Clara Proulx.

Early history of the Upper Lemhi Valley online

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infancy; Emma Jane, married George Ruppert, children, Marjorie
and June; Jacob, married Rosella Proulx-children, Louis (Steele),
Dorothy (Zook), Frank and William, Bertha married Dr. R. G.
McCale - no children; Phillip Gray, married Etta DeLain, no
children; Mryl W. married Thelma Haney, children Fred F. and
Herbert H.

Herbert Hays died September 15, 1936 at his home near
Leadore. Nettie Hays, his wife, died the following year at
Rockford, Illinois.

Other references to the Hays family are herein, and to



Nellie Redding ton Mulkey

The Kaufmans were among the earliest settlers, living on
the Henry Yearian place by the creek. Later, they rented
"Grandpa" Stevenson's restaurant and Mrs. Kaufman operated
the stage office in Junction, for a time. They then moved to
Birch Creek.

After the turn of the century, the Upper Lemhi Valley had
become a prosperous place. The families were mainly
transplanted stock from the older states of the Middle West and
East. Naturally, they did establish in their new homes, the
religious beliefs of their fathers. There were people of the Roman
Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Episcopalian
beliefs, which when combined, became the stable, permanent and
reliable citizens of the Upper Lemhi Valley. This is still evidenced
in our present generation.

It is not possible to recall or to mention all the families
who came, settled and became permanent residents of the Upper
Valley, but of these settlers whom I should like to mention,
there follows:

Uncle Abe Lipe, who came west with the Swartz and
Cottom families, married Nancy Yearian, sister of Sarah Yearian
Reddington, a sister-in-law of Milton Reddington. The ranch he
owned was bought by Gus Mulkey, who sold to Floyd Whitaker,
its present owner.

Stage Coach in Junction. Driver, Jess Shurett; the boy, Harvey Lipe; the big man on the ground with light hat, Wilbur Stone;
in the cowboy hat. Art Pyeatt; center, sitting on top, G. L. Webb; on top in the back, Wilbur Hays; riding shotgun on front
seat, Billie Cannon; inside the stage, Jimmy Barrack; and Bert Ellis on the coach.

John Warren took up the ranch now owned by Dare
Anderson. He sold to Ed Gray, then it was sold to Bill Peterson,
who in turn gave it to Dare Anderson.

Vern Tingley had a dairy ranch on Dairy Creek in "Big
Eight Mile" Canyon. These places were just "squatters' rights".
Will Vreeland worked for Vern.

Joseph Yearian took up the ranch now owned by Truman
Chapman. Joseph sold the place to Gilbert Yearian, who in turn
sold it to Ted Ellis. Russell and Bob Benedict bought it from
Ellis, later selling it to Chapman.

John and Lige Stroud took up the Stroud ranches, which
were later sold to Sam McKinney.

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Jack Smith owned a small ranch under the bar, across from
the Stroud ranch, later he sold it to T. J. Stroud.

Abe Elder owned the Barrows Ranch. Charles Noble worked
for the Benson Estate, later this place was sold to Woolwine,
who in turn sold it to Dave Clark, later it was sold to Floyd

George Martin was quite a noted citizen. He took up land
later selling it to Dewey Alihands, who in turn sold to Sid Chorn,
then it was bought by Lloyd Clark. Martin drove the Armsted
stage for many years, carrying the mail without fail.

" Curley" Stewart married Docia Yearian, daughter of Henry
and Mary Yearian. Stewart had three brothers, Bob, Lee, and
"Chicken". Bob married Lillie Yearian. Lee came there with his
family, living in Junction until it was moved to Leadore. Chicken
was a bachelor, and owned a place near the Barrows Ranch.

Postcard written to Miss Clara Reddingto
Junction in 1913.

Across the Lemhi River from the Gib Yearian Ranch, was
land taken up by John Yearian, who sold it to Eddie Yearian,
who in turn sold it to John Reddington. The next owner was
Siegel Tobias.

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"Little Eight Mile" Ranch was taken up by Sam Williamson,
one of the early school teachers. Part of the ranch, was sold
to Bill Mulkey, then to Bill Rusk, and it is now owned by the
Mahaffey Estate.

The little town became the center of a happy, prosperous
community. It was the stage station, connecting Junction with
Montana to the East, and Idaho Falls to the south. The freight
wagons stopped there for repairs, feed and lodging.

As the livestock industry expanded, and other products
became marketable, the discovery of mineral ore at Gilmore,
added to discovery earlier in the Salmon River area. With the
discovery of lead at Junction and other mining activities, a better
method of shipping products became necessary.

As time went by, and the need became even greater, the
following people organized and incorporated the Gilmore &
Pittsburgh Railroad Company Limited. They were: W. A.
McCutcheon, Robert B. Little, J. H. Crehan, C. H. McCracken,
all of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and W. F. Stone of Junction,
all of whom promoted the building of the railroad from
Armstead, Montana, to Salmon, Idaho. Gilmore was included on
the route, and the entire completion dated early in May, 1910.

Naturally, one would expect the railroad to pass through
Junction. To the consternation and dismay of the residents, it
was revealed that one of the property owners, Tom Powell, had
refused a right of way. Hence Junction was "by passed" at a
distance of two miles. As a result, the town of Leadore was
established, and still serves as a mining and livestock raising

Countless tons of ore were shipped from the area. It took
intricate engineering to plan and lay tracks over the mountains.
The problem was solved by a series of "switch backs "and the
train thus maneuvered alternately, forward and backward.

Reluctantly, the people of Junction had to migrate
elsewhere. The post office and schools were discontinued there,
and along with W. F. Stone's Store, the drug store and other
business firms, were moved to Leadore.

This left only a few of the older residents and Jack Decker's
small grocery store at Junction. As time went by, the people
and the buildings disappeared. Only those graves of settlers who
had departed this life remained at McRae's cemetery.

Leadore from 1910 to 1925 became a thriving town. Built
and established was a bank, the post office, drug, as well as other
stores, two hotels, telephone office, barber shops, garages, a
moving picture show house, a meat market, and it became the
headquarters of that district of the Salmon National Forest. A
railroad station (or depot) was built, and for the upper valley,
schools, both elementary and secondary, along with churches,
came into use.

The following stayed and worked on the railroad: Andy
Burnham, Ed Malloy, Harold Robinson, Jack Haines, Frank
Proulx, Alex Waugh, Mrs. Alex Widdowsen, Harry Saline, Earl
Williams, Kenneth Yearian and Harvey Lipe, Jerry Ryan, Joe
Steele, Lang McCormick, and Luke Blecka.

Among those who served as station agents were: George
Radford, Tom Ball, Art Ruika, Lawrence McGivney, and Vern

There are probably others who worked on the railroad or
at the station, but their names are not recalled.


Even though the early settlers were struggling to establish
a community center at Junction in the first years of the
"seventies", they were also entertaining thoughts of the future,
and thus having the welfare of their children in mind, it was
imperative that they establish schools.

The first school in the Junction area was a one room log
cabin, located between the old "High House", and the McRae
Ranch. In 1873, eight grades were taught here by Mr. Ramsden,
the schoolmaster. This was organized as District No. 2.

The log structure became inadequate, so in the early 1880's,
a larger log building, with a sod roof, was built. Here the pupils
were taught the three R's, to the tune of the hickory stick.

At the turn of the century, a frame building was erected
in Junction, then another larger one was built, for there were
one hundred pupils by then. This frame building was used until
1918. After the brick building in Leadore was finished, the frame
schoolhouse was moved to a ranch, halfway between Junction
and Leadore, and became the residence of H. C. Christensen and

The earliest school at Lemhi or Yearianville, was built by
Thomas Pyeatt. It was made of logs, adobe, and had a dirt roof.
It was on the corner of his ranch. The teachers lived with the
families of their pupils, and conducted school from four to six
months in the winter. Some of the teachers were: S. A. White,
Miss Flora North, Miss Emma Russell (Mrs. T. H. Yearian), and
Geneva Wells.

The school was known as Idaho School District No. 3; and
Thomas Pyeatt was Chairman of the Board. John Reese, son of
Gilliam Reese, was one of the first graduates of this school. He
later graduated from college, and became a history teacher, a
writer and a historian of renown. Don Pyeatt was one to
graduate. He then went to Valparaiso University in Indiana, and
also attended San Jose Business College.

In 1902, the Bannister school was instituted as District
No. 4. Later this school was moved down Tex Creek to the
"Chicken" Stewart place. Then on toward Leadore to where
Highway 28 crosses Tex Creek, and was then called the Plum

About 1908 Gilmore residents created a school which was
known as District 20. The first teacher was Beth Yearian
(Brenner). This district was closed after World War II when
Gilmore became mostly, a ghost town.

The Cottom School was organized in February 1912, as
District No. 29. Ernest Benedict, John B. Reddinglon and
Morris H. Cottom financed and constructed the building. The
county furnished the equipment and paid the teacher. This
building can still be viewed from where Highway 28 meets
Cottom Lane, a solitary log structure.

The Tingleys, Vern, Joe, Flora (Brown), Ray, and Walt.


Grandpa Shelley and Old Kie

Ruby Proulx Purcell, Bessie, and Rose

Elsa and Maemie Reddington

4 generations, Tom, Vern, Etna, and
Steven Chandler.

In 1912, the Lee Creek Community was in need of a school.
So they used an old sod roofed building, and then constructed
a new frame one.

In 1915, there was another District organized to
accommodate the "D. C. Bar" residents.

The great structure of the brick building at Leadore, was
dedicated, February 1, 1918. The school Board members were
E. M. Yearian, John B. Reddington, E. R. Benedict, Don C.
Reed, Claude H. Benson and Ley H. Lee. Mrs. Jennie Mulkey
was clerk of the Board. It was a two story building with ten
classrooms, a gymnasium, an electric light plant, steam heat and
long corriders. There was also an auditorium, used by the school,
and for community affairs. It included elementary and secondary
levels, and was in use for thirty years. Then reorganization took
place and District No. 2 became District No. 292, and included
all of the schools from "17 Mile" to the Clark County Line.

At one time. District No. 2 was one of Idaho's richest
school districts, due to the taxes from the mines, ranches, and
the railroad. I am happy to relate that I had the privilege of
teaching many years in District No. 2, and No. 292. The schools
of the Upper Lemhi Valley have contributed from those
attending, and those graduating, many outstanding citizens
among whom are two, rated as millionaires.

John Reddington, Charley Backee, Tom Harvey, Milford Allred, Lester Allred,
Marvin Reddington, sitting are Charley Kummer and William Backee.

Mr. and Mrs. Jake Hayes, December 16,


Lemhi Agency and Yearianville Country-
Contributed by DDrothy Pyeatt Baker

The Pyeatt Story

On April 26, 1865, when the Army of the Confederacy
surrendered all of their troops, the gates of Andersonville Prison
swung open to one of the most tragic groups of history. A sick
and weakened bunch, they were released to make their way
home. Among these was young Thomas B. Pyeatt, who served
with Company K, Illinois Regiment, with honor under Sherman
until captured at Vicksburg.

With no formal medical training except what he had received
in the Army, he had been one of the medics in prison. In the
field, he had served as a bugler and medical assistant. Thomas
never forgot the horrors of gangrenous imputations he had
helped perform while at Andersonville.

Returning to his home in De Quoin, Illinois, he married
Pelisha Gill, and had three children, William Butler, born
December 25, 1872; Cornelia Ann, born June 28, 1868, and Leo
Arthur born August 3, 1874. The war devestation had been
great, and many of the young men were looking to the West
for opportunities.

Late in 1868, Thomas and Gillian Reese bade their families
farewell and with one wagon and team, along with saddle horses,
set out to find a new home and wealth. Having heard great tales
of the gold fields at Leesburg, this was their intended destination.

Upon finding unclaimed verdant farm land on the Lemhi
River, they quickly decided to settle there. The two men staked
out their lands adjoining each other, built a "dug-out" to bring
their families to, paid their taxes and assessments, then started
their perilous journey back to Illinois. What little money they
had left was gone so they worked for their "found" on the trip
home, taking many months.

Arriving in De Quoin, they set about assembling their stock,
household goods, clothing and animals, and some farming
equipment. Finally, they started out, Pelisha driving one wagon,
Thomas the other, and the children herding the livestock. The
Reese family were similarly equipped. In May, 1877, they arrived
at the "dug-out" in time to start spring planting.

Both families lived in the "soddie" for sixteen months; then
the men were able to build the first log cabins with dirt floors
and dirt roofs. These poor cabins must have been like heaven.
Yet the dirt roofs blew off, so leaked and generally made
housekeeping miserable. In 1878, Thomas left his family in the
protective care of Mr. Reese, and made the weary trip to
Corinne, Utah for more tools and other supplies.

In rapid succession more children were born; Thomas
Burleigh in 1879, he only lived three years. His father diagnosed
his trouble as lockage of the bowels, but it was probably
appendicitis. His grave is in the family plot in Yearian cemetery,
north of Leadore. Then came "still born" twins, who are buried
together on a knoll, overlooking the George Ellsworth ranch
buildings. In February 1884, Don |. was born, followed in 1886

»^a A MERITED .^

'°4. Certificate FOR Excellence IN Scholarship. 1,1

Diploma of Honor given to Willie Pyeatt at the Lemhi
School in 1886.

Mark and L 11 lie (Vreeland) Purcell.

Mil ford Allred and John Redding ton

1^^ J

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Three of the 4 original 1918 graduates from Leadore High School
who attended the 50th year dinner June 29, 1968. William
Yearian, Francis Benedict Outvjs and lohn A. Reddington.

Saddlin ' up at Cruikie 's .

loe Murphy, Mike Maer, Newt Cooper, Alex Cruikshank, and
two others.

Haying at the John Reddington ranch. On the rake, Tom Harvey,
standing and holding Lester Allred, Cora Reddington, Granny
Reddington, Charley Backey, John Reddington, Clara Proulx,
Marvin Reddington. and OIlie and Mil ford Allred are all in view.

by Florence Effie, and in 1891 by McPherson Gilbert. All the
children, born in Idaho were delivered by their father, except
McPherson. At that time, Thomas was in Boise, serving as a State
Legislator. The only help his wife had, at McPherson's birth, was
that of the oldest daughter, Nelia. The baby was named in honor
of Thomas' great friend, J. M. McPherson.

The children, when grown and educated, married: Cornelia
to Edward Milton Yearian of Junction; William Butler to Esther
Amonson; Leo Arthur to Virginia Lively; Don j. to Georgia
Holgate; McPherson Gilbert to Martha Sprinkle of Dillon,
Montana. Mr. and Mrs. Pyeatt lived to see eleven grandchildren,
and passed away in 1922 and 1927.

Thomas served as Chairman of School District No. 3, as
a County Commissioner, and on the Republican Central
Committee, helping in every way to build a home, county and
state from the territory in which he chose to live.

Mike Myers, a bachelor, arrived from Missouri on the Lemhi
River in 1868. After spending two years prospecting for mineral
ore, and working on ranches, he filed on the land across the
river from the Reese Ranch. This property is now a part of the
William Snyder ranch. Myers' home was headquarters for all the
neighborhood bachelors. After he passed away. Roll Denny and
family, then the Frank Alphin family made the ranch their home.
Some of the best fishing holes, on the Lemhi River, are in Myers

Mike Spahn took up the ranch at the mouth of Reese Creek,
now known as the Snyder place. The Spahns had a son, Karl,
and a daughter who lived most of her life in California. Karl
served in the State Legislature, several terms and was a progressive
and highly respected citizen. After K. O. and Mrs. Spahn retired
from running the ranch, that job was taken over by his stepson,
William Snyder; and has now passed on to William Snyder, Jr.
This is one of the pioneer ranches left that is occupied by
members of the original settlers' family.

Peter and Christina Amonson owned a ranch between Myers
and Cottom Lanes. It is presently owned by their grandson, J. C.
Amonson. In the old log house, still standing in a grove of
Cottonwood trees, Peter and Christina raised their family: Albert,
Anker, Oscar, Esther (Pyeatt) and Clara (Diggles), all of whom
are now deceased. There are several descendants living in Lemhi
County, Oscar's widow and oldest son, John (Sammy) live on
the old D. C. Ranch on D. C. Bar.

Frank B. Sharkey arrived at Napias Creek from Elk
Mountain in July 1866, and there discovered gold which started
a "gold rush" of mostly recently discharged Civil War veterans.
When the gold deposits were mostly mined out, the seven
thousand inhabitants of Leesburg drifted away, many settled in
the valley either to become ranchers or engage in various business

Mr. Sharkey moved to the Cady Ranch on the Reservation,
post office address, Sunfield, Idaho. He married the daughter
of Mr. Cady and they had one daughter, Margaret. His second
wife was Annie Pyeatt, sister of Riley Pyeatt. Their children
were: Jack who died during service in World War I. Olive, who
married Rev. Frank Bonner, Helen married Byron Gordon, Adele


married George Radford who was station agent at Leadore many
years. Clair married Murdock McNicoll, and still lives in Salmon.
The Rev. Bonner was the first Presbyterian minister in Salmon,
and later lived in many states and the Philippine Islands.

Mr. Radford resides at St. Maries, and often visits home
folks. Margaret, first daughter of Mr. Sharkey, was wed to
Robert Kirkham, and they were the parents of the following
Lemhi County residents: Mrs. Paul (Beth) Albertson,
Mrs. Gilbert (Margaret) Rucker; Mrs. Sam (Olive) Langfitt, and
Frank Kirkham, now deceased.

Maggie, as she was affectionately known, was a practical
nurse and midwife. Many members of homes in the valley, had
reason to be very grateful for her tender ministrations.

Mr. Kirkham arrived in the valley with George Barrows who
settled at Leadore, and also a Mr. Spencer who lived at
"Seventeen Mile" on the old Reservation. His daughters were
Mildred, wife of Frank Havemann, Salmon hardware merchant,
and Berniece married Eddy Malloy, a railroad conductor.

War Mothers, Red Cross Workers, and Teachers at Leadore taken in 1917
or 1918 . . . during a Liberty Bond Drive.

Back Row, I to r Maggie McRea, Molly Waugh, Cora Reddington, Grace
Grossman, Anna Burns, O. S. Johnson, Myrtle Burr, Alma Reddington,
and Susie Lee, Middle Row, Kate Lydon, Mrs. Currie,Anna Saline,
Cornelia Yearian, H. K. Biegler, Mrs. Churchill, Mrs. McFall, W. B. Hart,
Julia Keating. Front Row, Patty Lipe, Mary Tobias, Maude Butts,
Mrs. Pierce, Minnie Proulx, Florence Chase, Hattie Bohannon,
Mrs. Lunney and Mrs. Cole.

Author's Note: I am grateful to Mrs. Baker for telling some
of the early history of the area adjoining the Upper Valley. It
is not possible to recall nor mention all who came. Mrs. Oberg
and other historians have written much of the Lemhi Agency
story, so with a "thank you, Dorothy", I shall continue my bit
of history, interspersed with more of Mrs. Baker's writings-

Steven Chandler, Cora Reddington, Lois
Chandler two of her great-grand

Because the lower Lemhi Valley and Salmon River area were
settled many years before Junction, the Indians had lived there,

History of early Idaho reveals that there were many buffalo,
as well as an abundance of other wild game and fish, both salmon
and steelhead trout to provide the Indians' food. The natural
meadows provided feed for their horses, so they felt free to roam
the entire valley.

Lewis and Clark had long since explored the country seeking
an outlet for the coastal fur industry. The buffalo gradually
disappeared, and with the coming of the white man, as settlers,
the Indians migrated some to Montana, some to Fort Hall, while
some remained in the valley. Today, there is an Indian Village
in the outskirts of Salmon.

Alex Cruikshank, who was well known around Junction,
lived in "Cruikshank Canyon", now Railroad Canyon, later
moved to Junction, was a scout for the U.S. Army, under
General Howard's command. He related a story," Chasing Hostile

Indians" which was published in the Salmon City Recorder; and
later included in Pearl Oberg's book, "Between These

A brief incident of residents of Junction encountering the
Indians follows: One morning when John Clark went to get
his milk cows at the beginning of Bannock Pass, now Railroad
Canyon, he saw forty Indians coming down the Creek, now
known as Junction Creek, led by Chief Joseph. He gave the alarm,
and everyone was excited trying to get to the stockade.

Among them was Grandma Clark, who it is reported had
a pan of bread set to "rise". In her haste, she grabbed the pan
of dough, rushed out to mount a horse, and it is said she mounted
him with her face toward his rear end.

The Nez Perce Indians wanted the people to come out of
the stockade, but the people refused the command. The Indians
left the same day for Nez Perce Canyon, where it is said they
built fortification. It is believed if the Indians and white men
had met, there would have been a slaughter of white men.

One more incident as related, and then let other historians
write of the Indian, their coming and going.

Indians who lived in the Lemhi Valley included I
covering the top and Archie Noppo.

Coo-ey, Ten Wingo, the wife of Chief Tendoy in her dress with string of elk's teeth

Blackfoot Indians came through Railroad Canyon. Uncle
John Yearian, Kenneth's father, and Charlie Lee, Oran's father,
were scouts camped in a swamp south of Jake's Ranch. They
had used cardboard to represent a man, covered with red spots,
holding a white flag. This apparently frightened the Indians who
left, going over the Spring Creek Mountains and they were never
heard from again.

"Our Indian Brothers"
Written and Contributed by Dorothy Pyeatt Baker

The Lemhi Reservation was abandoned in July 1907 by the
last of Bannock and Shoshone Indians, when they were moved
to Ft. Hall. They enumerated at 474 sad and distrustful souls.

Not finding conditions any better in their new government
home, many of the families started drifting back to their ancestral
valley. They depended on the pioneer families for friendship and

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Online LibraryClara ProulxEarly history of the Upper Lemhi Valley → online text (page 2 of 4)