Idaho History Oct 14, 2018

Elk City, Idaho County, Idaho

(part 2 news)

Elk View Hotel, 1890, Elk City, ID

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From – Idaho Historical Society
source: Betsy Roberts Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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Note: most of the following articles come from: “Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity”, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey

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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1875

Daily Evening Bulletin – San Francisco, Calif. November 12, 1875

News from the Montana Missourian

A Walk for Life
Nine Days’ Tramp in the Snow Without Food
by Richard Wildan

During the winter of 1864, a party, headed by Bacon, the Elko County expressman, started from Lewiston, Nez Perce County, Indian Territory, for Elk City, a spur of the Rocky Mountains, whose altitude is not less than 12,000 feet, through dense timber

Leaving Silverwood’s Mountain-house, no stopping place existed until 26 miles were made over mountains to Newsome Creek. In the party of some seven or eight was one Richard Wildan, a Norwegian, well-known to the writer of this article. He had the ill-luck to break a snowshoe and was advised to take it back to Silverwood’s, as the party could not stop in the snow. Believing he could go back by the plainly marked trail in the snow and blazes on the trees for a guide, the others pushed on and safely arrived at Elk City, and no fears were expressed regarding the fate of Wildan, till seven days later a new party crossed the mountain, and then it was ascertained that Wildan had not gone back.

Immediately a party was mustered, and on snow shoes started to find the lost man. His trail was at last found and followed by the hardy pioneers in search of him. On the ninth day he was found, still on foot, walking in a circle on the hard-beaten trail of his own making, his feet badly frozen, yet enclosed in the sleeves of his coat, which he had wrapped about them.

The thermometer showed nine degrees below zero, a great part of the time he was struggling on his feet for life. The party finding him saw that he was thoroughly crazy. On accosting him and asking if he was not hungry, he at once replied no. He was fed on pork and beans at a house not far back. Not a trace could be found where he had sat down, not a sign of where he could have taken rest; in fact, with the cold never less than four degrees below zero, he never had walked again had he rested. He was brought to Newsome Creek Station on the ninth night of this wild, cold, unfed, cheerless walk into the deep snow – tenderly cared for by Wall & Beard, keepers of that Station, and eventually recovered so as to do a good season’s work with a pick and shovel. In a mining camp called Ebon Water Station, sixteen miles below Elk City camp. Mr. Wildan was a man of about 108 pounds weight, short and stout.

That this article is true in every respect, is easily to be proven. L.P. Brown, Deputy United States Tax Collector, now of Mt. Idaho, or Charles Frush, a clerk now in the Land Office of the Interior Department, can vouch for the general truthfulness of this slight sketch. Here is a case where seven days of real walking took place without any refreshment or selection of apparel – without cheer of any kind, and all for life. Let fools prance on boards, stages, etc. Dick Wildan’s feat will overshadow anything they can ever do. I hope some representative man from Idaho will see this article, and give the particulars more fully than is here done, although this is a simple account in all truth given. Wildan and those who found him and cared for him should live in history, and I hope he is still on his feet.

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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Store at Elk City, Idaho

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From the Mike Fritz Collection
Courtesy: Heather Heber Callahan Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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1896

Philadelphia Inquirer – Philadelphia Penn. August 8, 1896

Chased by a Grizzly
Exciting Adventure Which Befell a Hopeful Young Prospector
His Yell Cracked Rocks
Partly Through Accident He Manages to Shoot the Monster and Then he Finishes Him With a Hammer

Harry L. Romaine, who has just returned to his home in Elk City, Idaho, after spending several weeks prospecting in the Bitter Root Mountains, related to a N.Y. Press man a most exciting adventure which befell him near Murray, the county seat of Shoshone County.

“My partner, Ben Williams and I had been working our way along the range from a point near Big Bald Mountain to the loop where the Bitter Root Range and the Couer d’Alenes form a big, natural amphitheater, where big game, especially elk , are plentiful. We decide to stay there until we had time to follow up the lead, as old miners say. We pitched our camp under the shadow of a rock-ribbed sentinel, passing our first night in the little tent which had served us splendidly during several hard rains. That makes me think – if you want a tent to shed water, immerse it in linseed oil in which “rosin” is melted. On the following morning Ben found the track of a bear down by the spring where we got our water. The print of that foot was as big as a dinner plate, and the fact that some empty salmon cans and other refuse which had been thrown just outside the tent were missing set us to thinking, and it wasn’t difficult to trace the connection between the missing articles and the owner of the big foot.

Exploring Trip

There was no more tenting for yours truly after that, so we built us a sort of stone fortress in a suitable nook, where nature had already done the mason work on three sides. After laying up the wall on the vacant side we placed heavy poles across the top, on which we placed flat stones.

We did all our prospecting together for a week or ten days, Ben carrying his big Sharp’s special and acting as body-guard, while I handled the pick. All that time we saw no bears, but plenty of elk and antelope and not a few mountain sheep. Our grizzly bear scare finally cooled. One morning I decided to explore a side canyon. Ben was to climb over the big spur that loomed up over our camp, swing around and meet me at noon near a sharp cone of rock which we called Currecanti Needle. I found mighty likely pay rock up that ravine and the further I went the better the showing. The place is undoubtedly the site of an old volcano. Great masses of rock from overhanging crags have fallen and rent the floors, with some of the fissures very wide and apparently bottomless. Knocking off a piece of friable sand rock I found it to be auriferous, or gold-bearing rock. I don’t know whether the yell I gave split any more cracks in the rock round there or not, but one thing I do know, I nearly split my throat in the effort, and then I mounted the big chunk and swung my hammer like a madman, knocking off chips right and left until I had a big pile.

Bruin Appears

Soon I head a noise close by, and supposing it to be Ben, I yelled out: “Hurrah, Ben, I’ve struck it rich!” Just then I looked up, and the sight I saw froze my blood. Not forty feet distant was an immense silver-tip grizzly.

Acting upon impulse, I hurled my quartz hammer at the monster, and as he dropped on all-fours, I leaped from the rock, hoping to evade him by dodging around the boulder. It may have been a foolish move, but I had not time to think. After jumping from the rock I was obliged to halt a moment, in order to satisfy myself which way he was coming. I improved the moment by drawing my 44 Colt from its sheath.

When the bear reached the point where he expected to nab me and found that I was not there, he gave vent to a tremendous sniff, followed by a kind of guttural roar, and again I heard him coming at a double quick. I ran as I never ran before.

I glanced hurriedly around and saw the gigantic fellow coming like a demon, and then I stepped into one of the fissures I told you about, and down I went like a flash. The grizzly was so close on me when I fell that he went entirely over me, carried by the force of his momentum. He was back again in a moment, though. His immense head hanging over the rim of my narrow prison, which I quickly and most gratefully saw was too narrow to admit his bulky body.

I was on my knees, not six feet below the grizzly and I felt that I could do deadly work with my revolver at that range. I pointed the gun straight at the yawing red mouth. My pistol roared in my ears. Five shots more were fired, as fast as I could send them, and then my gun was empty, but, thanks to my lucky stars, one of my bullets pierced an eye and the job was done.

I was as weak as a baby when I climbed out of the fissure. I’d got all over it, though, when Ben came and I told him I just knocked that grizzly on the head with my quartz hammer.

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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1908 Blue Front Saloon

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from: (pg 35) Assessment Of The Lewiston-Elk City Trails, Assessment prepared by James G. Huntley, October 2016 to November 2017 source: Idaho County GenWeb
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Elk City 4th of July Parade abt. 1909

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Elk City – 4th of July 1909

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more photos here: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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1912

The Oregonian February 14, 1912

“County Wet; Bank Fails”
Sudden Withdrawal of Funds to Buy Licenses Too Heavy Strain

Boise, Idaho. Feb. 13 – Liquor is held responsible for the closing of the state bank at Elk City, Idaho County, on February 8. The sudden withdrawal of funds to purchase saloon licenses following an election in which the county went “wet” crippled the bank, it is said.

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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Horse Race, Elk City, Idaho

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From the Mike Fritz Collection
courtesy: Heather Heber Callahan Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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1915

Idaho County Free Press Thursday, May 20, 1915

Mrs. Litchfield of Elk City Loses Suit
Action Was Brought Against Brother to Recover $10,000 on Contract
Federal Grand Jury Busy
Litchfield Suit Grew Out of Buster Mine

Wednesday of last week the case of Sarah E. Litchfield of Elk city against S.W. Smith, came on for trial in the United States District court at Moscow. The action was brought by the plaintiff to recover $10,000 on an alleged contract.

The suit grew out of mining property located in the Elk City mining district, the plaintiff and her husband, J.C. Litchfield, were residing in Butte, Montana in 1888 and the complaint alleged that Mrs. Litchfield, who is the sister of the defendant, was induced by him to move with her family to Elk city where Mr. Smith acquired the Buster Mine, and it was alleged that as an inducement Mr. Litchfield was to be given employment at the rate of $3.50 per day and when the mine was sold the plaintiff was to have $10,000 of the selling price.

The mine was sold by the defendant in November, 1908 for $100,000 cash and 75 shares of stock. The defendant denied any agreement to pay $10,000 to the plaintiff and if was alleged that she and her husband were fully reimbursed.

The trial of the case was concluded last Thursday and an instructed verdict was returned into court Thursday evening for the defendant on the failure of the plaintiff to establish a contract such as alleged in the action. The plaintiff was represented by Judge James F. Ailshie and the defendant by attorneys Forney & Moore of Moscow.

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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Miners from the Buster Mine

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Back Row -Left to Right: Stanley Litchfield, Chas. W. Willis, Clyde Moses, Geo. Kelsey, Unknown, Tom Williamson
Front Row – Left to Right: W. Turnbull, Harry C. Robinson, Phil Shearer, Earl Moses, Art Hillier, Denny Ford

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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1916

The Montgomery Advertiser – Pensacola, Florida June 1, 1916

Strange Man At Pensacola Really Wanted

(Special To the Advertiser)

Pensacola, Fla., May 31 – That Ed Lorienza, who jumped over board from a British ship Sunday morning because, as he said, he wanted to be punished for a murder which he committed years ago. Is really wanted in Elk City, Idaho and became known today when a telegram was received by the police from the sheriff of Idaho County, Idaho, stating that such a man is wanted there on the charge of murder and requesting that the man in custody here be held until an officer could arrive to take him back to the scene of his crime.

Lorienza risked his life when he leaped from the ship, both from drowning and sharks. He was rescued by a motor boat and he asked that he be not returned to the ship but taken ashore and sent back to Idaho where he had killed a man a woman years ago during a strike. He gave the officers his name and the details of the murder and talked so convincingly that a wire was sent by the local police which elicited an immediate reply.

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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1930 Elk City

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excerpted from: (pg 42) Assessment Of The Lewiston-Elk City Trails, Assessment prepared by James G. Huntley, October 2016 to November 2017 source: Idaho County GenWeb
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1930

Elk City, ID Town Destroyed By Fire, Mar 1930

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Submitted by Stu Beitler

Elk City, Ida., Destroyed by Fire; Big Loss.
Place Had Recently Revived After Slump;
Doctor Made Dog Team Dash From There to Aid Man.

Grangeville, Idaho, March, 18 [1930] (AP) — The town of Elk City, Idaho, was destroyed by fire Monday night, with damage estimated by officials at $200,000, said reports reaching here Tuesday. The reports were delayed because communication with Elk City was cut off.

Several persons were reported slightly injured, but there were no known deaths. The estimate of $200,000 damage was based on approximate value of buildings and houses in the little town, but is admittedly not reliable, as the number of houses burned was not given in first reports.

Desperate attempts were made during the night to save household furnishings, as the conflagration, whipped by strong winds, pushed in every direction. The origin of the fire was unknown.

Elk City, once well known to miners and prospectors had this year a new mining boom. It was the center of nation wide attention recently when Dr. J. Weber of Grangeville made a dash from there across the desolate Green mountain region with a dog team to save the life of Ray Burke, miner near death at the Copper King mine from blood poisoning.

Elk City is in Idaho county.

source: Gen Disasters – Albuquerque Journal New Mexico 1930-03-19
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1930 – Elk City Burns

(Idaho County Free Press)

The town of Elk City, Idaho, was destroyed by fire Monday night, with damage estimated by officials at $200,000, said reports reaching here Tuesday. The reports were delayed because communication with Elk City was cut off. Several persons were reported slightly injured, but there were no known deaths. The estimate of $200,000 damage was based on approximate value of buildings and houses in the little town, but is admittedly not reliable, as the number of houses burned was not given in first reports. Desperate attempts were made during the night to save household furnishings, as the conflagration, whipped by strong winds, pushed in every direction. The origin of the fire was unknown.

excerpted from: Elk City, Idaho by Dusty Windshield July 9, 2016
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1933

Why They Call It Elk City

Lewiston Tribune – September 3, 1933

When the gold rush to Idaho Territory began along in the early ’60’s, it was mainly into the Pierce City section, based on a discovery by Capt. E.D. Pierce, but it was not long afterward before prospectors directed their attention to the riches hidden in the hills of the mountainous regions along the east bank of Elk Creek, one and one-half miles above its junction with the American River.

Joining with the intrepid prospectors of that day were adventurers and not a few tenderfeet, men who came from the east to find their wealth in the hills and then return whence they came and revel in riches for their remaining days.

Reports were emanating from the Thunder mountain section that gold was being dug everywhere, and then the rush started.

Resting Place First

Several gamblers located their tent on sloping ground along Elk Creek and there waited for the unwary. It was not long before the country began filling up. A party of easterners beat their way through a wild country and finally came to the settlement of gamesters, by this time the resting place for possibly 75 people.

The gamblers held forth in a tent beneath a great pine tree, which they envied for its shade and beauty. No sooner had the easterners pitched their tent than one of their number armed with an axe commended to chop the tree so respected by the gambling fraternity to secure some fire wood.

A man stepped to the entrance of the tent where gaming was going on and seeing large chunks being hewn from the tree went back into the tent and reappeared with a rifle. A few seconds later the man damaging the tree was a corpse.

Many Antlers in Trees

Hanging from the limbs of several smaller trees nearby were sets of elks’ antlers, treasured trophies of the hunt.

The victim of the rifle ball was picked from the ground and carried into a tent and then a jury of miners was summoned to hold an inquest in order that a proper and legal report of the shooting could be forwarded to territorial officers. After the verdict of “justifiable homicide” was rendered, within a minute or so after the “jury” was empanelled [sic], the presiding officer at the inquest said: “Let’s see, we’ve got to name some place where this occurred.”

One of the gamblers spoke up so the story goes, saying: ‘Oh, call it Elk City.” pointing as he spoke to the many sets of antlers hanging from trees. The verdict was filed in as the man suggested, and Elk City was born.

Center of Vast Wealth

It is an historic place. It has been the scene of great excitement many times. Its hills have produced untold wealth and indications at this time are that it bids fair to return to its former place of importance.

source: compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Elk City 1938

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source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Link to Elk City (Part 1 Mining)
Link to Elk City (Part 3 Murder)
Link to Elk City (Part 4 Transportation)

page updated Aug 18, 2020