Idaho History Aug 18, 2019

Valley County Murders

(part 3)

The Murder Cabin – Monumental Creek

1930s Cabin

– from the Collord Family collection.

“[The photo is from] when Collord went to Monumental in the 30’s and he was at [what is now called] the murder cabin with Clark and Clem. (I don’t know which one was Clark.)” – personal correspondence
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McCoy Notes on the Murder Cabin

Gill McCoy, Bill “Slim” Clark, Bill Timm, and a man called “Frenchy,” established a mining claim in the 1930s on Monumental Creek opposite the mouth of Camp Creek. A stamp mill was moved to the site by Slim Clark from an abandoned mine on the west slope of Routson Peak, which had been worked around 1908 and the early 1930s. A substantial cabin was built on the claim. Over the years, the ownership of the claim became confused. In 1963, the question of ownership, which included Jim Burris, resulted in the shooting of Slim Clark by Burris’s son. Slim Clark bled to death before he could get medical attention
(interview with George Dovel, Aug 15, 1977, in Hartung (*) 1978:42).

The cabin became known as the “murder cabin;” which was destroyed by wildfire in 2000.
(Kingsbury, pers. comm. 2001).

source: pg 12 McCoy Family History
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Murder Cabin Memories

“What I remember from my Mom’s memories was that Frenchie had deeded/given the gold claim and cabin to Roland “Slim” Clark before he left the area. My folks were friends with both of them and thought a great deal of each. The Burris’ wanted the claim but Slim was not giving it up. Someone came up to where Si Simonds and my folks cabins were and the air strip. They were told that Slim had been shot and wanted the Valley Co. Sheriff called on the back country radio which they did. I believe my Dad and Mom, Hilda and Swede Hanson, then went down to Slim’s cabin where they found him and my Mom talked about the very bloody pillow. The Sheriff flew in but it took awhile and there was no hope for Slim. It seems that the Burris group came in and Slim met them with a gun and told them to leave but they also had guns … hence the name “Murder Cabin”. There was a trial but no one was sentenced. I have no idea who got the claim and cabin.”

photo courtesy Hilda Hanson

“My folks left Monumental after Slim was murdered…”
– Bev (Hanson) Larkin
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Aug 28, 1963

Cascade, Idaho AP — Two men were taken into custody today on first degree murder warrants and a third has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon in the killing of a 53-year-old prospector.

Held on the murder warrants are Jack Burris, Weiser, and his son, Bob, of Ontario. Bob Mac Quarrie, Weiser, was held on the weapons charge.

The arrests came three days after Roland Clark was fatally wounded near his cabin in a primitive area 80 miles east of McCall.

Valley County Prosecutor Larry Schoenhut said the shooting apparently was the aftermath of a dispute over ownership of a mining claim. He said Burris claimed ownership of the claim but that Clark had been living in a cabin on the site.

He said Burris, his son and Mac Quarrie went to the area Saturday to talk to Clark. He said an argument ensued and the shooting followed.
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Aug 29, 1963

Cascade AP — Three men charged in connection with the slaying of an Idaho prospector have demanded preliminary hearings and at the same time agreed to undergo a lie detector test.

Two of the men, Jack Burris, Ontario, and his son, Bob, Weiser, are charged with first degree murder in the fatal shooting last Saturday of Roland Clark, 54, near his cabin in a remote area 80 miles east of McCall.

Bob MacQuarrie, Weiser, is charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

All three were arraigned Wednesday before Valley County Probate Judge H. V. McMasters, who set preliminary hearings for Sept. 17.

Sheriff Merton Logue said they agreed to the lie detector test following the hearing. He said the test will be conducted in McCall Saturday.

Authorities said the killing apparently was the result of a dispute over a mining claim. They said Burris, his son, and MacQuarrie went to Clark’s cabin Saturday and that the shooting followed an argument over the claim.

Jack and Bob Burris are being held without: bond in the Valley County jail. MacQuarrie was released Tuesday after posting bail.
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Sept 18, 1963

Cascade – Further proceedings in the cases of three men charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a Valley County miner have been scheduled here for Thursday morning.

Canyon County Probate Judge Edward Lodge, who is conducting preliminary hearings, ordered the doors closed to the public as proceedings in the cases of Jack Burris, 53, Ontario, his son, Bob, 35, Weiser, and Bob MacQuarrie, Weiser, got underway Tuesday morning.

Both Burris and his son are charged with first degree murder in connection with the shooting of Roland Clark, 54, last Aug. 24 at a remote area about 80 miles east of McCall.

Authorities in Valley County said the shooting apparently involved a dispute over a mining claim. Clark died while en route to McCall by plane for treatment of wounds.

McQuarrie is charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

All three men are at liberty after posting bonds, Bail for Bob Burris was set at $5000, and for Jack Burris at $1000. McQuarrie posted $25 bond in Washington County Probate Court.
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Sept 20, 1963

Caldwell – Probate Judge Edward Lodge of Canyon Counay said Thursday night he had taken under advisement a case involving Bob Burris, 35, of Weiser, charged with second degree murder in the fatal shooting of Roland Clark, 54, near his cabin in a remote area east of McCall.

Judge Lodge said Burris appeared before him Thursday at a continuation of a preliminary hearing started Tuesday.

Burris is free on $5000 bond, the judge reported.

The case against Jack Burris, 55, Ontario, father of Bob Burris, stemming from the same shooting, has been dismissed, the judge reported.

Also involved in the case, according to records, is Bob MacQuarrie of Weiser, charged with carrying a concealed weapon. MacQuarrie did not appear before Judge Lodge Thursday. He also is free on bond, it was reported.

Authorities said the killing apparently was the result of a dispute over a mining claim.

Young Burris was originally charged with first-degree murder but the charge was reduced, records show.

(Idaho Statesmen Archives courtesy KSG)
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Roland Clark

Birth: 1910
Death: 24 Aug 1963 (aged 52–53)
Burial: McCall Cemetery McCall, Valley County, Idaho, USA

source: Find a Grave [h/t KGS]
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The Murder Cabin

Another cabin with the somewhat dubious title of the “Murder Cabin” was at the confluence of Camp Creek and Monumental Creek. I’ll try to reconstruct its tangled history.


Claude and Elsie Taylor were the first to own (build?) the cabin. Claude hauled a stamp mill to the property from Thunder Mountain. Claude gave the cabin to Wilbur Wiles who later gave it to Ross Geiling (sp?). A man named McClure owned it next. He was a packer for the Forest Service. Frenchy LeQuay lived there next. He became ill and later died in the Cascade hospital. Since Frenchy had no money, the State attached the cabin for recompense. The State later sold it to a man named Burris. Bill (Slim) Clark claimed he owned the cabin; got into a quarrel with Burris and Burris shot him (Wiles, 2012). Clark was helicoptered to the Big Creek Ranger Station where he was transferred to a Travel Air for a flight to a hospital. He died enroute (Dodds, 2012). Burris was never prosecuted. Wilbur said “there were about five creepy guys that lived in the cabin after Burris left and one man pointed a pistol at me” (Wiles, 2012).

source: personal correspondence

see also link to Simonds history:
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“Murder” Cabin

Frenchys old cabin was behind this in a swamp

Mill at the Murder Cabin

The stamp mill was moved to a claim on the creek which was established in the 1930’s by “Slim” Clark, a trapper and prospector. The site, F- 1, is located on Camp Creek on the west side of Monumental Creek about three quarters of a mile downstream from Simonds’ place. The physical structures on the claim in addition to the ruined stamp mill, include a 20 foot square log house in good condition and fences. There are no outbuildings, the place being a purely mineral claim.

The place was the site of a shootout in the 1960’s between two parties interested in mineral wealth, an example of gold fever in the present day. “Slim” Clark had established the claim with Gil McCoy, Bill Timm and a man named “Frenchy.” Through the years the interests in the claim were sold between various parties and confusion arose as to who actually owned the cabin site. This confusion grew into a quarrel between “Slim” and a Mr. Burris who also claimed the site.

In the resulting shootout, “Slim” Clark was wounded by Burris’ son and bled to death before he could be flown to a hospital. The case was tried in Boise and thrown out of court on technicalities. Bad feelings still exist regarding this particular claim. It has not been actively worked since the trial.

– Dovel, George. Interview with John Hartung (*) and David Mann. August 15, 1977.
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Monumental Creek Claims


7. Burris placer
8. Green Jacket prospect
9. Barite prospect
10. Lower Iron Clad claims
12. Deer Creek prospect
13. Simmons placer

The district’s most extensive placers are along Monumental Creek. These are the Dovel, Simmons, Monumental Creek Ranch, and Burris placers (fig. 94, Nos. 14, 13, 19, 7), which aggregate about 400 acres. All are privately held, except for the Monumental Creek Ranch, which is owned by the U.S. Forest Service. Gold is reported to have been produced from each property, but no records are available. About 25 million cubic yards of terrace gravel are estimated to occur on these properties. Average gold content, inferred from limited sampling, is less than 1 cent per cubic yard.

Black sand concentrates consist chiefly of ferromagnesian silicate minerals and magnetite, with less than 7 percent ilmenite, less than 1 percent zircon and rutile, and a trace apatite, sphene, epidote, tourmaline, and altered pyrite.

source: pg 312 “Mineral Resources of the Idaho Primitive Area and Vicinity, Idaho” (29 meg)
By F. W. Cater, D. M. Pinckney, W. B. Hamilton, and R. L. Parker, U.S. Geological Survey, and by R. D. Weldin, T. J. Close, and N. T. Zilka, U.S. Bureau of Mines
With a section on the Thunder Mountain District By B. F. Leonard, U.S. Geological Survey, and a Section on Aeromagnetic Interpretation by W. E. Davis, U.S. Geological Survey, Studies Related to Wilderness Primitive Areas
Geological Survey Bulletin 1304 : 1973 An evaluation of the mineral potential of the area
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Camp Creek on Monumental Creek


source: Camp Creek Topo Map in Valley County ID
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1988 Murder Cabin


Boy Scout Troop #323 50 mile Hike at the Murder Cabin 1988

from Miri Gillihan

(*) Hartung, John A. “1978 Documentation of primitive resources In the Idaho Primitive Area, Big Creek drainage”. Unpublished thesis. University of Idaho, Forestry Department. A report documenting field inventories and oral history. Includes many photos of structures, both occupied and abandoned.

Link: Thunder Mountain / Roosevelt History index page
Link to Valley County Murders Part 1
Link to Valley County Murders Part 2

page updated April 29, 2020