Idaho History December 10, 2017

Knox, Valley County, Idaho

Knox during Thunder Mountain Rush

source: The Thunder Mountain Story, Publisher: Idaho State Historical Society
Free e-book:
[h/t SMc]
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Knox Time Line


John Wesley Knox prospected in the Warm Lake area. The mining company that bought his and his partners claims named the way station “Knox” after him.

Ca 1898

Charles C. Randall filed a mining claim, built the first structures, and began to rent lots to others as Knox became a major stop for miners taking the Thunder Mountain Road into Roosevelt. In 1904 he was postmaster at Knox. For a short time the site was called Randall. Randall filed a homestead entry on Knox in 1909 but didn’t get it patented. He operated a hotel, store, and stable. The town served about 200 people. He left about 1912.
From notes in the Knox file at the State Genealogical Library, author unknown.


Dewey obtained public funding to rebuild a pack trail into a wagon road from Crawford (E. of Cascade) to Knox (NW of Warm Lake). The road was not completed until 1904.
Source: Rivers & Rails p28 & 29.


Knox had a post office.
From History Of The Boise National Forest p145 & Trails of the Frank Church – River Of No Return, p 292.

1905, Aug.12

T. J. Little killed Charley Hanlen at Knox when Hanlen went to clean out the Little camp and Little protected himself and property. Later Little convinced the court in Idaho City that it was self-defense and he was acquitted. One of Hanlen’s acquaintances was surprised that Hanlen lived as long as he did.
From the Aug. 26, 1905 The Prospector and Thunder Mountain News, Roosevelt ID.

1905, Nov. 17

A post office was established at Thunderbolt with Wm. L. Standatler as postmaster. It was discontinued Sept. 29, 1906 with Knox as the nearest post office.
From the book Post Marked Idaho. Apparently this was the mine/mill site on Cabin Cr. four miles north of Paradise Valley.


Gold Bar Placer plotted on Cabin Creek, the mill & mine. Knox had 50 people. (BLM) John Wesley Knox, John Reeves and Elmer Bell had sold to the Trappers Flat Mining and Milling Company of Nampa Idaho.
From Bob Barr audiotape


Bill & his wife (Aunt) Molly Kesler moved to Knox and later built the Warm Lake hotel (between the existing lodge and the lake).


LaVells L. Bush was Knox postmaster
(from the book Post Marked Idaho and reported in the Warren Times newspaper).


The first telephone line construction began on the former Payette National Forest with the purchase of a private line from Crawford to Knox. In 1910 Knox was connected to Stolle Meadows and adjacent places.
Source: History of the Boise National Forest p127.

Nov. 3, 1910

An Emmett Examiner article this date states, “ A message was received last evening that C. A. (Arthur) Cline (Billy Kline on USFS sign at Warm Lake) was found dead on the streets of Knox yesterday.” Arthur Cline was his legal name on the 1905 homestead applications with the USFS. His grave is north of the junction of the Warm Lake Highway and Stolle Meadows road. He had farmed the area by raising potatoes and hay. Irrigation water was obtained from a ditch that carried water from Warm Lake (at beach area to his farm). He did not complete the requirements to qualify for a homestead (USFS). Kline Mountain west of Warm Lake was named after him. He raised potatoes for sale to the miners on about 20 acres. The 1910 census of the Roosevelt precinct gives his age as 51 so he was born in 1859. Retired Ranger Val Simpson says Cline had been badly injured in a blasting accident at Thunder Mountain. From the Idaho World weekly newspaper at Idaho City on July 15, 1910 is the following article “Blown Out Of Tunnel, Report comes from Crawford that a Mr. Cline was brought in there from a hundred miles out in the mountains the other side of Knox pretty badly shot up. He was running a tunnel and was in 25 feet. He put in three shots of dynamite and two of them worked all right. He went to see what was the matter with the third and just as he reached the breast of the tunnel the last shot exploded, blowing Mr. Cline clear out of the hole. He was badly cut about the face, head and body and a number of stitches were necessary to sew him together again, but the doctor has hopes he will recover. Owing to the phone lines being down we were unable to get further details.” He died 3.5 months after the blasting accident.


Daniel D. Robnett filed a new homestead entry on the Knox property. He built a log house and barn. Several acres were fenced and cultivated. Most of the older structures were not used. It is unknown why he left without obtaining a patent in 1916.
From the State Genealogical Library file on Knox.

Spring 1914

The Reed family moved to a farmstead on the South Fork, 20 miles north of Knox.

1915 May 20

The land contest at Knox of Wm. Kesler vs D. A. Robnette was tried before commissioner F. S. Logue at Thunder yesterday. The evidence was all submitted and the commissioner will render a decision in a few days (Cascade News). Bill & Molly Kesler bought 8 buildings and their home from a fellow they thought was the owner. A year later Robnette appeared and claimed title to all 9 buildings. Molly ran him off the place and down the road 3 miles where he took refuge with an old miner. They thought there was to be a future for Knox. They were fleeced and the “fleecer” was gone.
Source: Boise Statewide newspaper Jan. 24, 1947 titled “Molly of the Mountain”.


Daniel D. Drake took up residence at Knox and filed the third homestead entry in 1918. The patent was granted in 1922. Drake operated the lodge and later built a new lodge “Drakes Lodge”. He was a packer too. In 1929 he sold the place to Benjamin H. Seward.

June 1919

Dead Shot Reed at the Reed homestead site 20 miles north of Knox shot and killed George Krassel.
Cascade News June 27, 1919.

1919, Sept. 19

Jesse Thompson age 14 was accidentally shot while shooting salmon near Knox.
Cascade News


Clayne Baker’s grandfather Howard F. Baker built the Baker cabin on lot 1, on the east side of the lake. The logs were from a cabin at Knox that they bought. Burt Bostwick, a mountain man and prospector, lived at the Baker cabin for a time starting in 1926.
Clayne Baker oral history


The road was constructed from Knox down the South Fork of the Salmon River.


The road was constructed up the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River.


Benjamin H. Seward bought the Drake property at Knox. He operated a lode mine on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and headquartered his outfitting operation at Knox. His lodge burned down in the early 1930’s. He and assistant Frank Forbes constructed a new (the existing) lodge in 1934-35. In the winter Seward delivered the mail to Yellow Pine by dogsled. He sold out in 1946.

March 1939

Knox Lodge was open, snow was shoveled off roofs of all cabins at Warm Lake.
Cox book


Knox ranch was purchased from Seward by Charles R. and Constance Reineke and the family owned it until 1976.
Genealogical Library file on Knox


Knox population estimated at 10, Warm Lake population at 8.
Source: Gazetteer of Cities.


Knox ranch was purchased by Bud Hoff of Hoff Lumber Co.
from Ramona Reineke.


Knox ranch was traded to the USFS for other land by Hoff Lumber Co. Knox went through three broad historical phases. First was the initial settlement by miners and transients. Second the historical establishment of a homestead and development as a town serving the travelers to the Thunder Mountain and Roosevelt area. Third was the decline due to improvements on road travel, decreased mining, and growth of tourism in the area.
(Genealogical Library notes) From Carolee Fogg’s senior seminar paper on Knox Ranch, 2000.

Excerpted from: Warm Lake History by LeRoy Meyer

Randall’s Transfer


C. C. Randall, Randall’s Transfer, Knox P.O. Store; Feed Barn, Wm. Howel, Manager; Post office history places Knox 25 miles NE of Cascade.

source: source: Valley County Idaho Gen Web Thunder Mountain News
[h/t SMc]
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Knox, Idaho Post Office

Established April 5, 1904, by Charles C. Randall
La Velle L. Bush, May 6, 1907
closed June 30, 1908 mail to Thunder (rescinded)
discontinued Oct. 15, 1908 mail to Thunder
25 miles NE of Cascade, SE Sec. 2, T15N, R6E.

source: Valley County GenWeb
[h/t SMc]
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The Packers’ Rest – Knox

J. Kelly & L. McShane, Knox Post Office

source: Valley County GenWeb Thunder Mountain News, April 22, 1905
[h/t SMc]
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Knox in 1905

1905 photo, Univ. of Idaho Library digital collection, Idaho Cities and Towns.

source: University of Idaho
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From the August 26, 1905 Issue of the The Prospector and Thunder Mountain News

T. J. Little Acquitted

T. J. Little, who killed Charley Hanlen at Knox on the 12th inst (abbreviation for instant, the present or current month), was given a hearing before James McAndrews Monday.

The State was represented by F. W. Whitcomb and T. J. Hanlen was represented by W. H. Parkett.

The case was called for trial at …… consumed and part of the evening. There were seven witnesses examined: Frank Gregory, E. Tennyson, John W. Brooks, Tom Moore, Ed Aldrich, and Thomas Nicholson, all of Knox, and Charley Myers of Roosevelt. The testimony given proved it to be a onesided affair although and was in defendant’s favor and he was acquitted. The evidence was clear that Hanlen went down to clean out the camp and get what he could. Mr. Little only done what any other man should do and that was to protect himself and property.

When it was definitely learned here Sunday that the trial would come up Monday there was a man in town who crossed the plaines in ’72 with Hanlen who made it a point to go fishing to avoid the trial, and expressed himself as being surprised at Hanlen living as long as he did.

Hanlan was tried in Salmon in ’97 for shooting at a man. He finally won out. This is enough to show he was hunting human scalps.

We congratulate Mr. Little in protecting himself and property.

source: Warm Lake History by LeRoy Meyer
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Trails and Roads


… 1925, the former Payette National Forest, in cooperation with the private Yellow Pine Syndicate, constructed a road from Knox down the South Fork of the Salmon River, and it was continued in 1928 up the East Fork of the South Fork. The forest and the syndicate shared the work and costs on a 50-50 basis. A double shift was used in the work on the Knox-South Fork road, believed to be the first double-shift road construction in the Forest Service’s Intermountain Region. Two carbide floodlamps and twelve Coleman lanterns were used on the night shift. Much of the road work in the next decade was done by Civilian Conservation Corps workers…

source: History of the Boise National Forest 1905-1976 By Elizabeth M. Smith
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East Fork South Fork Trail

by Ron Smith

Before the trail, 1920

Lafe Cox and Ron Smith with last pack horses to come over East Fork Trail at Caton Creek. The Road Crew blasted the trail into the river after we returned from packing camp to Deadman Bar for right-of-way cutters, 1952.

Story and more photos: Valley County GenWeb
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“… There were two main routes into the upper end of the South Fork. The best was from the town of Cascade east through the old towns of Crawford and Knox. From Knox travelers could come down the river onto the District.”

excerpted from: “Bury My Soul at Krassel Hole” – A History of the Krassel District, Payette National Forest by Tom Ortman 1975
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Angel Flight Trail

by John S. Sumner

Angel Flight was the very steep old road between Trout Creek Summit and Knox near where the present Idaho Power line runs. The name of the stream there was Cabin Creek. The present road now goes over Warm Lake summit about 6 miles to the south east. Most of the map names and designated historic places, such as Angel Flight Trail, Cabin Creek Route, Thunderbolt Mill, and Halfway house cabins, appear to have been eliminated by the U.S. Forest Service in more recent years. … An easement to the historic Angel Flight Trail and the Cabin Creek Route, which was the earliest access to Yellow Pine, has been given by the U.S. Forest Service to the Idaho Power Company for use of their power line (not “Telephone Line” as shown on the U.S. Forest Service maps) in the Yellow Pine region.

Excerpt from pg 101 “Yellow Pine, Idaho” compiled by Nancy Sumner
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On the Route to Thunder Mountain

From the west, especially later, Cascade was the starting point (Cascade, in time, absorbed Thunder City, Crawford and Van Wyck), and they passed through Knox, beyond the south fork of the Salmon, and Landmark.

Excerpted from: The Ghosts Walk Under the Water by Faith Turner from “Scenic Idaho”, Winter 1954
[h/t SMc]
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1940 Map


Benjamin H. Seward place at Knox near Warm Lake
(click map to go to source, larger size)

source: Valley County, Idaho Published by Metsker Maps in 1940, Page 042 – Township 15 N., Range 6 E., Payette national Forest, Salmon river
[h/t SMc]
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Knox 2007

On August 13th, 2007, the Cascade Complex wildfires – in Central Idaho – overran a fire camp [at Knox] where several hundred firefighters and support personnel were camped.

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Knox in 2012

photo credit Local Color Photography 08-17-2012
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Knox Trivia

So, did you know that Paul Bunyan has an Idaho connection? Stories about Paul Bunyan and his giant blue ox, Babe, circulated around lumber camps across the country for decades before anyone thought to write them down and publish them. Eventually, many people did. One of the best-remembered tellers of those tales was author James Stevens who spent much of his childhood in Idaho. Sinclair Lewis called Stevens “the true son of Paul Bunyan.”

Stevens was a soldier in France during World War I. He did more than fight, though. He published his Paul Bunyan stories in Stars and Stripes.

After the war he knocked around the country as an itinerant laborer, educating himself in local libraries wherever he went. He published poetry in Saturday Evening Post, and more Paul Bunyan stories in American Mercury.

Stevens’ 1945 novel Big Jim Turner, about an itinerant working man and poet who grew up around Knox, Idaho (now a ghost town), has many autobiographical elements in it.

His best-known work, though, is probably his Paul Bunyan book (pictured), published in 1925. Stevens died in Seattle in 1971.

source: Rick Just Speaking of Idaho

Link: Thunder Mountain / Roosevelt History index page

page updated Nov 11, 2020