Idaho History Apr 21, 2019

Roosevelt Cemetery

(Thunder Mountain, now Valley County)

Roosevelt Cemetery Plaque c. 1949

Robert McRae (left) with daughter Lorie, son Robin, and the children’s grandfather, Daniel McRae, displaying a plaque dedicated by the citizens of Stibnite to people interred at the flooded town of Roosevelt. (photo courtesy Sandy McRae and Jim Collord)
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2009 Photo

rsvlt_plaque-aThis plaque sponsored in 1949 A. D. by Pioneers of the Thunder Mountain Gold Rush 1902-1908

Photographs courtesy of Lori Hunter.

Roosevelt Cemetery In Memory of the Thunder Mountain Dead of whom thirteen are known to rest in this cemetery

William Armstrong
J. S. Bicknell
Gustave Dahms
______ De Faunte
Joseph Gardner
Cornelius Harrington
______ Rogers
W. D. Smith
Al Tuttle
Perry Watson
Three unknowns
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Roosevelt Death Notices

Al Tuttle
Idaho County Free Press, October 29, 1903
DEATH: Al Tuttle, who was deputy mining recorder at Roosevelt died at that place on October 7th.
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Cornelius “Curly” Harrington
Idaho County Free Press, Nov. 26, 1903
DEATH: Cornelius “Curly” Harrington, a well known miner of Thunder Mt. died in that camp on the second of this month. Harrington had been employed at the Rainbow mine by C.W. Neff. On the evening of the 2nd, Mr. Neff found Harrington lying dead at the cabin door. Deceased was supposedly a victim of heart disease. He was about 54 years old and a native of Nevada
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Gustave Dahm
Idaho County Free Press, March 17, 1904
The county auditor received a letter stating that since the snowslide at Thunder Mountain, known as the Henderson slide, it is almost certain that Henderson had a visitor, and to date neither of the bodies have been found. On the 14th of February two prospectors were frightened and left their cabin and started for Roosevelt, one of them returned the following day. On the 16th it was reported that the cabin was gone. Searching parties started out and after making three tunnels in the snow for a considerable distance discovered the body of Gustave Dahm, a German. His funeral was held at Roosevelt the 17th of February.
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T. Rogers
The Spokesman Review (Spokane Wash), July 29, 1904
T. Rogers, a contractor in the employ of C.M. DeCamp, is dead of mountain fever, July 25, 1904
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Lorenzo DeFonte (DeFaunte)
Idaho County Free Press, August 10, 1905
Reported shooting affray at Roosevelt last week proved correct. but instead of Thomas Neighbor it was L.(Lorenzo) DeFonte, an Italian who was killed. He was killed by a man named West over trouble with the latter’s wife. West was given a preliminary trial and turned loose.

Idaho County Free Press, August 31, 1905
West Re-Arrested – Will be Brought Here On Charge of Murder
J.E. West, who shot and killed Lorenzo Defonte at Roosevelt, has been again arrested at Mountain Home and the sheriff left Tuesday to bring the prisoner here for trial. At the time of the killing of DeFonte, West was given a hearing at Roosevelt and turned loose, but investigation indicates that the preliminary was conducted by West’s friends and the true facts of the case were not brought out.
The trouble arose over a woman who West claimed was his wife but who was rather promiscuous in the bestowal of her affections.
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Perry Watson
Idaho County Free Press, February 14, 1907
Killed in Snowslide – Perry Watson Caught in Rush of Snow Near Roosevelt
The following telegram was received at the sheriff’s office the first of the week: “Knott [Knox?], Idaho February 11, 1907; To Sheriff, Grangeville; Perry Watson killed in snowslide 21 miles south of Roosevelt. Please inform Tom Watson and other relatives… J.A. Gardner”
From local parties it is learned that Perry Watson was a brother of Tom Watson, who lives over across Salmon River. Perry Watson was a miner and owned some valuable property in the vicinity where his life was lost. It is supposed that he was at work on this property when the slide occurred. News concerning the particulars of his death, other than contained in above message could not be learned. Watson was well known in Roosevelt and surrounding camps.

Extracted by Penny Casey, Idaho County GenWeb Coordinator. Updated 25 February 2012

source: Valley County, IDGenWeb Project
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Roosevelt Cemetery


Roosevelt Markers

Native Stone Marker

Wood Marker cracked

Wood Marker, tall with Odd Fellow Links

Links Detail

Wood Marker, short

Wood Marker, rocked over grave

Wood Marker with holes

Grave Row

Row of Two

Photographs courtesy of Lori Hunter used with permission

source: Valley County, IDGenWeb Project
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Roosevelt Cemetery History

by Sandy McRae

The graves were buried on a patented claim call the Massenet. The patent was let in 1902 or so. The Dewey owners filed the papers. The owners of the Dewey in the late 1930s sold the claim to Bradley mining co. The company decided they did not need the Massenet in 1944 so offered to sell it to my dad. He bought it for 50 dollars and the McRaes owned it till 1982. We sold it to a fellow from Challas and they after 4 or 5 years sold the 19 acres to the Forest Service and it went in to the Wilderness area.

It was done so a mill could be built near water.
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1950 Roosevelt

Description: Roosevelt, Idaho views, Roosevelt Lake near Yellow Pine, Idaho [1950].

source: Idaho State Historical Society
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Roosevelt and Roosevelt Lake

Number 21 February, 1964

Founded late in the fall before the big rush to Thunder Mountain in the beginning of 1902, Roosevelt soon became the leading camp in the new mining district. Thousands of men, having heard that Thunder Mountain was destined to be the biggest gold producer in the country, poured into Roosevelt and the Monumental Creek area. But actual production did not begin to match expectations, and although the Dewey mine stayed in production until 1907, Roosevelt did not become the big center its promoters planned. Relatively little activity went on after the Dewey mine shut down, and in the winters especially, not many people remained there.

Before the spring population returned in 1909, a large mud slide blocked Monumental Creek below the town, May 30. (Slides such as this were typical of that part of the country: the Roosevelt slide resulted from heavy spring rains, and not from mining activities.) Lasting for two days or so, the slide grew large enough to back up a new lake which flooded the town, and Roosevelt had to be evacuated. For the next twenty years or so, buildings floated around in the lake; but as the years went by, they fell apart, and now there are only a lot of boards cast about in the water.

In recent years, the level of the lake has been declining, but the townsite still is under water. Roosevelt and the other Thunder Mountain towns have all been deserted for years, and by 1962, there were only two inhabitants on the whole of Monumental Creek, compared with the horde that rushed in there only sixty years before.

source: Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series Number 21 February 1964

Link: Thunder Mountain / Roosevelt History index page

page updated Nov 5, 2020