Idaho History May 13, 2018

Annie “Peg Leg” McIntyre Morrow

part 1

Rocky Bar c. 1867

(click image for larger size)
Elmore County Historical Research Team.

source: South Fork Companion
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Annie “Peg Leg” McIntyre Morrow

By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

The discovery of gold on the Feather River in 1863 prompted thousands of people to move to the area, including five year old Felicia Ann, her father Stephen McIntyre, his wife, and his son. Born on September 13, 1858 in Van Buren County Iowa, Annie arrived in Rocky Bar, Idaho on Independence Day of 1864, perched on her father’s shoulders. She attended school in Rocky Bar until the age of 14. Her father Stephen McIntyre eventually became part owner of the Golden Star Mine, but was tragically shot in a street fight, leaving Annie on her own. She became a child bride at 17, marrying a man sixteen years older than she named Thomas Morrow on August 27, 1876. Morrow was reportedly a cruel husband, and she later filed for divorce. Morrow died in 1906 and is buried in Morris Hill Cemetery. Before they separated, they had five children: Eliza Anne Morrow,John William Morrow, Harry Morrow, Susan Margaret Morrow, and Ethel Frances Morrow.

During the gold rush, Annie owned “houses of entertainment” in the “gold-boom” towns of Atlanta and Rocky Bar, Idaho. Annie was an incredible entrepreneur, described as one of Atlanta’s more colorful individuals. She owned a plethora of businesses, and many mining claims. Despite her success, she also worked as a successful “lady of the night”.

In May 1896, Annie and a companion, Emma von Losch AKA “Dutch Em,” another “soiled dove,” set out on foot from Atlanta to Rocky Bar. It was an eight mile trip along James Creek Summit pass, a major transportation route, and the pair were caught in a terrible late snowstorm. The blizzard raged on for two days. The women walked together on crusted snow, but at a crawl. After they failed to show up in Rocky Bar when expected, a search party was formed. Annie was found crawling through snow on her hands and knees, incoherent. “Dutch Em” was found dead, covered by Annie’s underclothes. Annie’s feet were frostbitten and had to be amputated above the ankles, garnering her the nickname “Peg Leg Annie”.

“Peg Leg Annie” lived at Rocky Bar in a cabin, which still stands. One of her many business ventures was selling whiskey. To prevent her customers from walking off with product, hid the bottles along the side of a building by her cabin. She collected payment in advance, then, with a shotgun across her knees, she would direct her customers to the spot where the bottles of booze were hidden.

A memorial plaque erected by the Atlanta Arts Society in July of 2003 at James Creek Summit pass reads, “Dedicated to the gritty resolve and courage of Annie Morrow, AKA ‘Peg Leg Annie’, and her friend ‘Dutch Em.’ In May 1896 they were caught in a late blizzard while walking from Atlanta to Rocky Bar. Losing their direction to the Summit House at this site, Em froze to death and Annie’s feet were later amputated. She died in 1934, but their colorful spirit lives on in our hearts and minds through the stories, myths and truth, still told about these pioneer women.”

A stone marker nearby reads, “Dutch Em Died on Bald Mountain May 16, 1896.”

If you would like to visit “Peg Leg Annie” at her gravesite, you can find her in the Morris Hill Cemetery. She has a simple gravestone, and she died on her birthday in 1934. She impacted Idaho greatly; a restaurant in Boise was even named after her, although it was later sold in 1997.

If you are interested in reading more about Atlanta or Rock Bar, see Ghost Towns of Idaho, by Donald C. Miller or Idaho Echoes in Time, by R.G. Robertson.

source: Pamela Kleibrink Thompson, March 5, 2014, “Green Belt Magazine”
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Annie Morrow

Added by: Danny Driesel

source: Find a Grave
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Annie McIntyre Morrow

Annie “Peg Leg” McIntyre Morrow was not a wicked woman, just more so lost. And the story of her life is one of tragedy, courage, and resourcefulness.

Photo courtesy of Idaho State Historical Society
(click for larger size)

Her name was Annie McIntyre Morrow, and the story of her life and times in the Idaho mining camps of Atlanta and Rocky Bar is one of tragedy, courage, and resourcefulness. She was born in Van Buren County, Idaho, on September 13, 1858. Her mother died giving birth to her. Annie’s father, Steve McIntyre, brought her to the mining camp of Rocky Bar in 1864, and the two settled there.

When Annie was six years old her father became partners with George W. Jackson, owner of one of the richest gold mines in the vicinity, the Gold Star. The two men quarreled; there was a shoot-out, and McIntyre was killed, leaving Annie an orphan.

At the age of fourteen, Annie met a man named Morrow, and the two became romantically involved. They married in 1876, but the marriage was not a happy one because Morrow beat his young bride. Annie left Rocky Bar with her husband but returned a few years later as a widow. Whether her husband died or whether she left him is not known.

Not long after her return to the South Boise mining area, Annie began operating a boarding house in Atlanta, Idaho, fourteen miles from Rocky Bar, over a four-mile mountain summit. Annie was an angel of mercy in the mining camp. She never turned down a hungry man or one without money. Her boarding house was a haven to those who were down on their luck.

Annie’s best friend was a German woman, Emma Van Losch, known in the mining camp as Dutch Em. The two shared a fondness for alcohol and were often seen going from one saloon to another sampling the various products. In mid-May 1898, Annie and Dutch Em started drinking, and by late evening the two were near drunk. In spite of a snowstorm raging outside, the pair decided to walk to Rocky Bar to attend a dance. They were not adequately clothed when they set out on their way, but they did take more to drink with them when they left.

The trail the two embarked on between Atlanta and Rocky Bar lay around Bald Mountain, a height of more than seven thousand feet. At day break a mail carrier from Atlanta was making his way up the summit to exchange mail with another carrier from Rocky Bar. The carrier reported passing the two women on the way up. A mountain blizzard swept down before he made his descent, and he failed to see them in the thick curtain of snow that engulfed the whole mountain side.

The raging blizzard lasted for two days, and everyone in the two mining camps of Atlanta and Rocky Bar were worried about Dutch Em and Annie. The third day after their departure, when the mail packer, Jackson, went on his run, he began a search for the two women. Three feet of fresh snow had fallen during the storm, and all the bushes and trees were covered with a mantle of white. Finally, in a deep canyon on the Atlanta side of the mountain, the mail man came upon Annie crawling about in the snow, jabbering in delirium. Her feet were frozen. Jackson carried her back to Atlanta and sent for Dr. M. J. Newkirk in Mountain Home eighty miles away.

For five days Annie waited for the doctor. She drank whisky to kill the intense pain she was suffering from her frozen feet. Tate had made the mistake of building a fire in her room, and as Annie’s feet thawed, her agony was almost unendurable. As she had no family, the miners took up a collection and hired a nurse to take care of her.

During the five days it took the doctor to reach Annie, various people of the camp suggested remedies to alleviate Annie’s suffering. Annie’s nurse even tried poultices of grated potatoes. The entire camp was sympathetic and tried to help in every possible way. When Dr. Newkirk finally arrived, gangrene had set in. He placed Annie on the kitchen table, gave her an anesthetic, and amputated both legs just below the knees.

After a time Annie’s delirium left her, and she was able to relate her experiences on the tragic trip across the blizzard-held mountain. Search parties were dispatched to Bald Mountain to locate Dutch Em, and her frozen body was found about a mile from where Annie had been rescued. The men who found her saw that she was covered with Annie’s underclothes.

Annie said that she was sure that she could have made it to safety after the blizzard struck, but she would not desert Em who collapsed. The two women found a huge boulder and huddled against it. Annie tried to build a fire, but the snow had wet her matches, so the two lay close together in an effort to keep from freezing. Annie removed her underclothes and covered Em, but after twenty-four hours she froze to death. Annie couldn’t remember anything beyond that.

After her legs healed, Annie made woolen pads for her stumps and started doing the laundry for the miners of Rocky Bar. She worked hard and saved her money. She believed her life had changed for the better when she met and fell in love with a drifter named Henry Longheme. He convinced Annie to take her savings of twenty years, some $12,000, and give it to him to deposit in a bank in San Francisco. A month after he left the area, Annie received a letter from Henry. He was in New York and he wrote to let her know he was leaving the country. She never heard from him again, nor did she ever hear of her money. She inquired of the bank in San Francisco and learned that her money had never been deposited there.

For a short time after prohibition came into effect, Annie bootlegged in a little cabin near Rocky Bar. Toward the last years of her life, she was completely broke. The tenderhearted miners brought her groceries and carried wood to her cabin. Annie eventually contracted cancer and died from the disease in 1934. She was seventy-six years old. She is buried in the Morris Hill cemetery in Boise.

source: Chris Enss April 13, 2016 “Cowgirl Magazine”
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Rocky Bar 1900

(click image for larger size)
Steve and Glen Anne Collection

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Peg Leg Annie

by Angelia Heeb

“One of Atlanta’s “characters” was “Peg Leg Annie,” described as a leading lady of the night. Annie and a companion, Emma von Losch, alias “Dutch Em,” set out on foot from Atlanta to Rocky Bar. They walked on crusted snow, although it was May, Probably in 1898. A blizzard raged for two days. The women failed to show up in Rocky Bar, and after three days a search party was organized. Annie was found crawling through snow on her hands and knees, incoherent. Dutch Em was found dead, covered by Annie’s underclothes.

A number of versions describe what developed next. The most commonly accepted story seems to be that Annie was amply filled with booze and at the proper time both feet were amputated above the ankles.

The plucky Annie found a man to live with, bore five children and dies in the 1930’s having been “dependent on friends for some years.”

For a while Peg Leg Annie lived at Rocky Bar in a cabin which is still standing. Reportedly she sold whiskey to anyone with the money to pay for it. Being incapacitated, however, she lined up whiskey bottles under cover along one side of a building near her cabin. With a shotgun across her knees, she would direct the would-be purchaser to the spot where the booze bottles were hidden. The story goes that she always paid for her liquor – in advance.” (also quoted from Ghost towns of Idaho by Donald C. Miller)

Peg Leg Annie’s house is still among the structures still standing at Rocky Bar and I saw a photo during my research that has that valley filled with buildings, that was the year before the fire. It is almost tough to believe that there were that many people there at one time. Standing on main street you can almost hear the bustle of the once busy mining city.

excerpted from: Rocky Bar, Ghost Towns
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Rocky Bar Masonic Hall

(click for larger size)
photo by Kevin J. Kelley

Many tourists visit the ghost town of Rocky Bar each year. It is only eight miles from paved road and en route to Atlanta. The restless spirits among the gold seekers in 1862 and 1863 were not satisfied with even the rich claims of the Boise Basin and struck out in prospecting parties in all directions. In 1863 gold was found at the mining camp of Rocky Bar, situated upon the waters of the Middle Fork of the Boise River. George Golden rebuilt the Lodge in 1892 after fire destroyed the original hall. He used it as home, general store, post office and Masonic Hall. The old post office interior is now at the State Historical Museum in Boise.

source: Idaho Heritage

Note: an earlier version captioned this photo as “The warehouse [above], I believe, is where Peg Leg Annie sold whiskey with a shotgun across her lap. Peg Leg Annie is famous in the nearby communities, and her full story was told to me by Miles in Atlanta.”
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Rocky Bar, Idaho Ghost town

Taken by J.Day Photography

source: Wikipedia, Rocky Bar, Idaho Ghost town Taken 11-3-2012 by J.Day Photography
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Link to Alturas County, Idaho 1864 to 1895
Link to Annie “Peg Leg” McIntyre Morrow (part 2)
Link to Esmeralda, Alturas (Elmore) County, Idaho
Link to Rocky Bar, Alturas (Elmore) County (part 1 general)
Link to Rocky Bar, Alturas (Elmore) County (part 2 mining)
Link to Rocky Bar, Alturas (Elmore) County (part 3 Transportation)
Link to Rocky Bar, Alturas (Elmore) County (part 4 Newspaper clippings)
Link to Atlanta, Alturas (Elmore) County, Idaho

page updated July 2, 2020