Idaho History Sept 30, 2018

Cottonwood, Idaho County, Idaho

Cottonwood began in 1862 as a series of way station shelters for prospectors and mining suppliers on their way south to Florence and Warrens. It was named for the dense growth of trees that formerly lined Cottonwood Creek.

source: Idaho Territorial Sesquicentennial
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Idaho Tri-weekly Statesman – Boise, Idaho – October 4, 1870

Murder in North Idaho

Another Evidence of the “Peaceable and Law-abiding Character of our Citizens.

The following is from the Oregon Heralds:

Walla Walla, Sept 23, 1870

A gentleman just down from the Nez Perce country furnishes the following account of a cold-blooded murder perpetrated at Camas Prairie, on the night of the 15th. It seems that a man named Peters Walters, the owner of a saw mill, met one of his workmen, named Joseph Yates, for the purpose of having a settlement. They met at Brown’s house, and made their settlement without difficulty. Walters paid Yates several hundred dollars. The business over, Walters went to the door and in a few moments called for Yates to come out. On going to the door, Walters addressed Yates as follows: “Well, sir, you have got the money; I don’t owe you anything.” To which Yates replied: “Yes, It’s all settled:” when Walters said to Yates; “I’ve got another settlement to make with you.” And immediately drew his revolver and fired twice, both balls taking effect. Yates lived several hours after being shot, but from the first, death was inevitable. The shooting occasioned great excitement and for a time there was talk of mob execution, but finally better counsel prevailed and the party was arrested and sent to jail. Both the parties to the tragedy were single men, and have heretofore stood fair in the community. The only explanation of the shooting was that Yates had made remarks reflecting upon Walter’s integrity, and it is supposed that this coming to his knowledge, he determined to take Yates’ life.

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source: Murders, Poisonings and Executions in Idaho County from Area Newspaper Articles compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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“Here We Have Idaho” – a few miles east of Cottonwood near the North & South Highway stands this concrete monument, shaped like the state of Idaho to mark the spot where Capt. D.B. Randall fell when he led the “brave 17” volunteers from Mount Idaho to the rescue of beleaguered soldiers at Cottonwood during the Nez Perce Indian War of 1877. The monument was erected by the late Evan Evans of Grangeville.

source: Lewiston Morning Tribune – Oct 6, 1955
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Cottonwood in 1883 – An artist’s charcoal drawing of the “Cottonwood Ranch and Hotel” shows how this important way station on the Camas Prairie had grown by 1883 from a single all-purpose log house built for men and horses in 1862. Cottonwood had by this time become a center for annual livestock roundups as well as an over-night stopping place. Sheep, hogs and cattle are shown at the right and across the road. A four-horse team hitched to a light wagon with passengers, a man on horseback and others in the street indicate the junction’s importance to travelers. Army troops were stationed here, taking over all buildings, when opening incidents of the Nez Perce war occurred at Cottonwood, July 3, 1877. (Drawing supplied by Sister M. Alfreda of St. Gertrude’s Academy, Cottonwood.)

source: Lewiston Morning Tribune – Oct 6, 1955
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1888 Idaho Map

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1892 Fire At Cottonwood

Idaho County Free Press Friday, June 3, 1892

Fire at Cottonwood

The Store of Wax & Goldstone and Residence of Sam’l Goldstone Destroyed

Tuesday morning about two o’clock the residence building at Cottonwood, situated back of Wax & Goldstone’s store, which had just been completed as a residence for Mr. Goldstone, was discovered to be on fire. Owing to the unseasonable hour there were not enough men present to do anything toward checking the conflagration which soon communicated to the store building. The spring stock of goods had just been received, and at the time the stock would invoice between $25,000 and $30,000. Everything possible was done but few of the goods could be saved. The stock and store was pretty well insured, the exact figures of which we have been unable to ascertain, but the loss will be $12,000 or $15,000 above insurance. No insurance on the dwelling or contents. There is no doubt that the origin of the fire was incendiary, as there was no one residing in the house and no fire had been in it for some time and the time of the night shows the fire could not have accidentally started. No clue is to be had to the perpetrator of this crime, who if caught, would be summarily punished. The fire is a heavy blow to Wax and Goldstone, but they are not discouraged and Mr. Wax at once went to Lewiston to adjust the insurance and make arrangements to resume business.

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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Marble discovered on the Salmon River

Idaho County Free Press Friday, June 10, 1892

Robert Nugent and others, of Cottonwood, are exhibiting specimens of marble, both white and blue, which they recently discovered on Salmon River.

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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1903 Cottonwood

This historic point was for many years during the early life of the county an important resting place for teams traveling from Lewiston to Grangeville, Mount Idaho and the mines. In 1863 Wheeler & Toothacher were in charge of the Cottonwood station, situated where Joslin’s shop now is. They were succeeded about a year later by John Byram, and he by Joe Moore and Peter Ready, from the latter of whom it passed to Benjamin Norton, the man who lost his life during the Indian war. After the cessation of hostilities, L. P. Brown became practically the owner of the townsite by buying the place of Knighten, Harry Wilson and others.

A post office was established in the early days but the first business aside from that and a blacksmith shop was the store of F. B. King, opened about 1880. Some four or five years later, Charles Wood and A. A. Harris built a saloon. Robert Nugent tells the writer than when he came to the place in 1887, he found “Judge” Gilmore in charge of the blacksmith shop. H. H. Nuxoll and Barney Stubert in a carpenter shop, and the business men just referred to at their respective places. Mr. Nubent bought out Wood & Harris’s saloon. F. B. King’s store was transferred to Weiler & Wax about 1891. Mr. Nugent started a restaurant in 1893, in which year a pork packing establishment was also started. Dunham & Company, of Chicago, ran it for a couple of years, but eventually failed through mismanagement and gave the farmers a bill of sale of the property in payment of the sums due them. At present the building is used as a slaughter house.

In 1893, the first paper of the town, the Cottonwood Report, made its bow. Its first issue, bearing date January 27th, shows by its advertising columns that Wax & Goldstone were then engaged in the dry goods and grocery business: that C. B. Wood was proprietor of the Cottonwood House; that Felix Warren owned the Lewiston-Cottonwood stage line; that Revs. T. L. Buzzell and William Cronger were pastors of the Methodist and Catholic churches, respectively; that Davis & Sweet had a saw and planing mill; that F. M. Bridgfarmer was engaged in house, sign and carriage painting; that J. W. Gains had a livery, feed and sales stable; that J. W. Turner, M. D., was practicing medicine and surgery; and that Tannatt & Hogan were engaged in the real estate business and in surveying, also were townsite agents. The paper shows, too, that a literary society was in existence, of which E. T. Tannatt was president and Miss Ettie Simpson, secretary.

In 1895, the town began building rapidly, and it is since that date that the Cottonwood of today has come into existence. Without attempting to fix the dates of the coming of later business houses or the sequence of their establishment, we summarize the present business houses of the town as follows: Three merchandise stores, Samuel Goldstone’s, Brown & Brusts’s and Harry Nuxoll’s; three livery stables, J. T. Hale’s, C. C. Burge’s, and J. M. Eller’s; J. W. Turner’s drug store and that of the Idaho Drug Company; the Idaho County Bank, of which E. M. Ehrhardt is cashier; the saloons of Lyons & Dixon, John Peterson and John Funke; and the brewery of Schobert & Peterson; the St. Albert hotel, of which A. B. Rooke is proprietor, and the Cottonwood hotel (closed at this writing), owned by John Proctor; harness and saddles, Schiller & Simons; planing mill, sash and door factory, Webster & Wright; a steam flour mill of twenty-five barrels capacity, J. W. Crawford; blacksmiths, J. F. Davidson, E. Joslin and S. Saux; meat market, Simons Brothers; millinery and dress making, Mrs. William Bash; bakery, Mrs. Alice Tipton; grain warehouse, Samuel Goldstone; barber, John Caldwell; hardware and implements, H. H. Nuxoll; printing office (Camas Prairie Chronicle), Frank S. Wimer, proprietor; furniture, J. N. Moden; a Chinese laundry. It is said that a large creamery, capable of handling the cream from four or five hundred cows, is in project, also a new brewery. J. M. Wolbert, an attorney, is engaged in the real estate business, and George W. Coutts is also engaged in the practice of law. The dentists of the town are Drs. T. W. Bray and J. E. Smith, and the physicians practicing there are Drs. J. W. Turner and R. Truitt. Samuel R. Libby, the postmaster, is a watch repairer and jeweler.

The churches of the town at this time are the Catholic, Rev. H. A. Kremers, pastor; the Baptist, to which Mr. Daik ministers; and the Methodist, without a pastor at the time of the writer’s visit. There is a large four-room public school in Cottonwood in which three teachers labor, namely, Prof. E. O. Steininger, Miss Mary T. Hayden and Mrs. Gussie H. Clark. A Catholic school is maintained by Rev. H. A. Kremers in connection with the church, intended, it is said, as a forerunner of a sisters’ school. Fraternal orders are well represented, there being subordinate lodges of the I. O. O. F., Rebekahs, K. of P., M. W. A., and K. O. T. M. The first mentioned order has a large two-story hall with lodge and banquet rooms above and an opera and dance hall below.

While Cottonwood is as yet without a railroad it has daily stage connections with Grangeville, Lewiston and Keuterville, and tri-weekly with Kamiah. The O. R. & N. survey passes through the town.

Cottonwood enjoys a very favorable situation on the creek from which it takes its name. It is convenient to a large stock raising country, and there are six saw mills within ten miles of the place. The rich surrounding country furnishes the business men of the town assurance of a reasonably abundant and permanent patronage, and as the country grows their business and their number must enjoy a corresponding increase.

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb, History of North Idaho, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903, pages 424-425 (verbatim), provided by Clara D. Ford, owner of book
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Idaho County Free Press Thursday, July 23, 1908

Cottonwood in Ashes

Second Largest Town on Camas Prairie Wiped Out Early Monday Morning by Disastrous Fire, Heroic Work of No Avail

Over $225,000 Lost in Two Hours

The Entire Business Section of the Town and Some Residences Destroyed. Will Build a Modern City on Site of Present Ruins

The second greatest fire Idaho county has so far known occurred early Monday morning when a blaze starting in the Martin Kuhn saloon reduced to ashes the second largest town in our county and entailed a loss close onto $250,000, adding another to the disasters that have befallen Idaho County within the last six months. First, the flood of the early spring when much loss was sustained, then when recovery was progressing rapidly and the Clearwater country was becoming itself once again, the hail storm of a week ago passed through the wheat belt of the Prairie and as a result another large sum is taxable to loss. Now comes the burning of the second largest city on the Prairie, Cottonwood.

The Origin of Fire

It seems the swamper of what is known as the Club saloon, a place located in the Kurdy block and opened this spring by Martin Kuhn of Nez Perce, had built up a hot fire and was heating water with which to clean up the place and later on left for home. Along about 12:15 in the morning Mrs. Tom Hale saw flames shooting from the building and turned in the alarm. In a very short time the town was aroused and a fight which was to last close onto two hours and result in defeat was opened on the spreading flames.

A Desperate Fight

When the alarm was turned in the fire company was quick to respond but equipped with nothing but a chemical engine and a hook and ladder brigade, but little headway could be made. After making desperate efforts to extinguish the fire, efforts were concentrated upon the section of the city occupied by the brewery and Overland livery. The hardest kind of a fight was waged and finally the spread of the fire in that direction was saved. The mill and several other properties were saved by the same tactics and while the firefighters were strengthened by every citizen in the town nothing could save the city from destruction. As the flames leaped from building to building people could be seen scurrying hither and thither with arms filled with books, valuable papers, etc. The town was light as day and visible from many points on the Prairie.

The Path of Destruction

While the people fought with desperation huge tongues of flame leaped for one structure to another and the wooden buildings, dry as tinder, were consumed in rapid succession. Up both sides of Main Street the business blocks were leveled to the ground; up King street, another section of business blocks was consumed. The burned district was confined to the buildings on both sides of Main from the Cottonwood stables on the east to the Overland stables on the west and up King street on both sides to and including the Brust store. Practically every business house in the city was wiped out besides several residences. There remain one mill three liveries, the brewery, a butcher shop, several blacksmith shops, the electric plant and a small store known as the Bee Hive. Over forty of the business houses were totally destroyed.

$235,000 Lost in Two Hours

The following is as careful an estimate of the losses and insurance as is possible to get at the present time. In some instances the figures given represent the lose of stock and building. Some parties who have sustained a loss we have listed and not given the amount as it was impossible to get any figures at the time of going to press. It will be seen by comparing the total loss to the total insurance carried that close on to a third of the loss was covered by insurance.

Owner and Business / Value / Insurance

Roberts Bros., Confectionary / $400
W.M. Felberth, Confectionary / $500
S.R. Butler, Jeweler / $4000 / $2000
Foster & Blakley, Harness
J.N. Moden, Furniture / $4000 / $2000
Mrs. Duffey, Confectionary / $ 350
O.E. Van Dorn, Drugs / $4500 / $2000
A.J. Payne, Hotel / $1500
Brown & Ehrhardt, Hotel Bldg. / $8000 / $4500
John Hoene, Hardware / $7500 / $3500
L.L. Gordon, Bowling Alley / $1800
Hugh Beck, Barber Shop, Bldg / $2900 / $1300
Simon Bros., Butchers / $2500 / $1300
L.L. Gordon, Saloon Bldg. / $1500
Joe Schober, Saloon Bldg. / $1500 / $1000
Morrison & McNamara, Saloon / $1500
German State Bank / $3000
Cottonwood Hardware Co. / $23,000 / $8000
W.G. Brust, Gen. Mdse. / $25,000 / $8000
Severus & Fuchs, Gen. Mdes. / $9000 / $3500
Sam Goldstone, Gen. Mdse / $35,000 / $20,000
S.R. Libby, Furniture / $3000 / $1500
M. Kuhn, Saloon / $4000 / $2000
Bailor & Robinson, Undertakers / $800
Mertes & WAldmann, Saloon / $2000 / $1000
A.J. Robinson, Drugs / $1500 / $500
A.J. Barth, Jewelry / $2000
J.M. Wolbert, Office
John Peterson, Saloon / $2000 / $1400
First National Bank / $4000 / $2000
Sims McKinney Co., Dry Goods / $10,000 / $2000
Post Office / $400
Camas Prairie Lan Co. / $400
Nate Reed, Barber Shop
John Funke, Saloon
Chas. Steal, Office
Dr. Smith, Office & Fixtures / $1500
Dr. Turner, Office / $2000 / $1000
Dr. Shineck, Office / $800 / $ 350
W.A. Peterson, Plumber / $250
J.O. Short, Barber
Chas. Betz, Shoemaker
A.B. Rooke, Cottage
Jos. Schober, Cottage

From the Ruins a Modern City

While the blow is a serious one and will effect the city for a half dozen years, from the ashes will arise a modern little city of substantial brick business blocks and secure from fire by a modern water plant. It must not be understood that nothing remains, the residence section is almost intact but of course all of her business institutions have been leveled to the ground. There is a reason for Cottonwood; situated in one of the best portions of the Prairie she has grown from a hamlet to the second largest city on the Prairie. It is a natural trade center for a large territory settled up with a prosperous set of people.

It has had a steady and healthy growth. The citizenry is of the class known as town-builders and it will not be long until the ring of the mechanic’s hammer will announce the re-building of the New Cottonwood.

Notes and Comment

Grangeville extends a helping hand to its sister city in her time of distress. Several wagon loads of provisions were sent out at once upon the receipt of the news. The people are already talking of the future town and while the ruins were still smoking plans were being prepared for one brick block. Sam Goldstone, one of the heaviest losers, says; “While the loss is very heavy we are going to re-build the city. There’s a reason for Cottonwood and the fire will hurt the town only temporarily.”

Herman N. Nuxoll, president of the German State Bank, one of the leading institutions of the town, is a firm believer in the future.

Food was mighty scarce the first two days after the fire but the merchants have made heavy purchases of supplies which are now arriving.

Mr. Brust, owner of one of the largest stores, is east at the present but we understand will re-open. Cottonwood has realized the necessity of a good water system and some time ago voted a franchise to a company that is now busy sinking a well and putting in a reservoir.

While the post office was destroyed and Postmaster Farnsworth is in the mountains, the assistant opened up the office in the Turner residence and is handling the mail same as every.

Nez Perce telephone office is also located in the Turner residences. In thirty days they will have a railroad then watch the building material roll in.

Many Grangeville people visited the ruins the first of the week and offered their assistances to the citizens in every way possible. No accidents or loss of life.

Joe Paine is keeping hotel in the I.O.O. F. hall and taking care of the traveling public.

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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Camas Prairie Chronicle – Cottonwood Idaho Friday, August 21, 1908

John Spot, an insane man, was found roaming in the woods on the Florence road beyond Grangeville by wood choppers late last week and was brought to the county seat where he was examined and ordered committed to the asylum. Spot claimed to have been lost in the mountains for six weeks during which time he lived on huckleberries and herbs. His clothing was in rags.

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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Prof Arthur Brissette & the Famous Cottonwood Pigs, Nemo & John, July 4th, 1912

source: From the Mike Fritz Collection.
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Cottonwood Pigs

(click image for original)

source: The Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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Idaho County Free Press – December 3, 1914

H.J. Schmidt Held for Murder of Joe Marcus

Preliminary Held Before L. Vineyard, Justice of Peace, Friday and Saturday

Bail Bond Fixed at $2500

Defendant Hit by Three Bullets in Back and Clothing Burned According to Testimony of Dr. Orr

The preliminary of H.J. Schmidt, charged with the murder of Joe Markus, near Cottonwood on November 3, was held before L. Vineyard, justice of the peace, the hearing being commenced last Friday and ending Saturday. The accused was held to appear before the District Court on a charge of murder and Judge Vineyard fixed his bond at $2500, which it is though he will not be able to furnish. Wallace N. Scales appeared as counsel for the defendant. Eight witnesses were called to testify for the state.

Schmidt the defendant, and Joe Marcus, the deceased were members of a railroad bridge crew stationed on a siding near the rock crusher beyond Cottonwood. The deceased was killed in one of the three cars in which the crew were housed, both Schmidt and Marcus sleeping in the same car.

Hanson testified that Barney Marcus came and awakened him saying that Schmidt had shot his brother, where upon he went to the car where the other men bunked and found Marcus lying on the floor of the car. He endeavored to get a blanket under Marcus but on account of the pain caused to the wounded man he had to roll him onto the blanket. Two men were sent for medical aid to Cottonwood and Dr. Orr was called to attend to the man’s wounds.

Dr. Orr testified as to being called to care for Marcus and that he found three wounds in the back, where three bullets had entered. As the clothing of the deceased was burned near the place the bullets entered, Dr. Orr stated that this would indicate that the shots were fired at close range. He also testified that the man was fatally injured and could not live and that he worked on him for twenty minutes to prepare him for the trip to Lewiston.

Deceased’s Brother Testifies

The next witnesses put on were the men who were in the car at the time the shooting took place. Barney Marcus, brother of the man shot, testified that he was in the car at the time of the shooting. He said he returned from Cottonwood about 9:30 in the evening, and that his brother Joseph, returned to the car about 11:30 or perhaps a little later. Witness said it was an arrangement in the car that the occupants should take care of the car for a week at a time in turns and this week it was his brother’s turn to look after the car. He said that when his brother arrived at the car that he came to the bed and pulled the covers and then went to the stove to lay the fire for the morning. He said he made some noise in fixing the fire and Schmidt asked if he was looking for trouble. Mr. Marcus testified that his brother replied that he was not but that Schmidt got up and commenced dressing and Joe Segil was also on the floor. Witness testified that Segil wrestled a shovel from his brother and he then heard his brother say, “You are not going to shoot me, Jack?” Witness said he then saw a revolver in Schmidt’s hand and as soon as Segil broke from his brother, Schmidt shot three times and his brother fell to the floor. He testified there had been no previous trouble between the men.

Testimony of Other Men

William Rudeseld, the next witness testified that he was sleeping in the car at the time of the shooting and was awakened when Joe cam home and commenced working around the stove. He stated that he heard one of the Marcus boys ask Joe to come to bed but that the deceased continued working around the stove. He also testified that he heard Schmidt ask Marcus if he was looking after trouble and the answer that he was not. Schmidt then told Joe to go to bed and the next thing he heard was Joe asking Schmidt if he was going to shoot. Segil and Joe then wrestled over a shovel and when Segil got the shovel, Joe walked toward Schmidt and said “Jack,” and put his arm over the defendant’s shoulder and three shots followed.

W.A. Melton, a bridge carpenter, testified that he had known both men since July and that he was sleeping in the car the night Marcus was killed, being awakened by talk between Barney and Joe Marcus, the former stating that he would throw Joe out of the car if he did not get in bed and keep still. He testified that Joe was working around the stove and sounded as if he was intoxicated. He said he heard Schmidt ask if he was looking for trouble and Joe replied that he was not but he then saw Joe with the shovel raised. Witness said Segil got the shovel and he heard Joe say, “Don’t shoot.” He testified that Schmidt was not making any effort to reach Marcus when the latter had the shovel raised.

Witness testified that he had never known Schmidt to have trouble and that Schmidt did not drink. He said Marcus drank a little but there had never been trouble between the men. Witness said he had seen a knife carried by Marcus and it looked like the knife shown by the attorney for the defendant. He testified that Segil had this knife the morning following the shooting but he did not know where he got it.

Hearing Resumed Saturday

This concluded Friday’s work and the case was resumed on Saturday. Peter Marcus, brother of deceased was called and testified as to the ownership of a knife alleged to have been found on the floor of the car the morning after the trouble and the witness stated that the knife was not the one which he had seen his brother carrying around that last time he had seen him. He stated that there was no knife in his brother’s clothes.

James Smith testified as to being in the car at the time of the trouble and saw Marcus with his arm around Schmidt before he was shot. He stated that he entered the car first in the morning after the shooting and found the knife put is evidence lying open on the floor. Thime, another witness was in an adjoining car and came after the shooting. Sheriff Eimers was put on the stand and testified as to making the arrest of the accused.
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Idaho County Free Press – February 11, 1915

Smith Acquitted of the Charge of Murder

Trial Lasted Two Days and Was Followed With Exceptional Interest.

Jury Was Out All Night

Verdict of Not Guilty About 7:15 this Morning and Defendant Given His Freedom

The jury in the case of the State of Idaho vs. H.J. Smith, after being out about 14 hours returned a verdict of not guilty and Smith is free. The verdict was brought in about 7:15 this morning and the jury went to the jury room about 5:00 o’clock last night.

The case has been followed with exceptional interest and the court room was crowded with spectators all of the time during the trial. The case was a close one and puzzling in some ways, but the evident good appearance and the good reputation which the defendant bears were matters in his favor. The defense set up self defense and endeavored to establish the good character of the defendant, and a quarrelsome disposition on the part of the deceased which was aggravated by the fact that he was a drinking man.

Smith’s trial was set for Monday of this week last on account of the fact that the Marcus boys, brothers of the deceased, were not present that State asked that the case be continued until Tuesday. The brothers were in Minneapolis when last heard from and Prosecutor Hattabaugh received information that they could not arrive until Friday.

The State was represented by M.R. Hattabaugh and B. Auger, who was entered on Monday to assist the prosecution. Tuesday forenoon and a part of the afternoon was used in getting a jury and every name in the box was drawn out before a jury was agreed upon. The jurymen finally selected to hear the case were William G. Hanson, T.S. McCune, Robt. Marnett, Jas. L. McHugh, Fred Collison, Peter Aschenbrenner, John F. Oliver, E.W. Barnum, Chas Sallec, J.H. Johnson, M,.I. Cross and J.D. Stanbery.

After the information had been read to the jury and defendant’s plea stated, all of the witnesses present were sworn and excluded from the court room excepting Dr. J.B. Morris, Dr. W.F. Orr and C.J. Vassar who were permitted to remain in the court room. Statement of the case was hereupon made by M.R. Hattabaugh and following him W.N. Scales made the statement for the defense and the state proceeded to introduce its testimony.

The state put seven witnesses on the stand to establish the guilt of the defendant. Dr. Orr of Cottonwood testified as to being called to the car on the siding near the rock crusher to minister to the man killed and as to the nature of the wounds. Dr. Morris of Lewiston testified as to meeting the car at Lewiston which brought Marcus to that place for medical attention and also as to accompanying Marcus to St. Joseph’s hospital where he died.

John Hanson, the first man put on the stand by the state, was the foreman of the crew of which Joe Marcus and J.H. Smith, the principals in the affairs were members. Hanson slept in a car which was next to the one in which the shooting took place and testified as to being called to the car on the night of – – – – – -unreadable- – – for Dr. Orr at Cottonwood.

Testimony of Principal Witnesses.

The men who occupied the car in which Joe Marcus was killed were W.A. Melton, Wm. Rudseld, J.H. Smith, Jim Smith, Barney and Warner Marcus, brothers of deceased; and Joe Siegel. Of these the Marcus brothers were unable to be present at the trial of the case, having to come from Minneapolis their home, and the state therefore had to rely on the testimony of Melton, Haybert Thine and Wm. Rudseld as its principal witnesses.

Wm. Rudseld, a Swede, was sleeping in the end of the car in which the Marcus brothers had their bunks according to his testimony, and was awakened about the time of Joe Marcus returned to the car from Cottonwood. He said that Marcus made some noise while preparing the fire for morning and that he heard Smith tell him to make less noise. Marcus made some answer to Smith and then the witness stated that he heard Smith ask if he, Marcus, was looking for trouble to which Joe answered that he was not. He then testified that Smith got out of his bunk and that Joe Siegel followed him. Marcus then backed between the bunks holding the shovel in his hand and Siegel took the shovel away from him, according to the witness, whereupon he heard Marcus say, “you are not going to shoot me are you Jack?” According to the witness Smith then backed into the center of the car and Joe went up and put his hands on the defendant’s shoulders and then he heard three shots.

The testimony of W.A. Melton, another occupant of the car practically substantiated the testimony of Rudseld and he was awakened by Smith and Joe Marcus talking and then the acts followed which ended in the shooting.

The testimony of Hagbert Thine also substantiated in effect the circumstances brought out by Melton and Rudseld, and upon cross examination it was endeavored to show by Thine that Joe Marcus was quarrelsome and that he was looking for trouble among the crew. Thine stuck to the statement that he had never had any trouble with Joe though he admitted that the deceased was somewhat quarrelsome, and that he drank. John Eimers was put on the stand and testified as to making the arrest. The state rested and the defense put in its testimony.

Evidence of Defense

The defense recalled John Hanson, W.A. Melton, and Hagbert Thine who were questioned with reference to whether Joe Marcus was quarrelsome, whether he drank and other particulars of this nature and also with reference to a knife which was alleged to have been found on the floor of the car the morning after the shooting by Jim Smith.

Jim Smith, who is deaf in his left ear, and was sleeping on his good ear, according to his testimony, when awakened by the trouble between Smith and Marcus. He stated that he saw the scuffle from the bunk and that Marcus threw his left arm around Smith’s neck, and that he saw Smith reach to his hip pocket for his gun with his right hand and then he heard the three shots. The men had their backs toward him, the witness testified and he said he did not see the gun nor did he see the knife in Marcus’ hand. He told of finding the knife in the car the next morning near a clothes locker which was not far away from where the scuffle —-unreadable— preceded the shooting occurred and that he gave it to Siegel.

Joe Siegel testified as to having known the defendant from time to time, having worked with him before coming to Idaho and testified as to his being of a good character, and never touching liquor nor gambling and that he was not of quarrelsome disposition. He then testified as to the difficulty which occurred, saying that he was sleeping in a bunk near Smith when Joe came into the car and started to make a great deal of noise. He said that Joe first started in by daring his brother Barney to come out of the bunk in which he was sleeping using strong language and telling what he would do and that Barney tried to get him to go to bed. Witness testified that Marcus then tipped some things over in the car and started over to the stove and made more noise when Melton Smith and he told Joe to go to bed. That Marcus then called Smith a vile name and started towards the bunk in which Smith was sleeping with the shovel. Siegel stated that Smith then got out of the bunk and that Marcus backed down towards the other end of the car and that he got out of bed and got between the two men, holding Marcus and taking the shovel away from him and that Joe then broke away from him and threw him down in the car, jumping over his body and throwing his arm around Smith and that the shots followed shortly thereafter.

Defendant Put on Stand

The defendant testified that he was a bridge carpenter by occupation and formerly engaged in farming in Missouri about twelve years ago and has worked on the Burlington, Santa Fe and O.W.R. & N. railroads before coming up on the prairie.

With reference to the trouble in the car he stated that he first heard Joe Marcus talking outside the car when he returned from Cottonwood and that he had gone to sleep and was again awakened by Marcus coming into the car. He then testified as to Marcus having an altercation with his brother Barney, and calling him a vile name and daring his to come out of the bunk. That the deceased then went over to the water keg and made a great deal of noise tipping things over and from there went to the stove and started to put some coal in the stove and spilled it on the floor of the car. Smith then testified that he, Melton and Siegel then told Joe to go to bed and that Joe answered, saying “come out of that bunk you—- and I’ll fix you” and that he then came towards the bunk with the shovel. Smith said that he then got out of the bed and put on his overalls and shoes and that Joe went back towards the other end of the car and that he went towards him and told him to go to bed.

Smith next testified that Siegel came up and stepped between them and that Sigel got the shovel out of Joe’s hand and handed it to him and he threw it against the side of the car. That Marcus then knocked Siegel down, stating that he would get him and that he came up and threw his arm around the defendant’s neck and then he grabbed the hand which held the knife but that Marcus jerked his hand away and that he then reached for his gun and shot Marcus but he did not know how many times at that time. Smith identified the knife as one he had seen in the possession of Marcus prior to the trouble but stated that he did not know at the time whether it was the knife Marcus held in his hand or not.

Smith stated that he got the gun in —unreadable– there was generally considerable money in the car and that he wanted it for protection in case of a hold up of the car having heard of such an event before and that he always slept with the gun under his pillow.

The defense then rested and after a ten minutes recess the argument for the state was opened by B. Auger, and W.N. Scales following for the defense. M.R. Hattababugh closing the argument for the state. The instructions were then read to the jury by the court and the jury went the their room about five o’clock.

**The Free Press reports that follow have two different spellings of the accused. Schmidt and Smith.

Copyright Notice: All materials contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of those engaged in researching their family origins. Any commercial use or distribution, without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited. All images used on these pages were obtained from sources permitting free distribution, or generated by the author, and are subject to the same restrictions/permissions. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages do so in recognition of their free, non-commercial distribution, and further, is responsible to assure that no copyright is violated by their submission.
source: Murders, Poisonings and Executions in Idaho County from Area Newspaper Articles compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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View from Grain Elevator Cottonwood, Idaho
(click image for original)

source: Mike Fritz Collection History of Idaho
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Ferdinand Enterprise – October 1, 1915

Cosand’s Get-Away Nipped

Carl Cosand, a rancher, who lives on a ranch between here and Cottonwood, attempted to make his “get away” last Sunday last, and leave several of his creditors in the lurch. Cosand, so it is said, was making a pretty general cleanup on things about the place and showed little, if any disposition to settle his bills according to agreements.

Sunday morning he hitched up a rig and drove in the direction of Forest, but one of his creditors had suspicion that all was not on the square. He had notified the constable at Cottonwood to put on his rubber boots and goggles and be ready for a man chase upon a moment’s notice.

Cosand was overtaken by the constable several miles the other side of Forest, and returned. He secured Attorney Gilmore from Grangeville and settlement of a number of accounts was made in Ferdinand, Monday.

The Enterprise deplores that it is called upon to chronicle this, as well as other unfortunate circumstances, but hopes that the matter may be amicably settled. This paper stands for law and order and if a man with sober mind willingly breaks any reasonable law within our jurisdiction, we most certainly will give it publicity the same as other news matter.

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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Cottonwood Postcard


(click image for original)
source: The Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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1937 Cottonwood Parade


“My grandpa S.F. Winkler is top left. He was born in Kueterville in 1903.” – Scott Winkler

source: Scott Winkler, Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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1955 Cottonwood


Cottonwood, the second largest town today in the sprawling “golden” reaches of Idaho County, traces its history from 1862 when it first became a cluster of way station shelters for prospectors and mining suppliers.

Its growth in a community of rich agricultural resources, lumbering and livestock remains second only to its younger neighbor, Grangeville.

Cottonwood’s trade area reaches east to Fenn, north to Meadow Creek and northeast to Winona. The town’s population is about 800. Its present “hub” for this section of the Camas Prairie was established as a distribution point in the days when travel from Lewiston to the Prairie presented difficulty of bogs and timber over Craig Mountain.

The town is named for the dense growth of stately cottonwood trees that once lined Cottonwood Creek. Some of these trees went into chairs, tables and other furniture for the homes built by early settlers.

Indians called Cottonwood “Kap-kap-peen,” meaning “village in a hole”

High Yields Common

Grain crops of 60 to 70 bushels to the acre are not unusual for fall wheat. Dairying has recently become part of the grain growers’ diversified methods. Although numerous small sawmills flourished in nearby timber of Craig Mountain in the early days, modern methods of the “long haul and fast transportation” have reduced lumbering to one major company at Cottonwood. Five to eight million feet of milling is the average yearly lumber output now.

Cottonwood became a livestock roundup center during the 1880s. Horse thieves found the area profitable as early as the 1870s. Many hogs were fattened by grain farmers in the early days and driven overland to rail point at Genesee for shipment. Coming of the railroad in 1908 increased Cottonwood’s importance an a livestock sale point. By 1914, it was shipping more grain and more livestock than any other point on the line between Lewiston and Grangeville.

An auction sale yard at Cottonwood now moves an estimated 20,000 head of livestock and an equal number of hogs per year. Stock is brought in to weekly sales held there from Montana, Washington and Oregon.

First Building Was Versatile

Cottonwood’s first building in 1862 was a combination store, saloon, hotel, stage station and stable opened by an enterprising man named Allen.

This was when miners were streaming in after placer gold discoveries at Florence and Warrens in the Salmon River mountains. The way station was placed at the most strategic point for overnight stops. Cottonwood still is at a strategic junction on Highway 95 leading from Lewiston to southern Idaho.

Its access to the Graves Creek Trail, leading 12 miles from Cottonwood to the Salmon River, caused Cottonwood to suffer some of the opening events of the Nez Perce Indian war in 1877.

This trail, “one of the oldest paths traveled by white men in Idaho,” leads to the mouth of Rocky Canyon on the Salmon River. Rocky Canyon was a favorite crossing for Chief Joseph and his tribe when they came to visit other Nez Perces on the Prairie or the Clearwater River.

Soon after the first battle at Whitebird, June 14, 1877, hostile Indians came up the trail to Cottonwood. U. S. Army troops had been stationed at Cottonwood House, a roomy log structure with stables large enough to accommodate horses.

Here on July 3, 1877, the “Rains Massacre” occurred. Indians “molested” the troops all day, July 4, but made no direct attack. On July 5, the “Brave 17” battle – wiping out an entire detachment dispatched to meet the Indians – was fought at what is now the southeast limits of Cottonwood. A highway marker locates the site.

Cottonwood’s civic pride comes forth in its fair and livestock show. A night parade of fine floats is held and prize stock is judged. This has been held annually in September since about 1932.

Schools and Cottonwood’s hospital are the work of the Sisters of St. Gertrude’s Community. The order originated at Sarnen, Switzerland.

St. Gertrude’s Convent, 2 1/2 miles south of the town, is an imposing structure of native blue porphyry overlooking the Camas Prairie. The convent was completed in 1924. A large brick addition was finished in 1949. In the spring of 1930, the Sisters opened Our Lady of Consolation Hospital which has continued since to serve the Cottonwood area. A new co-educational St. Gertrude’s Academy was dedicated at the Convent in May of 1954. The former academy had served since August of 1927. The new building will take care of increased enrollment up to approximately 200. Enrollment this year is about 125 for boarder and day pupils through the grades and high school.

source: Lewiston Morning Tribune – Oct 6, 1955
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St. Gertrude’s Cottonwood


(click for large image)
source: Bill Hatke
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Cottonwood, Idaho

Cottonwood is a city in Idaho County, Idaho, United States. Located on the Camas Prairie, the population was 900 at the 2010 census, down from 944 in 2000. It is just west of U.S. Route 95, between Grangeville and Lewiston.

source: Wikipedia

page updated August 15, 2020