Clara Proulx.

Early history of the Upper Lemhi Valley online

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protection. Many of them worked in the hayfields, bringing their
families, horses and household goods with them every summer.
The Edmos, Nappo Brothers, Arrowites and Backles, were among
those who never gave up their "home".-Some descendants, to
this day, live in the Indian Camp at Salmon.

While the men worked for the ranchers, the squaws made
buckskin gloves and moccasins, which they sold or traded for
supplies or more deer hides. They and their children, gathered
sarvisberries, chokecherries, and any tame berries growing on the
ranches. They, then, appeared at the housewife's door, wanting
to trade her own gooseberries or raspberries back to her, for
sugar or flour.

The arrival of "our" Indians in the spring was a highlight
in the life of the author. I was always fascinated to learn that
a camp could be erected in a very short time from the travaile,
and packs from backs of horses. My nearest neighbor playmate
was two and a half miles away, and it was a great occasion when
I had a companion. I often slipped away to the Indian Camp
in the grove, in the horse pasture, to play. I well remember
"heading home" in front of a willow switch. I probably set a
record for that quarter of a mile, at least, twice a day. My mother
was always relieved when school started in the fall, and the Indian
children moved on.

Another chore, done by the children and squaws, was to
cut and haul greasewood and sagebrush for their cooking fires,
to smoke meat and the preparation of deer hides to be made
into buckskin. They loaded both the horses and travailes, hauling
wood each day. The smoldering campfires gave off an acrid
smoke which will never be forgotten by anyone who was ever
"downwind" from it.

There seemed to be a great affinity between chickens and
the Indian Camps on the ranches. Somehow, quite a few old
hens, young fryers and apparently healthy roosters seemed to
wind up in the camp just before they suffered the fatal heart

The men also fished in the Lemhi River and its
"cricks"-much of their catch was dried on racks in the sun for
winter use - making "char-qui" or "jerky".

T. I. and Sarah Stroud on their 50th Wedding Anniversary

The 4 Sharkey sisters, Olive, Helen,
Adele, and Claire taken at a reunion in
Twin Peaks Park, the first time together
in 16 years.

Annie and Will Vreeland


Post Office and Stage Office at Lemhi. (?)

John A. "Buck" Reddington
& Peggy

The High House in Junction,
Roxie, and Ray Tingley, the visitors.

Joe Murphy and Don Pyeatt

Last freight wagon near Lemhi in 1910.

In the 1920's, when the government had a fish hatchery
on the Lemhi River, just above the Lemhi Store, the Indians
camped there. As the Salmon spawned and died, they were
retrieved by the squaws and children to be dried. Present day
ecologists would not have approved of this practice, as the odor
was orrendous, and it seemed that every fly in the state was
attracted there.

)enny Napo, widow of Joe Nappo died during the 1960's
in the camp at Salmon, and was buried according to tribal rites.
From her calculations of the "snows", she had seen, she was
well over one hundred years of age. She was very crippled and
blind, but told those whom she trusted enough, to talk to her
in her "own tongue", that she must die in her "home". The
young in her family, venerating their matriarch, made it possible
for her to have her wish.

The Indians instinctively feared having their picures
taken - the belief being that their spirits or souls would be stolen
from them, by the "little black box." After being exposed to
Christian Missionaries, their attitude changed somewhat. They
soon learned that they could ask for, and receive "napias"
(money), by posing for the shutter bugs. Their price soared as
they had more knowledge of the "white man's" economy, and
tourists have been charged quite heavily for being allowed to
pose with a " real live Indian". The tourists were also "built in"
customers for their beaded moccasins, gloves and other

f^? - ^

Joe Murphy, Alex Cruikshank,
and Ankar Amonson in the ce,

Maemie and OIlie Reddington

In the winter of 1898, white men brought smallpox to the
reservation and school at Lemhi, and the Indians having no
natural immunity to the disease, died in great numbers. Their
dead were buried in the cliffs, above the Lemhi River, with full
regalia and ceremonial trappings. In a few years, the white
souvenir hunters, not fearing the disease, dug up and removed
most of the pipes, burial headdresses, and other tribal symbols
that had been placed there at burial. The Indians never returned
to these graves, as they feared the " great sickness" still lived

Events and Incidents Which May Cause Laughter or Tears

No history is complete without relating some of the
incidents^ both funny and sad, that were either experienced, or
were related by those having the privilege of knowing the
characters. Such have been passed down from the older family
menfibers to those of the first, second or perhaps third generation.

One records these as they come to mind, thus they may
not be In exact sequence as to date, place, or time. And in
relating these bits, no offense is meant either to the living or
the dead.

Junction's first Minister was Rev. Dell, who also had the
distinction of being the first minister in Lemhi County.

Dr. Mattaw was the first doctor.

While more is to be related about the schools, Vern Tingley,
as well as Sam Williamson taught in the first schools. Vern, later
became the first school superintendent of Lemhi County.

Cora Reddington, John A. Reddington,
and Elsa Reddington Chandler.


The following is written as it was related to me:

Ladies to the right, gents to the
left ....

About 1910, Ray Tingley, 15 year old son of Abbie and
Vern Tingley was on vacation at the John Reddington ranch.
In the fall, he wished to go back to Boise where he was attending
high school. "Grandma" Reddington suggested he catch a ride
to Red Rock, where he was to board the train, with Uncle Zeph
Yearian who was going there the following day. His mode of
travel was with a one horse cart.

When they arrived at Horse Prairie, Uncle Zeph announced
he was going to fish a few days. There was nothing for Ray
to do, but to trudge on, carrying his two suitcases. Finally a
rancher came along on his way to town for machinery repairs,
and offered Ray a ride.


His only money was a check which Uncle John Reddington
had given for helping with the haying. He tried unsuccessfully
to cash it. The telegraph operator allowed to send a message
to the folks in Boise who wired money back. He tried to get
a room at the hotel but it was full up, but gave him a bed
in a tent.

In the middle of the night two officers of the law came
in the tent, jerked him out of bed, and accused him of stealing
from a farmer nearby. It seems a circus had gone through the
day before, and one of the circus followers had robbed the
farmer. Ray, being a stranger and a young boy, was the one
accused. He finally convinced them that he was not guilty.

John and Maemie Ellis at the Lee Creek

The next day he proceeded on his journey, with a somewhat
bitter feeling toward Uncle Zeph, who without notice had
dumped him off in that out of the way place.

Cheryl Chandler, Cora Reddington, and
Steven Chandler, two of her great-grand

One of the saddest incidents occurred in 1883 which
affected the lives of some of Junction's best citizens. The story

In the winter of 1883, Rock Vezina and his wife, Eliza,
with three small children moved from Bannock to the Horseshoe
Mine on Spring Mountain, near Gilmore.

At the mine, three men worked the day shift, and three
worked the night shift, while Eliza cooked for them. The Vezinas
lived in the "cook house" which was built of logs, twelve inches
in thickness.

It was seven o'clock in the morning, two days before
Christmas. Eliza placed the year old David in his high chair and
sat down at the table to eat her breakfast. The other children,
William, aged five, and Jennie, aged three, were playing in one
corner of the cabin.

Rock was at work when the boss came running to report
that a big snowslide had occurred. The men dropped their tools,
and ran to find Willie and Jennie, in their nightclothes,
barefooted, outside shivering with cold, but unhurt. Willie said:

had been buried, and crushed to death, by the force of the slide.
The men, asleep in the bunkhouse were rescued uninjured.

Jennie grew to womanhood, marrying Ed Denny, Willie
married Amanda Carlson. Mrs. Vezina and little David were
buried at Spring Mountain. Later, the father. Rock remarried.

"Bannister Cemetery Restored by Leadore Grange"

Restoration of the Bannister Cemetery, one of the oldest
in Lemhi County, is being restored by the Leadore Grange,
assisted by the Bureau of Land Management, the County
Commissioners and Mr. Bud Bartlett County Maintenance
Foreman. The program of restoration and renovation includes
construction of a steel post and wire fence and the clearance
of sagebrush from the cemetery area.

The Bannister Cemetery is located ten miles east of Leadore,
near Highway 28, also near the old Bannister Townsite.
Bannister, was a stage station on the road from Junction to
Nicholia and Spring Mountain, both thriving mining towns during
the 1870's and 1880's."

Wilda Vreelond Foyle

"Granny" Vreeland was most colorful, not only a very kind
lady, but one with a bubbling sense of humor. When a friend
or a neighbor needed help, she was always there. She made
gallons of mince meat which she gave to residents of Junction
and neighboring communities. Large delicious loaves of bread
were baked by her, and offered for sale at 10 cents per loaf.
Two stories which point up her wit and humor are recalled for
you to share.

On one occasion, she observed that one of her neighbors
was dressed in such a manner that there was some transparency.
Another neighbor being present. Granny could not resist calling
the view to his attention. So, she requested the lady to bring
her a book from the book shelves, saying that the title had
slipped her mind, but if she would step to the bookcase, perhaps
it might be recalled. As the unsuspecting lady stood there.
Granny said "I know now, it is 'I See Clear Through'." Much
merriment must have resulted, even tho the lady with the
transparent skirt was unaware.

The other time, she had watched Jack Decker, Junction's
grocer, bury his "moonshine". She dug it up, holding the cache
high for him to see. He had a habit of grunting, perhaps
stammering, so while she laughed in glee, he went into his
customary grunting knowing well that she had won the day.

Hattle Grooms came west by train, with her parents at the
age of three. In 1888, with her parents she went to Nicholia,


Lester Allred and John Benedict.

4 generations, Vern, Jerry, Lois, and
Etna Chandler.

Joe Barrows, Jo
of us.

Four generations, Tom Chandler, Elsa
Chandler, Cora Reddington, and Cheryl

and there later they settled on the head waters ot the Lemhi
River. In 1891, she married Thomas Grooms and lived at
Gibbonsville and in 1896 they moved to Bannister where they
worked side by side on their mining claims. In T935 they moved
to Leadore. While working on the claims, she carried the mail
from Gilmore to Bannister for a period of fourteen months, using
snowshoes in the winter. She walked the four miles from Gilmore
to Bannister twice each week, rain or shine. At Leadore, she
walked to town each day. She was a member of the First
Methodist Church at Junction, and of the Susan Clark Circle
at Leadore. She was 92 when she passed away and is buried
in the McRea Cemetery.

During World War I, patriotism was very strong.
Communication was not as it is today so when any outstanding
news did arrive, sentiment ran high and was expressed. Came
the day of the Armistice, one of the lady residents rushed out
of the house, shouting "A/ar is Over", and waving a flag. She
was met in the yard by her husband who in similar excitement,
whipped out his gun, and fired it, the bullet piercing the flag.
Since it was an act of expressing joy at the war's end, no issue
was made of it.

The following is an excerpt from a letter written by Hazel
Ecker (now Mrs. Hazel Hine in April, 1956.)

"I often think of Idaho and the Lemhi Valley, having first
heard of them from my grandfather Stone (Elijah A. Stone) who
was U.S. Indian Agent at Fort Lemhi in the 'airly' days, so
that it did not seem entirely strange when Lenore (my mother)
and I visited Uncle Wilbur Stone in Leadore the summer of 1917.
My brother, Horace, had spent most of a year before that on
Uncle Wilbur's ranch and my sister, Marge, was later to teach
in the Leadore High School.

I remember our overnight stop at the Armstead (Montana)
Inn, the Sacajawea Monument there, and the announcement of
Andy Burnham (conductor of the Gilmore & Pittsburgh
Railroad), 'We are now crossing the Continental Divide'.

Altogether it was an idyllic summer, with Lenore and Uncle
Wilbur happy at being together after so many years, and I am
just happy with the exuberance of youth before life became a
serious matter. We fished at Hawley Creek Canyon, picnicked
with Irene Yearian and family, were dinner guests of Uncle
Wilbur's friends at Fort Lemhi and Gilmore, went dashing about
on canyon roads in the Model T, and one day I even rode the
range to the sheep camp. I had a standing invitation to drop
in at Dr. Hart's drugstore for ice cream (though conscience
prevented me from going too often because it was always "on
the house".) I remember the Saturday night movies with dance
following, and a young rancher named Lawrence McFarland who
kindly offered to see me home-but Uncle Wilbur dragged me
away with him and Lenore on the stroke of eleven.

Lenore and I loved the mountains around Leadore especially
when they loomed purple in the twilight.

Boys and girls of those days were not so very different than
the youngsters now.

There probably isn't a girl of any of the families mentioned
who did not hate long underwear, ugly brown or black cotton
stockings, and black sateen bloomers. High button shoes were

"something else ". Too what girl did not show delight at her first
pair of slippers, and when high heels were allowed, the world
was her "oyster".

Boys indulged in smoking even as they do now. What boy,
or even a girl or two, did not puff away on driftwood, or roll
his own using leaves or even barnyard dust.

An incident is recalled in the boyhood of John Reddington,
now familiarly known as "Buck". He, with Jim Stroud, had had
a busy day at play, and some exploration of Junction. Buck
arrived home very pale and very sick. He sought refuge by lying
down on the floor, back of the stove. After a miserable time,
his worry overcame his better judgment, so he pitifully inquired
of his mother (Cora) - "Does any body ever die from chewing

On an occasion when my brother John was needed at home,
his daughter Olive was sent to find him. After inquiries at several
places, she stopped in front of the saloon, asking Joe Bush,
standing near by, if he knew where her papa might b^. He told
her that he was in the "Dew Drop Inn", and Olive promptly
remarked: "You tell him to do drop out."

Some of the great cattle herds in Idaho were found in Lemhi
County. Today's finest registered herds were begun by the early
settlers, and these herds fed on the lush ranges of the upper

Among those who "rode the range", "bulldogged the
doggies", and really lived such as portrayed by the TV Westerns
were: Mike Myers, Newt Cooper, Alec Cruikshank, Don, Leo,
and Mac Pyeatt, Will Reese, Joe Murphy, Dolph Tillotson, Oscar
Amonson and George Barrows.

The Myers cabin and "Cruikies" place up Railroad Canyon
were their headquarters. Sour dough, salt back, coffee and cold
soda biscuits were their fare. Through sun and rain, these men
cared for their cattle from Queenie Lane to Yearian Creek.

visit a little while, take the merchandise or list. In crossing the
pass to Horse Prarie, the little train traversed next to the last
"Y" switchback in the United States. In the winter, the crew
and passengers all fell to and shoveled the G and P three drifts
over the Y.

The railroad was owned by the Northern Pacific, and
although it was named the Gilmore and Pittsburgh, it was soon
affectionately known as the "Get Out and Push."

The train hauled the cattle from the Lemhi Valley to the
railhead in Armstead, where connections were made to the
market in Ogden, Denver, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Chicago.

George Shoup, Charles Norton, Walter Brown, Don Pyeatt
and Morris Cottom were among those who built nationally
known herds of fine breeding stock.


The Gateway to the Great
SalrT)O0 Klver Couotry

The first cattle were driven into the valley from Montana,
or Corinne, Utah and were a bunch of tough brackle-faced
longhorns. After 1910, the government started allocating range
rights, and most of the ranchers decided to up grade the quality
of their cattle, and to sacrifice quantity.

Marketable cattle had been trailed to Red Rock, Montana,
to be loaded into freight cars for shipment to Eastern markets.

Pasture land was bought, fences were built and the day of
the cowboy was over. The range cow gave way to the purebred
dam, and fine blooded breeding bulls. Most of them were now
kept on the home places. Rivalry grew between the "white face"
people and the "shorthorn" producers.

With the advent of the railroad, the cattle business went
through another transition. Three times a week, the G and P
made its run from Salmon to Armstead, Montana, hauling cattle
out coal in, all needed supplies, and there was a passenger car.
Each rancher who wanted to mail a letter, send out a can of
cream, or to send a list of needed parts to the merchants in
Salmon, waited by the tracks.

Ed Hincs, Andy Burnham, Ed Lambert, Kenneth Yearian,
or whomever might be at the controls, would stop the train.

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Leadore Barber Shop


Reddington Roundup at Trail Creek

G & P engine arriving at the station.

Nostalgia for the old days on the range went to the grave
with the cowboys. His rope, saddle, rifle, chaps and his horse
were his most prized possessions. Many hours were passed,
remembering "this old cutting horse" or "that old roping horse".
Most of the stories told of the cowboy days, lose too much
by editing the vernacular, to be repeated here.

A way of life, a breed of men, and a phase of history,
passed into memory, with the advent of the Iron Horse,
government control and restriction. But from this early beginning
came a large portion of Idaho's wealth and industry.

In addition to the cowboys mentioned by Mrs. Baker, there
were Ike and Bronco Bill Williams, Sam Shelley, George Shelley
and Joe Barrows.

The Williams girls, Nettie, Dolly and Grace were fine
horsewomen, and rated nearly as "good as a man" breaking
horses or "bronc busters".

The following letter, received by me, when I sought
information on the Upper Valley schools, speaks for itself:

"Dear Friend:

Am enclosing four pictures, the one of Herb Hays and wife,
please return. The other three, you may keep, if you choose.
The one of my father and mother, is in front of the first house
they had on the ranch, with dirt floor. The other one was their
home all their lives. It was first just logs, then they put on siding,
and plastered inside. The other is Georgia holding our boy, which
we lost at two and one half years of age.

I feel at a disadvantage writing to you, since you are such
a good penman, Clair. In school, they made me write with my
right hand, but I was naturally left handed and I was taught
vertical, backhand, and Spencerian, the latter I never could get
the swing of. Even though, I took penmanship at Commercial
College, and when I studied pharmacy, too.

Just to pass the time, I am going to tell you, Clair, of early
day schools in our District. The school house was a log cabin,
located a short distance from our house, near the river bank.

There was plenty of brush along the river, and they had
no outhouses, so it was girls to the right, and boys to the left.
Imagine that. "In later years, my dad a trustee, and some of
the teachers put up a howl the way things were, and my dad
said-' It was good enough for my Nelie (Neler) so it's good
enough for you' Oh, Boy! Ha!

I used to go and build the fires for the teacher, two fires
for a nickel. Well, by golly, it kept me in chewing tobacco in
good shape.

Now, then, I'll tell you just how hard it was for me to
get what education I have. First, my dad kept me out of school
to help feed the cattle. I drove the team and load the hay, which
he pitched in, on and off. They had only from three to six month
terms, so my being out, I had to bring my books home to study.
I was eighteen before I finished the eighth grade, and that was
the year they graded the schools in the County, and I was
studying from about third grade to high school subjects. I was

bad in spelling and grammar. The teacher stayed at our house,
so they taught me high school work, and gave me examinations
in the various subjects.

So I kept my exam papers, and went to commercial school
in San Jose, California the year 1906, completed the course there,
and the following year, I went to Valparaiso, Indiana, to study
pharmacy. Now they required two years high school to enter.
When I showed the Professor my high school test and commercial
diploma, he looked me over and said: ' Anybody who wants
an education as bad as you, I'm giving you a chance'. So I got
my Pharmacy Diploma in two school terms. Clair, isn't that a
fabulous old time story.

One thing I'd add about Valpo, there were around 5000
there, and they had two large dining halls. The average cost per
meal was only 7f , not very good chow, so twenty of us got
a private boarding place for $2.00 per week, and good eats, too.

Kids of today never had it so good, buses, free milk for
the undernourished, etc.

I hear from Emma jane and Bertha now and then. They
worry about Phil. He has cough, maybe TB. They say he is so
weak, he can hardly fill his water master's job.

You know we have always been very close since kids |
together. I came close to being " sweetie pie " with Jane. Went 1
to dances, picnics and E. J. used to come down and ride the
range together. I took her up Hayden Creek Way, places where
there are no signs of man being there before. |

What a rich life we had, enjoying God's World! We were I
all poor then, including you and Frank, but so rich in our
destinies God has given us to enjoy.

Some time, I'll send you one of Bertha's letters. She is about
perfect in composing a friendly letter.

Hope you can decipher this scribbling all out.

Be good and keep happy and well!

"The Loaners"
Don j. Pyeatt
P.S. Give me an "A" for effort, Clair, Please! D"

Relative to the story in Mr. Pyeatt's letter about 'girls to
the right, boys to the left'; one of the former Trustees of that
District told the following about T. B. Pyeatt, also a Trustee.
It seems that after a visit of the County School Superintendent
to that school, Mr. Pyeatt received a letter regarding the
superintendent's findings and among the things found to be
necessary, was that out houses (or privies) must be built. i
Mr. Pyeatt mounted his horse, slapping the horse's neck from
side to side, rode in haste to the home of one of the Trustees.
Waving the letter in her face, he said: 'just look a this-Now
there's forty acres of ' willers' there, and if they are good enough
for my Nelie, they are good enough for these kids.'

A prank of Don Pyeatt and Ross Tobias played on George
Yearian, known as 'Rabbit George' is related that George carrying
the mail from Junction to the lower valley, approached the bridge
crossing the Lemhi. Here he saw a hat rise up, and as it did

the horses bolted, scattering mail and George about. The boys
had placed the hat on a pole, hiding under the bridge, decided
to play a joke on George. Fortunately he was not injured, but

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Online LibraryClara ProulxEarly history of the Upper Lemhi Valley → online text (page 3 of 4)