Idaho History Aug 12, 2018

Mount Idaho, Idaho County, Idaho

(Part 1) Pioneers

Why They Call it Mount Idaho

Lewiston Tribune – November 5, 1933

Two miles southeast of Grangeville, snuggled at the foot of the spur of the Clearwater mountains (so designated in government surveys) is a settlement named Mount Idaho, named after Idaho Territory and prefaced with Mount on account of being at the foot of a majestic eminence.

The glories of Mount Idaho will forever live in the annals of Idaho as a territory and as a state. It was there the civilization was introduced in much of the wild central Idaho country; the Masons instituted their first lodge in Idaho there; it served as county seat of Idaho county, being selected by the legislature to replace Warren as the county seat after Warren had been designated to replace Florence, the first seat of government of Idaho county.

Mount Idaho is a picturesque place. In its hey-day it boasted mills, stores, and good buildings, and the little city teemed with life. Loyal P. Brown and B.F. Morris were largely responsible for Mount Idaho developing into a flourishing community, and it was not until the late 70’s that Grangeville sprung up as a serious contender for municipal honors, finally winning. A fine farming community is contiguous to Mount Idaho.

According to the 1930 census, Mount Idaho had a population of 231.

©pbc 2004-Present – Keeping Genealogy Free
source: Idaho County GenWeb
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Mount Idaho Courthouse, built in the early 1870s

(click image for source size)
[Hawley] (photo probably taken around 1911)
(courtesy South Fork Companion)
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Idaho County History

… By 1875 Mount Idaho was developing into a prosperous town. Built largely as a stop for traffic to the gold fields, it seemed destined to be a more permanent settlement than the boom towns. It won a special election in 1875 for county seat. Mining was spreading to other areas: Orogrande, Dixie, Newsome, Salmon River, Golden, Marshall Lake, Burgdorf and others. Seventeen mining districts existed at that time, according to the Bicentennial Edition of the Idaho County Free Press published in 1976.

source: Idaho County Voices, From The Pioneers To The Present, Pioneer Days in Idaho County Volume 1 by Alfreda Elsensohn.
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Mount Idaho (written in 1884)

In the spring of 1862 Moses Millmer commenced to open a trail from Camas Prairie to Florence, and finished it by the first of July of the same year. He built the first house at the foot of the mountain, known as the Mountain House, where Mount Idaho now stands, and sold it to Mr. L. P. Brown on the eighteenth day of July, 1862.
Pg 240

1863 Postmaster, Loyal P. Brown; sixty-five miles east of Lewiston. Population 200.
Pg 226

Mount Idaho

Mount Idaho, the county seat, is situated at the further edge of an extensive camas prairie, near the mountain spurs that lie between the Salmon and the Clearwater Rivers. Its distance from Fort Lapwai is sixty miles, in a direct southeast line.
Pg 242

HON. L. P. BROWN is well worthy of the title of “Pacific Coast pioneer,” and in a remarkable degree embodies in himself their leading characteristics, — most generous impulses, indomitable energy, iron will, and public spirit that never fails to respond to duty’s call.

He was born at Stratford, New Hampshire, September 26, 1829; and, being early in life impressed with the fact that, although a grand old State to be born in, it was well to emigrate from it early, he removed to Boston, Massachusetts, at the age of sixteen years, and commenced his career as clerk in a mercantile establishment. The excited reports of unbounded gold discoveries in California, in 1848, electrified the whole country, and fired his heart; and in the early part of 1849 he joined the Massasoit Company, then organizing, and sailed from Boston, March 12, 1849, on board the schooner Harriet Neil, for California, via the Isthmus, and reached San Francisco July 12, 1849. Spending but a short time among the exciting scenes of San Francisco and Sacramento, as they existed “in the days of ’49,” he went to the gold fields of the Middle Fork of the American River, and engaged in mining at Rectors Bar with three of his associates of the Massasoit Company, and during that season realized the visions that inspired him when leaving the “land of steady” habits.”

In the spring of 1850 he went to the then called Northern Mines on Trinity River, and engaged in the usual merchandising of mining-camps, viz., in packing and selling miners’ supplies, and continued in the business until the spring of 1852, when he moved to and settled at Scottsburg, on the Umpqua River, in the then territory of Oregon, and followed merchandising for about three years.

The Rogue River Indian War of 1855 then burst forth. The Territorial Governor, Hon. George L. Clerey, called for volunteers for the defense of homes and firesides, and punishment of the treacherous foes. Mr. Brown responded, and served in the Quartermaster’s department until the close of the war, when he engaged in farming and stock-raising in Douglas County, Oregon.

In the spring of 1858 he returned to his birthplace with his family, and in the spring of 1859 fitted out six-horse teams and wagons, and crossed the plains via Fort Hall. His mother, step-father, and most of his relatives accompanied him and his family on his return to Oregon, and arrived at their home in the Umpqua Valley in September, 1859, and was there engaged in stock-raising and farming until the gold discoveries at Pierce City, Elk City, Salmon River, and Florence, in the then eastern portion of Washington Territory, and made a part of Idaho Territory by its Organic Act of .March 3. 1863, reanimated his old spirit of adventure, and in 1862 he removed with his family to what is now the town of Mount Idaho, and settled there on the 18th of July, 1862, where he has since remained, engaged in stock-raising, farming, milling, and other pursuits incident to a new country possessed of great mining and agricultural advantages.

He has always taken an active part in all public matters; has filled many positions of public trust, among which were two terms as a member of the Territorial Council of Idaho Territory, and was in a great measure instrumental in procuring a change of the county boundaries between the counties of Nez Perce and Idaho, greatly enlarging the area of the latter county, and resulting, at an election held in 1875, in selecting Mount Idaho for the county seat of Idaho County, where quite a prosperous town has sprung into existence, securing to itself a large portion of the farming and mining trade of the county.

For a time during the Nez Perce Indian War, in the summer of 1877, a large portion of the people of Idaho County were compelled to stockade at Mount Idaho for self protection. The memory of his sound judgment in every emergency, his open house, and open purse to meet all wants, public and private, will ever be remembered and cherished by those who participated in the horrors and trials of those bloody and devastating times. About 1861 Mr. Brown, forgetting or turning his back upon the good old Democratic faith of his father, in which he had been reared and had labored faithfully, allied himself to the “Black Republican” Party, and has ever since been their ardent partisan; but his devotion to party never interferes with his business or social relations, and he has even been known to espouse the cause and secure the election of a Democrat when he felt that public interests required of him the sacrifice.

The writer of this sketch has been personally acquainted with Mr. Brown for the last twenty-one years, and has only enunciated what is generally known and acknowledged by his acquaintances.

MRS. SARAH T. BROWN, at the age of fifteen years, accompanied her father, G. W. Crusen, and her mother and sister across the plains from La Salle County, Illinois, with that usual conveyance of pioneer.s, an ox-team, in the summer of 1852, arriving in Oregon Territory late in the fall. In the spring of 1853 her father and family moved to Umpqua Valley and settled on a farm, where she remained until married to Mr. Brown, on October 24, 1854. Mrs. Brown possesses all the ennobling qualities of the pioneer mothers and daughters of the Northwest, who have left their impress upon the people and institutions of an empire but recently the haunts only of wild beasts and Indians equally wild and savage.

The experience of her trip across the plains with her father and family, in 1852, with the attendant pestilence and Indian warfare of that memorable year, did not deter her from making another trip by team with her husband and two infant children, in 1859, over the then desolate route.

She accompanied Mr. Brown and her family to Mount Idaho, Idaho Territory, in July, 1862, when there were very few families in the whole of what is now northern Idaho, and remained to see the country transformed from unsettled wilds to the abode of large and thriving communities, with well-attended public schools and large worshiping congregations of their respective faiths.

After all the hardships incident to frontier life, she now enjoys the fruition of her and her husband’s early hopes and aspirations.

They are blessed with one son, Rollin C. Brown, who is married and lives near Mount Idaho, extensively engaged in stock-raising and farming; and two daughters, aged seventeen and fourteen years respectively, upon whom she looks with pride, as they cheer and cherish her with their love and affection.
pg 276-277
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J. B. MORRIS, M. D., of Mount Idaho, was born in Ray County, Missouri, October i, 1850, and resided in his native place up to the time he emigrated to Mount Idaho, his present.home. He left Richmond, Missouri, on June i, 1875, and arrived in Mount Idaho on the 25th of the same month, and engaged in the practice of medicine and the drug business. Dr. Morris married Miss Laura J. Billings in 1879, a native of Canada.
Pg 256

source: “History of Idaho Territory with Illustrations” 1884 (81 meg)
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Loyal Parson Brown

Photo added by Rooty Poe

Added by Richard Johnston

Birth: 26 Sep 1829 Stratford, Coos County, New Hampshire
Death: 9 Apr 1896 (aged 66) Idaho
Burial: Mount Idaho Cemetery, Mount Idaho, Idaho County, Idaho

(click image for source size)
Added by Michal


Samuel F Brown

Caroline Bishop Brown


Sarah T. Crusen Brown
1837–1906 (m. 1854)


Rollin Crusen Brown

Ada B. Brown Hovey

Daisy B Smith

source: Find a Grave
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Government Appoints Postmasters and Creates Post Offices in Idaho Territory

On May 4, 1863, the Evening Bulletin in San Francisco published the following brief item: “Post Office Matters. … The following appointments have been received: Charles Welsh, Florence City, Idaho Territory; John Flanagan, Elk City, I. T.; Joseph Patty, Orofino, I. T. … New offices have been established at the following places: Durkeeville, Idaho Territory – Clark H. Durkee, Postmaster; Mount Idaho, I. T. – Loyal P. Brown, Postmaster.”

In the spring of 1863, Florence City (or just Florence), Elk City, and Oro Fino (now Orofino) were still flourishing gold towns. But soon, the fields played out and the towns withered. Ironically, Florence was county seat of Idaho County for a time, but it’s now a ghost town.

Durkeeville and Mount Idaho began as way stations on the road between Lewiston and the gold camps of the Clearwater River and lower Salmon River. Clark Durkee emigrated to the Pacific Coast from his native Vermont in 1850, when he was not quite thirty years old. After successes in California and Oregon, he followed the gold rush into Idaho. However, Durkeeville, located about twenty-five miles east and a bit south of Lewiston, only lasted a couple years, after which Durkee returned to Oregon.

Loyal P. Brown was born in 1929, in Stratford, New Hampshire. He moved to California in 1849, did well there, and then in Oregon. He too followed the gold rush into Idaho, bringing his family along. In July 1862, he and a partner purchased the waystation what would become Mount Idaho.

(click image for source size)
L. P. Brown. Historical Museum at St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho.

Brown soon bought out his partner. Then, over the next thirty years, he led development in Northern Idaho, becoming quite a wealthy man in the process. He served twice in the Territorial Council and secured selection of Mount Idaho as the county seat of Idaho County, from 1875 to 1902.

In 1887, Brown helped organize the Idaho County Pioneer Association, and became its first president. He passed away in April 1896.

source: South Fork Companion
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Loyal P. Brown: North Idaho Merchant, Rancher, Developer, and Legislator

North Camas Prairie businessman, rancher, investor, and public servant Loyal P. Brown was born September 26, 1829 in Stratford, New Hampshire, in the northeast corner of the state.

His mercantile experience began when he was 16 years old. After a few years of that, he became a Forty-Niner, traveling the isthmus route to California. He did well in the gold fields, and then with stores he opened in northern California and in Oregon. After a year back East, he returned to Oregon and settled in the Umpqua Valley.

When gold was discovered near Florence, he brought his family to Idaho. In July 1862, they reached the waystation of Mose Milner, near the southeast edge of the Camas Prairie. Sensing opportunity, Brown and a partner purchased what would become Mount Idaho.

Brown, a life-long temperance advocate, disagreed with his partner about building a saloon onto the hotel, so Brown bought him out three years later. The structure then housed a post office, with Brown as postmaster, and a modest store. L. P. also opened a small blacksmith shop. Brown’s holdings grew extensively: many leased lots in Mount Idaho, a grist mill, another store in Elk City, and a substantial ranch. The ranch held “quite a band of cattle” and exported horses into Montana.

Brown represented Nez Perce County on the 1874-75 Territorial Council. (He had also held that office in 1866-67.) During that session, he worked a bill through the legislature that redrew county boundaries, resulting in the selection of Mount Idaho as the county seat of Idaho County. That fueled even further growth before the Nez Perce War broke out.

L.P. played a major leadership role in the 1877 War: His dispatches provided the first warning of the outbreak to the Army units at Fort Lapwai. He also supplied materials and supervised construction of a hastily-built stockade at Mount Idaho, and provided shelter for all who had to flee their homesteads.

Brown expanded further after the war. Merchants added new structures in Mount Idaho, and he built a steam sawmill northeast of town. Elsewhere, he bought up much of the town of Cottonwood and encouraged its growth: a post office in 1879, a blacksmith shop, and, in 1880, a store and Brown’s own hotel.

During the early 1880s, Brown broadened his holdings even more to include six or seven thousand head of sheep along with his cattle and horses. Of course, he wasn’t the only stockman. On July 20, 1885, ranchers in Idaho County created the Idaho County Stock Growers’ Association. (As elsewhere in the state, one of their main concerns was rustling). The Association elected Brown as its first president.

Settlers continued to arrive in the area and, in July and August of 1887, leaders organized the Idaho County Pioneer Association [blog, July 16]. Again, L. P. Brown was its first president.

Brown even found time to invest in Clearwater mining ventures. However, he sold perhaps his most promising lode mine property to a California firm in early 1894. He passed away in April 1896.

source: South Fork Companion
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Idaho County Pioneer Association Holds First Organizational Meeting

The first organizational meeting of the Idaho County Pioneer Association was held on Saturday, July 16, 1887. Within a few weeks, the group adopted a constitution, elected officers, and recruited its first members.

The Association selected Loyal P. Brown as its first President. In 1862, L. P. (as he was often called) decided to move his family from Oregon to the Florence, Idaho, mining district. On the way, he saw opportunity at a road waystation. He and a partner purchased the holding, which became the town of Mount Idaho.

(click image for source size)
L. P. Brown with his wife and daughters, 1882. Historical Museum at St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho.

Brown eventually promoted “his” town into the county seat of Idaho County. Besides many businesses in Mount Idaho, Cottonwood, and elsewhere, Brown owned extensive herds of sheep and considerable productive farm land.

The first Association Secretary, Michael H. Truscott, took up mining around Elk City in 1865. Five years later, he went to work as an engineer for L. P.’s lumber and flour mills. Truscott moved to managing one of Brown’s hotels in 1882, and was appointed Mount Idaho postmaster in 1886. In 1892, he became manager of the Vollmer & Scott mercantile store.

Jay M. Dorman, the first Association Treasurer, began mining around Elk City in 1862. Moderate success kept him in that area until 1871, when he moved to Mount Idaho. There, he helped build most of structures in the town, including a jail when Mount Idaho became the county seat. Dorman also operated a ranch in the area, where he grew hay and grain for his stock.

excerpted from: South Fork Companion
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Grangeville Wins County Seat From Mount Idaho

On November 4, 1902, voters decisively favored the transfer of the county seat of Idaho County from Mount Idaho to Grangeville. This result culminated a vigorous decade-long campaign to wrest the seat away from the older town.

Pioneer Loyal P. Brown established Mount Idaho as the first town on the Camas Prairie. He started in 1862 from a waystation on the road to the Florence gold fields [blog, Sept 26]. In 1875, his political maneuvering won the county seat for the town.

Grangeville began with the establishment of Charity Grange No. 15, Patrons of Husbandry, in August 1874. When Loyal P. refused to donate a Mount Idaho plot for a Grange Hall, members asked rancher John Crooks if he would help. He agreed, and donated land about three miles to the north. To finance the hall project, Grange members organized a milling company and built a flour mill.

… By 1892 it [Grangeville] was the largest town in Idaho County. (That was also the year when Grangeville’s first two banks opened.) An undercurrent of sentiment to relocate the county seat burst into an active campaign. Although supporters polled a simple majority in the subsequent election, they failed to garner the necessary two-thirds vote. The setback was perhaps a tribute to L. P. Brown, who was still highly respected. But Brown would pass away in 1896.

… The election in 1902 gave Grangeville nearly three-quarters of the votes in their favor for the county seat.

excerpted from: South Fork Companion
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Mount Idaho

by Bob Hartman

The story of Grangeville really begins with the story of the story of Mount Idaho in 1862, the only town between the Florence Mines and Lewiston. Mount Idaho was named by it’s first Postmaster L. P. Brown for the nearby mountain.

In 1874, three or four miles out of town the local farmers and cattlemen organized the Charity Grange No. 15. In 1876 they built a grange hall on some land donated by John Crook, and nearby built a flour & gristmill. The village that would be named after the grange started growing up from this spot.

As the mining came to a close in the Florence area Mount Idaho was on the road to nowhere, while Grangeville was on the new north/south highway and was served by the Camas Prairie Rail Road. In 1902 Mount Idaho lost it’s County Seat to Grangeville, and in 1922 lost it’s Post Office.

source: Bob Hartman, Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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1888 Mount Idaho Mortgage

(click image for FB link to full size)
1888 Real Estate Mortgage from Mount Idaho for Zachariah and Amanda Shurgart

courtesy: Penny Bennett Casey
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Murders, Poisonings and Executions in Idaho County

Idaho County Free Press – Friday, October 19, 1888

Murder! Murder!

One “Good” Chinaman and a Likelihood of Several More Going to the Celestial Kingdom by the help of a Rope

The readers of the Free Press will remember an account, published two weeks ago, of the mysterious disappearance of a Chinaman from Mt. Idaho on Sept. 25th, and the Chinese in that place and vicinity being much exercised thereabout. The dead body of a Chinaman was found yesterday in a canyon about a quarter of a mile back of Mt. Idaho, by a little boy, with his skull fractured in 20 places, and his hands mangled fearfully, as if he had been protecting himself from the deadly assault, which was seemingly done with a hatchet, and all indications go to prove that he was murdered by his compatriots while in his cabin and then carried to the place where his decomposed body was found, as he was old and indigent and dependent upon his fellow countrymen for support. The inquest will be held this morning by Coroner S.E. Bibby and a jury Full particulars next week.

source: Transcribed by Penny Casey from original microfilm.
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Idaho County Free Press – Friday, October 19, 1888

Old Silas Johns left his camp on Clearwater last Saturday to hunt up his saddle horse and has not been seen or heard of since, although diligent search has been and is still being made. It is feared that the old man has dropped dead and rolled down a gulch.
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Idaho Free Press, Idaho Territory – Friday, October 26, 1888

Is It Murder?

Silas Johns Mysteriously Disappears – Suspicions of Foul Play

On Saturday morning, October 13, Silas Johns left his placer Claim on the south fork of Clearwater to hunt his saddle horse and has never since been seen or heard of. His hands, fearing the old man might have fallen dead, instituted a search which has been maintained to the present time, but no clue to his whereabouts has been discovered, and fears are entertained that he has been murdered and buried.

It was first thought that he might have wandered off in a fit of insanity, but since the discovery of the remains of the mutilated Chinaman near Mt. Idaho the impression prevails that he has been murdered and the body buried. A stranger was camped a short distance below the claim for several days and left the day after the disappearance for parts unknown, but as there is no evidence implicating him or indicating a crime, it may have been only a coincidence.

It is thought that if Mr. Johns had died while hunting his horse the body would have been found, as he would naturally have kept to the high ground. On the other hand, it is thought that he may have been killed by someone who thought he had some gold dust in his possession, as he was going to clean up the boxes that afternoon, and his going for the horse may have led to the supposition on the part of the murderer that the clean-up had already been made.

All this, however, is pure conjecture, as the old man has disappeared and left not a trace behind him, and there can be no earthly doubt but that he is now dead. He was 74 years old and had been here since 1863. He was very eccentric and preferred being alone to associating with his fellows. The suspicion of foul play is so strong and there have been so many affairs of the kind in the county that we suggest the offering of suitable rewards by the county commissioners for the discovery of the body, for evidences of crime and for the apprehension of the criminals if a crime has been committed.

source: Transcribed by Penny Casey from original microfilm.
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Helena Independent – Helena, Montana November 18, 1899

Rancher Killed – Shot Through the Heart by a Sheepman in a Quarrel

(This article also appeared in the Idaho Statesman, Boise on the same day. Under the heading of “KILLED A FARMER Had A Dispute Over the Possession of Some Land – Murderer Gives Himself Up to the Authorities”)

Lewiston, Ida., Nov. 17 – A special to the Tribune from Cottonwood, Idaho County, says: A tragedy which resulted in the killing of Charles Maughmor by Clifford Riggs, a prominent sheep man and a member of the firm of Riggs Brothers, occurred this morning near Maughmor’s farm on a disputed tract of land, where Riggs’s sheep were grazing.

Maughmor, it appears, accompanied by his brother, both on horseback, went to a point where Riggs had established a camp and an old dispute regarding possession of land was revived. Hot words followed, and according to a statement subsequently made by Riggs, Maughmor started to pull his revolver, when he raised his rifle and fired. The bullet entered just above Maughmor’s heart and he fell from his horse, dying in a short time.

The dead man’s brother and an employee of Riggs were the only witnesses. Riggs later rode to Mount Idaho and gave himself up to the authorities. He says he acted in self defense. Rigg’s home is in Lewiston, where he is well known.

Idaho Daily Statesman – Boise, Idaho December 4, 1899

The Mt. Idaho correspondent of the Lewiston Tribune says:

Clifford Riggs has been for the second time vindicated for the act resulting in the death of Charles Maughmor. The coroner’s jury declared he did the killing in self-defense and today Probate Judge Vincent, before whom the preliminary examination was conducted, rendered the same decision.

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Transcribed by Penny Casey from original microfilm.
source: Murders, Poisonings and Executions in Idaho County from Area Newspaper Articles compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Mount Idaho, Idaho County, Idaho

Mount Idaho Cemetery Memorials

451 Records sorted alphabetically.


source (w/2 more photos): Find a Grave

Link to Mount Idaho (Part 1) Pioneers
Link to Mount Idaho (Part 2) History
Link to Mount Idaho (Part 3) Transportation
Link to Mount Idaho (Part 4) News clippings
Link to Mount Idaho (Part 5) More News clippings

page updated Aug 8, 2020