Monthly Archives: March 2018

Road Reports March 28

Note: Winter road conditions change quickly. It is “Rock Migration” season! Be prepared for icy roads, snow at high elevations and rocks/trees falling in the road. Please share road reports.

Yellow Pine: Local streets are “breaking up” into slushy ruts during the afternoon, then freezing up during the night. Bare patches are much larger. Click for Local Forecast.

Warm Lake Highway: (Mar 28) mail truck driver (Ray) says the highway is mostly bare, just a little snow/ice over the summit.
Big Creek Summit SNOTEL station 6580′

South Fork Road: (Mar 28) mail truck driver said the South Fork is nearly bare, even the upper end has ruts showing pavement.
Tea Pot Weather Station 5175′

EFSF Road: (Mar 28) mail truck driver said the worst part of the road is from Harriman’s cabin to Yellow Pine, ice and ruts. Not many rocks to dodge today.

Lower Johnson Creek Road: (Mar 23) from Yellow Pine to the Transfer Station – slushy ruts, rough road.
Upper Johnson Creek Road: Closed at Landmark for winter to full sized vehicles.
The elevation at Landmark is 6,630 feet
Snowmobile Trail Report: No current report, conditions have changed.
Last groomed by county Jan 11th: “Johnson Cr Rd – Landmark to Wapiti Meadows”
Johnson Creek Airstrip Webcam:

Lick Creek: Closed for winter to full sized vehicles.
Trail Report: No current report, conditions have changed.
Note: The elevation at Lick Creek Summit is 6,877 feet

Profile Creek Road: Closed for winter to full sized vehicles.
Trail report: No current report, conditions have changed.
Note: The elevation at Profile summit is 7607 feet.
Big Creek Webcam:

Yellow Pine to Stibnite: No current report, conditions have changed.

Stibnite to Thunder Mountain: Closed at Stibnite with snow. Truck reported to be stuck for the winter on the other side of Monumental.
Note: The elevation at Monumental Summit is 8590 feet.
Trail Report: No current report, conditions have changed.

Big Creek to Elk Summit to Warrens Road: Closed.
Note: The elevation at Elk Summit is nearly 9000 feet.

Deadwood Summit: No current report.
Note: The approx elevation at Deadwood Summit is 6,883 feet.
Deadwood Summit SNOTEL station 6860′

March 25, 2018 The Yellow Pine Times

March 25, 2018 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho

Village News:

USFS Rx Fire Meeting in Yellow Pine

There was a meeting on Friday March 23 at the Community Hall to discuss with the PNF their plans for Rx Fire north of the village. Local concerns about our drinking water drainage were expressed. They will not burn within 300 feet of the creek.

If anyone took notes during the meeting please share! Will share info when it becomes available.

See map below. It is the area inside the red line north east of the village (not all of the pink) they plan to treat. The description of the area (from the original email) is:

“We are planning on burning the block of the Bald Hill Project that is directly to the north of Yellow Pine this spring. This block starts to the west of Boulder creek and ends on the ridge past Quartz creek. It comes down to the FS boundary on the south near Yellow Pine and this time of year we will most likely be using snow as the northern boundary.”

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“Bowling Alley” – Again

March 23 8am report: “The bowling alley is blocked by an extra large boulder this morning, Midas is on the way down with their big loader to move it. I am heading down to start work on clearing the rest but as of now no traffic can come in or out.” – Matt

The guys must have gotten the road open as the mail truck made it in on time Friday, Ray said he had a good trip.
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Transfer Station

A report March 24 that the dumpsters had been emptied recently. Easy to get in and out in 2 wheel drive. However, the road from Yellow Pine to the dump is rutty, slushy and rough.
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April 1st, the Easter Potluck will be held at The Corner.
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Long Island Iced Tea Party

Saturday, April 21st at 3pm, Filler’s front yard. Join us as we celebrate 10 years in Yellow Pine! Everyone is invited. Snacks are welcome.
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Blow-down Update

The Cascade Ranger District (BNF) is responsible for burning the slash piles from the blow-down cleanup. Last word is they will be burning either this spring or late fall. Will update when more info becomes available.
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Yellow Pine Tavern

Watch all of your favorite sports on our Big Screen TV at the Yellow Pine Tavern. Open 9am to 8pm (or later on game nights.) Jukebox is up and going.
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The Corner

The Corner is open for Breakfast and Dinner with prior arrangements. Typically breakfast is served between 5 and 6 am with dinner between 6 and 7 pm. The Corner Store is open as well, just call for grocery needs, fresh produce, eggs, meat etc.
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Winter Water Advice

It may feel like spring but the ground is still frozen down deep. To help prevent frozen water, avoid parking over buried water lines, allow the natural snow cover to insulate the ground. Driving over the lines will also push the frost deeper and can result in frozen pipes. Also, don’t plow the snow over where water lines are buried, and avoid covering up water shut off valves.
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Be Predator Aware

Bears will be coming out of hibernation soon. No recent reports of coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bobcats or cougars hanging around. Please don’t leave pet food outdoors.
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H-Fest Meeting March 28

March 28 Festival meeting at 1pm at the Yellow Pine Tavern. Everyone welcome this is a preliminary meeting so please come if you are in town.

Our next meeting will be April 19th with both Dawn and Lorinne attending so hope to get everything together at that meeting.

2018 Fest

The 2018 festival T-shirt contest is now open! All entries must include the year (2018) and the festival name “Yellow Pine Festival” in the design Entries must be received by Friday, May 18th, 2018. The prize for the winning design is $100! Multiple designs by the same artist can be sent in.

Hint: these shirts are screen prints, simpler designs stand out better. Submit your entry by email to Marj Fields at fieldsmarjie @
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YPFD News:

Fire Safety Tips for Winter

Keep your chimney clean to prevent flue fires, YPFD chimney brushes are available for local use, check with Cecil to borrow them. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detector is working. Never leave a portable electric heater unattended. Fire extinguishers should be charged, visible and easily accessible.

There are YPFD T-shirts, as well as YPFD patches and stickers for sale at the Tavern now.

Training and fire siren testing will resume in the spring.
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VYPA News:

Next meeting June 2018
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Winter Propane Tips

Keep the snow cleared around propane lines and pipes leading from your tank to the house. The weight of snow sliding off roofs can cause leaks that can result in fire. Make sure you have a CO detector with working batteries.

Amerigas Phone: (208) 634-8181
Ed Staub & Sons Phone: (208) 634-3833
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Diamond (Kennedy) Fuel & Feed

We carry most varieties of Diamond Brand Dog Food. We even have a new line by Diamond called Professional Plus which is a grain-free formula. It is only $29.99 per bag. We have FREE samples in the office if anyone is in the area they can swing by and pick up several samples. They make great day trip servings too when on the go. 208-382-4430
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Follow The Yellow Pine Times on Facebook (updated more often than emails)

Local Observations:

Monday (Mar 19) overnight low of 16 degrees, a few flakes of new snow, 10″ total snow on the flat. Chickadees, nuthatches, juncos and the resident pine squirrel visiting. Snow flurries off and on with bouts of sunshine during the afternoon, high of 44 degrees. A few cow elk were on the golf course at sunset. Light snowfall after midnight.

Tuesday (Mar 20) light snow during the night, 1/4″ new snow this morning, 10″ total snow, overcast and flaking snow. Juncos, nuthatches and chickadees visiting, a raven flying and calling to the southwest. Light snow fell all morning, no accumulation. Clarks nutcracker and two female hairy woodpeckers joined the smaller birds after lunch. Sunshine peeking through sucker holes in the cloud cover during the early afternoon, high of 46 degrees. Mostly cloudy at sunset. Stars out before midnight.

Wednesday (Mar 21) overnight low of 29 degrees, cloudy this morning and above freezing. Snow is difficult to measure, average 10″ old crusty snow with layers of ice. Lots of juncos running around, red-breasted nuthatches hanging upside down, chickadees flitting around, female downy and female hairy woodpeckers visiting and later a white-breasted nuthatch. Raven calling while flying over the village. Mail truck made it in on time, reports the EFSF road is getting pretty rough. Breezy cloudy afternoon, high of 48 degrees, blustery and dark clouds at sundown.

Thursday (Mar 22) started raining early this morning, overnight low of 34 degrees, average 10″ old snow on the flat. Clouds sitting down on the tops of the ridges, and mid-level fog belting the mountains. Juncos, chickadees, red-breasted nuthatches and a female hairy woodpecker visiting, later a male and a female downy. Steady light rain all morning and into the early afternoon. Snow ‘skeeters are out. Local streets are really mushy and slushy, staying in the ruts is a bit tricky. Stopped raining late afternoon and cloudy, high of 44 degrees. Cow elk on the golf course after sundown. Sprinkling after dark. Hard rain pounded down for a while.

Friday (Mar 23) a skiff of snow fell early morning, overnight low of 28 degrees, still the same old 10″ snow on the flat, broken cloud cover with sun shine and strong gusty breezes. Raven calling and flying over the village, chickadees, red-breasted nuthatches, female hairy woodpecker and juncos visiting. A mix of sunshine, dark clouds and little snow flurries mid-day. Blustery early afternoon, fast moving clouds and some sunshine, high of 44 degrees. Overcast late afternoon, flaking snow on and off. Elk out on the golf course at sundown. A few flakes of snow falling at dark. Probably didn’t snow much during the night, a few flakes on the deck after midnight.

Saturday (Mar 24) overnight low of 26 degrees, passing snowstorm this morning gave us 1/4″ new snow (10″ average old snow), ridges were socked in then started breaking up before 11am and some sunshine. Female hairy woodpecker, chickadees, juncos and red-breasted nuthatches visiting, later our local pine squirrel stopped by. Early afternoon it was partly cloudy and breezy, melting the little bit of new snow from this morning, high of 42 degrees. At dusk it was mostly clear and down to freezing.

Sunday (Mar 25) overnight low of 20 degrees, partly clear sky this morning, same old 10″ of snow on the flat but bare ground under trees, near buildings and patches on south facing hills. White-breasted and red-breasted nuthatches, a few chickadees, a female hairy woodpecker and a stellar jay visiting. The fat local pine squirrel showed up later. Sunny or filtered sun after lunch time and light breezes, high of 44 degrees. Around a dozen elk out by the crossroads this afternoon. Very nice sunny afternoon and quiet. Snow flurry before sundown. Elk on the golf course after sunset.

Idaho News:

Valley County imposes weight limits for large trucks

The Star-News March 22, 2018

Weight limits for large trucks have been imposed on most paved Valley County roads, the Valley County Road Department has announced.

The roads affected are marked with signs noting weight limits of 14,000 pounds per axle. Those roads include Farm to Market Road, Elo Road, West Lake Fork Road, East Lake Fork Road, Norwood Road, Mission Street, and Johnson Lane.

Other roads posted for weight limits include Heinrich Lane, Samson Trail, Rogers Lane, Paddy Flat Road, West Roseberry Road and East Roseberry Road, Scheline Lane, Lakeshore Drive, Cabarton Road and Gold Dust Road.

“These load limits will minimize damage from heavier vehicle loads using these routes during the freeze-thaw cycle,” Valley County Road Department Superintendent Jeff McFadden said.

The limits will be lifted when the roads have been determined to be stable after the spring thaw, McFadden said.

Call the road department at 208-382-7195 with questions.

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Former Valley coroner agrees to plead guilty

Hess charged with improper use of county vehicles

By Tom Grote for The Star-News March 22, 2018

Former Valley County Coroner Nathan Hess has agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of using county vehicles for personal gain.

Hess, of Donnelly, has signed a plea agreement that includes jail time, fines and community service. No date has been set for a hearing to have Hess enter his plea.

The plea agreement is on file with the Valley County Clerk’s office in Cascade.

The plea bargain was negotiated by Caldwell attorney Matthew Faulks, who was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case.

Valley County Prosecuting Attorney Carol Brockmann disqualified herself from the case because the county is a party to a lawsuit that also involves Hess.

Hess used his county-issued vehicle to take a body to a funeral home in Boise on Jan 16, 2017, for which he was paid $400, according to the charges.

Hess also used the county vehicle for his personal use between November 2016 and April 2017, court records said. Hess served as coroner between 2014 and May 2017, when he resigned.

The charges are punishable with up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for each charge.

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Cascade Medical Center installs sophisticated digital X-ray device

By Max Silverson for The Star-News March 22, 2018

The installation of a new digital X-ray means that the Cascade Medical Center has more advanced equipment than much larger hospitals in Boise.

“This hospital is as state-of-the-art now as any large facility,” Kevin Lenz of Turn-Key Medical Inc., a Meridian-based medical imaging company said. “This is the best equipment that’s out there.”

The new X-ray room and portable X-ray machine are both fully digital integrated systems that work faster, deliver less radiation and are less traumatic for patients, CMC Radiologic Technologist Kate Thier said.

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Wreck on U.S. 95 near NM sends two to hospital

The Star-News March 22, 2018

Two people were hurt and traffic was blocked for four hours last Thursday when a semi-truck and pickup collided on U.S. 95 west of New Meadows, the Idaho State Police Reported.

The accident happened about 4 p.m. March 15 near the Evergreen Forest sawmill, the ISP said.

William McMonigle, 73, of Mountain Home, was driving a 2007 Peterbilt semi southbound, and Carl Nichols, 76, of Council, was driving a 2009 Ford F150 pickup northbound, the report said.

McMonigle’s vehicle crossed over the center line and sideswiped the vehicle driven by Nichols. The Nichols vehicle then left the roadway and went down an embankment.

Carl Nichols was transported by ground ambulance to St. Luke’s Medical Center in McCall, where he was later released, a hospital spokesperson said.

Nora Nichols, 73, of Council, was a passenger in the Nichols vehicle. Nichols was transported by air ambulance to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, where she was scheduled to be discharged on Monday, a hospital spokesperson said.

Carl Nichols and Nola Nichols were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. McMonigle was wearing his seat belt, the ISP said.
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Idaho 55 Wreck

A two-car collision happened about 2 p.m. Saturday on Idaho 55 near the Brundage Mountain Resort turnoff west of McCall, the Idaho State Police reported. A vehicle driven by Matthew Vuturo, 42, of Boise, crossed the center of the road and struck a vehicle head-on driven by Jaclyn Truppi, 38, of Pollock. No one was injured but the northbound lanes of the highway were closed for about 2-1/2 hours, an ISP report said.
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Idaho 55 Wreck Injures Woman

Rescuers from the Cascade Rural Fire Protection District come to the assistance of Deidra Heiner, 26, of Jerome, after her car crashed last Friday on Idaho 55 near Smiths Ferry. Shown are first responders D.J. Bixler, Chief Steve Hull, Caleb Bruce and Brad Sayers. The wreck happened about 9:25 a.m. Friday when Heiner’s 2003 Mazda Protege left the roadway, struck a snowbank and rolled, landing off the right shoulder, an Idaho State Police report said. Heiner was taken by ground ambulance to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise where she was later discharged, a hospital spokesperson said.

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Moon, Gestrin unopposed in District 8 election

Thayn to face opponents in primary, general elections

By Tom Grote for The Star-News March 22, 2018

Two of the three members of the District 8 delegation to the Idaho Legislature will run unopposed for re-election.

No one filed candidacy papers by the state deadline to challenge Rep. Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly, and Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley.

That means Gestrin, owner of Long Valley Farm Service, is assured of winning a fifth two-year term in the Idaho House of Representatives

Moon, the owner of an engineering and surveying company, is assured of winning a second term in the House.

District 8 includes Valley, Boise, Gem, Custer and Lemhi counties.

Two candidates have filed to oppose Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett. Marla Lawson of Lowman will face Thayn in the May 15 Republican primary.

Conservative Party member Kirsten Faith Richardson of Letha will be on the general election ballot on Nov. 6. Thayn, a teacher and farmer, is seeking his fourth two-year term in the Idaho Senate.

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More people moving to Idaho’s ‘urban’ counties

The Idaho Department of Labor says Idaho’s population is continuing to shift from rural to urban counties.

KTVB March 22, 2018

Boise – More people are moving to Idaho’s most populous counties, according to a report Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the report, six urban counties – Ada, Canyon, Kootenai, Bonneville, Bannock and Twin Falls – had a combined population of 1,116,173, accounting for 75 percent of the growth in the state’s population and 65 percent of overall population.

The Idaho Department of Labor noted the continued “steady shift of Idaho’s population from rural to urban counties” between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017.

The state’s total population was estimated at 1,716,943.


Scam Alert:

What personal information are you sharing through social media quizzes?

By Tristan Lewis Mar 22, 2018 Local News 8

Idaho Falls, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – With the recent Cambridge Analytica data breach that obtained personal information from more than 50 million Facebook users, are you being careful about what you put out and do online?

Have you ever scrolled through Facebook and saw a quiz about what fruit best matches your personality? It might seem innocent enough, but clicking on that link could actually have you give out more personal info than you thought.

“One thing that we learned with these Facebook quizzes is that this is a hackers real way to get to you and what they’re doing is that they’re luring you into these quizzes and they’re getting information into your personal information,” Jeremy Johnson, The Eastern Idaho Marketplace Manager of the Better Business Bureau, said. “They’re also getting your friends information and who you’re friends with.”

What some of these hackers do is send whatever quiz you just took to your friends so then that they take the quiz and then steal their information as well.


Mining News:

Summer Internship Sustaining Our Skies

We Can’t Stop Staring at the Stars.

March 21 Midas Gold

Those of us who call Idaho home have the luxury of studying the night sky in all its glory. It is an experience we can’t take for granted. Therefore, we are thrilled to announce an opening for a summer intern to help us study sustainable practices for industry to use in reducing light footprints, so everyone can enjoy the night sky.

Internship Objective:

Produce a white paper with findings and suggestions on the application of “dark skies” technology and best practices as appropriate for a remote industrial setting.

Background on Midas Gold:

Midas Gold Idaho is an Idaho-based company currently in the permitting process for the Stibnite Gold Project (Project) in Valley County, Idaho.

The Project is in an area that has seen mining activity off-and-on over the last 100 years and has many legacies from mining that occurred decades ago. Midas Gold incorporated reclamation of the legacies remaining on site into the plan for the Stibnite Gold Project. The company’s philosophy is that modern mining can leave the site better than it is today. This vision is unique and this project can lead the way in bringing a more sustainable standard to the industry.

Work Description:

As a part of the company’s commitment to sustainable development and evaluating ideas on how to minimize the footprint of operations, Midas Gold is looking for a graduate-level student to prepare a white paper on the potential for applying modern technology and best practices in industrial lighting applications to reduce light footprints.

Research to include:

* What technology is used today in industrial settings to control light footprints?
* What are the best practices in industry? Are any companies currently applying advanced technologies or practices to reduce industrial light footprints?
* What predictions are there about the future of this technology? What might be possible soon?
* What regulations exist that constrict or inform lighting practices in industry (MSHA, OSHA etc)?
* Are there regulatory guidelines or standards that may prohibit implementing modern technology or practices?
* Proposal for implementing a Dark Skies Initiative for industrial settings to adopt best practices or receive certification

Title: Dark Skies Internship
Timing: June through August
Location: Boise or Valley County
Compensation: $24 hour, approximately 15 hours a week for three months. Flexible start time.
Contact: Mckinsey Lyon at

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Montana: miner violates “bad actor” law with past pollution

By Matthew Brown – 3/20/18 AP

Billings, Mont. — Montana officials singled out a mining company president as an industry “bad actor” on Tuesday, and said the company could have to reimburse taxpayers more than $35 million for past pollution cleanups if it wants to pursue two new mines in the state.

Hecla Mining Inc. and its president, Phillips Baker, Jr., who’s also chairman of the National Mining Association, were deemed in violation of a law that targets individuals and companies that abandon polluted sites. The alleged violations were first reported by The Associated Press.

A Hecla executive said the company intends to challenge the allegations.

Baker, who’s been a director at Hecla since 2001, was an executive for Pegasus Gold Corp., which went bankrupt in 1998 and left government agencies with a massive cleanup bill at its Montana mines, Montana Department of Environmental Quality Director Tom Livers told AP.

The Pegasus mines polluted surrounding waterways with cyanide, arsenic and other contaminants, prompting water treatment measures that may need to continue into perpetuity.


Public Lands:

Southwest Idaho spring prescribed fire burning planned

Contact: Venetia Gempler (208) 373-4105

Boise, Idaho, March 19, 2018 — Southwest Idaho interagency fire managers anticipate favorable spring weather conditions for planned low-intensity prescribed fires. Prescribed fires are designed to reduce hazardous vegetation (fuels), large wildfire potential to communities, and improve wildlife habitat.

Weather and conditions permitting, prescribed burns are scheduled to start in March and continue through June. Approximately 2,500 acres are planned for ignition in 10 project areas within the Boise National Forest.

Public and firefighter safety is always the first priority in all public land fire operations. Fire managers develop burn plans that account for safety, specific fuel and weather prescriptions and smoke management. All controlled burns are closely evaluated and are only approved when favorable conditions are present.

Prescribed burns may affect people sensitive to smoke and may impact access to burn areas and travel routes. Fire officials strongly advise forest visitors and homeowners to prepare and plan activities around the proposed dates and locations of burns and to use extreme caution near prescribed fire areas. Please be aware of firefighters and equipment in the area and on roadways, comply with posted notices and drive slowly in areas with decreased visibility.

Information and signs will be posted on roads that access burn areas in advance of ignitions and remain in place through burn completion.

The website is updated with information regarding southwest Idaho burn planned within Idaho Department of Lands, Bureau of Land Management and Payette and Boise National Forests.

The Boise National Forest prescribed fire hotline: (208) 373-4208.

Planned Boise National Forest spring prescribed burns include:

Idaho City Ranger District

* Alder Ridge (100 acres): located 1 mile north of Placerville, Idaho. This is a landscape burn (ground fire) using hand ignition to reduce fuel in the wildland urban interface.

* Amber (300 acres): located 2 miles east of Idaho City, Idaho. This is a modified tree well burn.

* Buckskin (200 acres): located approximately 3 miles east of Idaho City, Idaho.

* Little Ophir (100 acres): located 4 miles west of Pioneerville, Idaho. A landscape burn using hand ignition to reduce fuel in the wildland urban interface area.

* Mores South-Granite Creek (200 acres): located 3 miles east of Idaho City, Idaho. This is a landscape burn (ground fire) using hand ignition to reduce fuel in the wildland urban interface.

Cascade Ranger District

* Horsethief (360 acres): located about 1 mile east/northeast of Horsethief Reservoir. This burn involves helicopter and hand ignition to reduce fuels over the area and is within the wildland urban interface.

* Westside Restoration Unit 39 and 40 (consist of 25 acres each): This project is located on National Forest System (NFS) road 435 along West Mountain. It is approximately 10 miles west of Cascade, Idaho. This will be hand ignition to reduce fuels within the wildland urban interface

* Crawford (120 acres): located approximately 4 miles east of Cascade, Idaho adjacent to the Crawford Guard Station off NFS road 22 northeast of Davis reservoir and is within the wildland urban interface.

Mountain Home Ranger District

* Cottonwood II Rx (1000 acres): This project is located about 17 miles NE of Boise, Idaho along NFS roads 203 and 377.

Emmett Ranger District

* Lodgepole Springs Underburn (2424 acres): located approximately 14 miles north of Crouch, this will be a restoration under burn in the Silver Creek drainage north of NFS road 671.

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Boise smokejumpers prepare ahead of fire season

by Sarah Jacobsen Friday, March 23rd 2018

Boise, Idaho (KBOI) — “I actually had a whole other career in GIS mapping but I wanted something a little more physically challenging, but also mentally challenging,” says smokejumper Heidi Esh.

Smoke jumping – when you think of it, you may immediately imagine parachuting out of planes into wildfires.

“It’s definitely not an entry level position,” says smokejumper Gabriel O’Keefe. “Hot shot crews are definitely one of the biggest that we recruit from.”

These men and women are the first on the scene of remote wildfires.

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2017 CuMo Exploration Project Supplemental Information Report Errata is Now Available

Dear Interested Party,

This email is to inform you that the Boise National Forest recently completed an errata to the 2017 CuMo Exploration Project Supplemental Information Report (SIR). The SIR errata is now available on the 2018 CuMo Exploration Project webpage ( under the Assessment Tab. The errata corrected an error on page 10, replaced Figure 3 with the correct figure, added errata information on the title page and added an errata signature block on pg. 24. Changes are highlighted in yellow for ease of locating.

For additional information regarding the corrections made to the 2017 CuMo SIR , please feel free to contact me.

Melissa Yenko
Forest Environmental Coordinator
Boise National Forest
Phone: 208-373-4245
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BLM extends scoping period for Silver City Travel Management Plan

Date: March 23, 2018
Contact: Michael Williamson 208-384-3393

Boise, Idaho – The Bureau of Land Management is extending the public scoping period for the Silver City Travel Management Plan (TMP) environmental assessment an additional two weeks to April 13, 2018. This extension is in response to the project website being inaccessible by some users for short periods of time due to technical difficulties.

“This TMP effort is an example of working with our partners and the public to promote multiple-use activities on public lands, so it is important for us to allow enough time for comments,” said Acting BLM Owyhee Field Manager Lance Okeson.

The BLM encourages the public to use this scoping period to identify issues that may influence the environmental analyses or the range of alternatives to be analyzed. The public will also have an opportunity to provide comments on the environmental assessment prior to a decision being issued.

Detailed information on the Silver City TMP can be found at

Scoping issues are being accepted through the following means:

* Email:
* Fax: 208-896-5940
* Surface mail: BLM Owyhee Field Office, 20 First Ave West, Marsing ID, 83639

Those who provide feedback about issues are advised that before including their personal identifying information (address, email, and phone number) they should be aware that the entire statement – including their personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While those providing feedback can ask in their response to withhold this information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that they will be able to do so.

For more information, contact the BLM Owyhee Field Office at 208-896-5912.
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BLM Advisory Council to meet in April

Date: March 20, 2018
Contact: Michael Williamson 208-384-3393

Boise, Idaho – The Bureau of Land Management today announced it will hold a meeting of the Boise District Resource Advisory Council, demonstrating that partnerships and inclusion are vital to managing sustainable, working public lands. The public is welcome to attend the meeting which will occur on April 4, 2018 at 3948 Development Ave., Boise, ID, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Planned agenda items at the meeting will be the Wild Horse and Burro program, travel management planning, Fire program, Soda Fire rehabilitation, Tri-State and Soda fuel break projects, user conflicts and other field office updates.

“The RAC represents diverse public interests and provides invaluable input for managing our public lands,” said District Manager Lara Douglas. “Their feedback helps us make more informed decisions, resulting in better projects on the ground.”

A half-hour comment period, during which the public may address the RAC, will begin at 11 a.m. Depending on the number of people wishing to comment and time available, the amount of time for individual oral comments may be limited.

Resource Advisory Councils are critical in assisting the BLM in continuing to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve. The 15-member RAC provides advice and recommendations to the BLM on resource and land management issues within the BLM Boise District.

For more information about the upcoming RAC meeting, please contact Mike Williamson at (208) 384-3393 or
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Secretary Perdue Applauds Fire Funding Fix in Omnibus

Press Release No. 0064.18
Contact: USDA Press

(Washington, D.C., March 23, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today expressed his appreciation for the work of Congress to find a bipartisan fix for the way the U.S. Forest Service is funded for fighting wildfires. Secretary Perdue had advocated for the change since taking office in April 2017. Congress included the solution in the FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Package, which has been signed into law by President Donald J. Trump.

“The fire funding fix, which has been sought for decades, is an important inclusion in the omnibus spending bill and I commend Congress for addressing the issue,” said Secretary Perdue. “Improving the way we fund wildfire suppression will help us better manage our forests. If we ensure that we have adequate resources for forest management, we can mitigate the frequency of wildfires and severity of future fire seasons. I thank Congressional leaders, with whom I’ve frequently discussed this issue.”

The solution included in the omnibus provides a new funding structure from FY2020 through FY2027. Beginning in FY2020, $2.25 billion of new budget authority is available to USDA and the Department of the Interior. The budget authority increases by $100 million each year, ending at $2.95 billion in new budget authority by FY2027. For the duration of the 8-year fix, the fire suppression account will be funded at the FY 2015 President’s Budget request – $1.011 billion. If funding in the cap is used, the Secretary of Agriculture must submit a report to Congress documenting aspects of fire season, such as decision-making and cost drivers, that led to the expenditures. The omnibus includes a 2-year extension of Secure Rural Schools, providing provide rural counties approximately $200 million more per year. It also provides Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization. The legislation also includes seven important forest management reforms, including:


Letters to Share:

Real Good Project done


Hi all, real good project done yesterday. We had 15 folks turn out for grain bagging for pheasants and other birds yesterday. We dumped grain from small paper bags into tote bags to take and help with getting ground grain for the baby chicks, we will start getting day old baby pheasant chicks in April. We ended up with around 4 to 5 ton to go to feed birds. Great bunch of folks, the youngest was about 10 years old and the oldest was about 87. The rest was in between. We had pizza and donuts for breakfast and lunch. We all are looking forward for the fall grain season to start. Baby pheasant chicks are next. Get the brooders and the setting hens lines up. Those mom hens make the best brooders going.

Don’t forget the Free Day for Kids on April 7 at the Little Canyon Shooting Down at Peck Idaho.

The Gamebird Foundation
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Free Kid’s Day

Annual Free Kid’s Day Hunting and Shooting at Little Canyon Shooting Preserve at the Peck, Idaho Ranch. Watch for Directions Signs From Hwy 12 to the Ranch on the Free Day:

Saturday, April 7th 2018

Check in time 9am To 1pm – hunting, shooting all day!

Shoot at a 22 rifle range, practice on the clay shooting range, practice on the archery range with life size targets, and then go to the open fields where 3 pheasants will be released for each hunter. Each youth will be assigned a safety advisor and will hunt with a dog and handler. After each youth has been through once, if there is still daylight they may be able to go through again. The 22 small bore rifle range, clays, and archery ranges will be open all day or as long as we have shooters. There will also be tours of the bird hatchery.

There will be a complimentary lunch, and ammunition will be provided by vista outdoors in Lewiston. We have shotguns available for the younger hunters or you may bring your own. Remember, members and local sportsman will work dogs for the hunters and each youth will be assigned a safety advisor.


Idaho Residents: Hunters safety certificate and Idaho hunting license.

Non-residents: Hunter safety certificate and 502 class non-resident shooting preserve license (available on-site).

RSVP To let us know if you plan to attend

Call or email:

1-208-486-6235 lcs @

1-208-883-3423 jhag1 @ The Gamebird Foundation

Help us find kids who are our future hunters and leaders and will help preserve our great American outdoor tradition.

Critter News:

AmeriGas to give away propane to benefit MCPAWS

The Star-News March 22, 2018

AmeriGas is donating three 500 gallon propane prizes to benefit MCPAWS Regional Animal Shelter.

Tickets are on sale now for $10 each at the shelter, MCPAWS Thrift Store, and AmeriGas in McCall. Each ticket will be entered for a chance to win one of three grand prizes. All proceeds will benefit the cats and dogs at MCPAWS.

“This is such a fun and creative way to provide a donation to MCPAWS and also help the three lucky winners save a great deal of money on propane!” said Kattie Kingsley, Development Director at MCPAWS.

Tickets will be on sale until June 1 and the drawing will be held at the 20th Annual Bark! in the Park on Saturday, June 16 at Ponderosa State Park.

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Pet Talk – Essential oils and cats

By Dr. Karsten Fostvedt March 23, 2018 – IME

Essential oils are volatile organic compounds of plants that contribute to fragrances. They are extracted from plants by cold pressing and sometimes distillation. These oils can be utilized in so many ways. They are used in insecticides, personal care products, flavorings, aromatherapies and herbal remedies.

Cats are especially sensitive to the toxic effects of essential oils. These oils can be absorbed from the skin and oral cavity, and then metabolized by the liver. Unfortunately, cats lack an essential enzyme in their liver that destroys and eliminates essential oils, which then become toxins to the cats. The higher the concentration of the essential oil, the greater the risk to the cat. Dogs have the liver enzyme to destroy these essential oils, so they do not accumulate in the body and cause toxic problems.

Essential oils that commonly cause poisoning in cats are cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, pennyroyal oil, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, clove oil, citrus oil, birch oil and wintergreen oil. Symptoms of exposure to these oils include drooling, vomiting, tremors, incoordination and respiratory distress.

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Wolf Education International

Newsletter 3/19/2018

2 Mexican wolves found dead in Arizona

Washington Wolf Population Increases Only 6 Percent After 14 Wolves Killed in 2017

Campus officer shoots, wounds coyote at Cal State L.A. after it bites small boy, officials say
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Idaho moves ahead with possible grizzly bear hunting season

By Keith Ridler – 3/22/18 AP

Boise, Idaho — Idaho officials have started the process of opening a grizzly bear hunting season this fall that would allow the killing of one male grizzly.

The Fish and Game Commission in a 7-0 vote Thursday directed the Department of Fish and Game to gather public comments on the possible hunt.

The department will use those comments to draft a possible grizzly bear hunting season for the commission to consider in May.

“There would be a lot of interest in the possibility of a grizzly season,” Commissioner Derick Attebury said after the meeting. Attebury represents the portion of eastern Idaho where the hunt would occur

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Grizzly bears spotted along Rocky Mountain Front

3/20/18 AP

Great Falls, Mont. — State wildlife officials say grizzly bears have begun leaving their dens along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear management specialist Mike Madel said Tuesday that based on reported sightings and footprints, he estimates four or five bears are out.

Madel says the bears are out a little later than last year.

When bears first emerge they usually spend several days or weeks near their dens before moving down in elevation to search for food near rivers and streams.

People who live on ranches and in communities along the Rocky Mountain Front should take the normal precautions such as securely storing garbage and taking down bird feeders while recreationists are cautioned to carry bear spray.

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The Columbia Basin Bulletin

Weekly Fish and Wildlife News
March 23, 2018 Issue No. 866
Table of Contents

* Ninth Circuit Hears Arguments On More Spill For Juvenile Salmon/Steelhead At Columbia/Snake Dams

* Independent Science Board Reviews Two NOAA Experimental Spill Test Designs

* NW Power/Conservation Council Gets Numbers Rundown On Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Returns

* Corps Awards $321 Million Contract To Design, Build, Install 14 Turbines At McNary Dam

* Council Staff Lays Out High Priorities For Fish And Wildlife Efforts In 2018

* Washington Wolf Population Increases For Ninth Straight Year; 122 Wolves, 22 Packs

* Study: Climate Change Will Be Main Cause Of Heat Waves In West By Late 2020s

* Researchers Say California Sea Lion Breeding Shifting North, Reasons Not Known

* Seattle Corps Awards $112 Million Contract For Nation’s Largest Trap-Haul Fish Passage Facility

Fish & Game News:

New changes to 2018 big game rules: sheep, goat, Unit 10A deer hunt, Weiser River elk zone, and units 26 and 27 controlled deer hunts

Commission set new rules for the upcoming fall season

By Roger Phillips, Public Information Specialist
Friday, March 23, 2018

Fish and Game Commission at the March 22 meeting made several changes that big game hunters should be aware of for the upcoming fall seasons, including:

* Eliminated the two tags in mountain goat controlled hunt 6005 in Unit 10-3 because the goats appear to have moved out of the hunt area.

* Eliminated bighorn sheep hunt 7007 in Unit 46-2, which would have offered two tags, and extended hunt 7006 in Hunt Area 46-1 to close Oct. 8 instead of Sept. 14. Biologists are concerned that a disease event may have reduced the number of harvestable rams, so an adjustment in tags was needed.

* Removed the use of second deer tags in Unit 10A and shortened the white-tailed deer season in Unit 10A by moving the closing date from Dec. 1 to Nov. 20. Hunters are concerned about the number of mature white-tailed bucks in the unit.

* Removed the cap on the Weiser River Elk Zone A-tag so there is no limit on the number of those tags available to hunters. The zone is currently above the department’s objectives for total elk population.

* Reduced the number of tags available to nonresident hunters for the November unlimited controlled hunts in Units 26 and 27 down to 10 percent of the five-year average for total participation in each hunt. Controlled Hunt Area 26 (controlled hunt number 1016) will have 13 nonresident tags and Controlled Hunt Area 27 (controlled hunt number 1017) will have 51 nonresident tags.

The Fish and Game Commission has heard complaints about crowding at airstrips, and these hunts had a very high percentage of nonresident hunters. These controlled hunts will remain unlimited for resident hunters. Hunt Area 27 hunt is first-choice-only for both resident and nonresident applicants.

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F&G News Releases

Fun Critter Stuff:

Caution! Swan Is Aggressive!


Seasonal Humor:


Idaho History March 25, 2018

Idaho Lawman Orlando “Rube” Robbins

 (Vigilantes part 2)


courtesy: Bob Hartman
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One Tough Hombre

— This Lawman Feared No One —

by Tom Rizzo

Lawman Orlando “Rube” Robbins shifted in the saddle, sore and tired from nearly two months tracking escaped prisoner Charley Chambers across the Dakota and Oregon territories.

Scanning the distant horizon, the 45-year old marshal adjusted his bandana to cover the back of his neck, hoping for relief from the scorching sun.

Robbins finally caught up to Chambers in August 1882 in Portland, took him into custody, and returned him to prison in Boise — completing a journey of nearly 1,200 miles.

During his law enforcement career, Robbins achieved a reputation as the “man most responsible for bringing law and order to the Idaho Territory.”

Born in Maine, he left home at 17 following a quarrel with his father and made his way to the California gold fields for a short while.

In his mid-20s, moved to Idaho after the discovery of gold in the Salmon River area.

Robbins began working as a lawman in 1864 when Boise County Sheriff Sumner Pinkham appointed him deputy.

When Pinkham lost the next election, Robbins joined a stagecoach line and rode shotgun.

In 1865, he won an appointment as a Deputy U.S. Marshal and spent the next twenty-five years bring outlaws to justice. He also served as police chief of Boise, the sheriff of Ada County, and warden at the Idaho State Penitentiary.

Robbins also won election to the Idaho Legislature from Ada County, twice, and somehow found the time to broaden his list of accomplishments.

As a colonel in the Idaho militia, he served as a successful scout and Indian fighter, part of the command that followed the fleeing Nez Perce across the mountains of Idaho.

The lawman also became of something a local hero for his role in the Bannock War of 1878, managing to survive several close encounters with death.

He owned a cattle ranch where he also raised thoroughbred race horses. Robbins also founded a temperance lodge in Ada County.

… The well-respected lawman, considered the toughest in Idaho, died on May 1, 1908, of a heart attack. He was 72.

At the time, he was still on the job, working as a traveling guard for prisoners.

from: Tom Rizzo
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Idaho Lawman Orlando “Rube” Robbins

by Bob Hartman

Born in Phillips, Maine, August 30, 1836. Story has it that 17 year old Rube came home one day to find that the oxen he used to make money with had been sold by his father, and young Rube had had enough. In January of 1854 he headed to California.

Rube mined in northern California from 1854 until the summer of 1861, when he left Yreka and headed for Elk City in northern Idaho. In 1862 he move from Elk City to the new town of Florence, where again he tried his hand at mining.

It was in Florence that a couple of rough characters called Cherokee Bob, and Bill Willoughby went gunning for Rube and Jakey Williams. They found them. As Bob lay dying he stated that both Rube and Jakey were brave men, with one difference. When Jakey shot his pistol he would jump to the side to clear the smoke for another shot, whereas Rube would jump through the smoke, so every time he shot he would be getting closer.

In August of 1863 Rube headed south to the Boise Basin, to Idaho City, to try his hand at mining once again. In 1864, with the 4th of July approaching, the southern sympathizers in town let it be known that they wouldn’t put up with any silly singing of the National Anthem. Rube strolled into the saloon that was their hangout, jumped up on a pool table, drew his pistols, and in what was described as a beautiful baritone, belted out the National Anthem. When he finished he looked around the room, giving anyone a chance to have a go at him. No one made a peep. He jumped down from the table and strolled out the door. A few days later he was sworn in as sheriff Sumner Pinkham’s deputy.

A little over a year later a new sheriff was voted in. That summer while visiting the warm springs resort outside of Idaho City Pinkham was gunned down by Ferd Patterson. Ferd hi-tailed it for Boise, but Rube caught up with him at the half way house and arrested him before the posse showed up.

Rube continued his work as a deputy, but his time deputy marshal under U.S. marshal Alvold in Boise. Several times Rube tried to give up law enforcement, but always returned. In 1873 and 1874 Rube was Ada County sheriff. He was also a member of the lower house of the eighth territorial legislature in 1874 and 1875, and a member of the legislative council in 1882-3.

Rube spent the three major Indian wars in Idaho as chief of Scouts, first for General O.O. Howard in 1877 during the Nez Perce war, and again in 1878 during the Bannock war. Rube’s exploits during these campaigns were stuff of legend even in his time, and would fill a book. The last campaign he spent as chief of scouts was the Sheep Eater war of 1879, under Col. Bernard, who was in charge of the campaign.

In the 1880’s and 90’s Rube served as Boise’s Chief of Police 1885-87, Warden of the Idaho State Penitentiary, and still worked as a U.S. deputy marshal. In the early 1900’s he worked as a foreman at the prison and as a traveling guard, transporting prisoners, a job he held until he became too sick in the winter of 1907-08. He died at 72 years old, May 1 1908. Orlando “Rube” Robbins literally always got his man. He never returned a warrant without the bad guy in tow.

source: Bob Hartman Idaho History 1860’s TO 1960’s
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Scouts of Indian War.

Top, left to right: Andrew McQuaid, George Banks, Colonel F. J. Parker, Jack Campbell. Bottom, left to right: Chas. Adams, Rube Robbins, Henry Pierce.

[Note from Bob Hartman:] Jack Campbell in the upper right was one tough hombre himself. When the scouts were ambushed in July of 1878 Jack took 5 or 6 shots to the head and neck, and survived.
Photo Copyright 2012 Idaho state Historical Society.
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Orlando “Rube” Robbins Idaho’s Fearless Lawman

by R.G. Robertson

color-rube-a(click image for larger size)

Ask most Americans to name a few intrepid lawmen from the nineteenth century, and they are almost certain to list Wild Bill Hickok, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp.

These heroes of yesteryear epitomize the bold lawmen who tamed the frontier with their six-guns and tin stars. For nearly a century, Hollywood has immortalized these valiant peacekeepers, embellishing their reputations until it is often difficult to separate fact from fantasy.

Query other Americans about which Western town was the most lawless, and they’re apt to say DodgeCity, Tombstone, or Deadwood. Thanks to the movies and the dime novels before them, the mention of these old cow and mining towns brings to mind images of gunslingers, drunken cowboys, gamblers and a gutsy sheriff or marshal who brought them to heel.

Yet, there were more wild towns and daring lawmen than those that are most often brought to mind.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Idaho Territory had its share of rowdy towns. The mining centers of Idaho City and Silver City, competed with Deadwood and Tombstone not only for the amount of rich ore their citizens produced, but also for the number of hard men they attracted. While Wyatt Earp and his brothers held sway in the Arizona desert, an equally fearless lawman faced down desperados in Idaho. His name was Orlando “Rube” Robbins.

Robbins was born in Maine on August 30, 1836. When he was a teenager, he acquired a yoke of oxen, which he valued highly. He used the oxen on his family’s farm and occasionally earned money by hiring them out to neighbors. When Robbins was 17 years old, his father sold the oxen without asking his son for permission. Raging with anger, the young man bid his father good riddance and left home for good.

Robbins eventually found his way to the California mining camps in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When he was 25, gold strikes along Idaho’s Clearwater River and in Florence Basin (a few miles northeast of Riggins, Idaho) lured him away from California. Two years later, in August 1863, he relocated again, drifting south to the new diggings in Boise Basin (about 20 miles northeast of modern-day Boise).

A year old at the time Robbins arrived, the Boise Basin gold rush was producing the largest stampede of miners and hangers-on since the heyday of California’s Mother Lode. Numerous mining camps – they quickly grew into small cities – dotted the landscape, sporting names such as Placerville, Centerville, and West Bannack. Robbins gravitated to West Bannack, which was the fastest growing of the towns with over 6,100 people. Wanting a name that fit West Bannack’s prominence as the largest settlement in the Pacific Northwest, the Territorial Legislature soon re-christened it Idaho City.


At the time Robbins moved to the boomtown, it boasted a hospital, a theater, two bowling alleys, four sawmills, a mattress factory, nine restaurants, two churches, four breweries, and 25 saloons, all opened within the first 12 months of its founding. The town also had 15 doctors and more than two dozen lawyers. But what Idaho City needed more than a horde of sawbones and shysters was law and order. And found it in Rube Robbins. In 1864 he became a deputy sheriff.

With the Civil War raging in the East, the Boise Basin miners polarized around the Union and Confederate causes. Fueled by whiskey, Northern and Southern sympathizers often bloodied one another with fists, knives, and sometimes guns as they used force to show their opinions. Many an evening, Robbins had to lock up a drunken loudmouth who was threatening to punch or shoot to demonstrate his political beliefs to an equally intoxicated opponent (who was just as certain that God was on his side). …

Robbins’ reputation soon earned him a job in Boise, where he served first as a deputy sheriff and then as a United States marshal. …

Facing down drunks and arbitrating disputes were not the only things the deputy excelled at. He also knew how to catch criminals. In February 1876, after six bandits held up the Silver City stage as it neared Boise, Robbins had them in jail within two days of the robbery.

In addition to his duties in law enforcement, Robbins also held the rank of colonel in the territorial militia and was head of scouts. During Idaho’s Camas War in the late 1870s, he and his command were part of a larger U.S. Army force that, pursued a band of Bannock and Paiute Indians, led by a Paiute war chief named Egan, into the Owyhee badlands southwest of Silver City (near the Idaho-Oregon border). For nearly two weeks, the Army chased the hostiles across the high desert, some days riding 50 miles. …

During the 1880s and ’90s, Robbins continued to pursue desperadoes across southern Idaho. In August 1882, shortly before his forty-sixth birthday, he arrested the outlaw Charley Chambers after covering 1,280 miles in just 13 days. Any criminal having Robbins on his trail might as well consider himself already behind bars.

Unlike many lawmen of his day, Robbins had a life apart from gunplay and daring. When he was in his thirties, he became a Christian and joined the temperance movement. Following his baptism in the Boise River, he was elected president of the Methodist Church Sunday School. He also served a term in the Idaho Territorial Legislature, and some years later gained appointment as its Sergeant at Arms.

When Robbins was in his late sixties, he transported prisoners for the Idaho State Penitentiary. Although he escorted men who were often one-third his age, he never allowed any of them to get away.

Idaho’s most famous lawman died of a heart attack on May 1, 1908. During his funeral, numerous dignitaries paid him homage, each attempting to take his measure. …

Like Hickok, Masterson and the Earp brothers, Orlando “Rube” Robbins was similar to a paladin of the Old West and an honor to all Americans, “in the land of the brave and the home of the free.”

excerpted from: R.G. Robertson, True West Magazine January 1, 2002
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Deputy Sheriff Orlando “Rube” Robbins

Stagecoach robberies were reported regularly in the Idaho Statesman throughout the rest of the 19th century, and almost always the Wells, Fargo & Co. box was the target, as the Statesman reported several times between Oct. 28, 1875, and Dec. 26, 1881. In May 1876, famed Deputy Sheriff Orlando “Rube” Robbins was one of the lawmen who went to Silver City and brought back a gang of four stage robbers. Robbins was often charged with tracking down road agents and other criminals and bringing them back to Boise for trial. He had a reputation for “always getting his man.”

Following the holdup of the Overland stage by a lone gunman in July 1881, Robbins was again sent in pursuit. The Statesman reported, “In the stage that was robbed were a gentleman, his wife and three children, and a hostler in the employ of the company. The box that was thrown out was the Wood River box, and contained, besides some small sums of money, six hundred dollars belonging to N. Falk & Bro.”

excerpted: Arthur Hart Special to the Idaho Statesman June 25, 2016
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Orlando “Rube” Robbins


Birth: 31 Aug 1863 Phillips, Franklin County, Maine
Death: 1 May 1908 Boise, Ada County, Idaho
Burial: Pioneer Cemetery Boise, Ada County

“The man most responsible for bringing law and order to the Idaho Territory.” 25 years as deputy US marshall, Boise chief of police, and sheriff of Ada County. Warden of Idaho State Penitentiary, traveling guard, and work foreman.

“The ex-scout was shot at hundreds of times, and nine times bullets put holes through his clothes, and even his hat, but, barring a scratch on his thumb, he was never hurt.”
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General O. O. Howard and Two of His Scouts Meet

Rube Robbins in Portland

Is Entertained by J. W. Redington, and Old Time Warriors Hold a Jolly Re-Union — Heroic Incidents Recalled.

Idaho Daily Statesman November 15, 1901

Rube Robbins came in last evening from Portland. He went there expecting to remain two or three months while his broken arm got well, but he was called back here on a business matter.

While in Portland Mr. Robbins had the pleasure of meeting General O. O. Howard, under whom he was chief of scouts during the Bannock war in 1878. He came from Portland with the general, the latter going on east.

John W. Reddington, who was a scout under Robbins but who is now a member of the staff of the Oregonian, entertained the general and Rube at dinner. The three were together for several hours in Reddington’s office, and the Telegram of the 12th gave the following notice of the meeting:

“There was an interesting three-handed reunion today of veteran Indian fighters of over 30 years ago, in an editorial room of the Oregonian. General O. O. Howard, Orlando (Rube) Robbins. chief of scouts against Bannock and Malheur Indians in ’78, and John W. Reddington, ex-scout.

“Rube Robbins’ home is in Halley, Idaho. He came to Portland a few days ago suffering with a broken arm. The injury was received in an accident recently, wherein a freighting wagon was overturned on him. The member was broken twice. Mr. Robbins is a brother-in-law of J. W. Tollman, the expert photographers now retired from that business.

“Learning that his old commander, General Howard, was visiting here, Mr. Robbins arranged to meet the general as soon as he was able to leave his room with his fractured arm.

“Rube Robbins, as he is generally called, was greeted very affectionately by General Howard, and many were the hair-lifting reminiscences the sight of one another conjured up. Robbins is now 65 years of age, and he looks not more than 50 – hale, bright-eyed and vigorous. His hair has not turned, and he declares he can ride 100 miles a day horseback, as he did 20 years ago, and not feel the worse for it.

“Robbins, who has been mining for several years, was deputy United States marshal in Idaho for 26 years. He was appointed in the time of Lincoln. He has made Boise City his home for many years. He carries a big gold watch, which carries an inscription on an inner lid recalling one of the most exciting of his experiences in Indian fighting days. The watch was presented to him by the officers and enlisted men of the First United States cavalry, and, as it states, to mark their appreciation of his services in rescuing their comrades from drowning.

“Robbins Saved Colonel William Parnell, retired, and now living in San Francisco; a trumpter, a first sergeant, and a private, who were thrown out of a, boat, while crossing the Snake river in the Big Bend country, in August, 1878, during the pursuit of the Bannocks. The capsizing of the boat occurred in 40 feet of water, and every one of the occupants would have drowned in the swift current had it not been for the expert ‘diving of Robbins. The ex-scout was shot at hundreds of times, and nine times bullets put holes through his clothes, and even his hat, but, barring a scratch on his thumb, he was never hurt.”

source: Find A Grave
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Early History of Idaho – Orlando “Rube” Robbins

Chapter 15 – Ex-Sheriff [Pinkham] Murdered (pages – 269-287)

There were in Boise county during the foregoing period [early 1860s] a few men who were as staunch and loyal to the government as others were disloyal; men who never hesitated to declare themselves and who always were prepared to meet emergencies as they might arise; men who, in fact, courted the danger of conflict. Prominent among this class was a man named Pinkham, who was the first sheriff by appointment in Boise county, serving only until an election was held and his successor qualified. He was one of Nature’s noblemen, six feet two inches tall, with the frame of an athlete. Although he was yet in the prime of vigorous manhood, his hair and beard were almost snow-white, while his cheeks were as rosy as a boy’s. Not only physically, but mentally, he was a leader among men, and although he had been marked from the first for the bullet of an assassin, the seasons there as elsewhere came and went for more than two years before a man could be found to undertake the desperate enterprise.

Pinkham-aSumner Pinkham, Idaho City Historical Foundation

Finally, Ferd Patterson who had gained notoriety in Portland, Oregon, by killing the captain of the steamship and scalping his erstwhile mistress, and who had been a sojourner in Idaho since that time, expressed a willingness to add another nick to the handle of his revolver by killing Pinkham, provided the “boys” would stand in and secure his acquittal by being present when the killing occurred and testifying afterward that Pinkham drew his weapon first, or attempted to do so, thus showing that Patterson acted in self-defense.

Patterson-aFerd Patterson, Idaho City Historical Foundation

An arrangement was accordingly made one Sunday during the forenoon, accompanied by those who were to appear at the anticipated trial, Patterson went down to the Warm Springs, a bathing resort located on the Boise City stage road about one mile below Idaho City. Prior to their starting, however, they knew that Pinkham had been invited to ride down to the Springs by a Boise City man who was there with a team and buggy. As he had planned, Patterson and party arrived first at the Springs. At once they repaired to the bar-room where liquors were dispensed.

The building in which the bath rooms were located was erected above the road on ground which sloped into the gulch, or ravine, which carried into Moore’s Creek the overflow from a large hot spring, which flowed out of the side of a steep hill above. …

When the buggy in which Pinkham rode arrived at the Springs he alighted and entering the bar-room found Patterson and his party there. Having had no previous intimation of their presence, accustomed as he was to the methods of Patterson and his friends, it doubtess flashed on his mind in an instant that the crowd was there to murder him. Patterson began an attempt to start a quarrel, but Pinkham, realizing that he was alone, among unscrupulous enemies, would not be drawn into a difficulty and remarking “That’s all right, Patterson,” brushed past him and entered one of the small bath-rooms and closed the door. Patterson and his friends soon afterwards went out through the hall, and on up to the swimming pond, where they all proceeded to take a swim.

Patterson related the succeeding events to a friend who made the story public after those who were parties to the affair left the country.

Patterson said that he and his companions were so long in the swimming pond that he thought Pinkham would be gone before they returned to the bar-room, and he hoped he was gone, as he knew that if he did not continue his efforts to force a quarrel the men who were with him would think he had weakened, and he said that he knew that if a quarrel was precipitated, he must get Pinkham quickly, or Pinkham would get him; so upon entering the hall he drew his revolver and carried it cocked in his hand as he entered the bar-room, and Pinkham not being there, he walked directly to the open door leading to the porch, and found Pinkham standing waiting for the hack which conveyed passengers to and from the Springs; raising his pistol, he said, “Will you draw, you Abolition son of a b____ ?” And as Pinkham turned his side toward him he fired. The smoke of his pistol, he said, partially obscured his view, and dropping on one knee, he leveled the pistol across his arm and fired the second shot, both bullets taking effect, although the first shot caused a mortal wound. Pinkham instinctively reached for and drew his weapon, evidently cocking it by the same motion, and as he was falling, it discharged into the ceiling. The murdered man fell to the floor and immediately expired. Thus was completed the mission on which they came.

Arrangements having been made for his speedy departure, Patterson at once mounted a horse and started to leave the country, but Pinkham’s former deputy, Rube Robbins, followed by the sheriff, were soon in pursuit, and the murderer was overhauled by Rube who came up on him first before half the distance to Boise valley was covered. His arrest was accomplished without difficulty, when, joined by the sheriff, they started back to Idaho City, and making a detour to avoid difficulty with a large force of miners who had assembled and were threatening to hang Patterson, they arrived at the county jail and succeeded in placing him behind the bars without interference, although at least a thousand men were clamoring for his blood.

But the danger-point had been reached. Meetings were quietly assembled in all the mining towns for several successive nights and couriers were kept continually on the move, carrying news from one point to another. Men gathered in whispering groups on the hillsides and in the miners’ cabins. A spirit of mystery and secrecy pervaded the atmosphere, culminating finally in a delegation from all the mining towns being sent to Idaho City for the purpose of holding a conference, looking to the organization of a vigilance committee similar to that which had accomplished such effective work in the Payette valley.

The conference was held in a large fire-proof cellar used for storage purposes, and it was concluded that before perfecting an organization a messenger should be sent to the captain of the Payette Vigilance Committee, and if possible, secure his attendance at a subsequent meeting which would be called in Idaho City at such time as would be convenient for him to attend. Orlando Robbins, or Rube Robbins, as he was generally known, was accordingly dispatched to find the captain and if possible persuade him to come to Idaho City at once. Robbins was successful in his mission and two days afterward returned with his man.

Arrangements were at once made for a meeting consisting of a few reliable men to be held the succeeding night in the fire-proof cellar which had heretofore been used for meetings. As secrecy was to be observed until an organization was perfected the cellar was wisely chosen. Ten o’clock that night was the hour named, and when the time arrived approximately two score of the most prominent men in the Basin were present, to whom was introduced the captain, who upon being informed of the object of the gathering, at the request of the chairman, gave those present an outline of the constitution and by-laws of the Payette committee, stating that it was the fault of the citizens of Boise Basin that conditions such as had heretofore prevailed were allowed to continue.

In the aggregate the men who had committed all the crimes in Idaho were few in numbers, and he thought the time had arrived for the people to put a stop to such atrocious murders as had been of frequent occurrence in the past. He stated that as the first object of the proposed organization was the punishment of Patterson, the murderer of Pinkham, he would like to be present when that event took place, and assured them that while his own affairs would prevent him from becoming a member of their organization, he would come to Idaho City at any time on receiving notice that they were ready to act.

The meeting then proceeded to organize on the same lines as the Payette committee had followed, adopting for its name “The Idaho City Vigilance Committee.” A blacksmith who had a shop on Buena Vista Bar was chosen as captain, and an executive committee of five elected who were to have entire control of the organization, issuing their orders direct to the captain whose duty it was made to carry them out. A committee on enrollment was also appointed, the duty of which was to enroll as members all persons who would be willing to act with the organization in suppressing crime and punishing murderers and robbers.

At the meeting a Methodist minister presided and none of those present ever forgot his opening address; and while the average minister is generally considered out of place in mining camps where the Sabbath is respected no more than any other day, his bold stand in favor of suppressing the lawless class did more to elevate the churches in the minds of his hearers than all the sermons they were likely to hear. Among other things he said “He could fight or he could pray, as occasion required.” The man was Reverend Kingsley, who became a permanent resident of Idaho and lived many years of usefulness to his fellows and when his final call came took his departure, loved and respected by all.

Two weeks were consumed in preparation, at the end of which time a membership of nine hundred were enrolled. Among the number were two men who had served in the navy and were familiar with explosives. They were detailed to prepare a number of hand-grenades which were intended to demolish the gates of the prison. It had been determined by the executive committee that the entire force would advance to the door of the jail where Patterson was confined and demand that he be delivered up to them, and if denial was made then the walls were to be scaled and the place captured by assault.

For the purpose of carrying out the foregoing plan, the members were notified to appear fully armed at the city cemetery at two o’clock on a morning named, it being the object to advance on the jail at daybreak. The cemetery was located but a short distance above the jail but it was doubtless chosen as a rendezvous not solely on account of its contiguity to the object of their attack. The leaders apparently counted on the effect which the newly-made graves, and they were all comparatively new, would have on the friends of the murdered men who slept beneath those sodless mounds, as it was well known to the executive committee that many of those who slept their last sleep in that hallowed ground had died from the knife or bullet of an assassin, and from the hearts of a hundred friends, those who were assembled in the haze of that star-lit morning, meeting around those silent mounds, arose a cry for vengeance. At least an hour before the time named in the call the men, in groups of two, three or more, began to arrive, and by two o’clock nine hundred men were on the ground awaiting the order to advance, while on the side nearest to the jail, an emergency field hospital was improvised, with two surgeons in attendance, showing that the serious nature of this enterprise was fully understood by all.

The assembling of so many men could not be accomplished secretly even in the night time – in a place like Idaho City, where many of the inhabitants were night-hawks, men who worked on the night shift, and, while doing so, worked the other fellow. Consequently, as so many men were noticed slipping out in little groups, it was readily surmised that their object was an attack on the jail, so the sheriff was at once apprised. It is more than probable that the news of the intended movement had leaked, and that he was informed in advance. Consequently, in line with his duty, he had garrisoned the jail with practically all the thugs and tin-horn gamblers in the city, and was prepared to defend his prisoner, Patterson. Thus a comical side was presented by even the serious condition that existed at that moment, and this was, that the majority of the men whom the sheriff had engaged as defenders of the jail, and consequently of the law, were many of them, for the first time in their lives, its defenders. But the sheriff was unquestionably right in employing such help as was at hand, it being clearly his duty, as an officer of the law, to protect his prisoner.

The men who were expected to defend the jail from assault were ensconced behind its walls and were provided with arms, besides, judging by the yells and pistol shots, they were also furnished an ample supply of nerve tonic, “the cup that cheers.” Immediately prior to the time set for the advance, a man who had been reclining on the ground, well to the rear of the others, arose, and threading his way carefully toward the center of the cemetery, mounted a log and in a voice that could be distinctly heard by all present, said, “Gentlemen: You all know me – at least by reputation; I am the man whom the Payette Vigilance Committee calls captain; I am here tonight upon invitation of your executive committee. Up to the present time I have taken no part in advising, or managing your affairs, but the time has arrived when human lives are in the balance, and I feel that although there are many older and, doubtless wiser men here than I, yet I feel that at this critical moment that it is due you that I should express my views, and whether you concur with me or not, my duty so far shall have been performed.

“You have assembled here for the purpose of demanding from the sheriff and his deputies in charge of the jail, their prisoner, Patterson, your object being not only to punish him for the murder of Pinkham, but in so doing, impress upon the lawless classes the certainty that, hereafter, no murderer shall escape. The only object you could have in assembling here in the night and advancing on the jail at daybreak was that you might surprise the guard and capture them without resistance, but as is evident, your plans are known and the sheriff has made provisions for the defense of his charge. You can storm the place and take it by assault, but in so doing many lives will be lost, and I cannot see the philosophy of sacrificing perhaps forty or fifty good men’s lives to hang one criminal. A mistake, has been made in calling out so many men; I can take Idaho City with ten men; I would go through it like a cyclone, and take whomever I wanted.”

Some one in the crowd immediately spoke up and said “That is the man for our captain.” The words were scarcely uttered when they were repeated by hundreds of voices. The man who had been in charge up to this time was a blacksmith who worked at his trade on Buena Vista Bar. He at once came forward and asked the Payette visitor to take charge, stating that he was “not qualified for such work.”

To this he replied: “Gentlemen, under the circumstances I will assume the responsibility and issue my first orders now. They are that you all go home. When I want any of you, I shall let you know. Before you separate, however, I desire to say that Patterson killed my friend, and the earth is not big enough to hide his murderer.”

The crowd at once began to disperse, and when day dawned there was no evidence that such a gathering had taken place, except the trampled weeds and ground in the cemetery.

Thus ended the first crisis in the history of Idaho. Had an attack been made on the prison many lives would have been lost in the battle that would have followed, and it would not have ended until vengeance had been wreaked upon every man in Boise Basin who had unlawfully taken human life.

It was Saturday morning when the gathering dispersed. During the day following business was practically suspended. Men gathered in groups in the streets and in the miners’ cabins, the one subject of their discussion being what was likely to occur now that a new leader had been chosen. It was generally believed that a way would be found to punish Patterson, but how was it to be accomplished? No one seemed to be informed on that subject.

During the day warrants were issued for the arrest of Rube Robbins, Elder Kingsley and one other, and they were placed under arrest. It was generally believed that the arrests were made under the impression that the new captain would undertake to rescue the prisoners, in which event it was probably planned that he would be shot by some one concealed for the purpose. But he paid no attention to the matter, in fact did not appear in the crowd that immediately gathered. The prisoners were at once paroled by the federal judge who was in the city. Thus, under high tension, passed that day and the succeeding night. That the leader had formulated some plan which was known to not more than two or three persons, was considered certain. But what was the plan? All was shrouded in mystery.

Buena Vista Bar (L) and Idaho City (R)BuenaVistaBarIdahoCity-a(click image for larger size)
courtesy Bob Hartman

Sunday afternoon he and Rube Robbins appeared on the street, both mounted, and rode across to Buena Vista Bar and down the road past the warm springs toward Boise City – the cynosure of all eyes. Soon afterward a group of miners and others began to assemble at the blacksmith shop on Buena Vista Bar, owned by the former captain, and when the assemblage had grown to such a size as to attract attention, the sheriff approached and demanded that they disperse within thirty minutes, or he would arrest them all.

They were doing nobody any harm, being merely there on the public road, each one being intent to learn all he could concerning the probable outcome of the pending difficulty. Some of those present were doubtless members of the Idaho City Vigilance Committee, but many were not, and as the observations of all alike had caused them to have but little respect for sheriffs and their deputies as peace officers, they did not propose to be ordered off the public highway, or arrested, because they did not see fit to go. So they at once began the erection of barricades along ditches that crossed near the shop.

John C. Henly, an attorney, happening along on horseback, took in the situation at a glance, and at once galloped down the road after Robbins and the captain. Fortunately, he met them on their way back to town, and spurring up their horses, they were soon at the scene of the proposed hostilities. From here could be seen the sheriff and his deputies assembling their forces on a sawdust pile near the jail, preparatory to making a descent on the miners.

Attracted by the unusual sight of a large force of men tearing down ricks of cordwood and building barricades, many persons had congregated, who knew nothing about the approaching conflict. Among this number was a company from Payette Valley, consisting of, approximately, twenty men, all of whom were members of the Payette Vigilance Committee, who had come to Idaho City to look for their captain, fearing something had happened to him.

On their arrival they had placed their saddle animals in a feed-yard and started out in quest of the object of their search, arriving at Buena Vista Bar in time to meet him at the barricade. A hurried conference followed, in which he requested them to take no part in the coming conflict, if one occurred, but to remain where they were, and they would probably see the prettiest fight they had ever witnessed. He told them his plan was to draw his men off to the other side of Moore Creek and take possession of a large dry ditch which girdled an ox-bow point, and there make a stand, since the ditch was a breastwork already prepared, and, furthermore, if a battle ensued, it was far enough removed from town or dwelling houses to insure the safety of non-combatants.

He would listen to no remonstrance, but turning from them to the trenches and barricade, sang out, “Boys, this is no place to make a stand; I will show you a better one; follow me,” and immediately started across the creek bottom for the ditch on the opposite side. Arriving there he instantly threw his men into line and dividing them into three squads, placing Rube Robbins in charge, of one, and Al Hawk another, while he took command of the third, placing them in front at the apex of the bend, sending Rube to guard one flank with his men and Hawk the other.

By the time these dispositions were made the sheriff had started his men on the double quick from where they were assembled, to make an attack. When they reached Moore Creek they were halted by the captain, and told “if they had an officer to send him forward to talk matters over, and if not, they had best come no nearer.” A man who was mounted on a horse at once rode out and across to where the captain stood awaiting him, and on gaining speaking distance, exclaimed, “The only terms I have to propose to you is that you stack your arms and disperse, or the last divvil of you will be kilt.”

To this salutation the captain responded: “The h___ you say. What is your name?” the answer being, “My name is German; I am under-sheriff.” The captain then said: “Mr. German, you had better return to the ranks; you and I cannot settle anything – send your chief up here. I will talk to him.” Mr. German quickly complied with the suggestion, and within a few minutes the sheriff approached, exclaiming as he came near, “My God, cannot this be stopped?” To this the captain replied, “It is stopped. I’ve stopped right here. Don’t you think I’ve got a good place? If you had wanted to arrest me, or any of my men, we respect your duty as an officer, and would submit to your authority, as was done yesterday; or, if you had needed a posse, and had secured one composed of respectable citizens, I or any of my men would surrender to you, but instead of such a posse, you come with all the cutthroats in the country.”

To this the sheriff answered that “when he chose men with a fight in view, he picked fighting men.” The captain replied that there had always been a doubt in his mind “as to whether blow-hards and murderers could fight better than decent men. We have a chance to settle the matter now. The responsibility rests upon you – fire the first gun and not a man of you will ever cross that bar alive.”

The sheriff then proposed that “they all deliver up their arms to him, and he would pledge his word of honor that in thirty days they would be returned, and the men could all go home.” The captain in reply said, “I have a very pretty gun here; it was sent me by a friend in Centerville when he learned that these boys had chosen me to be their captain. He thought, when he sent me the gun, that I would not surrender it while I lived, and he was not the least bit mistaken.

“You have sent Holbrook around with a body of men to get in my rear, and I have sent some boys over there who will hurt him, and we shall be obliged to hold another election. You had better send men to call him off at once, and you go back to town with all your force, and try to make them behave. I am not going to attack your jail. You may rest easy on that score – for I would not sacrifice the life of even one man for the sake of hanging a murderer. You may give Patterson his trial without hindrance, and, since the evidence has been arranged to secure his acquittal, he can go forth into the world, but the world is not big enough to hide him.”

Thus ended the second crisis. The sheriff withdrew his force and left the captain and his men in undisputed possession of the field.

A calamity was happily averted, for, had a single hostile shot been fired that day, the few decent men who were with the sheriff’s party would have paid the penalty for being in bad company, because it would have been impossible, in the battle which would have ensued, to distinguish them from their allies; and as a force even larger than that with the captain had assembled on Buena Vista Bar, and joined the company from the Payette, the sheriff’s force would have been between two fires – meaning their total extermination. The promise made to the sheriff, not to attack the jail and allow the trial to proceed, became generally known during that and the following day, hence the excitement subsided and business was resumed.

A short time afterward court convened and the trial of Patterson began, culminating, as he had prearranged, in his acquittal. That he would eventually receive punishment for his crimes merited, no one doubted; but when or where he was to pay the extreme penalty was known only to the executive officers. He took his departure from Idaho City soon after his acquittal, going to Walla Walla, where there happened to be, at the time of his arrival, the man who was on the police force in Portland when Patterson scalped his paramour, and whom he had threatened to kill for arresting him. The ex-policeman having faith in Patterson’s intent, as well as ability to keep pledges of that character, was on the lookout for him, and seeing him enter a barber-shop soon after his arrival in Walla Walla, followed him in, and finding Patterson seated in a barberchair, shot and killed him instantly – after the same manner he had been in the habit of killing his victims. Thus ended a career of crime, relieving the Idaho City committee of the task they had set for themselves.

The writer of the foregoing narrative was the captain of the Payette Vigilance Committee, hence he was in a position to know the details of what transpired during those turbulent days and nights.

WJMcConnell2W. J. McConnell Captain of Vigilantes 1864

Chapter 20 – Indian Wars in Idaho (pages 355-368)

During the year 1879, central Idaho, including the Salmon river country, was afflicted with what proved to be but a miniature Indian war, but insignificant as were its proportions it cost the lives of many persons, and required the employment of several companies of regular soldiers accompanied and aided by volunteer scouts, to suppress and capture the “hostiles,” which was finally accomplished.

The Indians who were engaged in this outbreak were what were known as “Sheep Eaters,” a small aggregation composed of Shoshones, Bannocks and renegades from other tribes. It is doubtful whether they numbered more than one hundred and fifty, all told, but they were mountain Indians, and like all of that type, were strong, active men and women, capable of enduring great hardship, and if need be, could subsist for days on very meager rations; born and reared as most of them had been among the canyons and crags of the Salmon river mountains, they were familiar with every gorge, defile and trail, from the Rocky Mountains on the east to the Blue Mountains on the west; consequently the task of overtaking and capturing them was an arduous one.

The regular troops detailed to make the capture were reinforced by a body of Umatilla Indian scouts, and a company of citizen scouts under the command of Colonel Orlando Robbins, than whom no better trailer or fighter could have been chosen; and the men directly under his command were of the best the country could afford, all trained in the use of arms, and experienced in Indian warfare, good trailers, good shots, and brave to the verge of recklessness. It is not possible in this narrative to mention the name of each individual scout who distinguished himself while serving under Colonel Robbins in this or the two preceding campaigns; as a troop, as a unit, no body of men could have performed better or braver service; always at the front, theirs were the posts of greatest danger. This tribute to their gallantry and worth is not designed to detract from the merit of the brave officers and men of the U. S. army who served through the same campaigns; there were no drones, no cowards, in the field during those strenuous years.

I would be doing less than my duty to the memory of an old comrade and one-time fellow officer if I closed this synopsis of Idaho’s Indian wars without making more particular mention of the brave chief of scouts who fought through them all. Col. Orlando Robbins, who was widely and familiarly known as “Rube” Robbins. He first appeared prominently before the people of Idaho Territory during the summer of 1862. He was chosen to act as one of the floor managers at a ball to be given in Florence July 4th that year, his associate manager being a man named Jakey Williams.

Florence at the time named for the ball was in the heyday of its mining prosperity, and the giving of a ball was designed to provide amusement and entertainment for the respectable element in the town; those wives who had accompanied their husbands to the new Eldorado in search of wealth were to supply the respectability.

To manage such a ball as the one proposed, and preserve a proper semblance of decorum was a difficult problem, owing to the cosmopolitan character of the population of Florence at that time. It was the recognition of that fact which led to the selection of Rube and Jakey to act as managers.

It was after the festivities had fairly commenced and many eyes spoke love to other men’s wives, that a noted gambler made his appearance in the ball room, bringing with him the well known mistress of another gambler. The indignation of the ladies present was made known to the floor managers with the request that the two objectionable characters be requested to leave the room. The floor-managers complied with the request, and the gambler and his partner, when told that their presence was not agreeable, quietly left the hall. The foregoing episode resulted in an attack being made by the paramour of the woman who was requested to leave the ball, and the man who took her there, on the managers. The difficulty was precipitated the following day, and resulted in a double funeral, both gamblers being killed in the pistol duel which ensued. Cherokee Bob chose Rube as the object of his wrath and in doing so made a fatal mistake. The ball given on the evening of July 4th, 1862, and its attendant tragedy, was a prominent event in the history of that erstwhile city, and has been recorded in a former chapter.

Rube Robbins’ name was a synonym for honesty and bravery, and during his eventful and useful life he filled many positions of honor and trust. He was feared, yet respected by every bad man and “gun-fighter” who ever sojourned in Idaho, and it is doubtful if any officer made more arrests of that class than he. He was brave to the limit, yet tended-hearted as a child; vigorous of mind and body, he endured the hardships of the frontiers, survived the dangers of many battles, and finally followed the majority of his pioneer friends and comrades who had preceded him. He now lies peacefully in the beautiful Boise Valley, awaiting the final call. He was in life a sturdy and brave comrade, a true and loyal friend.

excerpted from: “Early History of Idaho” by William John McConnell, 1913
— — —

[Note: for another version of the story of Ferd Patterson shooting ex-sheriff Sumner Pinkham, see South Fork Companion and search for “Gambler Patterson Shoots and Kills Ex-Sheriff Pinkham”]
— — — — — — — — — —

Owyhee War

1868 Silver City
1868SilverCity-a(click image for larger size)

When the first hasty reports of the Owyhee War reached Boise, Governor D. W. Ballard concluded that firm action was needed. Two casualties had resulted from the initial skirmish, and law and order seemed to him to have broken down. After dispatching Idaho’s most renowned deputy marshal and Indian fighter, Orlando Robbins, to the battleground with a proclamation commanding both sides to desist and to settle the dispute according to the processes of law, Ballard himself set out for the scene of hostilities. In a record six-hour trip Robbins reached Silver City, consulted the sheriff, rounded up the leaders of the two companies, and within an hour of his arrival on March 26, [1868] read them the proclamation. No one in Owvhee had asked Governor Ballard to intervene, but the results of this effort were certainly effective.

By late that night, a new agreement had been reached, with formal deeds drawn, so that the matter did not even have to go to court. Unfortunately, during a drunken brawl on April 1, [1868,] J. Marion More became the final casualty of the war. More’s friends, in turn, were about to lynch their Golden Chariot opponents, but Governor Ballard, addressing the citizens of Silver City on April 2, insisted that the law continue to take its course. Matters looked so threatening that the Governor at this point summoned troops from Fort Boise. Marching to Owyhee with a brass cannon, ninety-five soldiers occupied Silver City from April 4 to 8. But, by then, largely as a result of Ballard’s firm action, the Owyhee War was over.

If the deals which led to the Owyhee War were intended to avoid the expenses of mining litigation, it is dubious just how much they saved. For the Ida Elmore, $200,000 out of the $600,000 of the first year’s production is reported to have gone into paying the cost of the war and the litigation. The Golden Chariot, which in its first year realized only $200,000 because it had shut down to install new hoisting works, had to devote all this initial gain to covering the expenses of the battle. The conflict served to emphasize again the waste and inefficiency of having rival companies develop short, adjacent segments of the same vein with separate and duplicating shafts, hoisting works, and company organizations.

excerpted from page 43: “Gold Camps & Silver Cities – Nineteenth Century Mining in Central and Southern Idaho” by Merle W.Wells, 2nd Edition, 1983. Published in cooperation with the Idaho State Historical Society and assisted by a National Park Service Historic Preservation Planning Grant
— — — — — — — — — —

Orlando Robbins

OldRobbins-acourtesy Bob Hartman (personal correspondence)
— — — — — — — — — —

Historical Society of Idaho Pioneers

The Statesman lamented on Jan. 30, 1883, that what had begun with such enthusiasm two years earlier had now lapsed into “a state of apathy,” since the society had not met in nearly two years.

In February 1884, two of the pioneers responded by hosting a pioneer reunion of their own. The Statesman wrote, “Mr. James H. Hart, more familiarly known as ‘Jimmy,’ of clam chowder fame, and Colonel Orlando Robbins, whom the irreverent sometimes call ‘Rube,’ gave a glorious entertainment last evening in Turn Verein Hall, to which their old-time friends were made welcome. Jimmy and Rube represent different party organizations, but this occasion was strictly non-partisan and non-sectarian. There was a goodly number of pioneers present, who did ample justice to the good things provided and all had a way up good time.” (Democrat Hart was a saloon keeper and Republican Robbins was a lawman who had been a scout for the Army in the Indian wars of the 1870s.)

excerpted: Arthur Hart Special to the Idaho Statesman March 4, 2017

Vigilantes Series

Henry Plummer (Vigilantes part 1)

Orlando “Rube” Robbins (Vigilantes part 2)

Idaho Vigilance Committees (Vigilantes part 3)

Dave Updyke – First Sheriff of Ada County (part 4)

page updated September 18, 2020

Road Reports March 25

Note: Winter road conditions change quickly. It is “Rock Migration” season! Be prepared for icy roads, snow at high elevations and rocks/trees falling in the road. Please share road reports.

Yellow Pine: Local streets are “breaking up” into slushy ruts during the afternoon, then freezing up during the night. Bigger bare patches here and there. Click for Local Forecast.

Warm Lake Highway: Last report the highway is in good shape over the summit.
Big Creek Summit SNOTEL station 6580′

South Fork Road: Last report “lots of bare pavement”
Tea Pot Weather Station (5175′)

EFSF Road: Report from early Friday morning that a large rock was blocking the road and folks headed out to clear it. The mail truck made it in on time. Old report of “Rocks, some ruts, potholes” and “Rocks, rocks and more rocks”. Then a report that the county road grader bladed the road. Watch for more rocks.

Lower Johnson Creek Road: from Yellow Pine to the Transfer Station – slushy ruts, rough road.
Upper Johnson Creek Road: Closed at Landmark for winter to full sized vehicles.
The elevation at Landmark is 6,630 feet
Snowmobile Trail Report: No current report, conditions have changed.
Last groomed by County Jan 11th: “Johnson Cr Rd – Landmark to Wapiti Meadows”
Johnson Creek Airstrip Webcam:

Lick Creek: Closed for winter to full sized vehicles.
Trail Report: No current report, conditions have changed.
Note: The elevation at Lick Creek Summit is 6,877 feet

Profile Creek Road: Closed for winter to full sized vehicles.
Trail report: No current report, conditions have changed.
Note: The elevation at Profile summit is 7607 feet.
Big Creek Webcam:

Yellow Pine to Stibnite: Open (?) No current report, conditions have changed.

Stibnite to Thunder Mountain: Closed at Stibnite with snow. Truck reported to be stuck for the winter on the other side of Monumental.
Note: The elevation at Monumental Summit is 8590 feet.
Trail Report: No current report, conditions have changed.

Big Creek to Elk Summit to Warrens Road: Closed.
Note: The elevation at Elk Summit is nearly 9000 feet.

Deadwood Summit: No current report.
Note: The approx elevation at Deadwood Summit is 6,883 feet.
Deadwood Summit SNOTEL station 6860′

Avalanche Advisory March 25, 2018

Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is LOW today. 2 days of cooling temperatures have made for a generally stable snowpack. Small loose/wet avalanches are possible IF the sun makes an appearance over the next couple of days but these will be confined to steep, rocky areas that are getting direct sun affect. Shallow wind slabs may still be found on northerly aspects. Remember, LOW hazard does not mean no hazard, keep your eyes open for variable conditions.

Avalanche Problem 1: Wind Slab

Shallow wind slabs are still lingering close to the ridgelines. Keep your eyes open for drifted, or pillowy looking deposits on E, NE, N or NW aspects if you are in steep, wind affected terrain. Most of the drifts are very shallow and formed Friday night and Saturday morning. Some of these shallow drifts may be camoflaging older, stiffer wind slabs below. Hollow, or drummy feeling or sounding snow is a red flag for wind slab.

Cornices have failed over the last few days as well and there are still some large cornices dotting the ridgelines. Give overhanging cornices a wide berth right now as they will continue to fail as the snowpack warms up again early this week or if you get too close to the edge.

Recent Observations

The snowpack is doing a great job refreezing and healing itself right now. The upper portion of the snowpack got saturated and 2 days of cooler weather have allowed the rain soaked portion of the snowpack to refreeze. Some areas have a 2-3 inch crust that is sitting on less consolidated snow below but yesterday our pit tests showed little potential for triggering anything below the crust. Skis are not penetrating this crust and snowmobiles are able to penetrate it in some areas but not in others. If the sun or a combination of sun and warmer temperatures materialize tomorrow, expect the solar aspects to start shedding snow again in the form of small loose/wet avalanches. So far over the last 2 days, the high temps in the mountains did little to soften the crust even in the afternoon.


SHORT TERM…Today through Monday…Showers associated with an
upper level trough have already moved north out of Nevada and are
affecting areas of the Snake Plain, Mountain Home towards the
Magic Valley at about 3 AM MDT. As the trough swings through the
Intermountain West today, moisture will wrap around the northern
portion of its associated surface low. At this time, models are
still in agreement that a band of moisture will develop, draping
across the Boise Mountains, through Canyon and Ada Counties and
west across the Owyhee Mountains. Snow levels will be near valley
floors and temperatures will be in the low 30s; this will be cold
enough for snow. Snow is expected to be light, generally less
that an inch, with higher amounts expected in the Boise Mountains,
across the Southern Highlands and the Owyhee Mountains, and in
southern Harney County. With a cold pool aloft and an unstable
environment associated with the upper level trough axis, a slight
chance for afternoon thunderstorms cannot be ruled out and remain
in the forecast. Temperatures will be about 10 degrees below
normal today, with a warming trend expected Monday in the trough`s
wake. As the upper level trough slides farther east tonight, a
moist northwest flow will anchor in for the near-term, for light
mountain showers.

.LONG TERM…Monday night through Saturday…Persistent northwest
flow will keep a chance of showers across the east- central
Oregon and west-central Idaho mountains though Thursday. An
embedded shortwave will extend the chance of showers into the
southern Idaho mountains on Wednesday. Showers return to the
mountains on Saturday as another weak wave moves into the Pacific
NW. The Snake Plain and southeast Oregon remain dry through the
period. Temperatures are within 5 degrees of normal with Friday
likely being the warmest day.


This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Payette National Forest and the Payette Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the West Central Mountains between Hard Butte on the north and Council Mountain on the south. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.


Weather Reports March 18-24

Mar 18 Weather:

At 1030am it was 31 degrees and overcast. Started flaking snow around 1040am. Flaking snow very lightly all morning. Steady snow at 130pm. At 2pm it was 36 degrees, lightly flaking snow and one little break in the clouds. A break from snowing at 230pm. Dry cloudy afternoon, clouds breaking up before sundown. At 730pm it was 35 degrees and mostly cloudy, lots of cracks in the cloud cover. A few flakes of snow fell before sunrise.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time March 19, 2018 at 10:30AM
Overcast, light breezes
Max temperature 39 degrees F
Min temperature 16 degrees F
At observation 24 degrees F
Precipitation Trace
Snowfall Trace
Snow depth 10 inch
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Mar 19 Weather:

At 1030am it was 24 degrees, overcast and light breezes. A few flakes of snow falling at 1040am for about 25 minutes. Very light snow falling at 130pm for about 10 minutes, then breaks in the clouds and a little sunshine. At 2pm it was partly clear and breezy. At 330pm it was flaking snow and breezy, at 345pm it was 39 degrees, still flaking and breezy. Broken clouds and some sunshine by 430pm. Cloudy and light snow falling at 620pm. Not snowing at 640pm. At 8pm it was 34 degrees and overcast. At 1030pm it was 30 degrees, cloudy (no stars) and not snowing. Snow falling around 2am, scant skiff. Guessing light snow on and off during the night, trace by 10am and flaking.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time March 20, 2018 at 10:30AM
Overcast, flaking snow
Max temperature 42 degrees F
Min temperature 24 degrees F <– yesterday morning
At observation 31 degrees F
Precipitation 0.01 inch
Snowfall 1/4 inch
Snow depth 10 inch
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Mar 20 Weather:

At 1030am it was overcast and flaking snow. Quit snowing before lunch time, no accumulation. At 230pm it was 44 degrees mostly cloudy (a few sucker holes.) Breaks in the clouds late afternoon. At 730pm it was 39 degrees and mostly cloudy. At 8pm it was 38 degrees. At midnight it was 31 degrees and some stars visible.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time March 21, 2018 at 10:30AM
Max temperature 46 degrees F
Min temperature 29 degrees F
At observation 35 degrees F
Precipitation Trace
Snowfall Trace
Snow depth 10 inch
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Mar 21 Weather:

At 1030am it was 35 degrees and overcast. At 230pm it was 44 degrees, mostly cloudy and gusty light breezes. At 8pm it was 46 degrees, dark overcast and blustery (about 3 drops of rain then stopped.) Blustery at 9pm, no rain yet. At 1045pm it was 41 degrees, no rain yet. Probably started raining after 5am.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time March 22, 2018 at 10:30AM
Low overcast, light steady rain
Max temperature 48 degrees F
Min temperature 34 degrees F
At observation 38 degrees F
Precipitation 0.10 inch
Snowfall 0.0 inch
Snow depth 10 inch
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Mar 22 Weather:

At 1030am it was 38 degrees, overcast (ridges semi-socked-in, mid-level fog) and light steady rain. Steady light rain all morning. At 3pm it was 42 degrees, overcast, and steady light rain. Not raining at 545pm, probably quit around 4pm. At 8pm it was 37 degrees, cloudy and calm. Sprinkling at 815pm. Raining pretty good before 9pm for at least half an hour or more. Probably done raining by 10pm. Not raining at 1140pm and 32 degrees. Not raining at 2am. A little skiff of snow fell early this morning.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time March 23, 2018 at 10:30AM
Mostly cloudy, strong gusty breezes
Max temperature 44 degrees F
Min temperature 28 degrees F
At observation 38 degrees F
Precipitation 0.33 inch
Snowfall Trace
Snow depth 10 inch
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Mar 23 Weather:

At 1030am it was 38 degrees, mostly cloudy and strong gusty breezes. A couple flakes of snow fell before 11am. Flaking snow at noon, quit before 1pm. Short little snow flurry at 140pm. At 250pm it was 41 degrees, strong gusty breezes, fast moving broken cloud cover letting in sunshine, and a short little snow flurry. Overcast and gusty at 530pm. Flaking snow 545pm to 630pm. Flaking snow 7pm-720pm. Flaking again at 745pm. At 8pm it was 34 degrees, overcast, chilly breezes and still flaking (little balls of snow, not actual flakes.) At 1120pm it was 31 degrees and cloudy, lighter breezes. Light skiff of snow fell before 10am and flaking.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time March 24, 2018 at 10:30AM
Low overcast, steady snow
Max temperature 44 degrees F
Min temperature 26 degrees F
At observation 29 degrees F
Precipitation Trace
Snowfall 1/4 inch
Snow depth 10 inch
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Mar 24 Weather:

At 1030am it was overcast, ridges socked in and steady snow. Quit snowing just before 11am, broken clouds and some sun. At 3pm it was 40 degrees, breezy and partly clear. At 430pm it was partly clear and breezy. At 8pm it was 32 degrees and mostly clear (high thin haze), light breezes. At 930pm it was breezy (flags flapping.) At 1030pm it was 30 degrees and cloudy.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time March 25, 2018 at 10:30AM
Partly clear, light breezes
Max temperature 42 degrees F
Min temperature 20 degrees F
At observation 27 degrees F
Precipitation Trace
Snowfall Trace
Snow depth 10 inch

Hydrologic Outlook March 21-22

Local Forecast

Hydrologic Outlook

Hydrologic Outlook

Hydrologic Outlook
National Weather Service Boise ID
123 PM MDT Wed Mar 21 2018


A storm system will bring widespread precipitation to the region
tonight through Thursday evening. Snow levels will rise to 7000 to
7500 feet across the West Central and Boise Mountains by Thursday,
resulting in rain for all but the highest elevations. Additionally,
warmer temperatures will increase snowmelt.

Runoff from the rain and snowmelt will cause significant rises on
rivers, creeks, and streams. Main stem river flooding is not expected.
However, minor nuisance flooding and ponding of water may occur along
some small streams, drains, and ditches, particularly where snow or
ice may clog drainages and where the ground is still frozen. Unpaved
rural roads may become muddy as well, which may make them impassable
for some vehicles.

Water levels will recede over the weekend due to cooler and drier

People living along rivers and streams should prepare for a round of
higher flows. If flooding is observed please report it to local law
enforcement and ask them to relay the information to the National
Weather Service in Boise. You can also relay storm reports on or

Road Reports March 21

Note: Winter road conditions change quickly. It is “Rock Migration” season! Be prepared for icy roads, snow at high elevations and rocks/trees falling in the road. Please share road reports.

Yellow Pine: (March 21) We have had warm days and cold nights recently, local streets are icy in the morning and slushy in the afternoon. Bigger bare spots where the sun can hit. Average of 10″ of snow on the flat, tree wells and south facing hillsides are baring up. Rain is in the forecast for Thursday. Click for Local Forecast.

Recent road reports from locals:
(March 19) “Rocks, some ruts, potholes. Ice/packed snow floor from S F bridge to Scott Valley. Lots of bare road on S F.” LI
(March 20) “Rocks, rocks and more rocks” (about the EFSF) – CD

Warm Lake Highway: (March 21) mail truck driver (Ray) reports the highway is in good shape over the summit.
Big Creek Summit SNOTEL station 6580′

South Fork Road: (March 21) mail truck driver (Ray) reports the county bladed the upper South Fork road. Bare pavement (and rocks) on the lower end.
Tea Pot Weather Station (5175′)

EFSF Road: (March 21) mail truck driver (Ray) reports the EFSF road is getting really rough. Breaking up, ruts and pot holes, and lots of ROCKS!

Lower Johnson Creek Road: No current report, probably breaking up and slushy where the sun can hit and icy in the shade. Advised to travel early while it is still frozen.
Upper Johnson Creek Road: Closed at Landmark to wheeled vehicles for the winter.
The elevation at Landmark is 6,630 feet
Snowmobile Trail Report: (Feb 1) “Trail is great from Warm Lake to Yellow Pine.”
Last groomed by County Jan 11th: “Johnson Cr Rd – Landmark to Wapiti Meadows”
Johnson Creek Airstrip Webcam:

Lick Creek: Closed for winter to wheeled vehicles.
Trail Report: Old report (Jan 20) that trail had been packed from Yellow Pine to Lick Creek for skiing.
Note: The elevation at Lick Creek Summit is 6,877 feet

Profile Creek Road: Closed for winter to wheeled vehicles.
Trail report: President’s Day weekend report: trail is good from YP to Big Creek.
Note: The elevation at Profile summit is 7607 feet.
Big Creek Webcam:

Yellow Pine to Stibnite: Last report Dec 13: Open, chains advised, icy.

Stibnite to Thunder Mountain: Closed at Stibnite with snow. Truck reported to be stuck for the winter on the other side of Monumental.
Note: The elevation at Monumental Summit is 8590 feet.
Trail Report: (Feb 24) “The trail up Monumental Summit is groomed to Fern Creek. The rest is open to the summit.” and “The trail to Cinnabar is open and in perfect condition.”

Big Creek to Elk Summit to Warrens Road: Closed.
Note: The elevation at Elk Summit is nearly 9000 feet.

Deadwood Summit: No current report.
Note: The approx elevation at Deadwood Summit is 6,883 feet.
Deadwood Summit SNOTEL station 6860′

March 18, 2018 The Yellow Pine Times

March 18, 2018 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho

Village News:

USFS Spring Prescribed Fire Near Yellow Pine Meeting

Community Meeting Yellow Pine Community Hall Friday, March 23, 1pm. The Payette National Forest will be implementing a prescribed fire project just north of Yellow Pine in the spring of 2018.

Come and hear about the plan, ask questions and make sure you are on our contact list. If you are unable to attend please feel free to call or email me with your questions or concerns. Laurel Ingram, Fuels Tech, Krassel Ranger District, Phone: 208-634-0622 email:

We are planning on burning the block of the Bald Hill Project that is directly to the north of Yellow Pine this spring. This block starts to the west of Boulder creek and ends on the ridge past Quartz creek. It comes down to the FS boundary on the south near Yellow Pine and this time of year we will most likely be using snow as the northern boundary.

Note: “The meeting will be held at the Community Hall and I would like to remind everyone that it is cold in the Community Hall and everyone should dress appropriately. Maybe even bring their own blanket. We will have hot coffee and hot tea to help warm our insides.” – KH
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“Bowling Alley”

Got a report The Bowling Alley was blocked by large boulders last Wednesday morning, March 14th. The Nez Perce folks called Matt around 7am and he went out with his skid steer and opened it up.

The mail truck was a little late on Wednesday, going slow dodging rocks on the lower SF road and quite a few on the EFSF road in the Caton Creek area. Driver said the “bowling alley” had been cleared by the time he came along.
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St. Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Day Potluck at the Tavern. Cold and snowy outside. Warm and good food and friends inside.


photo gallery on Facebook:
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Yellow Pine Tavern

Watch all of your favorite sports on our Big Screen TV at the Yellow Pine Tavern. Open 9am to 8pm (or later on game nights.) Jukebox is up and going.
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The Corner

The Corner is open for Breakfast and Dinner with prior arrangements. Typically breakfast is served between 5 and 6 am with dinner between 6 and 7 pm. The Corner Store is open as well, just call for grocery needs, fresh produce, eggs, meat etc.
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Blow-down Update

The Cascade Ranger District (BNF) is responsible for burning the slash piles from the blow-down cleanup. Last word is they will be burning either this spring or late fall. Will update when more info becomes available.
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Winter Water Advice

To help prevent frozen water, avoid parking over buried water lines, allow the natural snow cover to insulate the ground. Driving over the lines will also push the frost deeper and can result in frozen pipes. Also, don’t plow the snow over where water lines are buried, and avoid covering up water shut off valves.
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Be Predator Aware

Coyote howling by the school/museum early Friday morning, March 16th. Reports of raccoons around the upper end of the village. Foxes were roaming around the village March 3rd and 5th. A report of wolves howling March 2nd. Keep an eye on small dogs and cats and please don’t leave pet food outdoors.
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H-Fest Meeting March 28

March 28 Festival meeting at 1pm at the Yellow Pine Tavern. Everyone welcome this is a preliminary meeting so please come if you are in town.

Our next meeting will be April 19th with both Dawn and Lorinne attending so hope to get everything together at that meeting.

2018 Fest

The 2018 festival T-shirt contest is now open! All entries must include the year (2018) and the festival name “Yellow Pine Festival” in the design Entries must be received by Friday, May 18th, 2018. The prize for the winning design is $100! Multiple designs by the same artist can be sent in.

Hint: these shirts are screen prints, simpler designs stand out better. Submit your entry by email to Marj Fields at fieldsmarjie @
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YPFD News:

Fire Safety Tips for Winter

Keep your chimney clean to prevent flue fires. Make sure your smoke detector is working. Never leave a portable electric heater unattended. Fire extinguishers should be charged, visible and easily accessible.

There are YPFD T-shirts, as well as YPFD patches and stickers for sale at the Tavern now.

Training and fire siren testing will resume in the spring.
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VYPA News:

Next meeting June 2018
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Winter Propane Tips

Keep the snow cleared around propane lines and pipes leading from your tank to the house. The weight of snow sliding off roofs can cause leaks that can result in fire. Make sure you have a CO detector with working batteries.

Amerigas Phone: (208) 634-8181
Ed Staub & Sons Phone: (208) 634-3833
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Diamond (Kennedy) Fuel & Feed

We carry most varieties of Diamond Brand Dog Food. We even have a new line by Diamond called Professional Plus which is a grain-free formula. It is only $29.99 per bag. We have FREE samples in the office if anyone is in the area they can swing by and pick up several samples. They make great day trip servings too when on the go. 208-382-4430
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Follow The Yellow Pine Times on Facebook (updated more often than emails)

Local Observations:

Monday (Mar 12) overnight low of 17 degrees, very blue clear sky this morning, measured 12″ of old snow on the flat. Quite a variety of birds this morning, red-breasted nuthatches, mountain chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, a stellar jay, a clarks nutcracker, a hairy woodpecker, (later a male downy) and could hear a flicker off in the distance. Two pine squirrels visited, but tried to avoid each other. Sunny warm day, high of 56 degrees. Clear warm evening, paths are muddy and streets are breaking up. Lots of stars out before midnight.

Tuesday (Mar 13) overnight low of 19 degrees, mostly clear sky and light breezes this morning. The snow is difficult to measure, very hard and crusty with several layers of ice, average 11″ of snow in the open, bare ground wherever the sun can reflect off a rock, tree or building. The usual red-breasted nuthatches and chickadees were joined by a white-breasted nuthatch, and pretty sure I heard a red-winged blackbird call. Later, saw a few dark-eyed juncos, then a clarks nutcracker was calling from the trees and a steller jay visited. High thin clouds coming in by lunch time. Mostly cloudy afternoon and very warm, high of 62 degrees. Streets are “breaking up” and mushy, the back Stibnite road is messy. Warm cloudy evening, still light enough to see at 8pm. Rain started some time after 2am (probably around 3am) and at 520am the rain was pounding down hard. Skiff of snow had fallen by daylight.

Wednesday (Mar 14) probably stayed above freezing all night, a trace of snow and very wet this morning (over 1/2″ rain) the clouds are down to the valley floor, ridges socked in and sprinkling. Measured about 11″ of old snow. Tree wells are much larger, seeing more bare ground in the forest. Male downy woodpecker visiting with the nuthatches, chickadees and juncos. Then a clarks nutcracker and a stellar jay showed up. Quit raining after lunch time. Mail truck was a little late, rocks coming down on the EFSF road, local equipment went out to clear rocks. Cloudy afternoon, a few thin spots and breaks once in a while, high of 46 degrees. Mostly cloudy at dark. An inch of snow fell during the night/early morning.

Thursday (Mar 15) overnight low of 31 degrees, 1″ new snow, 12″ total snow on the flat, overcast and flaking on and off this morning, ridges socked in. Juncos, nuthatches and chickadees visiting. Later a male downy woodpecker and a clarks nutcracker came by. Snow showers on and off late afternoon, high of 40 degrees. Elk in the lower end of the village just before full dark. Coyotes howling by the school/museum after midnight, mostly clear and breezy.

Friday (Mar 16) overnight low of 16 degrees, overcast and light breezes this morning, 11″ hard crusty snow on the flat. Pine squirrel yelling from the fence, juncos, nuthatches and chickadees visiting. Cloudy day, rather breezy at times. Snow flurries on and off in the late afternoon, sticking then melting then snowing again, high of 43 degrees. Cloudy and below freezing before midnight.

Saturday (Mar 17) snowed 2″ before 7am, overnight low of 23 degrees, measured 13″ of snow on the flat. Pine squirrel, nuthatches, juncos, chickadees and a female hairy woodpecker visited. Heard a pileated woodpecker whooping it up out in the forest. Light snowfall all morning and into the early afternoon, above freezing and melting, high of 39 degrees. Flaking snow all evening and probably most of the night.

Sunday (Mar 18) snowed 1″ before 7am, overnight low of 28 degrees, measured 14″ of snow on the flat. Two ravens flying and calling over the village this morning, chickadees, nuthatches and juncos visiting. Flakes of snow falling this morning, then steady snow by early afternoon but no accumulation, high of 39 degrees. Female hairy woodpecker hiding on the backside of the porch post, watching a loose dog wandering around the block. Clouds breaking up before sundown and bits of blue sky and rosy colors to the sunset.

Idaho News:

Payette Land trust will work to conserve lands up for sale

By Tom Grote for The Star-News March 15, 2018

The Payette Land Trust hopes whoever buys large chunks of timber land in central Idaho that have been offered for sale will consider conservation policies on those lands.

Billionaire brothers Farris and Dan Wilks of Cisco, Texas, have listed for sale six parcels totaling 54,000 from among the 172,000 acres the brothers bought in 2016.

The parcels range in size from 853 acres near Cascade to 31,000 acres near McCall with prices ranging from $2.1 million to $61 million.

The land trust does not have the money to buy those parcels but will work with other conservation groups to seek various ways to protect those parcels from development, land trust Executive Director Craig Utter said.

“The PLT believes open landscapes can be utilized by wildlife, recreationists, farmers, ranchers, and loggers together,” Utter said. “This is key to the area’s unique historical beauty and culture.”

… To learn more, contact Utter at or go to

full story:
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Five candidates file for Valley commissioner’s seat Seat to be open when Bill Willey steps down

By Max Silverson for The Star-News March 15, 2018

Five candidates will seek the seat on the Valley County commission to be vacated by Bill Willey.

Candidate filings for the District 3 seat, which generally represents the Donnelly area, ended last Friday.

Three Republicans – Lonnie King, Cecila Tyler and Ken Arment – will seek the Republican nomination in the May 15 primary.

Also filing were Democrat Dave Bingaman and independent Ed Allen. They will not be on the primary ballot but will face the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 6 general election.

Willey announced earlier that he will not seek re-election to the seat that he has held since 2011.

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Seven candidates file for Valley treasurer’s seat

Incumbent Glenna Young will not seek new term

By Max Silverson for The Star-News March 15, 2018

Seven candidates have filed to seek the office of Valley County Treasurer to replace retiring treasurer Glenna Young.

Six of the seven candidates are Republicans and will face off in the May 15 primary. They are Amanda Hall, Ashlie Gifford, Gabe Stayton, Rhonda Komula, Jennifer Morgan and Gabrielle Knapp.

The seventh candidate, Gregory Price, filed as an independent and will appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

The filing periods for candidates ended last Friday. Young previously announced she will not seek a new term for the office that she has held since 2002.

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McCall to seek extension of tourism local-option tax

May 15 vote would renew 3% tax for 10 years

By Tom Grote for The Star-News March 15, 2018

McCall voters will decide on May 15 whether to renew the city’s 3 percent local-option tax on lodging to support tourism.

The McCall City Council last week voted to put the measure on the ballot and will seek a 10-year extension.

The tax was first approved by voters in 2005 and was renewed it in 2011. The tax is expected to raise more than $450,000 this year.

The language of how the funds would be used has been revised for the May 15 ballot.

The new language makes it clear that any grants made from the fund must provide a “considerable” contribution to all citizens.

No private group can use the funds unless it has a direct public purpose, under the new language.

The council also added affordable housing to the list of uses allowed for the tax.

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Fremont County searchers rescue two snowmobilers stranded on ice

By Lindsay Kerr Mar 16, 2018 Local News 8

Fremont County, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – Fremont County Search and Rescue was called to the Island Park Reservoir around 9 p.m. Thursday after a call was placed that two people were stranded on ice.

A 32-year-old male and a 24-year-old female from Idaho Falls were riding a snowmobile in the area of Buttermilk Loop Road, north of Lakeside Lodge.

According to Fremont County search and rescue, the two were riding along the south shoreline of Island Park Reservoir inlet when the ice broke and their snowmobile sank.

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Today’s snowfall replenishes recent melt in higher elevations

by Nathan Larsen Saturday, March 17th 2018

Snow Water Equivalent Percent of Normal

Boise, Idaho (KBOI) — Recent snowfall helping to bring snow depth levels up to early March numbers in some locations. Looking at snowpack percentages for our local basins, particularly in Southwest Idaho, we’ve seen some improvement from the beginning of the month. Here in the Boise Basin, we were roughly 70% of normal around March 1st, we’re now trending around 82% of normal. Those calculations won’t include data from today’s snowfall reported in the Boise Mountains which will improve these numbers in Sunday’s calculations.

Some areas have reported 10 or more inches of new snowfall in the past 24 hours. One of those locations is Mores Creek Summit, a site that is maintained by USGS Natural Resources Conservation Services. This particular site went from 75 inches of snow at the summit March 4, 2018, to 62 inches just prior to our storm this weekend. Heavy snow over the past 24 hours has brought the site back up to 75 inches. Other areas like Bogus Basin have reported heavy snow, which is all great news considering any additional snowfall will likely be considered for carryover calculations into the next water year.

Even with all the snow reported today, more is falling tonight in our mountain areas and will likely continue through Sunday afternoon. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for our mountain locations for additional snowfall of 3-6 inches, mainly through noon on Sunday.

Looking ahead into next week, more storms are lined up to bring additional snow showers to the higher elevations beginning on Wednesday.


Idaho History:

Historic VA surgeon’s quarters example of preserving Boise’s foundation

Since last summer, the once-abandoned building has been serving local veterans, while also serving as a reminder of the importance of conservation.

Morgan Boydston March 16, 2018 KTVB

Boise — Amid growth and building booms stand pieces of Boise’s past that preservationists yearn to hold onto.

One of those artifacts is Building Four, also known as the Surgeon’s Quarters, at the Boise VA Medical Center. Built in 1864, Preservation Idaho and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently restored the once-abandoned building. Since last summer, it’s been serving local veterans, while also serving as a reminder of the importance of conservation.

… Bertram says surgeons, doctors and their families called this historic building home from the 1860’s to the 1990’s. Fort Boise, originally called “Camp Boise” was officially founded in 1863 and became the Boise Barracks in 1879, resulting in the complex growing extensively. In 1912, the Army moved out of the Barracks but the post continued to be used.

A brief background from Preservation Idaho states during World War I the local Red Cross and women’s clubs successfully campaigned to designate the Barracks as a hospital/rehabilitation center for wounded veterans. In 1920 the United States Public Health Service remodeled the barracks building for a hospital, Preservation Idaho says, beginning an evolution of the Boise Barracks from a military training facility to a medical center, which resulted in major modifications of the historic buildings and construction of new facilities.

full story w/photos:

Mining News:

Stibnite Gold Plan of Operations EIS Update

USDA Forest Service March 16, 2018

Dear Interested Party,

An errata to the Scoping and Issues Summary Report published in February 2018 for the Stibnite Gold Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is now available on the project website, under supporting information, at

This errata document contains information regarding seven public comment letters received during the 2017 Scoping Period for the Stibnite Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that were inadvertently omitted from the January 2018 Scoping and Issue Summary Report. This errata document is being issued to demonstrate how all public comments received during the scoping period are included in the 2018 Scoping and Issue Summary Report documentation. These letters included frequently raised issues that have been accounted for in the 2018 Scoping and Issue Summary Report summary of comments.

Keith Lannom
Forest Supervisor

Public Lands:

Seedlings available for reforestation and habitat improvement

Contact: Public Affairs Officer Venetia Gempler (208) 373-4105

Boise, Idaho – March 15, 2017 — Landowners who want trees to create windbreaks, improve wildlife habitat, and enhance forests on their property are encouraged to come to the Boise National Forest Lucky Peak Nursery’s annual surplus seedling sale.

This year limited quantities of bitterbrush, big sagebrush, ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir seedlings six to 10 inches tall will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The minimum quantity for purchase is 50 seedlings for $30.00. A bundle of 50 seedlings will easily fit into a standard grocery bag.

The Lucky Peak Nursery’s annual surplus seedling sale begins Saturday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seedlings will not be available Sunday, April 1. After the first Saturday, the seedling sale will continue through the end of April, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., while supplies last.

Each year, the Lucky Peak Nursery produces over 3 million trees and shrubs. These seedlings are used for public land reforestation in the intermountain west disturbed by wildfire, timber harvests or other events. When the Nursery has produced more seedlings than needed the surplus becomes available to rural landowners for conservation plantings.

The seedlings are best suited for landowners with property in rural areas. They are not intended for homeowners in urban areas to plant in their backyards. Landowners who purchase the seedlings can expect the majority of them to grow and thrive if planted correctly. Written planting instructions and technical assistance will be available at the Lucky Peak Nursery.

The Lucky Peak Nursery is located 16 miles northeast of Boise on Highway 21. For more information about the annual seedling sale, call (208) 343-1977.

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Mountain Home Ranger District temporarily closes roads for upcoming tree planting

Boise, Idaho, March 16, 2018 — As part of the ongoing reforestation effort for the 2013 Elk Complex fires, the Mountain Home Ranger District will temporarily close National Forest System (NFS) roads to plow them in preparation for spring planting of various conifer species, primarily ponderosa pine.

The roads are closed to motorized use (wheeled vehicles and snowmobiles) to provide for public safety, prevent road damage and to protect wintering wildlife during the Elk Reforestation effort on roads typically inaccessible during this time of year.

The Elk wildfire burned hot and consumed most of the trees so planting is needed to accelerate the establishment of ponderosa pine. Other areas within the Elk wildfire are expected to be planted for several more years.

NFS Roads affected include 128G, 128H, 137, 159, 159A, 159A2, 159A3, 159C, 159C1, 159C2, 159H and 169. The closures are in effect beginning March 19 until April 30, 2018, unless rescinded earlier by the Forest Supervisor.

Any violation of this order is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, and/or imprisonment for not more than six months.

For specific details and a map visit:

For more information, contact the Mountain Home Ranger District at 208-587-7961.

map link:
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Fire lookouts eyed for National Register of Historic Places

by Associated Press Thursday, March 15th 2018

Boise, Idaho (AP) – Federal officials are taking public comments on the possible listing in the National Register of Historic Places of two Idaho fire lookouts.

The National Park Service is considering the Gardiner Peak Lookout in the Nez Perce National Forest and the Salmon Mountain Lookout in the Bitterroot National Forest.

Both lookouts are in Idaho County in north-central Idaho.

The Gardiner Peak Lookout was built in 1953 at an elevation of 6,597 feet (2010 meters) and is regularly staffed for fire detection during the wildfire season.

The Salmon Mountain Lookout built in 1949 at an elevation of 8,943 feet (2725 meters) is also staffed for fire detection.

The National Park Service is taking comments on the nominations through March 29.


Critter News:

Cascade vet clinic to hold pet vaccinations April 7

Cascade Veterinary Clinic will host a pet vaccination clinic on Saturday, April 7, at 10 a.m.

No appointments are necessary. Available shots will include rabies vaccinations as well as canine and feline specific immunizations. Costs range from $15 to $20 per shot. Cascade dog licenses will also be available.

For more information, contact veterinarian Keith Ruble at 208-382-4590. Cascade Veterinary Clinic is located at 935 S. Idaho 55.
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City of Donnelly to host pet vaccination clinic March 24

The City of Donnelly will host its annual Pet Clinic on Saturday, March 24, at 11 a.m. at the Donnelly Community Center.

North Fork Veterinary Services will provide vaccinations at a reduced price as well as a brief pet exam with every vaccination. Donnelly City dog tags will also be available during this event.

For more information, including vaccination prices, visit The Donnelly Community Center is located at 169 Halferty.

source: The Star-News March 15, 2018

[Note: The Yellow Pine vet clinic will probably be on the 2nd Wednesday of June, details will be posted when available.]
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From Cascade Veterinary Clinic

Top 10 Dog Toxins

Mouse and Rat Poisons (rodenticides)
Anti-inflammatory medications
Xylitol (sugar-free gum & more)
Grapes & Raisins
Antidepressant Medications
Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol)
Vitamin D Overdose
Stimulant Medications (e.g., for ADD/ADHD)

Top 10 Cat Toxins

Lilies (Lilium species)
Spot-on flea/tick medication for dogs
Household Cleaners
Antidepressant Medications
Essential Oils
Anti-inflammatory Medications
Mouse & Rat Poisons (rodenticides)
Stimulant Medications (e.g., for ADD/ADHD)
Onions & Garlic
Vitamin D Overdose

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items or any other questionable substance, call Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian for assistance. Accurate and timely identification of the suspected substance is very important. Having the container, package, or label in hand will save valuable time and may save the life of your pet.
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Essential Oils and Cats

Kia Benson, DVM Associate Veterinarian, Clinical Toxicology Published on January 12, 2018

Essential oils are volatile, organic constituents of plants that contribute to fragrance and taste. They are extracted from plants via distillation or cold pressing. Essential oils are utilized in a variety of ways: as insecticides, in aromatherapies, personal care products (e.g., antibacterials), flavorings, herbal remedies and liquid potpourri.

Essential oils can pose a toxic risk to household pets, especially to cats. They are rapidly absorbed both orally and across the skin, and are then metabolized in the liver. Cats lack an essential enzyme in their liver and as such have difficulty metabolizing and eliminating certain toxins like essential oils. Cats are also very sensitive to phenols and phenolic compounds, which can be found in some essential oils. The higher the concentration of the essential oil (i.e. 100%), the greater the risk to the cat.

Essential oils that are known to cause poisoning in cats include oil of wintergreen, oil of sweet birch, citrus oil (d-limonene), pine oils, Ylang Ylang oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, pennyroyal oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil. Symptoms that develop depend on the type of oil involved in the exposure and can include drooling, vomiting, tremors, ataxia (wobbliness), respiratory distress, low heart rate, low body temperature, and liver failure.

Diffuser Types and Health Hazards

Until recently, the use of essential oils for aromatherapy was restricted to such devices as candles, liquid potpourri products, room sprays, passive diffusers, or applying it to skin like perfume.

Passive diffusers work by evaporating the oil, producing a pleasant smell. Types include: 1) reed diffusers, where the reeds soak up the oil and disperse its fragrance into the air; 2) heat diffusers like plug-in/electric oil diffusers, candle burners, or table top warmers that use heat to evaporate the oil, 3) non-motorized, personal evaporative diffusers (necklace pendants, bracelets, etc.) that use room air currents to diffuse the aroma, and 4) motorized diffusers that use a fan to blow air through a filter or pad that has been permeated with an essential oil.

Unless the oil in a passive diffuser gets onto a cat’s skin or is ingested in some way (e.g. the diffuser tips over onto or near the cat, or the cat ingests a personal diffuser), the main hazard to cats from essential oils dispersed through passive diffusers is respiratory irritation.

Inhalation of strong odors or fragrances can cause some cats to develop a watery nose or eyes, a burning sensation in the nose/throat, nausea leading to drooling and/or vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing in a cat is evidenced by labored breathing, fast breathing, panting, coughing, or wheezing. NONE of these signs are normal in cats. A coughing episode in a cat can be mistaken by owners for the cat trying to vomit up a hairball. However, in this case the cat crouches low to the ground, with little to no abdominal movement that is more typical of vomiting. No hairball is produced.

Cats suffering such symptoms need to be moved immediately into fresh air, and require emergency veterinary treatment should their symptoms not quickly resolve once they are in fresh air. Cats with pre-existing respiratory issues such as asthma, airborne allergies, or cats exposed to second hand smoke from their human companions, are at greater risk for developing severe respiratory irritation than cats without such conditions.

Recently, active essential oil diffusers have hit the market. The active diffusers differ from passive ones in that actual microdroplets or particles of oil are emitted into the air in addition to the pleasant aroma of the oil. Nebulizing diffusers (pressurized high-speed air stream and an atomizing nozzle) and ultrasonic diffusers (electric current causes an instrument to emit a vibration) fall into this category.

The droplets dispersed by these new diffusers may be small, but they still pose a risk to cats. Depending on how close the cat is to the dispenser, the essential oil microdroplets may collect on the cat’s fur if it is the same room as the active diffuser. The oil can be either absorbed directly through the skin, or ingested when the cat grooms itself.

Drooling, vomiting, tremors, ataxia (wobbliness), respiratory distress, low heart rate, low body temperature, and liver failure can potentially develop depending on the type of essential oil that was used and the dose that the cat was exposed to.

Like oil and water, essential oils and cats really do not mix. Owners should be cautious using essential oils and diffusers in their homes in order to protect their cat(s) from a toxic risk. Most importantly, concentrated essential oils should never be directly applied to cats.

[h/t Cascade Vet Clinic]
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Pet Talk – What is osteomyelitis?

By Dr. Karsten Fostvedt March 16, 2018 – IME

Osteomyelitis is infection of a bone. Infection most commonly arises from external sources of contamination, such as puncture wounds, openings in skin over a fracture or any shearing wounds that expose bone to gravel, dirt or bacteria. Osteomyelitis can also occur as a consequence of contamination at surgery for orthopedic procedures. Very rarely, infection to bones can spread via the bloodstream.

Both bacteria and fungi can infect bones. Bacteria commonly involved include staph, strep and E. coli. There are a number of fungal agents that infect bones. The most common one that we see in Idaho is valley fever, also known as coccidioidomycosis. These fungi enter through the nose and lungs and then spread to the bones.

Some cases of osteomyelitis develop suddenly after an acute injury to the bones. The bones are swollen, painful and painful to the touch. Lameness and fever are common. Chronic osteomyelitis develops months to years after an injury, surgery or previous illness. The affected leg is often lame and painful. Sometimes the infection breaks through the skin and causes a draining sore, full of pus.

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Opioid epidemic impacts veterinarians

Your pet’s health may be impacted by the opioid crisis in the United States.

Tami Tremblay March 16, 2018 KTVB

Eagle, ID – We have a big opioid abuse problem in the United States. According to the DEA, 64,000 people died just last year from drug overdoses. This epidemic and the crackdown on these prescription drugs is also impacting veterinarians.

The reason surrounds the crackdown on opioid production. The government decreased it in 2016 by around 20 to 70 percent, depending on the drug. The thing is some of those drugs are also used for pets, such as morphine, hydrocodone and fentanyl, for pain control.

Dr. Matthew Woodington, out of Eagle, says it’s getting harder for veterinarians to get their hands on these medications for their patients.

“We’re having to turn to other things, other medications, that are either not as safe or substantially more expensive,” said Dr. Woodington. “As the supply goes down, the cost always goes up.”

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Giving comfort to old and dying dogs, MACU pays it forward to Furever Haus

by Brent Hunsaker Wednesday, March 14th 2018

Nampa, Idaho (KBOI) — Old and sick dogs are usually the first to be put down. They have little to no chance of being adopted.

But in Nampa, there’s an alternative to the pound and it is unique in Idaho.

It’s a 501(c)3 non-profit called Furever Haus. Think of it as both a retirement home for old dogs and a hospice for dying dogs.

Kimberly Coonis, the founder of Furever Haus, said “our goal is just to make them happy.”

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10 wolves killed in northern Idaho to boost elk numbers

Associated Press By Keith Ridler March 14, 2018

Boise, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials have killed 10 wolves in northern Idaho at the request of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to boost elk numbers, and state officials say more might be killed this winter.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services said Wednesday that workers used a helicopter in the Clearwater National Forest in late February and early March to kill the wolves.

“At the request of Idaho, we did remove wolves in that region,” said agency spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa.

Idaho officials say the area’s elk population in what’s called the Lolo zone has plummeted in the last 25 years from about 16,000 to about 2,000, and that wolves are to blame along with black bears, mountain lions and a habitat transition to more forests.

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Wolf population continues to grow in Washington

3/16/18 AP

Spokane, Wash. — The population of wolves in Washington state continued to grow in 2017.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual survey found at least 122 wolves living in Washington last year. The survey found 22 wolf packs and 14 successful breeding pairs.

The agency said Friday that the 2016 survey documented 115 wolves, 20 packs, and 10 breeding pairs.

All of the known wolf packs are located east of the Cascade Mountains.

… According the 2017 survey, 15 of the 22 known packs are located in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties in the northeast corner of the state.

full story:
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KWVR Oregon Wolf Education weekly Wolf Report

First Week of March, 2018
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US, states agree to collaborate on Mexican wolf recovery

3/15/18 AP

Albuquerque, N.M. — The U.S. government and state officials have signed an agreement that furthers their intentions to work together to recover an endangered wolf that once roamed the American Southwest.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish announced the agreement with Arizona and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday. The agreement is aimed at getting Mexican gray wolves to the point where they can eventually be removed from the endangered species list.

As part of the effort, a field team that includes members from the states’ wildlife management agencies will provide input to determine the timing, location and the circumstances for releasing wolves into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

New Mexico Game and Fish Director Alexandra Sandoval called the new agreement an act of good faith.

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2 Mexican wolves found dead in Arizona

3/16/18 AP

Albuquerque, N.M. — Federal wildlife managers are investigating the deaths of two endangered Mexican gray wolves.

The animals were found dead in Arizona in February. Authorities did not release any details about the circumstances or the locations where the animals were found.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman John Bradley said Thursday the carcasses were sent to a lab in Oregon for examination.

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Fading wolf population to be restored at Lake Superior park

By John Flesher – 3/16/18 AP

Traverse City, Mich. — Federal officials announced a tentative plan Friday to relocate 20-30 gray wolves to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan over three years to replenish a population that has nearly died out because of inbreeding and disease.

The National Park Service said it would make a final decision after giving the public a month to react to its proposal for rescuing the predator species that has roamed the Lake Superior wilderness park for about 70 years. The wolves have helped to maintain the ecosystem by culling a moose herd that otherwise would overeat the island’s vegetation, while delighting tourists with their eerie howls and occasional appearances on backwoods hiking trails.

But their numbers have plummeted in recent years as a warming climate formed fewer ice bridges for mainland wolves to reach the park 15 miles (25 kilometers) offshore and refresh the gene pool. Only two remained this winter — a father and daughter that apparently have not bred.

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Wolf Education International

March 13, 2018 Newsletter

Recent Mauling Death of an Eight-Day-Old Baby by Wolf Hybrid

French farms don’t like wolves crammed down their throats either

Montana’s Valley County tackles wolf problem head on…

Trapper who shot wolf in eastern Oregon sentenced to probation, fined

THE CANOVIS PROJECT: studying internal et external factors that may influence livestock guarding dogs’ efficiency against wolf predation. Preliminary results and discussion.
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3rd lawsuit filed over Colorado’s predator reduction studies

3/14/18 AP

Grand Junction, Colo. — Activist groups have filed a third lawsuit in connection to Colorado Parks and Wildlife research projects that aim to determine whether reducing predators could help mule deer numbers.

The Daily Sentinel reports that the suit filed last week targets the research’s primary funding source — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — which authorized more than $3.4 million in funding.

The state division’s study includes removing five to 15 mountain lions and 10 to 25 bears a year for three years in the Roan Plateau near Rifle. In the Upper Arkansas River Valley, officials are focusing on lion reductions only but plan to continue removing the cats for nine years.

The Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society of the United States and WildEarth Guardians filed the suit.

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The Columbia Basin Bulletin

Weekly Fish and Wildlife News
March 16, 2018
Issue No. 865
Table of Contents

* Corps Report: Pinniped Predation Consumed 4.7 Percent Of Salmonids In 2017 In Bonneville Dam Tailwater

* Corps Decides Not To Cull Estuary Cormorants In 2018, Will Continue Hazing, Egg Removal

* Conservation Groups Sue Federal Agencies Over ESA-Listed Willamette Salmon, Steelhead

* West Coast Ocean Conditions Returning To Normal (Cooler), Salmon Returns Will Remain Depressed A Few Years

* Pacific Fishery Council Develops Options For Ocean Salmon Fishing, Notes Likely Lower Coho, Chinook Columbia River Returns

* No Recreational Columbia River Smelt Fishing This Year, Eulachon Run Continues To Decline

* After Two Years Of Wrangling, Briefing Arguments Begin In District Court On Deschutes River Clean Water Case

* New Study Shows Dramatic Decline In Snowpack In Western States, Down 15 To 30 Percent

* 1.75 Million Juvenile Fish Evacuated Last Year To Leaburg Hatchery Due To Gorge Fire Now Headed To Other Hatcheries

* Tentative Schedule For Amending Four-State Columbia River Basin Fish And Wildlife Program Outlined

* Harvest Managers Make Some Tweaks To Treaty Sturgeon Fishing, Non-Treaty Gillnetting

* Council Approves Cost-Savings Funding For Lamprey Restoration/Hatchery And Screen Projects

* Interior Department Releases Report On Fight Against Invasive Mussels

* Corps Seeks Comments On Estuary Habitat Project Using Dredge Spoils

* Washington Governor Signs Executive Order To Protect Orcas, Chinook Salmon

Fish & Game News:

See drawing results for spring controlled bear hunts

Hunters can immediately buy their tags on the new license vending system

By Roger Phillips, Public Information Specialist
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

New this year is the ability for hunters to check their controlled hunt results, and if successful, buy their tags at as part of the transition to the new licensing system.

This is a change from prior years where draw results were available on Fish and Game’s website. In order to take advantage of the new site, hunters have to set up an account with an email address and personal log-in name and password, if they have not already done so.

“We take security of personal information very seriously, and while the personal log-in might be a slight inconvenience, it is a necessary step towards protecting customer data,” F&G Administration Bureau Chief Michael Pearson said.

The new site will also allow hunters whose names were drawn to buy the tag online, which will be mailed to them after purchase.

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F&G News Releases

Fun Critter Stuff:

Gorilla at Philadelphia Zoo takes stand against dirty hands

by The Associated Press Saturday, March 17th 2018

Philadelphia (AP) — A male gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo is taking a stand against dirty hands by opting to walk on two legs.

Apparently, 18-year-old Louis is a clean freak.

When Louis has his hands full of tomatoes or other snacks, he walks upright like a human to keep food and hands clean, rather than the typical gorilla stance of leaning forward on his knuckles.

Michael Stern, curator of primates and small mammals, says workers had to install a fire hose over a mud puddle in the yard. The nearly 500-pound, 6-foot-tall primate crosses it like a tight rope to avoid getting dirty.

Stern says it’s “pretty unusual” for gorillas to walk around upright. In the wild, Western lowland gorillas like Louis might do it for a few seconds to reach food or wade into swamps.

link to video on Facebook:

Seasonal Humor:


Idaho History March 18, 2018

Henry Plummer

(Vigilantes part 1)

Henry Plummer (1832–1864) was a prospector, lawman, and outlaw in the American West in the 1850s and 1860s, who was known to have killed several men, some in what was considered self-defense.

He was born William Henry Handy Plummer in 1832 in Addison, Maine, the last of six children in a family whose ancestors had first settled in Maine in 1634, when it was still a part of the Massachusetts Bay colony. He changed the spelling of his surname after moving West.

In 1852, at age 19, Plummer headed west to the gold fields of California. His mining venture went well: within two years he owned a mine, a ranch, and a bakery in Nevada City. In 1856, he was elected sheriff and city manager.

On September 26, 1857, Plummer shot and killed John Vedder. As city marshal of Nevada City, California, Plummer had been providing protection of Lucy Vedder, John’s wife, who was seeking to escape from her abusive husband. Plummer claimed he was acting in self-defense in the incident, but was convicted of second-degree murder. He won an appeal for a retrial and was convicted again and sentenced to ten years in San Quentin.[2] But in August 1859, supporters of his wrote to the governor seeking a pardon based on his alleged good character and civic performance. The governor granted the pardon due to Plummer’s good prison record, his attempts to convince a corrupt warden to improve conditions and his work assisting the prison doctor.

Plummer headed to Washington Territory* where gold had been discovered. There he became involved in a dispute that ended in a gunfight won by Plummer.

[*Note: Idaho was still part of Washington Territory until 1863.]

excerpted from: Wikipedia
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Henry Plummer in Idaho Territory*

from “Early History of Idaho” By WJ McConnell, Copyright 1913

William J McConnell

Chapter 4 Gold Discoveries pg 66

… Next on the list of these notables comes the name of Henry Plummer. In the spring of 1861 Henry Plummer and wife were registered in the leading hotel of Lewiston. They were strangers to everyone in town except, perhaps, a few gamblers who had known Plummer in Nevada or California, and these men, following the usual close-mouthed methods of their calling, said nothing about his antecedents. He was a man of gentlemanly bearing, and being accompanied by a quiet, gentle appearing woman whom he claimed as his wife, no one suspected their illicit relations.

However, it was only a couple of days before he had established his reputation as a gambler which left no doubt as to his true character.

The woman he claimed to be his wife was abandoned in a short time, penniless and alone among strangers; she told how Plummer with professions of undying love had persuaded her to leave her husband and three children to live with him. Not having the courage to return to her family and confess her fault, she abandoned herself to the downward path which always leads onward to untold sorrows – an early and miserable death. Thus was Plummer’s entrance into Lewiston marked by her disgrace and degradation.

Being a gambler, his profession brought him in contact with the rough and dissolute characters when they arrived at Lewiston. It is customary in mining and frontier towns for new arrivals to “take in” the town, meaning that they shall visit all the various resorts – such as saloons, dance halls, etc. These tours are generally undertaken as soon as possible after their arrival at a new camp. Since gambling was usually conducted in these places, Plummer, as a member of the “profesh,” soon became a “hail fellow well met” with the patrons of the amusements provided in these resorts.

The criminal classes soon began to recognize in him a leader, and flocked to his standard. Being a keen judge of character, he was able to choose from the common herd or “would-be” desperadoes, the most reckless and daring, the ones who combined with these traits the greatest skill in the use of firearms. These he organized into a band of choice cut-throats, who were governed by iron-clad rules, the enforcement of which was left to a committee, Plummer being its chairman, or head; in fact, he was chief of outlaws.

Chapter 5 Outlaws and Their Methods (Pg 69)

The Outlaw Chief remained in Lewiston during the summer of 1862, following his profession – gambling. Owing to his demeanor, which was quiet and gentlemanly, and to the fact that his clothes were, as a rule, tailor-made and neat, a stranger meeting him would not have suspected him to be the depraved character he was.

By making occasional trips, usually in the night, to interior points, he supervised and directed the operations of the band. What purported to be a road house was established by them on the traveled route between Lewiston and Walla Walla, at Pataha Creek; another was started by them between Lewiston and Orofino. Although these resorts which they termed “shebangs,” were ostensibly managed by two men, the traveler might observe several other hangers-on, who were supposed to be guests, but who were actually silent partners holding themselves ready for action.

These resorts were surrounded by high hills in all directions. These hills were cut with ravines, while numerous flats and little valleys were inserted between. Bunch grass and water being plentiful, these places were veritable paradises for horse thieves.

It should be remembered that in those days and for many years later there were no railroads in any direction of the country tributary to the Columbia river, even wagon roads outside of the Willamette and Walla Walla valleys were seldom to be expected, hence the early arrivals at the Orofino and Florence mines generally found their way there in small parties, riding saddle horses or mules, bringing with them on pack animals their camp equipage, including mining tools and a quantity of provisions. During the season of high water boats ascended the Columbia and Snake rivers, bringing passengers and merchandise to Lewiston, but after arriving there those whose destination was one of the interior mining camps were compelled to procure saddle and pack animals to continue their journey, therefore those who realized that fact usually brought their own equipment, and were thus prepared to travel in any direction rumor announced a discovery of new diggings. Lewiston was the point of divergence to all the interior mining camps in the Clearwater and Salmon river region during 1861 and 1862, hence all those destined for Orofino, Elk City, Florence or Warrens went first to Lewiston, where it was the almost universal custom for travelers to remain for a day or even longer, to rest themselves and animals, but more especially to gather information concerning any new discoveries which might have been made. Thus as will be readily understood with the arrival and departure each day of so many prospectors and adventurers, the town of Lewiston was all that is implied in the term “typical frontier mining town.”

During the stay made by travelers in Lewiston for rest or other purpose during those early mining days, they were carefully “sized up,” by Plummer’s emissaries, especially those who were on the return journey from the mines, with the object of ascertaining if possible, whether they carried any considerable amount of gold dust; accurate descriptions were also taken of their saddle and pack animals, including color and brands; bills of sale were then made out in conformity with the descriptions conveying title to the animals at some prior date to the keeper of one of the road houses either above or below, dependent upon which direction the travelers were going, the bill of sale was then dispatched by courier to the man in whose name it was drawn so as to reach him before the arrival of the men with the stock.

All being cunningly arranged in advance, as soon as the victims came opposite the house, they were halted and the demand made “Where did you get those animals? Get off, or I’ll blow you off.” These requests were made emphatic by the display of double-barreled shot guns or revolvers. The astonished travelers could only comply. They were then shown the bills of sale as a cause for the demand, and if the real owners of the stock were sensible men they left their property with the robbers and resumed their journey on foot. But if, as was sometimes the case, they offered resistance, their journey ended in an improvised cemetery, provided for just such occasions.

In the mining camps and frontier towns, a style of building much in vogue during their first establishment, was built by erecting a frame of poles upon which rafters of the same kind of material were set up, then sides, ends and roof were covered with sheeting or common brown muslin. Such buildings require no windows and even the doors were mere frames of small poles covered with the same material.

This class of structures was the kind that largely lined the streets of Lewiston during the early mining excitement, which followed the Orofino and the Florence discoveries. There were no street lamps, none were needed, for the sunshine lighted the interior of the buildings by day, without the aid of windows, while the lamps and candles used at night illumined the streets. Such buildings, obviously, presented slight opposition to burglars, and as a protection against stray bullets they were a failure.
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Lewiston, Idaho August 1862

We are looking from Normal Hill at the intersection of Third and C Streets. The Luna House is now the site of the county museum. The small building on the far left center was the public school. In the bottom left corner was the home of “The Golden Age,” Idaho’s first newspaper. The two-story structure in the center was Clark Hall, the site of Idaho’s first theater performances. The image has a handwritten note saying “Lewiston W.T.”
source: photo is courtesy of Historic Lewiston, Idaho, from the University of Idaho Library, Special Collections.
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To provide against the last it was customary to pile sacks of flour or sand around the beds of those who slept.

Illustrative of the foregoing, a German named Hildebrandt kept a saloon during the winter of 1861, and part of January, 1862, in one of these structures. He was a jovial character, and his place was a favorite resort for both Germans and Americans. His saloon was not a gambling house but was conducted in a quiet, orderly manner. He was known to be the possessor of considerable gold dust, which the Plummer gang determined to appropriate. Between twelve and one o’clock one cold January night the door was burst from its hinges and a volley of revolver shots were fired in the direction of the large bed near the door where Hildebrandt and two friends were asleep. Hildebrandt was killed by the first volley; his friends returned the fire, sprang from bed and escaped with the treasure.

His murderers then proceeded to search the place, and being disappointed in their search, uttering oaths and threats, marched out through the crowd of citizens who had assembled. They were known, but no one attempted to arrest them. The following day, however, a meeting of the citizens was held for the purpose of devising means to arrest the further progress of crime, and for punishing the murderers of Hildebrandt.

This was the first effort made in Lewiston looking to the protection of the people, and as the lawless element composed a large percent of the population in Lewiston, the movement was pregnant with serious possibilities. Henry Plummer took a conspicuous part in the proceedings and made an eloquent plea for conservative action. He explained the horrors of anarchy and urged the assembly not to take any action for which they might afterward be sorry. Since Plummer was known only as a gambler, and but few suspected that he had any connection with the robberies and murders which were of such frequent occurrence, his speech had the effect of dispersing the gathering and prevented an organization from being formed.

Among those who kept saloons at that time was a man named Ford. He was a courageous character, and while in the saloon business to make money, yet he never associated with the rough element; nor did he encourage them to frequent his place, but on the contrary he was their avowed enemy.

When the foregoing meeting was disorganized without taking action to punish the murders of Hildebrandt, he denounced those present as cowards, and accused them of “weakening.”

The murdered man had a brother in Orofino, who, when he learned of the tragedy, at once announced his determination to visit Lewiston for the purpose of wreaking vengeance upon the assassins. They learned of his intention, had a message conveyed to him, stating that If he started to Lewiston he would not reach there alive. The threat, as was intended, had the effect of intimidating him, causing him to abandon his purpose. Thus the assassins escaped justice that time. But they met their Nemesis later.

Nothing except the possible organization of a vigilance committee was feared by the Plummer gang, and for any man to advocate the organization of such an instrument of justice was to mark him for destruction. Hence, Patrick Ford, who was present at the meeting, and who insisted on action being taken, was listed for death. Ford had opened an additional business in Orofino, and it was known soon after Hildebrandt’s murder that he was going up to Orofino with a party of dancing girls to open a dance hall. This was thought to afford a favorable opportunity to dispose of him, so word was sent out to the “shebang” on the road, to intercept him, and to put a stop to his proposed vigilante activities. But Ford, suspecting their intentions, circled around the place and thus avoided the encounter, which doubtless would have been fatal to him.

Having heard of his escape, Plummer, Charlie Ridgley and Reeves mounted horses and followed on the trail, their route being marked with several robberies. When within a few miles of Orofino, two footmen were espied approaching, one being some distance in advance of the other. As the foremost one came up he was ordered to hold up his hands, a command that was readily complied with. He was searched, but nothing of value was found on his person. They then informed him that he would better move along and get out of the country as soon as possible, for the rough mountains were a poor place for a man who was broke.

By the time this search and colloquy were finished, the second pedestrian had arrived; he also was a Frenchman and proved more profitable than the first, for notwithstanding that he stoutly asserted he had no money, their search revealed a well-filled buckskin purse containing approximately one thousand dollars in gold dust. Jubilant over their success, they dashed wildly into Orofino with the impetuosity of a band of stampeded buffaloes. Reining up in front of Ford’s saloon they dismounted; entering the saloon they demanded the barkeeper to serve them with liquor – Ford being out. After they had sated their thirst they proceeded to demolish the furniture, including the bar fixtures. During the confusion Ford arrived, and with a gun in each hand he ordered them to leave the saloon and town. They backed out of the place, gained their horses and rode to a feed-yard, where Ford soon followed, demanding why they had not left town. This demand was answered with a shot, which precipitated a fight in which Ford was killed and Charley Ridgley was severely wounded. The latter was carried to a friendly ranch near by and given such careful treatment that he eventually recovered.

Plummer now changed his headquarters to Florence, from whence his associates made frequent incursions along the different lines of travel leading to and from that camp.

New discoveries having been made in other sections, many began leaving the older camps. Among these were Plummer, Reeves and Ridgley, the latter having recovered sufficiently from his wounds to accompany them to Elk City, their new field. Here he met a coterie of his former California pals, but he suddenly disappeared and was next heard of in Deer Lodge. The former field of his activities was immediately occupied by others of his ilk equally unscrupulous, some of whose deeds will be recorded later.

continued: (Google Drive)
excerpted from: “Early History of Idaho” (pgs 66-110) by William John McConnell, 1839-1925; Idaho. Legislature
[* Note: Montana was part of Idaho Territory until 1864.]
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Henry Plummer’s Gang of Outlaws Born to Be Bad

September 20, 2015 By Syd Albright Special to the CdA Press

Henry Plummer (1832-1864), leader of “The Innocents” outlaw gang.

Jan. 14, 1864 was a grim day in Virginia City, Mont., but 6,000 spectators loved it. “Three-Fingered Jack,” “Club-Foot George,” “The Kentucky Cannibal” and two others were facing vigilante hangmen. As the box was kicked from under Three-Fingered Jack Gallager’s feet and the rope pulled tight around his neck, Kentucky Cannibal Boone Helm awaited his turn, snarling, “I’ll be in hell with you in a minute!”

It was the end of five of the most vicious desperados of the Old West, where law and order were scarce and vigilantes enforced their own brand of justice.

The five that met their maker that day belonged to the infamous Henry Plummer Gang called “The Innocents” that robbed and killed across Oregon, Idaho and Montana before ending up in Virginia City’s Boot Hill cemetery.

Just four days earlier, Plummer – sheriff of all gold camps southeast of the Bitterroots – and two cohorts met similar fates. Ironically, they were hanged on gallows ordered by Plummer. The three bodies were left hanging overnight. In the morning, only Plummer’s body was placed in a coffin and all three were dumped into shallow graves in Hangman’s Gulch nearby. The gallows are still there.

With the discovery of gold in Idaho and Montana, and the rest of the nation distracted by the Civil War, lawmen were few and the frontier West was fertile ground for Civil War deserters, river pirates, outlaws, gamblers and other unsavory types.

In the Virginia City-Bannock area, the population was as high as 10,000 and needed protection. Finally, conditions became so dangerous that town folks called for an election of a sheriff. Plummer and a butcher named Hank Crawford ran for the job. Crawford won and was soon in a shootout with his rival. Plummer was wounded in the right arm but learned to shoot with his left.

Fearing Plummer’s reputation, Crawford left town, never to return, and Plummer was elected instead. He had the opportunity of becoming “Marshall Dillon” but instead put together his band of thugs. Gold-carrying travelers and prospectors were easy prey.

Henry Plummer was born in Addison, Maine, in 1832 and as a young man followed the gold trail to California. Then he started getting into trouble – even when wearing a badge. While serving as marshal in Nevada City, Calif., and defending a woman from her abusive husband he shot and killed him. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sent to San Quentin. But he won an appeal and was pardoned by the governor due to “poor health.”

Then, while attempting a citizen’s arrest, he killed another man who escaped from San Quentin. Plummer surrendered to police who thought the killing was justified and allowed him to leave California.

More killings followed. He won a shootout in Washington Territory, and then in Bannack, Mont., he killed a friend named Jack Cleveland over Electa Bryan, a woman they both wanted to marry. It happened in a crowded saloon, with witnesses calling it self-defense.

One of Plummer’s gang was Club-Foot George Lane who came from Massachusetts, lured west by gold like so many others before him. A shoemaker by trade, he was accused of horse rustling in Lewiston. He turned himself in to the commander at Fort Lapwai, who sentenced him to work building roads. In the fall of 1863, he was again accused of stealing horses and skipped to Virginia City, where he worked mending harnesses and repairing boots.

After he heard about the new vigilante group, he warned Sheriff Plummer. When the vigilantes learned about that, they considered him a spy for the Innocents and put him on their outlaw list.

Also on the list was Three-Fingered Jack Gallager, a New Yorker who drifted west, made crime his calling and in a Montana saloon, unwittingly predicted his own demise. His dark trail started in Denver in 1863 where he killed a man. Next stop was Virginia City, where Henry Plummer pinned a deputy sheriff badge on him and made him part of the Innocents gang.

“Three-Fingered” Jack Gallager’s gravesite, Virginia City, MT.

Another of Plummer’s deputies was a decent man named Donald H. Dillingham. When he learned that the Innocents were plotting robbery, he forewarned the victims. When that was discovered, other deputies killed him on Main Street in front of witnesses.

None of the killers were convicted. That riled the community and gave birth to a vigilante committee. Before 1863 ended, the vigilantes had executed about 20 of Plummer’s outlaws and driven many more from the town.

Sitting in a saloon drinking and playing faro, Three-Fingered Jack said, “While we are here betting, those vigilante sons of bitches are passing sentence on us.”

That same night, the vigilantes met secretly to try the men on their list, agreeing unanimously that there would be only one sentence: Death.

The next morning, the vigilantes fulfilled Three-Fingered Jack’s prediction by rounding up the nicknamed trio along with two others – Frank Parish and Hayes (Haze) Lyons. All five were marched down the street to the unfinished Virginia City Hotel on Wallace Street and lined up underneath a supporting beam. Ropes with a hangman noose were thrown over the beam and boxes placed on the floor.

Club-Foot was the first to be hanged. Before they could kick the box out from under him however, he spotted a friend in the audience, and yelled “Goodbye old fellow, I’m gone,” and jumped off the box to his death.

Forty-three years later, his bones were dug up and his club foot is now on display under glass in the Thompson Hickman Museum in Virginia City.

“Club-Foot” George Lane’s preserved foot now in a museum.

The worst of the Innocents Gang was probably Boone Helm, who had no qualms about eating his companions when it meant his survival. One account described him “by birth and breeding, low, coarse, cruel, animal-like and utterly depraved, and for him no name but ruffian can fitly apply.”

“Kentucky Cannibal” Boone Helm (1828-1864)

Born in Kentucky, he too headed west for the gold, and left a trail of killings in California and Oregon before ending up with Plummer’s killers. He was known for his physical strength, being quarrelsome and having a violent temper.

He traveled with a group of men from The Dalles to Fort Hall, Idaho. In the winter of 1853, they ran into exceptionally cold weather in the mountains of eastern Oregon and were attacked by Indians but survived. By the time they reached Soda Springs on the Bear River, they ran out of food and were forced to eat their horses.

Helm and a man named Burton were stronger than the rest and headed together for Fort Hall. Along the way, Burton gave out and was left at an abandoned cabin. Helm continued but found the old fort abandoned for the winter and no food. He returned to Burton in time to be there when his companion shot himself.

Writer Emerson Hough in 1905 wrote, “He stayed on at this spot, and, like a hyena, preyed upon the dead body of his companion. He ate one leg of the body, and then, wrapping up the other in a piece of old shirt, threw it across his shoulder and started on further east.

“He had, before this on the march, declared to the party that he had practiced cannibalism at an earlier time, and proposed to do so again if it became necessary.”

In the years that followed, Helm robbed and killed his way across Utah, California, Oregon and British Columbia. In the fall of 1862, he was on the Fraser River in B.C. – again facing starvation in the wilderness.

“Once more, he was guilty of eating the body of his companion, whom he is supposed to have slain,” Hough wrote. Canadian authorities shipped Helm to Portland where he was locked up and brought to trial for killing a man called Dutch Fred some time back. All the witnesses however had disappeared and again he escaped justice.

But after he joined Plummer in Montana, his days were numbered. In the vigilante court, he kissed the Bible and swore he never killed anyone in his life.

The next day as 6,000 watched, he hollered, “Every man for his principles! Hurrah for Jeff Davis! Let ‘er rip!” Then, like Club-Foot George before him, he jumped off the hangman’s box…

Cannibal Boone Helm’s final moments

“Boone Helm looked around at his friends placed for death, and told (Three-Fingered) Jack to ‘stop making such a fuss,'” according to one account. “‘There’s no use being afraid to die,’ said he; and indeed there probably never lived a man more actually devoid of all sense of fear. He valued neither the life of others nor his own. He saw that the end had come, and was careless about the rest…”

Facing the noose, he seemed more concerned about a sore finger than the hangman.

Syd Albright is a writer and journalist living in Post Falls.

source: (pay wall) CdA Press
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The Plummer gang

Between October and December 1863, the rate of robberies and murders in and around Alder Gulch increased significantly, and the citizens of Virginia City grew increasingly suspicious of Sheriff Henry Plummer and his associates.

Notable criminal acts by alleged members of the Plummer gang included:

* On October 13, 1863, Lloyd Magruder was killed by road agent Chris Lowrie. Magruder was an Idaho merchant leaving Virginia City with $12,000 in gold dust from goods he had sold there. Several of the men he hired to accompany him back to Lewiston, Idaho were criminals. Four other men in his party were also murdered in camp – Charlie Allen, Robert Chalmers, Horace Chalmers and William Phillips – by Lowrie, Doc Howard, Jem Romaine and William Page.

* On October 26, 1863, the Peabody and Caldwell’s stage was robbed between the Rattlesnake Ranch and Bannack by two road agents believed to be Frank Parish and George Ives. Bill Bunton, the owner of the Rattlesnake Ranch who joined the stage at the ranch, was also complicit in the robbery. The road agents netted $2,800 in gold from the passengers and threatened them all with death if they talked about the robbery.

* On November 13, 1863, a teenage Henry Tilden was hired by Wilbur Sanders and Sidney Edgerton to locate and corral some horses owned by the two men. Near Horse Prairie, Tilden was confronted by three armed road agents. He was carrying very little money and was allowed to depart unmolested, but was warned that if he talked about whom he’d seen, he would be killed. He told Hattie Sanders, Wilbur’s wife, and Sidney Edgerton that he had recognized one of the road agents as Sheriff Henry Plummer. Although Tilden’s account was dismissed because of general respect for Plummer, suspicion in the region increased that Plummer was the leader of a gang of road agents.

* On November 22, 1863, the A.J. Oliver stage was robbed on its way from Virginia City to Bannack by road agents George Ives, “Whiskey Bill” Graves, and Bob Zachary. The robbery netted less than $1,000 in gold and treasury notes. One of the victims, Leroy Southmayd, reported the robbery and identified the road agents to Bannack sheriff Henry Plummer. Members of Plummer’s gang confronted Southmayd on his return trip to Virginia City, but Southmayd was cunning enough to avoid injury or death.

* In November 1863, Conrad Kohrs traveled to Bannack from Deer Lodge, Montana with $5,000 in gold dust to buy cattle. After talking with Sheriff Plummer in Bannack, Kohrs worried about the risk of robbery on his return to Deer Lodge. While his group was camped overnight, his associates found road agents George Ives and “Dutch John” Wagner surveying the camp, and armed with shotguns. A day or two later, Kohrs was riding on horseback to Deer Lodge when Ives and Wagner gave chase. As Kohrs’s horse proved the faster, Kohrs evaded confrontation and reached the safety of Deer Lodge.

* In early December 1863, a three-wagon freight outfit organized by Milton S. Moody was going from Virginia City to Salt Lake City. Among the seven passengers was John Bozeman. It was carrying $80,000 in gold dust and $1,500 in treasury notes. While the outfit was camped on Blacktail Deer Creek, road agents “Dutch John” Wagner and Steve Marshland entered the camp, armed and ready to rob the pack train. Members of the camp had armed themselves well, and Wagner and Marshland were able to escape by claiming they were just looking for lost horses. Two days later, Wagner and Marshland were both wounded in an unsuccessful attempt to rob the train as it crossed the Continental Divide at Rock Creek.

* On December 8, 1863, Anton Holter, who was taking oxen to sell in Virginia City, survived an attempted robbery and murder. When road agents George Ives and Aleck Carter, whom Holter recognized, discovered Holter was not carrying any significant wealth, they tried to shoot him. He avoided being shot and escaped into the brush.

At the time Bannack and Virginia City, Montana were part of a remote region of the Idaho Territory; there was no formal law enforcement or justice system for the area. Some residents suspected that Plummer’s road agent gang was responsible for numerous robberies, attempted robberies, murders and attempted murders in and around Alder Gulch in October–December 1863.

From December 19 to 21, 1863, a public trial was held in Virginia City by a miners’ court for George Ives, the suspected murderer of Nicholas Tiebolt, a young Dutch immigrant. Hundreds of miners from around the area attended the three-day outdoor trial. George Ives was prosecuted by Wilbur F. Sanders, convicted, and hanged on December 21, 1863.

On December 23, 1863, two days after the Ives trial, leading citizens of Virginia City and Bannack formed the Vigilance Committee of Alder Gulch in Virginia City. They included five Virginia City residents, led by Wilbur F. Sanders, and including Major Alvin W. Brockie, John Nye, Captain Nick D. Wall, and Paris Pfouts. Between January 4 and February 3, 1864, the vigilantes arrested and summarily executed at least 20 alleged members of Plummer’s gang.

Shortly after its formation, the Vigilance Committee dispatched a posse of men to search for Aleck Carter, “Whiskey Bill” Graves, and Bill Bunton, known associates of George Ives. The posse was led by vigilante Captain James Williams, the man who had investigated the Nicolas Tiebolt murder. Near the Rattlesnake Ranch on the Ruby River, the posse located “Erastus Red” Yeager and George Brown, both suspected road agents. While traveling under guard back to Virginia City, Yeager made a complete confession, naming the majority of the road agents in Plummer’s gang, and Henry Plummer. The posse found Yeager and Brown to be guilty and hanged them from a cottonwood tree on the Lorrain’s Ranch on the Ruby River.

On January 6, 1864, vigilante Captain Nick Wall and Ben Peabody captured “Dutch John” Wagner, a road agent wounded in the Moody robbery, on the Salt Lake City trail. The vigilantes transported Wagner to Bannack, where he was hanged on January 11, 1864. By this time, Yeager’s confession had mobilized vigilantes against Plummer and his key associates, deputies Buck Stinson and Ned Ray. Plummer, Stinson, and Ray were arrested on the morning of January 10, 1864, and summarily hanged.

The two youngest members of the gang were said to be spared. One was sent back to Bannack to tell the rest to get out of the area, and the other was sent ahead to Lewiston, Idaho to warn gang members to leave that town. (Lewiston was the connection from the Territory to the world, as it had river steamboats that traveled to the coast at Astoria, Oregon via the Snake and Columbia rivers.) Plummer was known to have traveled to Lewiston during the time when he was an elected official in Bannack. The hotel registry records with his signature during this period have been preserved. The large-scale robberies of gold shipments by gangs ended with Plummer’s and the alleged gang members’ deaths. Gang member Clubfoot George was hanged at about the same time with Plummer.

source: Wikipedia
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Henry Plummer and the Montana Vigilantes

Those prospectors were striking it rich, and that $10 million in gold that came out of the ground in and around Virginia City in 1863 was enough to set most men up for life.

It’s no surprise then that highway men rose up in the area to take that gold off their hands. Robberies to and from the finds around Bannack, Virginia City, and the other upstart mining communities increased markedly in 1863, many of them resulting in murders.

What point was there in breaking your back in the mines if all you worked for could be taken at gunpoint? Something would have to be done to stop this, and if the local law couldn’t do it, then Montana’s citizens would take matters into their own hands, giving rise to the vigilantes.

As robberies continued and increased many in the communities began to suspect the attacks were planned and coordinated. And soon the finger was pointed at Bannack’s very own sheriff, Henry Plummer.

continued: excerpt from the book Priests and Prospectors: A History of Montana, Volume II, by Greg Strandberg
[Note: This is a well written story, some details differ a little.]
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Henry Plummer

The lynching of sheriff Henry Plummer poses one of the most haunting mysteries of the Old West. The story is well-known: in 1863, miners at the booming gold camp of Bannack (then in Idaho Territory, now in Montana) elected a sheriff. The soft-spoken young Easterner proved to be an efficient lawman, yet in 1864 he was lynched by vigilantes. Their apologist Thomas Dimsdale explained to the populace that the sheriff had been a ‘very demon’ who directed a band guilty of murdering more than 100 citizens.

The aunt of vigilante prosecutor Wilbur Sanders described the outlaw band’s countless atrocities: ‘The sheriff…was the captain,’ Mary Edgerton wrote, and ‘the victims were…murdered and robbed and then their bodies…cut into pieces and put under the ice, others burned and others buried.’ But, she continued, ‘these murders had not been discovered by the people here.’ Mrs. Edgerton was describing the mutilation of corpses that had never been discovered! Despite the absence of actual bodies and the vigilantes’ failure to so much as question the man hanged for directing the alleged mayhem, Dimsdale branded Plummer a murderous outlaw chief. (The June 1992 issue of Wild West Magazine includes a more traditional account of Plummer.)

Posterity has expressed little concern that the accused sheriff received no trial. Instead, historians have blithely accepted the story given out by the very men who plotted and carried out Plummer’s murder. Research of the past three decades, however, suggests that the Montana vigilantes may well have hanged an innocent man.

In Dimsdale’s 1866 book, The Vigilantes of Montana, he outlined Plummer’s supposed record of crime. It is understandable that posterity would trust Dimsdale; he was a pious teacher and editor. In addition, historians thought that Dimsdale’s name was not on the vigilante roll and therefore naively believed his claim that his book was impartial. And finally, criticism aimed at the vigilantes had been uniformly squelched. There is the glaring example of preacher’s son Bill Hunter, who expressed his outrage by shouting on a mining camp street that pro-vigilantes were ’stranglers.’ Weeks later, Hunter’s frozen corpse was found dangling from the limb of a cottonwood tree.

Despite such warnings to vigilante critics, a few rumblings of dissent did emerge, rumblings that should have raised doubt about the vigilantes’ version of events at Bannack. For example, in 1864 a Sacramento Union correspondent hinted that the gang’s high degree of organization and its atrocities may have been exaggerations. The number of murders, the correspondent suggested, could be fewer than 100, perhaps no more than 10. Decades later, Judge Lew L. Callaway (a friend and admirer of vigilante captain James Williams) admitted that at the time of the lynchings, ‘Some good people considered the vigilantes themselves outlaws.’ As for the true character of the maligned Plummer, Judge Frank Woody described him as ‘the last man that one would take to be a highwayman.’

William Henry Plummer (originally spelled Plumer) was born in 1832 in Washington County, Maine, the youngest child of a prominent pioneer family. His father, older brother and sister’s husband were all sea captains, but the youngest son – intelligent, good-looking, and of slight build – had consumption and could not carry on the seagoing tradition. Thus his parents provided him with what was described as ‘a good early education’ in a village near the family farm. But apparently William Henry shared the adventuresome spirit that had lured his sailing ancestors to such exotic spots as the Canary Islands. In 1851 the 19-year-old caught the California gold fever and on April 27 sailed from New York aboard the U.S. mail ship Illinois. Passengers debarked at Aspinwall, Panama, and by mule train crossed to Panama City to board a ‘floating palace’ named Golden Gate. At precisely midnight on May 21, they steamed into San Francisco. Plummer’s coast-to-coast trip to the gold fields took only 24 days.

His funds depleted, the eager youth had to take a job in a book store, but after a year he had saved enough to buy ranch and mine in Nevada County (about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco). A year later, he traded mine shares for a business in the county seat, and fellow merchants who were impressed by his business integrity persuaded him to run for the position of town marshal and city manager. Since Nevada City was at the time the third largest settlement in California, the job would offer state prominence.

In an election held in May 1856, Plummer won by the narrowest of margins, but it did not take the genteel young merchant long to earn the reputation of a dutiful marshal. ‘He was not only prompt and energetic,’ citizens noted, but ‘when opposed in the performance of his official duties, he became as bold and determined as a lion.’ Among the daring manhunts that kept him constantly in the public eye was his pursuit of Jim Webster, a murder suspect who was terrorizing two counties. ‘Our efficient city Marshal,’ the local newspaper crowed, found Webster and companion ‘asleep in bed, with their pistols under their heads. The pistols were quietly removed and the two…taken into custody.’

In 1857 Plummer handily won re-election. Recognizing the colorful 24-year-old as a rising star, Democrats chose him to run for the state assembly. Considered a shoo-in, he seemed destined to become the youngest man sent to the California Legislature. But in a twist of fate, the Democrats argued and split, one faction launching a devastating smear campaign against the other. Plummer went down to humiliating defeat.

Despite his blackened name, Plummer’s efficiency and charisma might have revived his faltering career had he not become involved in the marital problems of John and Lucy Vedder. John was an inept gambler who not only abused his wife but also at times abandoned her and their sickly daughter. Desperate because he could not find housing in the overcrowded town, John heard that residents in trouble could ‘go to Mr. Plummer…for advice.’ After listening to John’s plea, Plummer vacated his own home and allowed the Vedders to rent it. Soon after, a passing pedestrian heard cries coming from the house, rushed to the door, and saw John beating Lucy. Noting that he was observed, John shouted for the intruder to leave or he would kill him. On another occasion, a neighbor reported watching John knock Lucy to the floor and then ‘pinch her nose until she could scarcely get her breath.’

When the observers notified Plummer of this battery, he provided Lucy with a police guard and also sent a lawyer to counsel her. Although John had once held a knife to Lucy’s throat and demanded that she leave him, he now became livid when she asked the lawyer to arrange a divorce. Ranting that he would kill the marshal, John scurried from store to store asking to borrow a gun. Again, citizens notified Plummer, who confronted the raving husband, assuring him that he was a friend who ‘would not resent it’ even if John ’should spit in his face.’ This unexpected pacifism brought a temporary truce.

On the night Lucy was to catch the departing 2 a.m. stage, Plummer sent her usual guard and at midnight arrived to assume the duty himself. As Plummer sat by the stove watching Lucy pack, John tiptoed up the back stairs, swung open the door, and pointed a pistol at him. ‘Your time is come,’ the gambler said and quickly fired twice. Both shots missed, but when Plummer fired back, he was right on target. Mortally wounded, John fled down the stairs, collapsed, and drew his final breath, and Lucy dashed into the street crying hysterically that the marshal had killed her husband.

After two trials, a jury – which concluded that a marshal who would send a lawyer to break up a marriage must be a seducer – found the defendant guilty of murder in the second degree; the judge pronounced a sentence of 10 years in San Quentin. During the trials, Plummer had been ill with consumption, and under inadequate prison care, his condition rapidly deteriorated. But while he lay in the prison sick ward on the verge of death, a former policeman was hurrying to Sacramento with a petition for the governor. ‘Henry Plummer,’ the document read, ‘is a young man having an excellent character.’ This protest of Plummer’s innocence bore signatures of more than 100 officials of two counties. Governor John Weller immediately granted a pardon, but instead of exonerating Plummer, he chose to cite the less controversial grounds of ‘imminent dangers of death from Consumption.’

The disgraced and ailing ex-lawman returned to Nevada City, gradually recuperated, and then resumed mining. Though he did his best to behave like a miner – jingling ore samples in his pockets and supervising work at his claims – he could not shake his lawman ways. First, he made a successful citizen’s arrest of San Quentin escapee ‘Ten Year’ Smith, and later attempted an arrest of escapee ‘Buckskin Bill’ Riley. When Riley whipped out his bowie knife and slashed the ex-marshal across the forehead, Plummer shot his assailant, killing him instantly. Immediately, Plummer surrendered himself to police, who locked him in a cell and called a surgeon to suture the gaping wound. Police agreed that Plummer had acted in self-defense, but fearing that his prison record would prevent a fair trial, counseled him to leave the area and then allowed him to walk away from the jail.

Eventually Plummer followed the gold stampede trail to Washington Territory. Although he associated with other fugitives from justice, he continued to behave like a peace officer. In the streets of Lewiston, he dissolved a lynch mob with an eloquent address. ‘These men may be guilty of the crime of murder,’ he pled, ‘but we shall not be less guilty if we…put them to death other than by due process of law.’ This heroic effort on behalf of law and order put Plummer in bad stead with the pro-vigilante factions always present in the mining camps.

Soon after, saloonkeeper Patrick Ford ejected Plummer and companions from Ford’s Oro Fino dance hall, followed the men to the stable, and fired at them with two guns. In return fire, Plummer killed Ford, and the dead man’s Irish compatriots raised a mob bent on lynching Plummer. He fled to the eastern side of the Bitterroot Range, but a Sacramento Union correspondent residing in the area reported that ‘all unite in bearing testimony that Plumer acted on the defensive.’

After this third instance in which he had been forced to kill a man in order to stay alive, Plummer felt too disheartened to try to rebuild a career in the West, and decided to return to Maine. While he was at Fort Benton (head of navigation on the Missouri River) waiting for a steamer, the agent of the government farm on the Sun River rushed into the fort, begging for volunteers to defend his family against an anticipated Indian attack on the small stockade. Plummer agreed to ride back to Sun River with agent James Vail, as did Jack Cleveland, a rowdy horse trader who had trailed Plummer all the way from California. During his pursuit, Cleveland had loaded up on whiskey and then boasted at the saloons that he was the great hunter on the trail of his ‘meat,’ Henry Plummer. Cleveland kept from his audiences the information that he had gotten into trouble in California and that his pursuing law officer had been none other than Nevada City’s former marshal, Henry Plummer.

Within the stake walls of the small stockade set on the banks of the Sun River, both Cleveland and Plummer fell desperately in love with Electa Bryan, the delicate and pretty sister-in-law of Vail. Inspired by Electa’s returned love for him, Plummer rekindled his dream for a lofty career on the frontier. In an autumn courtship conducted alongside the peaceful river mirroring massive, yellow-leaved cottonwoods, Plummer promised that in the spring he would return to marry Electa. When he bid his betrothed farewell to head to Bannack, the latest gold discovery site, it was with the resentful Cleveland riding alongside.

Bolstered by whiskey courage, Cleveland finally put his long-awaited plan into effect on January 14, 1863. As Plummer sat warming himself at the fire in Bannack’s Goodrich Hotel saloon, the boisterous horse trader attempted to provoke a shootout. Even after Plummer fired a warning shot into the saloon ceiling, Cleveland would not back down. Twice he went for his revolver, and twice–before he could get off a shot – he took a ball from Plummer’s pistol. Cleveland died of his wounds, but following the code of justice at the mines (that self-defense was judged according to who first went for a weapon) a miners’ jury ‘honorably acquitted’ Plummer.

In May 1863, the same miners elected Plummer the sheriff of Bannack and all surrounding mines. The young man who now became the law at the new mines had received a majority that far surpassed that of any other official. ‘No man,’ a Sacramento Union reporter stated,’stands higher in the estimation of the community than Henry Plummer.’

The newly elected sheriff organized a deputy network throughout the camps and triumphantly rode to Sun River for a June wedding. After he had settled his bride into their log home at Bannack, he convinced citizens of the need for a detention facility, to end the current practice of immediate hangings. With subscriptions of $2.50, which Plummer personally collected, he constructed the first jail in what is now Montana. To his bitter political enemy Nathaniel Langford, Plummer confided, ‘Now that I am married and have something to live for, and hold an official position, I will show you that I can be a good man among good men.’ Even Langford conceded that Plummer had ‘wonderful executive ability’ and ‘was oftener applied to for counsel… than any other resident.’ Constituents praised the sheriff’s ‘exhaustive efforts’ to protect the camps, commenting that ‘crime in the area seemed to be played out.’ And the Union League (a Bannack political group) voted unanimously to recommend Plummer as a deputy U.S. marshal.

The Plummer depicted in early diaries and journals is a far cry from a bloodthirsty demon addicted to robbery and mayhem. Instead, pioneers recall seeing the ‘genteel-mannered’ peace officer, fastidiously neat in his elegant overcoat, patrolling Bannack’s streets at dawn.

But during the final months of 1863, a rash of crime swept the Bannack and Alder Gulch mines – not the alleged 100 murders and robberies, but four alarming occurrences: a murder, two stage robberies and the attempted robbery of a freight caravan. Although Plummer increased his efforts to offer protection, while he was escorting a freighting party to Fort Benton, pro-vigilante forces organized. In an ensuing hanging spree that lasted a month, vigilantes eradicated 21 men suspected of belonging to an outlaw gang. Among the untried victims was Plummer himself, who had publicly stated that he intended to put a stop to the lynchings.

Thus in 1864 a popularly elected law officer in a U.S. territory was, without due process of law, deprived of his inalienable right to life. The matter should not be taken lightly, for there is not a single shred of evidence linking Plummer to any crime committed at Bannack or Alder Gulch. Some historians now regard the rumored outlaw gang as mere myth. On the mining frontier, rumors of huge bands – complete with passwords, spy networks and codes for marking targeted coaches – were rife. In Vigilante Days and Ways, Langford wrote that Plummer had previously headed an outlaw band in Lewiston for three years. In fact, Plummer was residing in California at the time, and preserved documents suggest Plummer spent just three weeks in the Lewiston area.

As for the Bannack outlaw gang, vigilantes claimed that it was ‘the most perfect organization in the West.’ Yet study of the four aforementioned crimes in Plummer’s jurisdiction reveals that there was no connection between them, nor any earmarks of an outlaw organization. The two stages robbed were not even carrying gold shipments, while the botched robbery of the caravan transporting over $75,000 in gold dust was carried out by only two men, one timid and the other inept.

The method that vigilantes used to confirm that local outlaws had united into a fearsome gang was to loop a noose about the neck of suspect ‘Long John’ Franck and repeatedly hoist him until the nearly strangled man gasped that there was indeed a gang. But when Long John attempted to lead vigilantes to gang headquarters, he came up empty-handed. Erastus Yeager, another suspect put under similar duress, supposedly dictated to a vigilante scribe the names of the gang members. Though vigilantes claimed that this dictated membership roll had guided their executions, the authenticity of Yeager’s list is doubtful for several reasons. For one thing, none of the four copies of the list agree with each other. And oddly enough, the name of Deputy John Gallagher, lynched at Virginia City, does not appear on any of the four lists.

In addition to the suspicion aroused by the list discrepancies, the four bungled crimes, the forced confessions, and the lack of connection between the four crimes is the sobering fact that during their entire spree, the vigilantes never once encountered the resistance of the West’s most ‘perfectly organized’ gang. Instead, their own heavily armed band relentlessly tracked the victims through deep snows, victims who were too crippled and ill to walk to the shadowy cottonwood limb or the ominous pole slanted across a corral.

On January 10, 1864, a mob armed with revolvers, rifles and shotguns surrounded the ailing Plummer’s cabin and lured him from his sickbed by threatening to lynch a robbery suspect in custody. Unarmed, Plummer stepped outside and argued for the suspect’s right to a trial, but vigilantes surrounded him and marched him to the pine gallows up the gulch. They provided no drop, but instead bound his hands, slipped a noose over his head, and gradually hoisted him. In all probability, the peace officer who slowly strangled to death on that moonless winter night led no outlaw band, but instead had intentions of stemming the rise of vigilantism in Montana Territory.

Editor’s note: Sheriff Henry Plummer, after 129 years, finally received due process of law. On May 7, 1993, a posthumous trial (Montana’s Twin Bridges Public Schools initiated the event) was held in the Virginia City, Mont., courthouse. The 12 registered voters on the jury were split 6-6 on the verdict, which led Judge Barbara Brook to declare a mistrial. Had Plummer been alive he would have been freed and not tried again.

source: Wild West History 6/12/2006
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Henry Plummer’s scaffold

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Vigilantes Series

Henry Plummer (Vigilantes part 1)

Orlando “Rube” Robbins (Vigilantes part 2)

Idaho Vigilance Committees (Vigilantes part 3)

Dave Updyke – First Sheriff of Ada County (part 4)

page updated July 11, 2020