for young fruit trees. They added to their orchards as they were able, and it soon became the first, and largest, commercial orchard in Washington County. At its peak, the Black place had about 1500 fruit trees, and a half acre of strawberries. William Black is thought to have dug the original ditch to this place from Hornet Creek. A much improved version of this ditch still runs through the ranch.

Samples of fruit from the Black orchards took a prize at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, and some were sent to London and Paris for exhibition. This kind of success inspired other people in the Council area to start orchards, and the vicinity became famous for its high quality fruit. After the turn of the century, orchards sprang up all the way from Fruitvale to the famous Mesa Orchards.

Dora Black told of an incident they had with Indians in the early days:

The Nez Perce Indians came on their annual trip to Weiser and camped near our house. We had a house full of friends from Weiser the same Sunday. In the evening we were singing and dancing to the music of violin and guitar, raising lots of noise, when an Indian messenger came asking us to keep quiet. "It was Sunday and the hour for their prayer services." We were quite ashamed and kept still.

In 1892, there was an outbreak of diphtheria that killed 9 people in the Council area. Both of the Black's sons died from the disease that December. The nearest doctor was Dr. Wm. Brown, 35 miles away in Salubria, and the medicine he sent arrived too late to save them. My original information was that the boys were ages two and eight, but I've been told the ages on their grave stones don't agree.

The boys were buried under a pine tree on the ranch. In those days it was believed that burial at night would help prevent the spread of the disease, so many diphtheria victims were buried after dark. This may well have been how these little boys here were buried. If so, what an eerie, heart-breaking scene it must have been. The vast blackness outside the small circle of lantern light under this tree must have made it seem to Mr. and Mrs. Black that they were escorting their precious sons even farther than usual on their journey into eternity.

Later, the family wanted to move the boys bodies to a cemetery near Council, but authorities would not allow it. Diphtheria is an extremely contagious bacterial disease and it was feared that disturbing the graves might cause a new epidemic.

The fence around the graves was built, using pickets with carved, pointed cupola type tops. Wooden pegs were the only fastening devices used. The white picket fence around the graves can be seen today in a hillside field to the north west of the ranch buildings, above the road. The Gossard family rebuilt the fence in the early 1980s. The old pine tree that stood guard over the graves for over 100 years began dying in the early 1990s.

Progress on the museum addition has been slow, the drywalling is done. A big thank you goes to S&S Drywall for donating the labor for this part of the project! It's great to have good neighbors to help when you need it.

A gentleman from Louisiana named Huston Fruge called me Sunday evening. He was stationed at the CCC Camp on Middle Fork from July 1940 through December of that year. When he passed through Council last summer he heard about the video of Dr. Thurston's home movies which includes shots of the CCC camp. He left his address, and I mailed him a video. When he called me, he said he knew most of the boys who came walking toward the camera in the movie footage of the camp. They were about all from northeast Louisiana. He said they left there as a group of several hundred, and about 250 of them wound up at the Middle Fork Camp. While Mr. Fruge was stationed here, he spent some time at a spike camp NW of Council, and fought a fire in the Seven Devils.

Mr. Fruge also talked about the plaque that is located along the Middle Fork road. He said he and the other CCC boys were working on the Middle Fork road when Thomas J. Fletcher slipped and fell, hitting his head on a rock. Mr. Fruge described Fletcher as being unconscious after the fall and blood was coming from his nose and mouth. Fletcher died from the fall. Mr. Fruge didn't know for sure who put up the plaque in honor of Fletcher, but assumes it was the CCC. The plaque is bolted to a rock exactly seven miles up the Middle Fork road from the highway, about eight feet up from the road. Mr. Fruge said that he and his friends would like to see the plaque taken down and put in the museum because it is being damaged where it is. Someone has shot it a couple of times with a rifle.

12-4-97 In the early spring of 1911, two wagons slowly made their way north along the muddy road into Council. In the first wagon was 36-year-old Jim Fisk and his 31-year-old wife, Mary. In Mary's arms was their first child, a baby boy that was born only a few months earlier. Tied behind the wagon was a colt named Rondo. In the second wagon was Bill and Nellie Marks and their daughters, Mildred and Hazel. Hazel was only about six months old.

The Fisks had come from Tillamook, Oregon where they had met and married the previous year. They had seen advertisements in newspapers about land that was available for homesteading in this part of Idaho. On their way here, they met Bill and Nellie at a camping place. It turned out that the Markses had read the same ads and were also going to Council, so the two families traveled together. Grandma remembered the trip as being the hardest she had ever made. It seemed to take forever to come clear across Oregon in the wagon. It must have been even harder for Nellie with an additional small child.

These were some of the items in the newspapers that spring:. Council was now a part of a new county named "Adams". The new "opera house" in town (now the People's Theater) was showing moving pictures twice a week. The son of O.G. Shearer choked to death on a bean he was eating for lunch at the Hornet school. Ova J. Allen was on trial for beating a school teacher with a club at the Bear School because the teacher (Mrs. Burris) had corrected Allen's child. The railroad had just reached New Meadows. The Pomona Hotel had just been built and was about to open for business.

Within the next year or so, the Fisk and Marks families took up homesteads within walking distance of each other on Pleasant Ridge, about seven or eight air miles north east of Council. By April of 1912 the Fisks had another baby boy, Herbert. Eight months later, their first child ate the heads off of some matches and died. They later had four more children, one of whom was my father. The Markses had two more girls and a boy. The Fisk and Marks kids spent their early childhoods together, including attending the one-room Ridge school. Rondo, the colt behind the Fisk wagon on the long trip, became one of the best work horses in the country, and served the family for many years.

In 1924 my grandfather expanded his land holdings when he bought Joe Glenn's place closer to Fruitvale and moved his family there. In 1926 Hazel Marks became Hazel Harrington. She and her four sisters each married sons of Robert Harrington. In 1939 Hazel and Harvey Harrington again become a neighbor of the Fisks when they bought a ranch a couple miles up the West Fork of the Weiser.

As I grew up on the Fisk ranch, I came to see Hazel and Harvey as living "Landmarks" - people who seemed like they would always be here to be reference points in the world. As of last week they are both gone. Every time we lose one of our Landmarks the world becomes a little less familiar.

I would like to thank the Worthwhile Club for a donation they made in memory of Irene McMahan.

On a much lighter note, Sid Fry's recollections of the Orchard school brought back some memories to Galen York. Galen wrote them down and gave me permission to use his story here.

"If I remember correctly it was the spring of 1944. School at Orchard had finished, and it was a few days before fishing season opened. Eddy and I decided to go fishing. We got some line, hooks, and a few worms and cut us a willow pole; fixed a first class outfit. We were fishing in the small stream about 200 feet north of mill creek road, a short distance west of Missman - Mill Creek intersection known as "Last Chance Creek". We had 4 or 5 trout 6 or 8 inches long, and were really enjoying ourselves on a nice sunny day, when someone hollered at us. We looked up to the road where this man was standing by the fence. He said, "Hey boys come up here, I want to talk to you." So we picked up our fish, and walked up to where he was to get aquatinted. He told us to get into the pickup. We did because he showed us his badge, and said he was Fred Clarke, the game warden. We decided right off we were aquatinted!"

"Well now, it would not have been so bad if he had just took us home, told our parents and kicked us out. No way! He drove up Mill Creek, high orchard road and across Missman Road to where we started for what seemed like an eternity, as I think he stayed in first gear in the pickup all the way. He chewed our butts, told us how bad we were and how terrible it was to fish out of season. His vocabulary was more than Websters Dictionary! By the time we got back to our point of beginning, I am sure we had reached an agreement not to fish out of season again."

To this day I have never gone fishing with Eddy Garver again. What with the laws and rules of today, we would probably be arrested before we got out of town. I would bet the game warden smiled as he ate those fish for supper!"

12-11-97 I heard from Houston Fruge again, the guy who was stationed at the Middle Fork CCC camp in 1940. For the younger readers (well, there might be a few who may not know this), the CCC, or Civilian Conservation Corp, was established by the Roosevelt administration to provide work and job training for young men during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Camps were established around the country, and were modeled after military camps.

Mr. Fruge sent me a photocopy of kind of scrap book of the Middle Fork camp. The cover says, "Memories of Company 6421 C.C.C. Camp Council, F-413 - Summer 1940". Inside the cover is a memoriam to "Thomas H. Fletcher July 26, 1940". The next page has a dedication to the Company Commander, Lieut. William O. Cromwell. A list of camp personnel shows Lieut. Nelson Singleton as "Subaltern", Stewart McCutcheon as Camp Educational adviser, and Major William S. Fowler as Company Commander of Co. 1996. Alvin Thurston was the camp physician which helps explain why he took so much movie footage of it and the men.

The Camp history says that Company 1335 CCC, Camp F-413, located about five miles south of Council, Idaho on the North and South highway, U.S. 95, was first organized at Fort Monroe, Virginia, May 21, 1933 and was designated at that time as Company 1335.

From Fort Monroe the Company moved to Pine Valley, Utah, CCC Camp F-17. Later it was moved to Leeds, Utah, CCC Camp F-24. From there it was moved to Upper Beaver Headquarters, Boise, Idaho and was known as Camp F-146. The Camp was next moved to F-108, French Creek, Riggins, Idaho where it was engaged on the Salmon River project in the Idaho National Forest during the winter and spring of 1934 and 1935. From French Creek the Company was moved to F-169, Cambridge, Idaho where the work project was in the Weiser National Forest. On January 18, 1938 the Company was moved to the Middle Fork site south of Council.

"On July 8, 1940, Company 1996 was disbanded. Almost immediately Company 6421, consisting of men from southwestern Louisiana of the Fourth Corps, arrived and began the occupancy of Camp F-413."

"Company 6421 received its beginning when 200 enrollees from Camp Reaves, Vernon, De Ridder, Hackberry, and Abbeville left Louisiana for Council, Idaho as their destination under the command of Lieut. William Oliver Cromwell and Lieut. Nelson Singleton as Subaltern."

"The Company strength at this time stands at 196 consisting of Leaders, Specialists, Asst. Leaders and members."

"Following a long ride from Louisiana across the southwest the new men arrived at Mesa siding about 2:30 A.M. Tuesday July 9, 1940. All were surprised and amazed upon being aroused from their berths by the welcoming committee from old 1996 Company. Rapidly a rumor spread that a raid by the Indians was imminent, but we all too soon learned that Idaho is wild in looks only and that the once savage Indian has long since become mild."

"After a short trek into Camp the men were given an early breakfast before starting the day's business of getting settled. This is the day that will be long remembered because the problems before us all were a bit tough and can now be recalled vividly. It seems as thought the day's routine was an endless procession of roll calls, shots in the arm, clothing issues, markings, hurrying from barrack to office, to supply room or mess hall, all midst a world of bewilderment. That evening after supper they left the camp in droves to explore the nearby hills which were mountains to them."

"The next day camp routine and various programs did begin in earnest. There was a trip to the project, and instruction in the use of hand tools. They were not tenderfeet in this respect because all knew the use of the ax and saw."

"The work project that this Company is now engaged in is that of road construction. They have completed about seven miles of road up the Middle Fork of the Weiser River. The purpose of this road is to provide protection in a forested region containing splendid recreational areas and in addition a stand of timber of commercial value."

"Much of the work is done by hand crews, who strip the top soil along the right of way and also remove the brush and trees from this area. They are followed by a jackhammer and then powder crew who blast the rocks and stumps from the road bed. Bulldozer operators follow in the near future and it is these powerful machines that cut the road down to the grade level charted by the surveying crew. After this comes the finishing work of placing sand and gravel which is leveled and smoothed by grading machines."

"During the summer months members of our Camp are on call for forest fire fighting duty and then during the winter on crew is also busy upon forest improvement work. Other work is being done, namely: Repair & Maintenance of Equipment and Wood Procurement."

"These various projects furnish a wide range of experience that is used to good advantage in job training. There is opportunity to train several machine operators because all machines are enrollee operated in this company. There is training in mechanics, blacksmithing, warehouse man, jackhammer operation, powder man, surveying, carpentry and forestry. In addition to the above jobs, there is also the work of operating and maintaining the camp itself which furnished ideal training for cooks, baker, clerks, storekeepers and stewards."

It's interesting that "blacksmithing" is mentioned. This must be an indication of the state of the art of welding, etc., at the time. It's also interesting to note that the use of bulldozers was fairly new technology. Notice there is no mention of chainsaws to clear the road right of way. There were a just a couple, big, awkward power saws in this area in the late 1930s, and they were a long way from what we have now.


A couple weeks ago I was informed that Rufus Anderson's grave headstone has been relocated to the Kesler Cemetery. Rufus was one of this area's earliest settlers. He and his wife, Nancy, arrived on Hornet Creek, as best I can gather, in 1879. Just how long Rufus lived here I don't know. He lived out the last days at the old soldier's home at Boise and was buried in the military cemetery in the foothills. Janet Johnson, who is a relative of Rufus's, brought his original headstone here because it was being repeatedly vandalized in the military cemetery. She placed the stone between that was his wife and son in the Kesler Cemetery, and put a different marker on his grave at Boise.

I'm not sure off the top of my head which son is buried in the Kesler Cemetery, but Rufus had two sons who were quite interesting to say the least. I wrote about them some time ago, but there have been so many new readers since then I give it another shot.

Preston Anderson, or "Press" as he was more often called, was born in 1872. He homesteaded a farm just across the Weiser River west of Council sometime before 1900, and lived there until his death in 1924. His home was in the approximate location of Bob and Bonnie Wininger's house today.

To say the least, Press was a little odd. He wore his hair long, and claimed at times to be Jesus Christ. He put crosses of tape on his windows to keep the devil out of his house, and he always left the last little patch of hay in the center of a hay field uncut because he thought "the devil was in there."

Press placed this ad in the Council paper in 1901:


P. G. Anderson Council, Idaho

Cures all diseases by Mental or Magnetic Healing

Cures as easily performed at a distance as if present. Charges Reasonable.

When a judge in Weiser determined that Press was insane in 1907, it was only one of several times that Press was sent to the state asylum at Blackfoot. The Weiser Signal reported:

"Anderson's hallucination is that he is revising the Bible, and hypnotism, claiming that he would soon publish a Bible according to his own ideas." "He is a man of perhaps thirty years and is noticed by almost everybody on account of his long and unkempt hair."

Cases like Anderson's were not rare in those days. About this time, newspapers in this area contained a story almost every week about someone going violently insane. In 1910 the Weiser newspaper said, "Dr. J.H. Kellogg, professor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons says everybody will be insane 250 years from now if insanity increases at its present rate . . . ." "Dr. Kellogg declared that insanity has increased 100 per cent in the last 100 years until there are now 34,000 lunatics and idiots to every million people in the world."

The widespread mental problems may have been due to the use of substances that were not known to be toxic at the time. Lead is a primary example, as it was the principal ingredient in paint. Even worse, tin cans, from which some people in isolated locations sometimes ate much of their food, were sealed with a solder that had an extremely high lead content. Also, popular patent medicines of that day often contained cocaine or other easily-misused ingredients.

Mental illness was a factor in at least one other member of Press's family. His younger brother, James, also had episodes of insanity. In the spring of 1899, Press and a neighbor, Joe Lane, were keeping an eye on James during one of his psychotic episodes. He kept them both awake for two consecutive days and nights. Late on the third day, James went to another neighbor, a Mr. Jackson. Explaining that Joe and his brother were exhausted, James asked Jackson to come sit with him that night. Immediately after leaving the Jackson place, James walked a short distance to Hornet Creek. There, he removed his coat and hat, tied his hands together in front of him and jumped into the creek. He was later found there, dead.

Rumors about James's death immediately flew fast and furious. Several of them wound up in the Salubria paper. The paper reported that Anderson had gone salmon fishing, and his family was alarmed when he didn't return. The next morning, a search party was said to have found him dead on the banks of Hornet Creek with his hands securely tied behind him. It looked as if it could have bee murder.

An inquest was held, and James Anderson's death was ruled a suicide.

Evidently Press's most serious mental problems were intermittent. His neighbors considered him to be "a hard working man, and a good friend to those he liked".

He ran a blacksmith shop in Council during the 1890s, and also helped harvest grain in the area with his threshing machine.

Charles and Catherine Lappin lived on Press's place in a house that belonged to Anderson when they arrived in the valley in 1904. Their oldest son, Fred, was born here. The next year, the Lappins bought a ranch about 3 miles north of Council, in the foothills to the east of the highway. The road to their ranch acquired the name "Lappin Lane" by which it is still known.

In spite of his mental problems, Press Anderson met with a more peaceful end than his brother had. In the fall of 1924, he was found dead in his house. It was not known exactly what day he had died. He was 52 years old.

12-24-97 Some time back I wrote about the Peck family who lived mile or two past the Upper Dale school. They lived in the big white house just past where the pavement now ends, about ten miles up the Council - Cuprum road. Since that time I have run across an interesting story about two of the Peck's sons. On October 9, 1887 the two boys, ages about 12 and 16, were hunting in the head waters of Hornet Creek. They came across a bear cub and killed it. Farther on, they saw a large, male, cinnamon-colored, black bear. They shot and missed, and the bear began to charge them. The older boy stood his ground and shot, breaking the bear's hind leg. The bear continued to charge, and the boy clubbed the him over the head with his rifle. The bear bit the boy's arm and leg before the younger brother ran up and shot the bear in the head, killing it. Evidently the older boy's injuries weren't serious. The boys packed the smaller bear home, then returned with a wagon for the big one.

The story appeared in the Weiser newspaper, and was submitted by James Smith of Hornet Creek. No comment was made by the paper about the boys shooting a bear cub. People in those days had a different sense of their relationship to wildlife than most of us do now. Nature was still very much an obstacle to overcome - an adversary to be subdued. I remember reading a story in an old Council newspaper (I don't recall from what date) about a local man who shot a very unusual bird just to see what it was.

I have also written about the Wilkie family, but have a little new information. Frederick C. Wilkie, his wife Sarah, and their four sons, first settled on Hornet Creek at "Dale" in 1882. Their home was at the point where the Council - Cuprum road leaves Hornet Creek, near the old Hornet Guard station.

Susanne Newby of Santa Anna, California is the granddaughter of Arthur Wilkie, and she sent me a copy of their family history. For the most part, I'm going to quote what she wrote in 1973. Here it is:

It was after my mother died that he gave it to me. He had been playing Solitaire when he got up and slowly walked into the bedroom and returned with the old crumpled box. He was a tall, straight man in his seventies. He had often been compared to Abe Lincoln, not only in his appearance and quiet manner, but also because of his interest in the law and politics.

"I was just your age, eleven years old," he said, When my mother, Sarah, died."

He took from the old box a tiny, long white dress with the smallest embroidered stitches I had ever seen.

"This won't mean much to you now, " he said, "but someday you will understand the importance of it. My mother made this dress for me when I was born. It's a christening gown and we brought it across the plains in a covered wagon in 1876. Your great-grandmother sewed each of these stitches by the light of a kerosene lamp many years ago."

My grandfather, Art Wilkie, was born in Syracuse, New York on May 20, 1873, exactly one hundred and ten years ago. The little dress is gray with age now and my grandfather has been gone for many years, but I want to put down what I know of him, the hardships he faced and his accomplishments.

When Art was three years old, his mother gathered together their belongings and her three small sons, Frederick, Arthur and Richard, for the trip to Wyoming where her husband, Fred, had gone a year or so earlier. Fred had settle in Egbert, near Cheyenne, and was working as a stockman on a ranch. The cattle business had spread throughout the West after the Civil War and many men left their homes and families to find work. The stockman's life was hard and lonely and often meant long periods away on cattle drives but when Fred was settled, he sent for his family.

More next week.

My thanks to Mrs. John Panike for sending me a note about Deb Shaw. I had asked if someone could tell me when he died. She said he was born 10-14-05 and died 10-12-66. Deb was her uncle.

There is a project that the museum is going to undertake that you may be able to help with. We are going to put together a collection of family information relating to the early Council area. Part of the project will be putting the local census records on computer. This will be a big job. Another part will be entering information into a genealogy data base to track how people are related. If you have a home computer and would like to work on some aspect of this project from you home, let me know.

We are still looking for fruit industry related items for an upcoming museum exhibit. You are certainly welcome to help with that project. One thing we need is accounts from people about what their experiences with the orchards here. This could be in written form, or on tape recording, etc. If you would like to help with this, by recording your memories, or by recording someone else's, this would be very valuable to your community. This applies to any other local history subject. Every time an older person dies we lose a piece of our past. There aren't enough people preserving their stories. If you have time and interest in this, please do it. If you need help, advice or a tape recorder to work with, please let me know.

One more thing. We need a good vacuum cleaner for the museum. We have a really old one, but if anyone has one to donate that is in good shape, especially one that has a carpet head, please let me know.


Before I continue with the Wilkie story, I forgot to include some information I received some time ago about the Peck family. Shirley Dahlin, a relative of the Pecks, stopped by the visitor's center over a year ago. Thanks to the host there, Kenny Schwartz, she sent some photos of the Pecks and some family information.

Andrew Peck married Jullette Sopher or (Gilmer). They came west behind Gen. Custer, and helped bury the dead at Little Big Horn. They first settled in Carson City, Nevada.


Rena Agusta Peck married John R. Crawford

born 4-11-1887 at Carson City, Nevada

died 2-23-1962 at San Francisco

buried: Carter's Cemetery, Tuolumne, CA

Rena and John had 5 children: Elsie, Ellen, Leslie, Chester & Arleen

Cora - born in eastern US, married Robert Nelson, had two children: Leona & Clarence

Frank - never married

Hattie - married Bud White, had three boys

Fred - born in Kansas, married Cora __, no children

Blanche - married Jack (?) Johnson, had one daughter

Since there were only two boys, the ones in last week's story about the bears had to be Frank and Fred.

I'm continuing with the story of the Wilkie family, written by Susanne Newby. If you remember last week, Frederick Wilkie's wife and sons were about to come west to join him in Wyoming:

To three small boys, the trip West was probably a great adventure but it must have been difficult for their mother, Sarah, with three small sons. Frederick was six, Arthur was three and Richard was one. Traveling by wagon meant only the bare necessities could go, so they carefully packed food, clothing, bedding, perhaps a few farm implements and household utensils and tucked away, among their things, was the tiny christening dress.

After outfitting, in the spring of 1876, the wagons left. [This was the same year the Moser's came west to the Council Valley, and the summer of the Custer defeat at the Little Big Horn.] They organized into wagon trains for it was foolhardy for a single wagon to attempt the westward journey. The wagon trains often took months to reach their destinations and were often beset with hardships and danger. Travel was hot and dusty and monotonous and many overpacked and wagons broke down and the trails west became littered with belongings cast away to lighten loads. Indians seldom menaced large, well-guarded trains but small groups of wagons where in constant danger. Hunger and thirst dogged the travelers and disease was common. A good day's travel was about fifteen mile, often less. After several months, the family reached Wyoming.

Egbert was a small town, hot and dusty. Hogs and cows had the run of the street. The family lived on "muddy creek" and their fourth son, Ralph, was born there in 1878. Life was hard in Wyoming, and few families became permanent residents. When the Oregon Shortline Railroad started in Granger, Wyoming and continued into Idaho, it promised new work and a better life.

Fred and Sarah and their four sons virtually followed the path of the Oregon Trail, as the railroad did, and moved on to Soda Springs, Idaho. Their fifth son, Craig, was born there in 1883. As the railroad progressed northward, Fred and his two oldest sons, Fred and Art, age thirteen and eleven, got work on the railroad operating a scraper with their own team. They traveled north to Boise and then over to Weiser River where timber was plentiful and there was an abundance of water and rich productive soil. The family moved on until they found a spot called Hornet Creek, near Council, and settled there.

Hornet Creek flowed through a lush , narrow valley and had a length of about fifteen miles. It was named because of the prevalence of this stringing pest, the nests of which were seen hanging from the limbs of trees all along the valley. They selected a spot which is now "at the fork of the road" at the end of that valley where Hornet creek crosses the road. Huge tress still stand that shaded and cooled the family on hot summer days a hundred years ago.

More next week.


Continuing with the story of the Wilkie family written by Susanne Newby:

"There was lots of work to be done now that the decision had been made to settle in this remote area. Fred and his sons had land to clear, logs to cut, barns, fences and a house to build. Ditches had to be constructed for irrigation and a root cellar dug and gardens and orchards planted. The log house was chinked together between the logs with split pieces of timber and plastered with mud on both inside and out. There was a growth of cottonwood timber and trees on the mountainside so logs where plentiful. A fireplace was built for cooking and warmth."

"Fred had been injured while serving in the Civil War and had various health problems so much of the responsibility fell on Sarah and her children."

At this point I to insert something about the Civil War. I have to wonder what it was like for a Union officer to come to a place like the Council area where so many of the settlers were from the South. I have never read or heard of any conflict between the Wilkies and their neighbors, but it would be interesting to know what people were thinking in those days.

In Susanne's collection of family papers there is a letter from Frederick Wilkie that he wrote while he was in the war. It is from Strasberg, Virginia and dated October 14, 1864. He mentions fighting at Harpers Ferry, Harrisburg and Fisher's Hill. Then he tells of the battle in which he was wounded:

"Yesterday, we were very much surprised when three shells from rebel guns bursted within a few feet of our tent where we were quietly encamped. Our division was sent out to fight the enemy. It was a the hottest fight I have been in . . . a perfect rain of shells and bullets. We lost a great many and were encamped two full weeks. Our battalion, myself in command, and the 34th Mississippi were the only regiments which fell back in order. Our Brig. Commander was severely wounded and taken prisoner. I was struck in the side with a piece of shell and lost my breath so that I expected to fall every moment and be taken prisoner, but fortunately came in safe. Many of our officers narrowly escaped. One of my best friends, a lieutenant in the 34th Mississippi was killed by a shell very near me."

Susanne continues, "Fred had been injured while serving in the Civil War and had various health problems, so much of the responsibility fell on Sarah and her children. Chores for a woman, in those days, included cooking, washing and ironing, gardening, canning, carrying water, making and mending clothes, making quilts and bedding and baking breads and biscuits. She had no electricity and no indoor plumbing. The nearest market was a trip to Weiser, a trip made once or twice a year, spring and falls, to buy and sell as needed. The trip took six days, two days each way and a two-day rest in Weiser. The nearest doctor was eighty miles away."

"That Spring, in March of 1884, Sarah Wilkie died. She was thirty-four. Her family buried her on a sloping hillside not far from their house. The site they picked was surrounded by aspen, cottonwood and tall pine and would, in years to come, become the graveyard for other family members." [This grave site is above the Council - Cuprum road, just north of where the Upper Dale road rejoins that road. More on it later.]

"Those years must have been difficult for five 'motherless' boys. At the time of Sarah's death. her children where; Fred, thirteen: Art, eleven; Richard, nine; Ralph, six; and Craig, one."

"By 1887, education in Idaho had become compulsory so the boys were required to attend school between the ages of eight and eighteen or until the completion of eighth grade. For the Wilkie boys, school meant a three mile walk or, in winter when the snow covered fences, three miles on skis or snowshoes. [To the Upper Dale school.] The children sat at crude desks, built by hand, and slate and slate pencils were used instead of paper and pencils. Heat was provided by a potbellied stove in the corner. Those near it roasted while those farther away were cold. In winter, there was always the odor of wet woolen caps and coats and mittens drying after the trip to school."

More next week.

Have you seen the museum?! The addition is pretty much done. All we need are some finishing touches and we'll be ready to start building exhibits. Anyone is welcome to drop by and see the progress. We are usually there on Tuesdays from 10:00 to around 4:00. Please remember, we are going to need volunteers to host the museum this summer.


Continuing with the story of the Wilkie family written by Susanne Newby:

Art loved to play baseball and was the catcher for the local team. He got plenty of exercise, not only in the long walk to and from school each day, but in the countless chores that awaited him after school. Art was a good hunter and fisherman and had no trouble getting deer meat, salmon and trout. Later a store in Council shortened the trip to market but few 'store bought' items were necessary."

The first store in the Council Valley was established in 1888 by a Weiser man named John Peters. It was located about a mile north of present-day Council, somewhere near the Kesler Cemetery and Chet Madson's place.

"There were hardships for the early settlers but there were rewards as well living in this valley. The solitude and beauty were awe-inspiring. Council mountain towered 8,000 feet above sealevel and northward the peaks of the Seven Devils towered in the distance. Southward lay the great open sagebrush plains."

"The small town of Council was growing slowly and was incorporated in 1903. [Actually it grew very quickly.] The Congregational Church was built, a new school added and the railroad came. The mining boom caused the streets to be crowded with covered wagons and freight wagons. Men carried guns strapped to their shoulders. [?] It was a wide-open town with six saloons and as many brothels. Art saw the effects of alcohol on the miners and never drank or smoked or allowed liquor in his home."

Art finished the eighth grade and went on to learn the printer's trade in Boise. He worked as a printer for four years. When Art was twenty-five he and his brother, Richard, opened a sawmill in Wilkie Canyon. It was on the creek a few miles from the homestead. Together they built the sheds and buildings necessary to house the huge saws and equipment. Government land was granted to them north of Hornet Creek and they cut the timber and transported the logs to the sawmill."

The coming of the railroad, in 1901, brought about the founding of Fruitvale by Art and Richard. It was an incorporated townsite and shares were sold and issued in the name of Fruitvale Development Company Ltd. Wagon loads of logs were carried from the sawmill for shipment on the railroad. In 1907, a traction engine replaced the teams of mules that hauled the wagons to Fruitvale. At Fruitvale, a 'planer shed' was constructed where the cut lumber was smoothed and planed into finished lumber before being sent on, by rail, to Payette. Art entered into a partnership with a man in Payette to sell the lumber. By the, he was engaged in every aspect of the lumbering business from the actual cutting of the timber, sawing of the logs, transporting them to Fruitvale and then on to Payette where the finished lumber was sold."

"Art's older brother, Fred, was the first of the Wilkie boys to marry. In 1892, Fred married Sallie Bach and she moved into the log house which, at that time, housed twelve people. Fred, senior, had remarried after Sarah's death, a young woman by the name of Fannie Fletcher. Fannie, at the age of eighteen, became the stepmother of five boys who were not much younger than she was. Fred and Fannie had three children: Olive born in 1887; Edward born in 1889; and Warren born in 1891. Fannie and Fred divorced in 1896 and in the 1900 census, Sallie was the only woman in the Wilkie household that now held fourteen people."

On June 1, 1902, Art, a tall, dark-haired young man of twenty-nine, married Lillian Estelle Whiffin. Lillian was from Council She was born on September 19, 1875 in Keokuk, Iowa. Lillian's parents were Minnie Whiffin Zink and the late Dr. William Cowan Whiffin. Art and Lillian were married by a Justice of the Peace in Cuprum [J.R. Sears], a little town north of Hornet Creek. Their first child, Waldo, was born in 1903 and their family continued to grow. The christening dress, made by Sarah Wilkie, was taken out for each child to wear and then folded carefully away."

More next week.


Art and Lillian Wilkie had six children: Waldo (born 1903), Warren (b. 1904), Audrey (b. 1908), Fred (b. 1908), a stillborn daughter in 1913, and Arthur Jr. (b. 1915).

"In 1905, Art and Lillian built a white-frame house near the family homestead. It was a one-story, two-bedroom house 'modern' house although it was still lit by kerosene lamps and had not plumbing. Lumber was plentiful from the nearby sawmill and fences were built as rattlesnakes were a threat to the children. A garden and apple orchard were planted and the root cellar still marks the spot where the house stood although the house has long since disappeared."

"The little graveyard on the sloping hillside where Sarah had been buried grew. Frederick C. Wilkie was buried in 1907, two of Art and Lillian's children and three of Fred and Sallie's children were buried there. A family friend or cousin, Libbie Rose, was buried there about 1910."

"The Fruitvale Development Company was doing well and the family moved to Fruitvale to be nearer the company and closer to the school for the children. The Wilkies even attempted to change the county seat to Fruitvale but that was unsuccessful. They lived in a large two-story boarding house where boarders and travelers rented rooms." [This is now the house of Jim and Pam Joslin.] "Besides the lumber business, Fruitvale had a store, a school and a blacksmith's shop."

"Art was well-thought of in the community, honest in all his dealings and hard-working. Art had put his money into the lumber yard in Payette and signed a contract with his partner there, that in case of default, Art was to receive two hundred acres of good, prime ground. The partner failed to pay his debts and Art was left with the two hundred acres. The family went down to Payette to look at the property only to discover that it was two hundred acres of worthless alkaline soil. Art had been duped by his partner and his lumbering business was ruined. He had trusted his partner and accepted, sight unseen, the land. He found that the law was more binding than a man's word. The case went to court and Art lost. It was then he decided that if the law could get you into that kind of a mess, he had better find out more about it."

"Art did some logging that summer of 1909 and began studying law during the winter. For years he studied by correspondence courses and, on April 21, 1913, with very high grades, he passed the bar at the State Capital Building in Boise. He was forty years old."

"His brother, Fred, was a civil engineer and was overseeing the Marysville Canal System in Ashton, a town [in southern Idaho] five hundred miles away. He wrote to Art and suggested that he take up his practice of law in Ashton in Fremont county. The population of Ashton was over five hundred and the town was the center of the grain growing district."

"Art had lived in Council Valley for thirty years since his family had homesteaded there and built that first log house but the lumbering business was behind him and the family agreed to move to Ashton."

I should mention here that Fred Wilkie Jr., the one who invited Art to come to Ashton, was the architect who designed the old IOOF building in Council.

About the time that Art moved to Ashton, about 1912, all of the other Wilkie family also moved away. Rich found his way to Idaho Falls, Idaho where he practiced law until his death in 1925 at the age of forty-nine. Art began what seems like a whole new life in Ashton, and later at Idaho Falls, practicing law.

"Art bought a four-door Model T Ford in 1916 and the family made trips back to Council every summer. The trip back 'home' was an exciting event and the Model T flew along the dusty roads at the rate of five miles per hour. They stopped along the way to 'cool off' with the water from the water bag and, at the steepest points, everyone would get out and puff along behind. If the car actually stopped, they all hurried for rocks to keep the car from rolling backwards a few feet. What a thrill when they finally reached the top and coasted down. Choke cherries grew along the road and if they grew out far enough, could be plucked as the car 'sped' by. Sometimes Art lowered the top and the children could ride 'right out in the open.' When they reached Council, picnics and camping trips were planned. All the relatives would gather and go fishing and hunting. Art had spent a lot of time in the wilds as a young man and taught his children many outdoors skills. The women would gather huckleberries and make huckleberry pies. Art always spent a day cleaning and fixing up the [Wilkie] graveyard at Hornet Creek. He loved those hills where he and his brothers lived and raised themselves, motherless, and where he had first made his home. When it was time to return to Ashton, they piled in the car and amidst waving and crying 'sped' away."

Art and Lillian moved to California in 1946. He died there in 1949, and Lillian died in 1952.

"If I close my eyes I can see them. Art, playing Solitaire, and Lillian playing the piano and singing, in her quavering voice, 'and I'll cling to that old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown'."

"But most of all I remember the day my grandfather brought out the box with the small white christening gown. As I run my fingers over the tiny stitches I marvel at the places that little dress has been. It came across the plains, tucked away in that covered wagon a hundred and ten years ago. It found its way to a cupboard shelf in that first log house at Hornet Creek and later, with each move, to other houses and other places, to Ashton and Idaho Falls and California. His words come back to me. 'Someday you will understand,' he said. I understand."

That's the end of Suzanne Newby's writing about the Wilkie family. Next week I'll start on a very moving story written by Art and Lillian Wilkie's daughter, Audrey, about the annual visits to Council that were mentioned above.

1-29-98 For the past few weeks I've been quoting the writings of Susanne Newby about the Wilkie family. This week I'll start on something that Susanne's mother, Audrey Wilkie Dolphin, wrote.

Audrey was the only daughter of Arthur and Lillian Wilkie and spent the first six years of her life on Hornet Creek where she was born in 1907. The family moved to Ashton, Idaho, but as Susanne mentioned, they would come back to Council to visit. Audrey titled this piece, "Two Pictures":

"O.O. McIntyre said it was a fact that people shunned spots and places that were precious in their memories. I know it is true. I think of him when I think of my grandmother, for he thought so often and so fondly of his grandmother."

"Once a year, during every year of our childhood, Mother and Dad, my three brothers and I went to see Grandmother. Grandmother lived in a proverbial Peaceful Valley [Council], anyway that was my name for it. I know there is no place in the world that is as restful and quiet and lovely or is just perfect because of the memories associated with it."

"My first six years of life were spent in this valley, near Grandmother. When we moved five hundred miles away we made annual pilgrimages back to see her. Several trips were made by train. I remember our first car, a Model T. I remember in connection with the car the narrow roads, steep hills, how when we commenced climbing the hill which led into Peaceful Valley Dad stepped into 'low' and we sped along at the rate of five miles per hour. Ever so often one of us kids worriedly asked Dad whether we would make it or not. Reassured we settle back to praise our wonderful car. I remember how we stopped to 'cool off' with water from the water bag and how at the steepest points everyone would get out and puff along behind and when it actually stopped how we all scurried for rocks, for we were frantic when she rolled back a few feet. It is hard to explain the ecstasy of finally reaching the top and coasting down."

"Dad, how far do you think she'll coast?"

"Four miles!"


Another forty or fifty miles up and down, crossing several times a small river, I remember always imploring Dad to stop the car and let me pick the wild flowers. We all wanted to get the choke cherries that grew abundantly by the road, and it is true, that if they grew out far enough, we could pluck a few as we 'sped' by. Sometimes we coerced Dad to put the top down so we could be right out in the open. Oh, the feeling that came with the lowering of the top. It buoyed us up almost to the bursting point, the sensation will never be recaptured!"

"On one of our trips I remember a rain storm coming up suddenly, and Dad and the boys fastening on the curtains, leather with ising glass windows, foldup affairs and the darndest things to get on."

"Well, these journeys with their interesting happenings make other stories, personal and sentimental. I started to tell you about Grandmother. She lived in a tiny town, more important to us than any city."

[The grandmother Audrey talks about was Lillian's mother, Minnie Zink. Her house was where Dennis and Bea Maggard live in Council, on the northeast corner of Railroad St. and Central Ave.- just southeast of the old RR crossing on the road to Hornet Creek. The house was Council's first "hospital". The first phone line in town ran between her house and Dr. Frank Brown's.]

"Her house was white and big, we thought, and great trees and a board walk surrounded it. There was a well and a windmill and a cellar outdoors, a regular building with an attic, whose floor was covered with sawdust and an attic filled with treasures."

"There was an outdoor toilet, scrubbed and well-supplied with reading material. There was a wood shed near by, just like the Specialist suggests but this was long before he suggested it. Grandmother had another house on the grounds where Aunt Lena, Uncle D. and my cousins, V, M, B and B lived. This was fine having them right there."

"Grandmother's yard was so shady it was never carpeted in green velvet as the poets say, but there were grass and flowers of every kind, here and there, hit and miss, but Grandmother knew about each one and cared for them all, tenderly, going the rounds with her watering pot."

"There was a hammock too, for us kids to fight and scramble over particularly after meals. There was everything, even mystery, for all along the yard at the back was a high board fence and we weren't to go near or over it. There was a big ditch back there."

"Just across the street ran the railroad, where we saw 'the Galloping Goose' once a day and often played on the high platform of the warehouse there."


Continuing with Audrey Wilkie Dolphin's writing:

"It seems that when we went to Grandmother's it was sort of a reunion. As I said, Aunt Lena lived there and also in the same town tow of the dearest uncles any niece or nephew ever had, Uncle L [Lee Zink] and Uncle Vollie [Zink]."

"I always slept in Aunt Hazel's room. She was a trained nurse and sometimes was there. When she was, I seemed to have even more fun. She used to get out boxes of girlhood scraps, bits of ribbon and cloth for doll clothes. She showed us pictures there were little letters we had written her, one she laughed so over was one of my first when I signed what I considered proper 'your loving granddaughter.' I always thought niece and nephew a bit hard for children to grasp."

"Another thing that sweeps me with nostalgia is the feeling I remember of awakening in one of Grandmother's high white beds, a strange yet sweetly familiar setting. The sun was peeping in the window and tree branches we could climb out on and slide down to breakfast. I don't think I ever did that but I thought of it."

"Grandmother was always up first. She lighted the fire in the kitchen and put the water on to boil. Other than that it seems that Mother and Dad and the aunts and uncles did the cooking and carrying of water and wood, but she only relinquished the duties by force."

"Grandmother was a church worker and a church goer and a Christian in the true sense, but when we had these reunions we had every day planned and if Sunday was one of these days Grandmother 'skipped' church."

"One day we went to Hornet Creek in the hills and saw the house where I was born. Because it had a sort of little steeple I had remembered it as a castle. Imagine my shock in later years to find it a small house and quite plain."

"Dad used to have a sawmill up there on Hornet Creek and it was in those hills where he and his brothers lived and raised themselves, motherless. You see Grandmother is my mother's mother and although Dad's face always shines and he is cheery, I wonder how he felt when he went back up there. He always spent one day cleaning and fixing up the graves of his father and mother, a brother and a son and daughter were buried under the pines, right there in God's country."

"Another day we went to Payette Lakes. There must have been twenty or thirty of us. We took up a collection and hired a launch to take us around the lake. . . such happiness and fun! People who own yachts could never know what we experienced on that three hour journey."

"Another day we took buckets and containers and went huckleberrying, another time fishing and hunting sage hens. Grandmother never missed a day, always there, happily smiling and examining and picking some new flower or plant. she could hike as far as anyone, never complaining or wearing out. Mother used to say she could outwalk her."

"When these glorious days were over and we all had to go home, Grandmother stood out in her front yard and under a great oak tree and waved us cheerily off. She smiled with shining eyes but never did I see her cry. Mother sniffled as obscurely as possible and was filled up I know. I always bawled outright. Good-byes are one of the worst things about life. The relatives and Grandma always accepted my uncontrolled emotion as part of me and were stronger for my weakness. Their amusement helped out the situation, I guess."

"The World War came during my childhood. I could have been too young to be impressed exept for the fact that two of my uncles had to go."

"The memories of the experience of the war made a mark, like a scar on my mind, a horrid ugly scar. My two pet uncles went overseas and Grandmother put a Mother's Service Flag in her window and bravely prayed and knitted and wrote to her sons. They returned and there was another glorious reunion."

Continued next week.

Believe it or not, the museum is moving into cyberspace. By the time you read this our web page should be up and running. Jim Peart was kind enough to do the technical work. We have put in access to my newspaper notes, a short history of Adams County, a short file of notes on historical area people, and four years worth of History Corner columns except for about six months worth that were lost to a computer virus. The newspaper notes alone took several years, so there are already thousands of hours of work literally at the fingertips of the public now. In time, we hope to have access available for local genealogical information, cemetery listings, plus birth, marriage and death records, census records, the museum's photo data base and more. We also hope to have all this on our computer at the museum so you will be able to access it there too. This project is in its infancy, but the possibilities are exciting. The address for our web site is "www.cyberhighway.net/~jcpeart". Those of you who visit are welcome to comment on how we can improve the site or what we should add.


Continuing with Audrey Wilkie Dolphin's writing:

"Childhood had passed but we went again the year I entered college. We did all the same old splendid things. I then helped more with the cooking and dishwashing and was one of the women. But I still had a grand time."

"The next and last time I went to see Grandmother I took my husband. We drove to Hornet Creek and I showed where I was born. We picked choke cherries and I made jelly at Grandmother's. She thought that was pretty good for a bride. She gave me an old fashioned pieced quilt and two of her oldest old hankies and an old dish or two."

"Grandmother died on Christmas Eve, 1932, when my baby was six months old. Her children were all there but not her grandchildren. I didn't go for the funeral, another gesture of absolute weakness. All I could think of was I never could go back to Peaceful Valley again."

"Grandmother has always been close to me, even since her death and I believe I still think of her more often than most anyone I have ever known."

"Five years after she was gone [1937], my husband asked me to go with him up north to see county superintendents to whom he was selling school supplies. He said we would leave the children with his mother and have a few days together. My son was five and my daughter, two and a half, and it was the first time I had left them. I left them cheerily, for once in my life I said good-bye that way, although I thought of them with little tuggings I knew they were safe and happy and were giving their grandmother a good time as well as a lively one. We reached the "mountain of my childhood," the one that takes you into Peaceful Valley and we soared over it at fifty per as if it weren't there at all and even before we started the downward stretch I was choking up and spilling over."

"My husband patted me and said, 'Forget Skip and Sue. They're all right.' I tried to grin but secretly kept dabbling and weeping. I never stopped. It was spring and I saw the blue corn flowers, the blossoms, the syringas, the sun flowers, wild onion blossoms, blue bells and shooting stars through the rain of my misty eyes. I cried and thought of the rain curtains on the old Model T and I told my husband funny things about my early days and our trips to Grandmother's. I especially tried to think of the humorous happenings as I laughed and cried at the same time. Just before we reached Grandmother's town [Council] we came to the cemetery and Lambert asked me if I wanted to stop."

"I said, 'Oh, no' and kept my eyes straight ahead as we went by. But ahead were the living things which were worse than the things that were really dead. Instead of going straight to find Uncle Vollie, who was the only relative now living there, I went with Lambert to the courthouse where I intended to sit in the car and hold a little court for myself. He parked in the yard back of the building and I looked neither to the right nor to the left but straight ahead into my compact. I worked diligently for on my poor, red, swollen face. Then I quickly pulled from a pocket in the car my favorite screen book which I had purchased for just this moment."

"In such surroundings with memories pounding down upon me from every side even the movie stars in person could not have turned the feelings I had. I struggled to pull myself together and went into the office of the county recorder, remembering I had never had a birth certificate and wondering if I had been recorded anywhere besides he family Bible. I went into the office making an attempt to be personable and asked them about my birth certificate. The two women behind the counter knew my family and me as a child and of course they had known my grandmother. The dam broke again and the only thing that saved the whole office was a great big substantial desk blotter. As I sobbed audibly, they consoled me something like this: 'Yes, Grandmother Zink was a fine woman and everybody loved her, but she lived her life, dear, and when one lives to be as old as she was and lived a useful and joyous life every minute she breathed, there should be no unhappiness.' "

They didn't just quite understand so I dried up my tears and thanked them. My birth was recorded at the capitol or somewhere. I told them the next time I came back I would be careful not to emote so much. I bravely, laughingly retreated."

"We went to see my uncle and his family. He had built a house in back and across the ditch from Grandmother's mysterious ditch. I would have gone miles around rather than go near that house of Grandmother's but there was no other way. I resolved not to cry and I didn't. I scarcely looked at the house but it reached right out at me."

"I know my aunt and uncle must have thought that marriage and motherhood had aged me or that I was in the last stages of something but I controlled everything and joked

jovially with dear, jovial, joking Uncle Vollie."

"Needless to say the tears started again as soon as we got away. If I were an interesting enough case, I'd still like a psychologist to analyze me and tell me how in the name of heaven I controlled myself for that one short ordeal or interlude."

"By evening we reached the lakes where we had picnicked so many times. I refused to stay. When we got out of the valley away from familiar scenes, the tears subsided. I was a wreck but aspirin and sleep cured me. Memories had put me through the greatest ordeal I have so far experienced."

"The next spring we went again. It was the same as before, tears and heart hurt almost beyond bearing. We stopped this time to put some cut flowers on Grandmother's grave. Mother had asked me to. It was the day after Memorial Day. I put some wild flowers there, too, from me. On in the little town I grabbed my uncle's hand and burst into sobs, which he understood, absolutely and completely."

"Last spring we went again. The children were with us this time. I told them about things. . . ."

Audrey Wilkie Dolphin died just a few years after this, in 1946. She was only thirty-nine.

I hope you have enjoyed Audrey's memories. I found them very touching. It's so sad that people and places that hold so many memories can fade into oblivion. Even the memories themselves die when we lose those who have them, unless they are written down. I've said it so often that you may be tired of it, but the places we live our lives are like stages where "performances" take place. The corner where Minnie Zink's house stood is now totally different, except for the big trees that still give shade, and I think the ditch may still be there. That corner is now making new memories. So continues the cycle of life . . . and history.


I got a nice letter and some pictures from Afton Logue Fanger. She went to the old grade school here, and now lives in Lyle, Washington. Her mother, Vava Logue, gets the Record and passes them on to Afton. My writing about the old school brought back some memories, and she was kind enough to write them down for us:

"I went to Council grade school 4th thru 8th grades in 1945-50. Yes, we actually had fire drills down the old fire escapes. On the last day of school, when we had games and picnic all day, we got to slide down these a lot. That was when they were covered. I know because I went home one of those times with the seat wore out of my jeans."

"We had Christmas programs on the tiny stage in the upstairs auditorium, and the back part was the library with a long counter and walls lined with books. The lunch room had an enclosed walkway from the main building. It was there, waiting in line one day, that my girlfriends informed me there was no Santa Claus, but I didn't believe them for one minute!"

"Seems it was in this walkway that the "lucky" kids got to beat the chalk out of the erasers after school. Actually there was a little machine with a handle that turned. And then there was Annie Over that we played over the lunchroom."

"Miss Trumbo came to the school every so often to tell us stories and I'm sure our favorite was the poem of Little Orphan Annie. I can still see her cute little mouth all shaped up into an 'ooooo' sound when she came to the part 'and the goblins will get you if you don't watch out!'. She was minister at the Congregational Church close to the school. Such a cute lady."

"A board sidewalk went past the church right on up to a big rock on the edge of the school grounds. The bus kids got to come on the school ground as soon as they got there, but the town kids had to wait at the rock 'till the big old bell in the belfry rang."

"Us Hornet Creek kids didn't have a school bus, usually a farmer was paid to drive us in their own car. One year Mrs. Frank George drove, another time Mick Blakely drove. I believe he later married Naomi Mason."

"We were all a pretty good bunch of kids in school, don't know if the rumor that Mrs. Eva Walstrand had a garden hose in her office that she beat bad kids with had anything to do with that."

"Lydia Newman came to teach in Council on our sixth grade year and moved up with us to the 7th and then to 8th, so we were the blessed class that had her 3 years . . . a great teacher. For 8th grade graduation, Mrs. Newman would take a hit song of the day and change the words for us . . . such as the song 'Pawn Shop On a Corner in Pittsburgh, Pa.' It became 'a school house on a corner in Council, Idaho'."

"The last day of school our 8th grade year we got to take brothers and sisters who would be starting school the next year. I brought my brother, Davie Logue, and Jim Camp brought Johnnie. He, Ray Shepherd and others tried to get these little boys to fight. These Little guys at that time wouldn't have squashed a spider, let alone fight."

"The 4th grade room of Effie Kite had a world globe that hung from the ceiling on a pulley. It fascinated us. Each room had a 'cloak room' for coats and overshoes, and of course for naughty kids to sit sometimes. There were two big wide-open staircases going up on each end of the big hallway we entered from the front door. No way would we ever thought of running in that hall!"

"Besides the teachers mentioned we had Betty Draper and Beth Hulin who I'm sure were fresh out of teacher's college, and we loved them. There was Mrs. Harvey and Chrissie Joyce too. A teacher from New Meadows, Mrs. Campbell, and also Mrs. Sundh. [Mildred Sundh was later Mrs. Fisk and then Mrs. Wilmarth.] I never had a man teacher, but there was a neat old gentleman from Mesa, Mr. Burton, who was janitor. He gave my brother an old black dog one time. Bud gave him a pretty original name also, 'Old Blackie'."

"Out on the Art Thorpe ranch where we lived there was this funny kind of sickness us kids would get. We never found a name for it, but it would instantly get better as soon as the 'school bus' was out of sight. I was the 1st kid in Council to get Scarlet Fever in the 5th grade."

"A lot of country school kids came into town in 7th and 8th grade from the schools at Middle Fork, Fruitvale and Mill Creek. Seems Upper Dale kids waited until 9th."

"It would sure be fun to walk into that old school again. Bet it was not as big as we thought it to be. I'm sending a couple pictures of the school and some kids. The photo shows the fire escape to be open, but it was covered at one time. It was lined with linoleum. Some kids were scared to death to come down it."

"If you don't feel any of this is up to repeating, that's fine. Just stick it in a drawer and 100 years from now it might be interest someone as they fly into Council on their space ship from another planet to another. But they will never really know how neat it was growing up in Council, Idaho! And one of the neatest is getting to visit with many of those same old friends some 40 years later!"

Ruth Husted also gave me a clipping from a newspaper from Northwestern Washington. It reads, "Mamie Dessiah Duncan, a life-long Whatcom County resident, died Tuesday, Jan. 27, 1998. She was 94. She was born May 23, 1903, to Wiley and Gretta Wisdom Duncan in Council, Idaho."

Does anybody have any more information about her? I know there were some Wisdoms living here way back when, but I don't know much about them.

We are busily working on new exhibits at the museum. Just as we knew it would, our bank account is down to its normal pittance after all the grand figures that poured in and out of it during our big expansion project. In other words, we need any monetary help you can give. There are the things we have to do, like finish making exhibits and paint the outside of the building this spring. And then there those projects we would like to do, which are only limited by finances. If you have enjoyed this column for the past four years, and if the history of our community and its people are important to you, please consider helping us with a donation. Remember that Idaho has a 50% tax credit for such donations up to a total of $100. That means you get half your money back! Donations can be made to Council Valley Museum, Box 252, Council, ID 83612.


When Afton Logue Fanger sent her letter awhile back, she included a clipping from the Idaho Statesman of May 12, 1963. The article was written by Joy Beckman, who use to live in Council. The last I heard, Joy lives in Weiser now. Her article was a very interesting history of our library, and I thought you might like to read it. At the time she wrote this, the library shared space with the museum in the same building where the museum is now. Here is Joy's article:

"Library Week is every week, or so it seems to Mrs. Ruth Winkler, librarian at the Council Valley Free Library. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoon it's a sure bet that she's the most popular adult in town in the eyes of the youngsters as they stream up the hill to 'trade books' and view the treasure trove of old relics which are on display in glass cases in the library."

"The centennial year seems to have spurred many adults as well as children because the library, which has been open nine hours each week, will soon begin opening at 1 p.m. instead of 2 p.m."

"Mrs. Winkler is currently working on an inventory of the nearly 5,000 books and 65 new ones have been ordered since the first of the year. Between 800 and 900 books are checked out each month."

"While the library is now a well ordered, restful place to go, such was not always the story. Back in 1926 the Worthwhile Club decided Council needed a library and this group of dedicated ladies set out to see that it got one. Books were collected from hither, thither and yon."

"They continued to collect books and began their first library on a shelf in the Legion Hall. This arrangement lasted about a year and then they advanced to the Odd Fellows Hall which, although it seemed like a step upward at the time, almost proved to be their undoing."

They nearly froze to death. They had the use of the building for free, but they had to furnish their own heat. Coal was bought by the sack and their funds just wouldn't stretch far enough to cover much of this luxury.:

"Finally a friend, Jim Kesler, came to the rescue and they moved books and baggage into his jewelry store where they stayed until he retired. It can be assumed that this was a sad day for the women as he also furnished the heat."

"From there it was moved to the [Congregational] church annex and all the while it was growing. Then, much of the relief of the Worthwhile Club members, it was moved to the old school house and the teachers took over. After a period of time it went back to the church annex - in packing boxes where it remained until 1949 when the city hall was erected and it finally 'came home to stay.' "

"The club loaned money to the building fund to help with the new building. Then began the job of furnishing the large room and as before, the members pitched in and did the job."

"The women had long since given up serving as volunteer librarians and had been paying one of their members to act in this capacity."

"Now that they had a permanent home, everyone went to work cataloging the books and putting things to order. Mrs. Hugh Addington became the first librarian in the new building to be followed by Mrs. Frank Hulin. When Mrs. Ralph Finn took over around 1952 they were diligently trying to get tax support for their project. Mrs. Finn stayed for nearly 10 years."

"Finally, in 1955 their work paid off and Council became the first place in Idaho to create a library district to be supported by tax funds."

"The members of the Worthwhile Club still take a very active interest in the library and only last year donated a bookcase and $100 toward the purchase of Idaho books. They also collected an additional $50 from other organizations for the same project. currently they are preparing to join the state-wide movement to encourage school children to read books about Idaho and the West."

Just to bring you up to date, the current library was set up in October of 1978. It was made from about four pre-fabricated Boise - Cascade units.


The engineers' report has come in on the structural survey of the courthouse done by Atwood-Hinzman-Jones. This was a preliminary examination to evaluate the building for obvious defects and find any problems that might need more intensive investigation. I've tried to translate the main points of the report into English, and have put any direct quotes within quotation marks.

First the engineers noted that the job was more challenging because the building had undergone cosmetic repairs that concealed some of its structural defects. The courthouse is a two-story structure over a partial basement. It was built in 1915. Walls are unreinforced brick, 12 inches thick.

One of the biggest problems in the building is the separation of the floors and the roof from the outside walls. "Existing wall anchorages by inspection are insufficient. It is evident that the existing anchorage assemblies are not effective due to the various floor to wall separations throughout the structure. This issue is quite evident and quite serious. These separations appear to be up to 3/4" in some areas." The roof is fastened to the walls with 3/4" bolts every five feet, and the floors are fastened to the walls with 1/4" steel straps every five feet. Anchoring the walls and roof to the walls would be the biggest expense in bringing the courthouse up to code.

Another, associated, expense would be installing "tension chords" in the floor and roof diaphragms. These are structural elements which help the floor or roof keep from pushing out on the walls when weight is put on them. "The structure as a whole appears to have no significant deficiencies regarding shear wall and floor/roof diaphragm shear capacity. The primary concern is the ability of the floor and roof diaphragms to transfer lateral forces to the shear wall panels as previously mentioned."

It's interesting to note that some of the ceilings in the courthouse are made of concrete, which of course makes them very heavy.

About the wood-truss roof, the report says: "Water penetration is evident in many areas. Daylight can be seen from the attic area through some portions of the roof deck. Otherwise the trusses seem to be in good shape. A major concern regarding the truss-to-wall attachment occurs in the courtroom area." Some areas of the courtroom walls show signs of stress cracks due to outward pressure from the roof. "This condition should be investigated more accurately for a corresponding repair process. This issue is a primary area of concern regarding the integrity of the structure and will worsen with time."

There are cracks in most of the lintels above the windows just below the roof. Many of these cracks go clear through the brick walls. "These structural elements are obviously over-stressed and need repair." Repairs of this problem usually entail installing angle iron and plate assemblies bolted to the walls around the windows.

The floors are not level. This might not be serious, but it's impossible to tell without taking things apart to see how well the floors are fastened to the walls. "This should also be properly uncovered and examined for a complete structural investigation."

There are a number of cracks in the brick walls, "primarily at the corners and along the roof and floor lines." "Some cracks, however, also appear in the mid span of the wall." Most of them are probably due to the building having settled over time. This should be investigated to make sure that's all they are. If they are typical stress cracks caused by settling, they "can usually be repaired with minimal effort and cost."

The basement leaks. During some times of the year, water runs from the jail bunk bed area to the boiler room and into a floor drain. This problem is usually fixed by excavating along the outside of a basement wall, sealing the wall, and installing gravel and drain tile. This may not be so simple because the "ground" under and around the courthouse is generally solid rock.

"A typical concern with older structures such as this one is the accumulation of plaster layers on the ceiling which can become too heavy for the corresponding attachments. Some of the ceilings in this structure show stress cracks. This is either due to sagging floor joists, or internal stresses in the built-up ceiling assembly. This issue should be investigated to determine the severity of the ceiling cracks."

Some pipes and ducts are not braced well enough, but this should be fairly inexpensive to remedy.

The three primary concerns are: 1- How well the roof and floors are attached to the outside walls. 2- The roof truss condition over the courtroom which applies outward thrust at the bearing points. 3- Water penetration into the basement.

A change in how the building is used, such as if it would ever be used as a library, storage for heavy objects, etc. could change the code requirements a great deal. For example, a library would put a lot of weight on the floors from all the books. Obviously this would make stronger floors necessary than for routine office use. For this reason, the cost of bringing the building up to code depends on what level of code is required, determined by the use of the building.

We haven't received a bill for this inspection yet, but it was estimated at $800 to $1,000. (The cost is being paid by the Idaho Heritage Trust.) That seems like a lot for just walking through a building, taking a few pictures and typing a report. The biggest headache is that to really know the condition of the courthouse, "destructive testing" would have to be done. In other words the floors or walls would have to be taken apart in places to actually see the critical elements, and, in some cases, apply stress to them to test their integrity. Bottom line: very expensive. One engineer I talked to estimated the cost of "destructive testing" to really evaluate the nature and cost of bringing the building up to code, at $5,000 to $10,000.

The electrical and plumbing conditions of the courthouse were not addressed by these engineers, as their job (and field of expertise) was only to evaluate the structural integrity. I've read that the building "cannot be rewired". That's a new one to me. I thought any building could be rewired. It has already been rewired extensively if the conduit running everywhere means anything. It seems to me the building is repairable. The only question is how much money it would cost and how much anyone is willing to spend.

The commissioners seem to have given up on preserving the old courthouse as a public building because of the expense of bringing it up to code for public use. There has even been talk of tearing it down. Most of us hope this is not a serious alternative, at least not yet. That old monument has been a landmark in Council for longer than most of us can remember, and its absence would leave a hole in the heart of this community. But, if the cost is just too high, it may be that the only realistic route is to sell the building to a private party with a stipulation that the outside appearance cannot be altered.

A number of people have told me that the old courthouse would make a great museum. Yes, it sure would. I just don't see how the financial hurdle of such a project could ever be cleared. Look at what a money pit the New Meadows depot has become. Plus, we have already invested five or six years of work and money into our present location. Many people have given so much to get us to where we are; I can't see starting over unless some kind of trade could be made without losing what we've gained. Besides, the museum and its building belongs to the City of Council, not the county. If you have any ideas about all this, now is the time to step forward.

I would like to thank Jim and Laura Camp for a donation to the museum in memory of Carlos and Ella Weed. They were truly Landmarks. I would also like to thank Jay Thorp for his donation. Jay is a former Council boy who lives in Boise now. As I mentioned before, donations could not come at a better time because we're taking on the big job of building exhibits in our new section.


For years I have noticed something on maps of the area that has made me curious. They show an old railroad grade between the Meadows Valley and Long Valley. Just a couple years ago I heard there was actually a railroad there and that it had something to do with logging, but nobody I talked to knew much about it. Now there is a book out that tells exactly what that rail line was for and when it was built.

The book is "Lonesome Whistle - Shay Logging in Central Idaho" by Duane L. Petersen. Duane is a life-long resident of Cascade, and the book was printed so recently that the ink is practically still wet.

For most of the book, Duane covers the locations of, and stories about, "Shay" logging in Long Valley. I had heard the term "Shay" before a few times, but didn't know what it meant. Shay was a name brand of steam locomotives that were used for logging, and the name was generally applied to any engine used to pull log trains. Shay engines were smaller and lighter than most locomotives, and had a lower center of gravity for negotiating tracks that were not always well built or horizontally level. They could also handle steeper grades.

So why would anyone go to all the work of building a railroad into an area just to log it? I'm so used to the way things are done now that I have to stop and think about how things were before we had all the heavy equipment we have today. Shay logging started in Long Valley about 1918, a time when automobiles and trucks were still in their infancy. We've all seen pictures of the spindly little wheels and gutless little engines those early vehicles had. There were heavier trucks designed for bigger jobs, but they were pretty inadequate. Besides, this was an era when people did big jobs with steam power. It's amazing when you realize the Panama Canal was dug with steam-powered excavators, locomotives and human muscle.

One thing I hadn't thought about was how you would operate a steam engine when the temperature gets as cold as it does in Long Valley. Basically you had a big metal container full of water, so what did you do with it when you're not using it? They either had to laboriously drain al the water from the tank and every pipe every night, or a fire had to be maintained in the firebox 24 hours a day. It was more practical to do the latter.

Even when logging trucks came along, there was no such thing as antifreeze. What's more, the old trucks had water-cooled brakes which meant a water tank and lines full of water. When not in use, vehicles had to be drained, run continuously or put in a heated building in below freezing temperatures. Most people just put their cars up on blocks and drained them for the winter, and went back to horse-power. Ah, the good old days!

In his book, Duane goes into the stories behind the old towns of Cabarton and McGregor, plus other locations and the people who lived and worked there.

By 1939 most of easily accessible areas at Long Valley had been logged, and Gordon McGregor and the Boise Payette Lumber Co. moved their Long Valley logging operations to New Meadows. Big buildings and machinery were moved by rail on tracks built for that purpose. The line went through Sunflower Flat, by Fish Lake, and down into Meadows Valley from the southeast. The track was never used for anything else and was soon taken out.

The above mentioned outfits built a Shay line that joined the P&IN railroad at Rubicon and was used to log the Mud Creek area between 1940 and 1946.

At the same time Boise Payette was moving into the Meadows area (1939), they moved into the Council area. Andy Anderson was one of the Long Valley loggers that came here with them. That's the year construction was started on the mill here. It started operations in 1940. The arrival of these logging companies in New Meadows and Council brought population and economic booms to both towns.

World War II interrupted logging to some extent. After the war the timber industry here really came into its stride. To me, one of the most fascinating parts of Duane's book is his accounts of how logging equipment changed over the years. I've just skimmed the surface of his interesting book. If you are interested in buying a copy, I don't know what he's charging, but you can order one from him at: D&D Books, P.O. Box 458, Cascade, ID 83611. Phone: (208) 382-4532.


This week I'm trying to catch up on some odds and ends.

Delmar Hallett was kind enough to send me some information about the beginnings of the Council airport quite some time ago, but I haven't found time or opportunity to put it in this column until now:

"The town of Council acquired the property where the airport is located in 1947 or 1948. The original layout and field engineering was done by the late Ellis B. Snow and myself with advice and consultation from Chet Moulton, Director of Aeronautics for the State of Idaho, and Al Witter of the Federal Aviation Administration. The completed plan was submitted and approved by these officials and served as the basis for a grant of federal funds to complete the work consisting of grading and gravel surfacing a runway and taxi strip. The blacktop surface of the runway and other improvements were done at a later date, and I am not familiar with the details of that part of the development."

"I distinctly recall helping set the blue top grade stakes for final grading. I believe Hugh Addington built the first hanger on the property to house his plane."

I received a couple of interesting letters concerning Dr. Gerber back when we were putting her office together at the museum. Roy Gould told of some of his childhood memories of her:

"I asked my dad [Clarence Gould] why he thought she did not use deadening. He told me that he thought it was because Dr. Gerber believed that a man should be able to withstand a little pain. He told me that one summer while Dr. Gerber's husband was working alone at their gold mine that he had fallen and broken his leg. After a week or so of lying in his cabin in pain, he had shot himself. Two or three days later someone arrived at the cabin and found him dead. My dad said that Dr. Gerber thought that if her husband had just endured a little more pain that he would have made it. I have often thought of the story my dad told me and wondered if it was true. Whether it was true or not, this story has helped me several times when I was not feeling well."

I'm not sure about the enduring pain aspect of the story, but I've heard similar versions of now Dr. Gerber's husband died. I've heard he went up to the mine, which was in an isolated area north of McCall somewhere, very early in the season before other miners went into that vicinity. When he broke his leg, he probably didn't figure anyone would come along very soon.

Afton Logue Fanger also sent some of her memories of Dr. Gerber:

"Right after arriving on Hornet Creek [1945] my mom went looking for a dentist, with no encouragement from us kids of course. Her office we found was up the steep stairs over the drugstore on the corner." [Now the Heartland Inn.]

"When we got to the doorway at the bottom of the stairs we found a lady in old grubby clothes, surely the janitor, sweeping the stairs very energetically. Mom asked where the dentist's office was, and she said, 'Follow me'." So up the stairs we went, into a room. This lady disappeared into another room and came out wearing a white dentist shirt, and this is how we met Dr. Gerber."

"In Payette many years before that, about 1923, my mom's little brother had practically kicked her office apart when my grandmother took him there. Many years after all this, I took my two little boys, Norman and Kenny to her for their first dental visit. They had fonder memories: she polished and gave each of them a dime."

Thanks everybody for your contributions. If others out there have memories or good stories about this area's past, and I know you do, everybody enjoys reading them, so send 'em to me. (Box 252, Council, ID 83612)

I don't remember if I mentioned before that I'm helping Don Dopf write a book on the history of the P&IN railroad. One question I have is about the old railroad stop at Vista. The location is near where Cottonwood Creek meets Highway 95. To be more precise, I believe it was just north of Renwick's driveway on the west side of the tracks. What little I know about it is that this is where Mesa Orchards used to load fruit before the tramway was built in 1920. Was there a loading platform there? There must have been. I'm assuming the siding was used to load lumber from the sawmills up Cottonwood Creek. Can anybody tell me for sure, and was it used for other things? I'd appreciate any information about this, or any other stops along the P&IN.

I got a call last week about an interesting alternative for use of the old courthouse building after the new one is built. Several schools in Oregon are participating in a program involving foreign exchange students, kids from abusive homes or ones who need to get away bad influences in urban areas. The schools provide housing for these students, in some cases using existing buildings as dormitories. In one case the dormitory was a restored railroad depot. The dormitories have an adult couple live there and supervise the kids. I'm told the program is so successful that there are waiting lists at some schools. If anyone is interested in more information, they can contact these participating Oregon schools: Harper (541-358-2473), Crane (541- 493-2641), Condon (541-384-2581), Mitchell (541-462-3311), or Paisley (541-943-3111).


Awhile back I was writing about stories along the route up Hornet Creek to the Seven Devils. I don't think I wrote about the bridge just outside Council as you start that excursion.

The place where the Council - Cuprum road crosses the Weiser River seems to be the original location of the first bridge accessing Hornet Creek from Council. Before a bridge was built here, the earliest residents here sometimes crossed the river in a small boat.

I should mention that the Council area, in the very earliest days of settlement, was referred to as "Hornet", "Hornet Creek" or "Hornet Valley" because this was the place where Hornet Creek entered the main Weiser River. This is no different from the way we still refer to Middle Fork, East Fork, etc. The Fruitvale area was simply called "West Fork" at first.

It isn't clear when the first bridge was built here, but in1886 a new one was constructed. In May, the County Commissioners made a trip to Council to inspect a site for it. When they arrived, there was a sizable crowd of local citizens gathered to discuss the new bridge, and anything else that came up, on what seemed to be an excuse for a social gathering. The commissioners decided to put the new bridge at the same site of the old one. This bridge didn't last long. One of the reasons was a severe ice jam and resulting flood, in 1891. Lewis Winkler replaced the bridge in 1894.

Another source of wear to the bridge was the fact that spring runoff sometimes piled a large accumulation of drift wood and debris against the bridge supports. Once when this happened it was feared that the bridge would be swept away. Someone came up with the idea of breaking up the debris with dynamite. This plan was carried out, and it was very successful in removing the debris. It also removed a big section of the bridge!

By 1906, the bridge was in such bad shape that freighters hauling ore from mines in the Seven Devils were not allowed to cross it with their heavy loads. They had to ford the river.

Two years later, in 1908, a steel bridge was installed here at a cost of $6,000 - a small fortune in those days. It was one of the few steel bridges in this part of Idaho at the time, and the community was very proud of it.

From 1901 to 1905, Steve Richardson had a sawmill just north east of the bridge. Richardson was an entrepreneur who rode the wave of business opportunities that the railroad made as it was built up the Weiser River valleys. He and his son had run a sawmill and a store at Cambridge. They moved their store and mill to Council when the rail road arrived. The store stood on the south east corner of Moser and Main, where the Pomona Hotel was later built.

The coming of the railroad caused an unprecedented building boom in Council, causing a demand for lumber. The very first lumber hauled on the new P&IN railroad was from Richardson's mill. All the towns along the Weiser River were also experiencing rapid growth, and Richardson could have sold twice the 25,000 board feet of lumber a day that he was able to saw.

Adel Parke wrote about Richardson in her book, "Memoirs of an Old Timer": "Steve Richardson was quite an eccentric. His favorite expression was "Bull-rye" (and some more, unfit for print), which preceded his every statement. Sawdust from his mill he persistently dumped into the river, and was arrested and fined frequently for the deed. John [Routson (Adel's father)] repeatedly admonished him to build a pit for the waste, but Steve always said, 'Bull-rye, Johnnie, it's cheaper to dump it in the river!' So there it went."

Another story associated with this spot involves one of Council's most colorful early characters, Bill Camp. Bill was a big, powerful man with unique, and sometimes intimidating, sense of humor. At some time, Camp was floating logs down the river here to a sawmill, possibly Richardson's. As Bill approached the bridge with the logs, he spied a minister inflicting a baptismal service on a group of local citizens at the edge of the river. Bill jumped off the logs, grabbed the preacher and unceremoniously "baptized" him by dunking him under the water.

Telling of the incident in later years, Bill's son, Barney Camp, said, "Dad, he picked the preacher up by the seat of the pants and the back of the neck, and throwed him out in the water that way, and I guess he just went down like and old dead-head log. When he came up he'd liked to have splashed the creek dry. Dad swum under the bridge, and some of 'em throwed rocks at him, and some of 'em throwed bouquets."

In 1905 Richardson moved his mill to Mill creek and sawed railroad ties for the new extension of the tracks to New Meadows. By 1910 he had followed the tracks to Price Valley. Again, he established a sawmill and a store. The post office in his store was dubbed "Tamarack", and the location is still known by that name. Richardson donated the land on which the Tamarack school was built in 1911.


We are busily putting together an exhibit about the fruit industry in the Council area at the museum. If you have any pictures, artifacts, or other memorabilia of the local fruit industry, we would be very interested in borrowing them. I'd also be interested in your memories of fruit growing in this area. If you care to write any of them down and send them to me, I'd appreciate it.

I recently re-read the article that Clyde Rush wrote about Mesa for the Weiser Signal in 1965. In it he mentions having a map of the original plat of Mesa. Does anyone know how to get in touch with any members of the Rush family so I could ask them if this plat is still around? It would be very valuable to have a copy of it in our museum. If anyone knows of any other maps of Mesa, please contact me.

Connie Mocaby and I did a little bit of interviewing lately, getting info about Mesa and the Orchard District. That's something I wish I had more time to do. It's also something I wish more people would get involved with. It's as simple as sitting down with an older person and having a tape recorder running. Video cameras add another dimension to it if you care to do that. A lot of people have them now. I've been using mine to record the voices during interviews because it's so handy and the tapes are longer than any audio tape. It also comes in handy if a picture is being talked about. I hope some of you will think about doing this. Every year we lose priceless memories because nobody recorded them.

Speaking of losing priceless memories. Vennes Kite sent a donation to the museum in memory of a number local Landmarks that we have lost in the past year: Harriet Rogers, Hazel Harrington, Stub Yantis, Mildred Hancock, Ella and Carlos Weed, and Bob Cardiff. Our thanks go to Vennes for the donation.

And on the same subject, I have heard that Carl Marble died recently. His mother, Katie Marble was a local legend as a school teacher.

When Katie was a young girl in Missouri, her father didn't believe girls needed an education, and certainly thought it was nonsense when Katie was determined to become a teacher. In spite of the opposition of her father, Katie worked at odd jobs, and paid her own way through high school. After that, her father softened his attitude, and paid Katie's tuition to teacher's college.

At her first teaching job in 1907, Katie was paid $25 per month during a nine month term.

Her first teaching job in Idaho was at Lower Dale wh