Category Archives: Weekly History

Idaho History Feb 17, 2019

Gillihans in Yellow Pine

John M. Gillihan married Elsie Good Dec 17, 1945
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The Yellow Pine Lodge

YPLodge1KGC-aJohn and Elsie Gillihan owned the Yellow Pine Lodge in 1966 and 1967, and he outfitted out of Yellow Pine in the 1960’s in the Monumental area. He also had trail jobs for the Forest Service.

The 3 youngest Gillihan children, Milton, Kristy and Pat, went to school in Yellow Pine, while John’s 6 oldest sons (Jack, Bob, George, Harold, Ray and Roy) worked with the outfit.

Elsie carried the mail from Yellow Pine to Big Creek when Whitmore had the mail route – before Arnolds.

(family correspondence)
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Yellow Pine Lodge G&S Guide Service


Jim and Olga Cox in front of the Lodge
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My Dad, John Gillihan began his hunting guide career in the early 50’s. He worked out of the Sawtooth/Grandjean area at first. Dad started going into Big Creek in 1956, as an Outfitter & Guide. He often told me that I was two years old the first time I went to the Neal Ranch, and I was born in July of 1954. We spent every summer up there until 1963, when we moved permanently from Garden City to Yellow Pine.

The reason I am sure it was 1963 is because my first recollection of being there was during the 1963 Idaho Territorial Centennial celebration. Warren Campbell had hauled our house from Stibnite and it was sitting in the middle of the street during the Centennial festivities. It was then moved to the top of the road next to Tom and Betty Nicolas place, where it still sits today.

Napier Edwards brought family heirlooms for display at what is now the Corner Bar. I vividly remember seeing his mother’s (Annie Napier Edwards) wedding dress displayed in the window. It is such a shame all his possessions were destroyed when his house burned to the ground years later.

We lived in our house for a couple of years before we leased the Yellow Pine Hotel – after the Browning’s moved. My brother, Roy, and his family moved into our house while my parents ran the Hotel. I think we had the Hotel from 1966 to 1967.

I know we moved to Emmett the winter of 1967 when I was half way through the 8th grade. Roy and his family moved out of our house at that same time, so we must have sold it in 1968 or 1969, because we never lived there again, just continued to go to the Neal Ranch in the summer and Dad would be there through hunting season and usually came home just before Thanksgiving.

My brothers and I attended Yellow Pine School from 1963 to 1967. Milton moved to Emmett to live with our brother George, after the 8th grade, so that he could complete school. The only other option at that time would have been correspondence school or going to McCall to graduate. Pat and I stayed in Yellow Pine until our family moved to Emmett in 1967 and I graduated from there in 1972.

Thank you for your interest in our family history. I still consider Yellow Pine my hometown!

– Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino
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1960’s Yellow Pine

Cafe Tavern Cabins Yellow Pine


Old post card of Yellow Pine

source: Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino

Iva and Fay Kissinger, Napier Edwards in Yellow Pine Mid 1960s

(Stibnite house sitting in the road in the background.)

“My dad showed me this photo, he is the one in the background on the left, the little boy playing baseball. His name is Dave Browning and at this time my grandparents ran the hotel. Don and Barbra Browning.”

source: Kate Browning Noble

Note: The Brownings had the Lodge before the Gillihans.
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G&S Headquarters at our house in Yellow Pine


Our house – one of the ones brought out of Stibnite.

[The houses] came from a row of duplexes in Stibnite. All of them had two front doors and two staircases at the entry. We eventually took out one of our front doors, but kept the two staircases. Upstairs, they connected on a landing and one was the boy’s side and one the girl’s… I was lucky to be the only girl!

– Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino

Big John, Pat and Milton Gillihan in Yellow Pine


You can see Tom & Betty’s house with the white picket fence in the background, and an old shed/house between our house and theirs.

George Gillihan


George, wife Veda, children Ricky, Heidi and Mike in Yellow Pine.

G&S Guide Service – Gillihan and Sons

G & S Guide Service 1965


Bob, Roy and George Gillihan

Yellow Pine Lodge Headquarters



G & S Guide Service: Ted Gentry, George & John Gillihan


G & S Billboard on George’s Impala


Dad’s horses and mules [typed on company stationary]

Tysiska, Roanie, Stormy
Ranger, Beauty, Montana, Big Prince
Zing, Pee Wee, Spud, Champ, Starlight
Penny, Copper, Duke, Beepo, Gordo
Scooter, Socks, Nancy, Pardner, Little Prince
Lady B. J., Peanuts
Buck Shot, Cricket
Brinda, Mary, Judy, Tony, Patches, Jane
Kennedy, Duke, Doc, Jack, Molly, May, (?pot) Molly, (?ub), Freddie, Jenny, Cindy, Fanny, Billie, Sad Sack, Patty, Little Jack
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Dad’s packstring returning through town.


My brother, Milton Gillihan, getting ready to take a group on a horseback ride in Yellow Pine, Idaho.
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Roy and John Gillihan and guest showing off their catch of salmon.


Pam Hathaway and I showing our catch of the day.
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Yellow Pine School Days

The Yellow Pine School in winter


This is before we had Idaho Power and no light in the school except the big windows.
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Here is a list of the teachers 1963 – 1967

1963 – 64 – Mrs. Hazel Scheline
1964 – 65 – Mrs. Esther Bieroth
1965 – 66 – Dave Imel (taught the first 12 weeks)
1966 – Miss Mary Scholes (taught the last 12 weeks)
1966 – 67 Mrs. Patricia (Pat) Inama
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Yellow Pine School Teachers


L-R: Phil Jensen, Milton Gillihan, Lee Green, Danny Ashton, Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino, Doyle Pond, Cheri (Che) Colston.
Second row, Mary Ashton, Pat Gillihan, Dave Imel, In front – Vonnie Ashton and Jessie Green.


Yellow Pine School Teacher, Miss Mary Scholes from Grandview. L to R: Pam Hathaway, Kristy Gillihan, Miss Mary, Milton Gillihan, Karen Pond, Doyle Pond and Pat Gillihan.
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Yellow Pine School

1962-1963 School opened with 21 Students.
1964-1965 School wired for electricity
1967-1968 School had 18 students at start of school. A recreation room was was built from the woodshed …

excerpted from page 92, History of the Yellow Pine School by Emma Cox, in “Yellow Pine, Idaho” complied by Nancy Sumner
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Getting ready for School in Yellow Pine


Pat, Milton and I loading our books on a sled to walk to school.
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Getting ready for winter


My little brother, Pat Gillihan, chopping wood at the house in Yellow Pine, Idaho.
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Winter in Yellow Pine


Our old International “Pinky” buried in the driveway
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John Gillihan


“Dad and Trudy, named after Astronaut Gordon Cooper’s wife (Trudy Olson) Dad loved the “race to space” and JFK – he named several horses and mules after celebrities! We had, Gordo, Trudy, Lady B.J., and Kennedy – to name a few.”
– Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino
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John M. Gillihan


Photo added by Diane Harris

Birth: 4 Sep 1910
Death: 18 Sep 1991 (aged 81)
Burial: Riverside Cemetery Emmett, Gem County, Idaho


John M. Gillihan

Emmett, ID — John M. Gillihan, 81, of Emmett, died Wednesday, Sept. 18, 1991, in a Boise hospital.

Graveside services will be held at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Emmett Cemetery. Pastor Tom Blackburn of Boise will offi-ciate. Arrangements are under di-rection of the Potter Funeral Chapel, Emmett.

Mr. Gillihan was born Sept. 4, 1910, at Gannett, Idaho. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He married Elsie Good on Dec. 17, 1945, at Dallas, Texas. They lived in Boise, where he was an outfitter and guide at Big Creek. They moved to Em-mett in 1967. He then worked for the U.S. Forest Service from 1980 to 1988. Mrs. Gillihan died Jan: 26, 1985.

Survivors include eight sons, Milton H., Patrick M., G. Harold, F. Ray and John W. “Jack” Gillihan, all of Winnemucca, Nev., K. George and Robert J.. Gillihan, both of Emmett, and F. Roy Gillihan of Olympia, Wash.; two daughters, Anna May Wyman of Cottonwood, Calif., and Kristy Gillihan of Boise; a sister, Jane Worthington of Boise; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the McCall Senior Citizen Center, First Street, McCall 83638; or to the American Diabetes Associa-tion, 1528 Vista, Boise 83705.

source: Find a Grave
[h/t SMc]
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Elsie Gillihan


source: Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino
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Elsie Gillihan

[I found] a poem my mother wrote when she was all alone at the Jensen Cabin [Snowshoe Mine on Crooked Creek a tributary to Big Creek]. Bob found the poem written on a brown piece of paper and brought it out to the Base Camp. – Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino


Arrived at cabin September 15th. Cook & wash for family and also cook for hunters going on pack trips.

Beautiful scenery here at cabin – but can’t say for back country as I have to stay & wash too many diapers.

Poem composed while looking out window – washing dishes.

Seasons Changes

Mountain flowers, drop their heads
Upon their bosoms, playing dead.
And so escape the wicked wind
Who tries to lure them deep within
His rocky castle of canyon walls
With granite stairway to Pine Trees Tall.
But now with summer glory spent
They lie serene & rest content
Till April’s gentle lover rain
Wakes them anew to live again.

By Elsie Gillihan, Boise ID
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Elsie G. Gillihan


Photo added by Diane Harris

Birth: 5 Oct 1920
Death: 26 Jan 1985 (aged 64)
Burial: Riverside Cemetery Emmett, Gem County, Idaho

source: Find a Grave


Elsie G. Gillihan

Emmett, ID – Elsie G. Gillihan, 64, of Emmett, died Saturday, Jan. 26, 1985, in a Boise hospital of natural causes.

Funeral services were held Tuesday at Potter Funeral Chapel, Emmett. Burial was in the Emmett Cemetery.

Gillihan, an owner of a day care center, was born Oct. 5, 1920, at Mineola, Texas. She married John M. Gillihan on Dec. 17, 1945, at Dallas, Texas. They then moved to Boise.

For most of her life she helped her husband as an outfitter in the Idaho wilderness near Yellow Pine. They raised 24 foster children in addition to 10 children of their own. They had resided at Emmett since 1967 where she operated a day care center.

Survivors include her husband of Emmett; eight sons, Milton H. of Bonner, Mont., Patrick M., G. Harold, and F. Ray, all of Winnemucca, Nev., Robert J. and K. George, both of Emmett, John W. “Jack” of Paisley, Ore., and F. Roy Gillihan of Lacey, Wash.; two daughters, Anna May Wyman of Cottonwood, Calif., and Kristy Gillihan of Boise; and two sisters, Dorothy Few of Mineola and Willie Fay Smith of Chandler, Texas. Her parents, two brothers and a sister died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 1528 Vista Ave. Boise 83705.

source: US GenWeb Valley County Archives
[h/t SMc]
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(story by Elsie Gillihan)

Yellow Pine – “I almost petted him, but I didn’t ’cause he moved,” said five-year-old LaDonna Adkins as she recounted to her mother an experience she and her older sister, Christine, had in the woodshed at the family home near here.

Christine, 7, told her mother “something” is in the woodshed. Her mother told her to bring in wood. Then, LaDonna said “there’s a big cat in the wood shed.” Mrs. Adkins decided to take a look. She went to the small building and almost ran into a bobcat in the doorway.

Mrs. Adkins got one shot at the “cat” before it made a fast get-away. It was later killed by a neighbor.

My Mom, Elsie Gillihan, submitted this article to the newspaper back in the 60’s when Norm and Pauline Adkins had the store in Yellow Pine. LaDonna Adkins was their daughter. The incident entertained us for quite a while.”

source: Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino
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By Elsie Gillihan

Yellow Pine – Now being a housewife, mother, and, so I’m told, a very good baker of bread; I can be proud of my culinary art. It saves money and is quite a necessity in the hills.

Baking, however, brings painful memories of my teen years when my first attempt to bake bread brought triumph for one hour, but in a most unusual way.

Being a very headstrong, impatient, teen-ager (they didn’t call us that; they usually called me “lazy”) I read the recipe, but couldn’t belive it could possibly matter that the hot milk must cool to lukewarm before adding the yeast.

I mixed the bread, then waited and waited for that big, messy, kettle of sticky dough to raise. I looked so long that my eyes began to play tricks and lo, and behold, it must be raising a bit.

Again I decided that the person who had written the recipe, had lots of time to waste; I didn’t; just had to get the bread in the oven.

It baked all right, that is, the top and bottom were a beautiful, golden brown; but it didn’t raise a bit, even in that hot oven.

My family was known for its Christian kindness, but not even this could persuade them to partake of my first light bread. I will give them credit, however, they made valiant attempts, but were unable to get a toothhold, so to speak.

My cousin came by and took a loaf home with him. Next day he appeared at the door minus a tooth. I gasped in alarm until he told me [he] had just been out to the dentist. I never did find out if he was just being kind to spare my feelings. Anyway, he told me that he could have eaten the loaf if only I had remembered to salt it.

I was, by this time, beginning to be very nervous, wondering what in the world to do with four loaves of unusable bread. I took one loaf apart and began to roll some of the middle portion between my two palms, when suddenly I looked at it and was surprised to discover I had a ball that closely resembled rubber, except this smelled a little better.

I tested it by throwing it on the floor and was amazed when it actually bounced three feet.

At last, I thought, I’ve found something to use it for. I proceeded to sew a cloth cover for the ball, invited the neighbor kids to play ball. We played catch, used a bat, had fun for an hour until we tired of the game. I then gave the ball to our dog who took one sniff, gave me a sorrowful look, then walked away leaving the ball for the neighbor’s dog. This dog, taking no chances, promptly dug a hole and buried it.

The thing that really bothers me is this: When this ball petrifies, and future archeologists unearth it, I’d just love to be there, in hiding of course, to get their version of what this object really is.

This is another article submitted to the Idaho Statesman by my Mom, Elsie Gillihan. She used to tell this story to us.

source: Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino

Many thanks to Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino for sharing family history and photos for this story.

page updated Feb 19, 2019 (added poem)


Idaho History Feb 10, 2019

Kennedy the Famous Mule

Gillihan Family, Yellow Pine, Big Creek and Emmett


“This is Kennedy, the most gentle, strongest creature I have ever known. [H]e once had over 10 kids on his back at one time and never even flinched. I don’t know exactly how big he was, but you can see in the one photo he dwarfs my 6’2″ Dad [Big John Gillihan].

When our truck was stuck in mud to the axles, Dad hitched up Kennedy and he pulled it out with no effort. When he died, he was immortalized in the press by Jerri Montgomery, who told his story. He was unforgettable to all of the kids who ever met him and all of the hunters he packed for. My Dad loved this mule, and so did we all.”
by Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino
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July 27, 1965 Big John Gillihan and Roy Green loading Kennedy


* see Side Note below *
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“I was riding Kennedy one time, leading a pack string back from a camp out of Cold Meadows, in the summer time and met a group of back east sight seers, they thought I was quite a sight! They stop me and ask to take my picture, I would give anything to see those pictures! …”
by Milton Gillihan
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Kennedy in Yellow Pine

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Don Waller tells a story about Kennedy

I told a fellow that Kennedy’s head was bigger than a 55 gallon barrel. Proved it by putting some grain in the bottom of an empty barrel and when the mule ate the grain, his ears were still sticking out the top.
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Jamie Gillihan on Kennedy

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My Dad had 72 head of horses & mules combined, most of the time I was growing up.
– by Kristy
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Kennedy the great mule

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by Jerri Montgomery November 1976 [The Star-News]

The anniversary of 20 years of guiding and packing in Big Creek area, 20 years of coming to Yellow Pine, by the Gillihans. These years touch the family from young Pat up to Jack. The rough years of herding their stock all the miles into [unintelligible] camp country, taking care of hunters, some on this type of a trip for the first time, wrestling stock in the cold of the early a.m., finding the lost, babying the tenderfoot, trailing lost stock, reaching camp late, cold, hungry, to have to pacify a group of hunters who saw the game and could not shoot straight enough to hit, or hit and lost game, holding their tempers to the best of their ability as the moans and groans of the poor sport hit their already frost bitten ears.

Twenty years of the final job of moving stock out of Big Creek Basin through Yellow Pine and out to Cascade on horse back. This clan arrived in Yellow Pine with beards stiff with ice, their clothes wet and frozen, eyes red and heavy with weariness. Yet they would stay on their feet to mingle with us until there was just no more ambition for anything else but bed.

Big John, the patriarch of this family started the work, sons following the big man’s beginnings. There have been the changes. This year, for the first time, the Gillihans brought their stock out in trailers and stock trucks over bare ground, arriving in Yellow Pine clean shaven. Progress has hit this clan. No longer will we hear the cowboy yell as the men herd the horses and mules through the main part of this village. It was then this crew stopped, as the cowboy of old at the end of the trail, to have a high ol’ time for a day or so in Yellow Pine. This year Jack stopped to adjust a problem with horses, then walked to his truck, waved and called, “see you next year”. Ray Gillihan we saw once. Young. Pat is no longer the youngster, he is 19.

Then too, the, Gillihans have suffered a great loss. Their great mule, Kennedy, has died at 19 years of age. No more will the big hybred tread the mountain trails he knew so well. Kennedy died far from the mountains that challenged his tremendous strength, in a bog hole on the flat lands. This mule held the title of the largest mule in this area and even farther away. Yet the big animal wasn’t just a mule. He was strong, gentle and intelligent. He had a mind of his own and was respected for this. A small child could walk under his body without fear. He could outwit anyone in his search for oats or hay and out-eat three other horses or mules. Kennedy will live for many a year as a legend. There will always be someone who will bring Kennedy back when the tales are told around a campfire. And who knows, maybe Kennedy will be standing outside of the fire’s glow, munching on a bale of hay, listening to the words of praise.

This an obituary for a mule this person admired. Why not? This animal was part and parcel of the Gillihan clan. The mule played a large role in the business of packing and guiding. He worked hard and faithfully. In doing his job, he gained fame of sorts. Kennedy was and is the greatest animal this back country has known. Aye, he will live on and on and walk the mountains with the Gillihans in the years to come.
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Kennedy in the field

1957 – 1976
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(photos and stories courtesy Kristy Gillihan Scaraglino)

* Side Note *

Loading-Kennedy-July-27-1965-aaNotice the “bells” cut in the mule’s tail in the photo of John packing Kennedy? Here is a closeup.

Tale of the Tails

“Dad got three mules from a Basque Sheepherder in Mountain Home, and they had bells cut into their tails. Their names were Freddie, Jenny and Sad Sack. Dad found out the sheepherder was mistreating them and had beaten Sad Sack so badly with a 2×4, that his ribs were broken. Roy said Sad Sack was never good as a pack animal and he didn’t like people, but Freddie and Jenny turned out to be good mules.”
– by Roy Gillihan

Freddie and Jenny I used quite often, but Sad Sack I didn’t use unless absolutely necessary! He was a temperamental sort!
– by Milton Gillihan

Not everyone agrees on the meaning of the bells, however, the following is an interesting story.

Bells cut into mules’ tails

The tale of mule tails goes back to the US cavalry, who used mules more than horses during the 19th C. Mules have a particular way of thinking and if you cross the line, expect an instant reaction! Think of ‘Stubborn as a mule’; ‘Kick like a mule’; ‘Work like a mule’. Mules do things their way and that’s that. And they won’t meet you half way … maybe 25% of the way, if you ask nicely. So the US cavalry developed a system to identify what you’re up against and cut a mule’s tail in the shape of bells as a signal to all and sundry.


A green (or young/inexperienced) mule had its tail shaved. By the time the mule was broken in to carry a pack, a ‘bell’ was trimmed into its tail. Once broken in to draw a cart a second bell was added. And the pinnacle of success, once broken as a saddle mule, a third tassel or bell was added. Get the picture?

When a new mule-skinner arrived in the yard he knew which mules to approach for a particular job. You could look at a corral full of unknown mules and find your perfect partner, avoiding any loss of blood.

1 bell = pack
2 bells = pack and drive
3 bells = pack, drive and ride

excerpted from: Mule’s Tails

Idaho History Feb 3, 2019

Bryant Ranch

Johnson Creek (near Yellow Pine), Valley County, Idaho

1937 Topo Map


(snipped from Yellow Pine Quad)
source: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps

Time Line

1903 – Al Hennessey filed his homestead on the 160 acres on Johnson Creek that he called Morrison; he later sold it to Bryants (E. Oberbillig in Sumner, p. 19)

1913 – Bryants arrive on Johnson Creek. (E. Bryant in Sumner, p. 3)

excerpt from “Yellow Pine Timeline” – compiled by Sharon McConnel (personal correspondence)

Hennessey and Bryant

by Ernest Oberbillig

… In 1903, Al [Hennessey] filed his homestead on the 160 acres of the Bryant Ranch, and in 1906 the Thunder Mountain News reported that he had built three miles of road from Twin Bridges towards his ranch, called Morrison, and he had built a bath house on the hot springs.

Al received patent to his ranch in 1919 and sold half of it to Henry Bryant in November 1924. The remaining half he sold to T. L. Reedy in March 1927. Bryant bought the Reedy interest later.

excerpted from: More on Al Hennessey (pg 19) “Yellow Pine, Idaho” compiled by Nancy G. Sumner
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Some of the earliest settlers [in the Yellow Pine Basin] were:

– H. H. Bryant, who came from Boise in the early 1920’s and bought one of the homesteads on Johnson Creek that Al Hennessy had proved up on. The Bryants built a fox farm on their land.

source: pgs. 117-121 “Idaho Mountains Our Home” by Lafe and Emma Cox – Copyright 1977 by V.O. Ranch Books
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The Bryant Family on Johnson Creek

by Emma Bryant

It was about 1913 that Melvin, my late husband, went into that wilderness area with Lee Lisenby and his brother-in-law, a Mr. Hanson. Lee was a ranger who also took winter supplies in to the old timers.

There was no road over Warm Lake Summit then. Going down Angel Flight, they broke a wheel and had to take it back, on foot, to have it mended. The road ended at Albert Hennessey’s place on Johnson Creek [now the Bryant Ranch], so they loaded the supplies on horses and delivered them.

After that, they spent two weeks hunting and fishing. The whole country was covered with beautiful pine trees, minus the underbrush you see today. During that time they only saw and shot one deer, which they gave to the people there.

Melvin became so infatuated with the country and its wonderful fishing streams and hunting areas that the next year he and his father, H. H. Bryant, and Glen Labrum went back there and from then on it was a summer vacation place for the Bryants.

The road over Warm Lake summit was completed in about 1917 as was the road from Hennessey’s to Yellow Pine.

Melvin drove the first Model T. Ford into Yellow Pine. Many of the children there, and some of the adults, had never seen a car before.

On vacations there we lived in a tenthouse at the Hennessey place. By that time, the family including Harry Bryant, wanted to start a fox ranch. So, the men went in with Hennessey, who furnished the land and the Bryant’s foes. Our home was built in 1922-1923.

One summer morning over coffee and cookies, Emma summed up the fox business: “It was a complete failure”. Then she went on to describe the uses of the picturesque three-story building still standing on the property.

The first story had a complete blacksmith shop, and area for butchering the horse meat slaughtered for the foxes, an ice house, and a bench for carpenter work. The ice was cut at the ice hole and stored in sawdust. The ice house walls were extra thick.

The second floor was where the help lived. There was a cooking area, with a beautiful wood-burning range and sleeping areas.

The third floor was called the watch tower. The men watched the fox all the time, but particularly during mating season careful records had to be kept because so many days after mating the bitch was fed a live chicken. They ate feathers and bones, and the whole thing. If this was not done the fox ate her young at whelping time. The chicken provided something which they got out in the wilds that the bitch needed.

excerpted from (pgs 3-4) “Yellow Pine, Idaho” compiled by Nancy G. Sumner
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First Ford into Yellow Pine 1922


1922, First Ford into Yellow Pine, Al Behne in photograph, with several unknowns – Courtesy of Long Valley Preservation Society of Idaho, Shared by Ron Smith – Thank you!

source: Valley County ID GenWeb
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Johnson Creek Airfield

by John S. Sumner

… The Johnson Creek Airfield was cleared by H. H. Bryant in 1928 on his ranch. Bryant had been an aviation visionary and enthusiast for many years prior to this, and later his family sold the State a parcel at the south end of the airstrip. The north end of the airstrip was on an unpatented mining claim owned by J. J. Oberbillig. H. H. Bryant seems to have talked A. A. Bennett, and early partner of Bob Johnson, into flying his 4-passenger Boeing Zenith biplane in 1930 for the inauguration of the airfield. Mel Bryant, H. H. Bryant’s grandson, also recalls the use of the airfield by pilot Chick Walker of Boise in the 1930’s.

… The State of Idaho took a particular liking to the Johnson Creek Airfield because of its beauty, utility, and recreational potential. The field had to be lengthened, widened, graded, and fenced. There was a land exchange to be made between the State of Idaho and the U. S. Forest Service, and those trades were put through. It was no small feat to get the water and power permits and lines in, to erect buildings and to arrange for courtesy cars on loan from the state.

excerpted from Aviation and Yellow Pine pg 69 “Yellow Pine, Idaho” compiled by Nancy G. Sumner
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Aerial shot of Bryant Ranch, Fox Farm, Johnson Creek


Dated 1958 (?)

source: cropped from ITD Archives (larger zoomable photo)
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Johnson Creek Airfield

by Lafe and Emma Cox

… Roads were being built into this area in the 1920s. The Founder of Yellow Pine, Mr. Albert C. Behne, applied for the first post office in 1905. Homes were constructed of logs, and miners from other areas came to this basin for the winters to leave the high country snows. Meadows and flats were homesteaded by such as Albert Hennessey, who later sold to H. H. Bryant of Boise in 1923. Part of this land is now the Johnson Creek airfield squired by the State of Idaho.

Mrs. Emma L. Bryant still spends her summers at this ranch, usually with the company of one of her grandsons, who in the past has maintained the airstrip for the State throughout the summer months. One often sees her sitting on her front porch watching the planes arrive and depart along with a watchful eye on the deer wandering toward her laws to browse and a lick at the salt block.

… This area was included in the original Payette National Forest, which was established on June 3, 1905. The first ranger station was a log cabin constructed on the east side of the present airfield in 1907 by Ranger Warren E. Cook.

Much of the meadow land throughout the basin was taken up for homesteads in the early 1900s in order to produce beef for the mining population. When interest in mining waned, livestock production became unprofitable and most of these homesteads were abandoned. A few hardy individuals stayed in the country and successfully patented their homesteads.

… The first aircraft to land in this area was a Consolidated biplane from the 116th Observation Squadron, Washington National Guard, piloted by Major C. O. Haynes and Lieutenant Nick Mamer. This was in July 1928 on the meadow at the Stonebreaker Ranch one mile northeast of the present airfield. An airfield was cleared near the present location shortly thereafter.

excerpted From a welcome extended by Lafe and Emma Cox to the international 180/185 Club, June 30, 1979 (pg 71-72) “Yellow Pine, Idaho” compiled by Nancy G. Sumner
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Bryant Ranch (Johnson Creek)

by Miriam Bryant



In 1915 H.H.Bryant discovered how great the hunting and fishing was in Yellow Pine and became good friends with Al Hennessey, a local prospector of the area. The old cabins are Al Hennessy’s homestead and in 1920 he would sell his land to H.H. which today is the Bryant ranch. The old alfalfa field would become an airstrip and today it is known as Johnson creek airstrip which is very well known to many pilots, flying clubs and back country flying magazines.





In the 1950’s the Bryant family donated much of the land for the airstrip to the State of Idaho. H.H. Built a saw mill on the property and built the White House and two out buildings. The old cook house building was designed to house the caretaker for the fox farm. Sadly the fox farm only lasted one year.


In the 1990’s it was discovered that the old rusty tractor that all the grand kids played on was actually a prototype sent to H.H. from Henry Ford for the alfalfa field. Uncle Marv Bryant had the tractor refurbished and shipped it to Dearborn, Michigan where today it is on display in the Henry Ford museum. Who knew the kids were playing on a piece of history!! **




H.H. And his wife Nellie had two sons… Melvin and Harry. Melvin worked beside his dad as part owner of the dealership and other ventures. Melvin and his wife Emma had 4 children and after Melvin’s death in 1956 Emma taught one year of school in Yellow Pine. We hear great stories of the generosity of grandma Emma. She was always making cookies for everyone who stopped by the ranch for a visit. Although she lived in the north end of Boise she would stay the summers at the ranch and people from all around would come to visit her.



The legacy that H.H., Melvin and Emma have left for all of us has been incredible. I have to really admire their determination and grit they had to even make the trip to Yellow Pine – summer and winter. It would take them 3 days sometimes and now it takes us 3 hours. And you think of the weather conditions, the old cars, flat tires, mud roads, gasoline, food,the wild animals they encountered just to get to the back country.

So, I say thank you to everyone’s ancestors for their gift to all of us of the beauty in this great state of Idaho and I hope we all get enjoy it for many generations to come. Thank you for letting me share a little piece of Idaho history today.

source: story and photos from Miriam Bryant (via FB)

** Fordson Tractor History
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Bryant Family History

from Miriam Bryant

H.H. Bryant’s sister, Clara, married Henry Ford.


from left to right. Henry Ford, Henry’s brother in law – H.H. Bryant, not sure who the third guy is, but the last guy is Edsel Ford.
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This is a great story of how my husbands family came to Boise in 1913. Henry Ford sent his brother in law, HH Bryant, our great grandfather, to Boise in 1913 to start the first Ford dealership which thru the years became Lithia ford. Lithia put this great story together which includes history about Boise. I know it becomes an advertisement for Lithia but the story, history, is remarkable.

Where Ford Begins

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Pictures of Bryant dealership in Boise 1913 – 1930’s

Link to FB photo gallery:
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Family photos

Harry J. , Jane, Louise, Emma Bryant, ? , holding Buddy Bryant

Melvin Berry Bryant Model T Boise foot hills
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Here are some more great pictures of Bryant family fun!

Melvin Berry Bryant near Cascade Idaho, 1915


Link to more photos on FB:
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Harry H Bryant

Added by Amanda Fox

Birth: 5 Aug 1871 Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
Death: 20 May 1938 (aged 66) Boise, Ada County, Idaho
Burial: Cloverdale Memorial Park Boise, Ada County, Idaho

Added by Amanda Fox

(Published in History of Idaho: The Gem of the Mountains Vol. 2 by James H. Hawley 1920)

Harry H. Bryant, senior partner and founder of the firm of H. H. Bryant & Son, dealers in automobiles and automobile accessories and supplies in Boise, also sales agent for Boise and vicinity for the Ford Motor Car Company of Detroit, has been a resident of the capital for the past five years, having removed to this city from Seattle in 1913. Impaired health had caused him to leave Detroit, Michigan, in 1908 and establish his home in Seattle, where he was captain of different coastwise steamboats. He was born in Detroit, August 5, 1871, a son of Melvin and Martha (Bench) Bryant, both of whom have passed away. The father was born in Vermont and made farming his life work. The mother’s birth occurred in Sheffield, England. They were married in Greenfield, Michigan, and both passed away in Detroit, the mother at the age of seventy-two years and the father when he had reached the eighty-second milestone on life’s journey.

Harry H. Bryant was reared in his native city and supplemented the public school training which he there received by study in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. His textbooks were put aside, however, when he attained his majority and for several years thereafter he was connected with steamboating on the Great Lakes. During the eight or ten years thus occupied he filled practically every position from that of cabin boy up to engineer and captain. His health became impaired, however, and he decided to try a change of climate and sought the salt air of the Pacific coast. Accordingly in 1908 he made his way to Seattle, where he completely regained his health. He went to that city on crutches, suffering from rheumatism, and weighed but one hundred and twenty-one pounds. He is now robust and in excellent health, and his weight is now one hundred and ninety-five pounds. Mr. Bryant is a brother-in-law of Henry Ford, the noted motor car manufacturer of Detroit, Mrs. Ford being Mr. Bryant’s eldest sister. At the request of Mr. Ford, Mr. Bryant came to Boise in 1913 to take charge of the Ford motor agency at this place, conducting the business under the firm style of H. H. Bryant & Son, his territory covering Boise and seven Idaho counties adjacent thereto. The firm of H. H. Bryant & Son owns one of the largest and best motor car plants in Boise and also the land on which the plant stands. Their building is one hundred and fifty by one hundred and twenty-two feet and is located at the corner of Eleventh and Front streets. It is a two-story concrete building covering the whole lot and was completed in August, 1917. It is today one of the largest and best equipped garages in the west and represents an expenditure of about eighty-five thousand dollars. The entire plant is owned by Mr. Bryant and his son, Melvin B. Bryant. The firm sold thirteen hundred and seventy Ford cars in the year from August 1, 1916, to August 1, 1917. In addition to the passenger car they also sell the Ford motor truck and Fordson- tractors.

At the age of twenty-one years, in Detroit, Michigan, Mr. Bryant married Miss Nellie. Pierce, who was born at Redford, Michigan, a daughter of Alvin Pierce and a niece of Franklin Pierce, the manufacturer of the Pierce-Arrow motor cars. Mr. and Mrs. Bryant have two sons, Melvin B. and Harry H., Jr. The former was born in Detroit, August 31, 1894, and was in the service of the government as a marine architect in the shipyards at Seattle during the World war. He holds a license as a steamboat engineer. Harry H. Bryant, Jr., born at Detroit, April 30, 1903, is a student in the public schools of Boise. The elder son was the only marine architect engaged on government work from all the state of Idaho. He had two years of submarine training before the United States entered the war. He learned his trade of marine architect with the Seattle Construction & Dry Dock Company of Seattle and on the 25th of April, 1918, he received a highly complimentary letter from Chairman Edward N. Hurley of the United States shipping board. On the 19th of July, 1918, he married
Miss Emma Louise Bucklin, of Port Blakeley, Washington, the youngest daughter of Nathan and Martha Bucklin, pioneers of the Puget Sound, arriving there in 1868. Mr. and Mrs. M. B. Bryant have a little daughter, born November 29, 1919, in Boise. In that city they now make their home, owning property at 1814 North Eighth street.

In religious faith H. H. Bryant is an Episcopalian. He belongs also to the Boise Commercial Club and he is a member of the Boise Limit Club, an organization composed of one hundred members, all of whom have purchased a thousand dollars worth the limit of War Savings stamps. Since the close of the war Mr. Bryant is planning to turn the motor car business over to his two sons and engage extensively in farming in the state of Idaho, already owning land in Canyon county. He is a firm believer in the west and its opportunities and is eager to avail himself of the advantages offered for agricultural development.

source: Find a Grave
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Clara Jane Bryant Ford


Birth: 11 Apr 1866 Wayne County, Michigan
Death: 29 Sep 1950 (aged 84) Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
Burial: Ford Cemetery Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan

Businesswoman. The wife of Industrialist Henry Ford I, she was born in Greenfield Township, Michigan. She married Henry Ford on April 11, 1888, in her parent’s home, and in November 1893, their only child Edsel was born. Mr. Ford related, “I called her ‘the Believer’,” because Mrs. Ford was the only one who believed in his idea of a Motor Carriage”. On December 25, 1915, Clara Ford moved into their 15th and final home with her son Edsel, called Fair Lane, while Mr. Ford didn’t arrive until January 1916, due to coming back from his Peace Ship Excursion from Europe. The Fair Lane Mansion had 56 rooms with a Bowling Alley, Billiard Room and Pool, all made to keep their son Edsel from drinking and smoking, of which they did not approve. In 1941, with the strikes of the United Auto Workers shutting down Ford Plants, Mrs. Ford put her foot down and told Mr. Ford, “I am leaving you after fifty years, if you do not support our son Edsel, and sign off on the Union Contracts.” Mr. Ford relented and Ford Motor Company signed one of the most generous contracts ever given by an auto company. Mr. Ford stated, “Well, what could I do.” When their grandchildren stayed over, it happened every weekend that they came. Including enjoying her grandchildren, she had prized peonies, which were featured in a 1930s magazine. She died on September 29, 1950 at Henry Ford Hospital.

Bio by: Joel Hurley

source: Find a Grave
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Yellow Pine Teachers

1955-1956 Mrs. Emma Bryant

excerpted from: (pg 93) “Yellow Pine, Idaho” compiled by Nancy G. Sumner
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Yellow Pine School 2003


photo by Billie G.
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The Year I Taught School

by Emma Bryant

In the summer of 1956 I went down to Boise to see if I could get a teacher up here, and the State Superintendent of Schools said, “Why don’t you take it?” My family pushed me into it. They thought that it would be wonderful for me. I was having a hard time adjusting to the loss of my husband in January.

I never regretted taking the job. It was a wonderful year. The children hadn’t had science, they hadn’t had music, and they hadn’t had any art. So it was really a fun year.

We had the old, old piano [the one Harry Withers tells the story about].** About once a month in the winter we had a covered-dish gathering on Friday and always square danced afterwards. There was always so much food left over that we all got together Saturday night too.

I lived in the teacherage, and we had Benjy the buck there (we raised two fawns that year). All the dogs accepted him as a friend and none chased him, you know. And I had a dog named Sheba. Every morning Benjy would come in and wake me up for his bottle. Finally, the nipple gave out and we found that he loved chocolate milk, so I made chocolate milk for him and pushed his head into the bowl. He was very obnoxious if he didn’t get his ration of milk for the day – and he was a grown buck by then – but every day I reduced the amount of chocolate until he was getting straight powdered milk. After the holidays he became too rambunctious for the children because the men up town teased him, so Dick Bailey took him down to South Fork where he got along fine, because they saw him the next year. The Fish and Game men had tagged him. He never came back because usually, you know, they get wild. He was a beautiful, beautiful buck.

That winter the water didn’t freeze at my teacherage, but it froze up town, so my supply was cut off after the first of the year. Vance Husky brought me 10 gallons of water per week. (Vance and Susan ran the store.) They couldn’t understand why one little lady had to use so much water. Why did she have to wash her hair every week and whatever? Once a week! My! That was too much. But the people from around Antimony Camp took pity on me, and every once in a while they would bring me an extra 10 gallons, which I certainly appreciated. I did melt quantities of snow water that winter, and I found out that snow doesn’t have very much water in it.

The water situation didn’t improve until the first of April when it finally thawed out, so I moved back up here to the ranch and commuted with the Baileys, Ethel and Dick, and their two children Connie and Bob. They had come up to live with me. They had lived where the Colenbaugh cabin is.

Anyway it was a wonderful year. I enjoyed the children and there were no disciplinary problems, thank God. I started the year with ten children and when school finished I think I still had seven. That was the year they hauled the machinery out of Stibnite and some of the families who had been living in Yellow Pine moved out.

from (pgs 95-96) “Yellow Pine, Idaho” compiled by Nancy G. Sumner
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** The Yellow Pine School Piano

link to history post:
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Emma Bryant

by Nancy Sumner

Dear Emma Bryant, who spent winters in her Boise home, died in 1981. I can still see her marvelous smiling face and hear her chuckle as she described elegant bridge luncheons in Stibnite’s heyday. The ladies wearing hats and gloves would drive over 20 miles on the dirt mountain road. Emma thought the fancy dress was necessary. The farther folks are removed from civilization, the more civilized the trappings!

excerpted from The Flatlander Remembers (pg 40) “Yellow Pine, Idaho” compiled by Nancy G. Sumner
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Melvin Berry Bryant

Added by Amanda Fox

Birth: 31 Aug 1892 Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
Death: 18 Jan 1956 (aged 63) Boise, Ada County, Idaho
Burial: Cloverdale Memorial Park Boise, Ada County, Idaho

Added by Amanda Fox

(Published in History of Idaho: The Gem of the Mountains Vol. 2 by James H. Hawley 1920)

(Melvin B. Bryant)…..The former was born in Detroit, August 31, 1894, and was in the service of the government as a marine architect in the shipyards at Seattle during the World war. He holds a license as a steamboat engineer. Harry H. Bryant, Jr., born at Detroit, April 30, 1903, is a student in the public schools of Boise. The elder son was the only marine architect engaged on government work from all the state of Idaho. He had two years of submarine training before the United States entered the war. He learned his trade of marine architect with the Seattle Construction & Dry Dock Company of Seattle and on the 25th of April, 1918, he received a highly complimentary letter from Chairman Edward N. Hurley of the United States shipping board. On the 19th of July, 1918, he married Miss Emma Louise Bucklin, of Port Blakeley, Washington, the youngest daughter of Nathan and Martha Bucklin, pioneers of the Puget Sound, arriving there in 1868. Mr. and Mrs. M. B. Bryant have a little daughter, born November 29, 1919, in Boise. In that city they now make their home, owning property at 1814 North Eighth street.

Married Emma Louise Bucklan on July 19, 1918 in Seattle.

source: Find a Grave
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Fox Farm Cook House

In 2010 I asked Yellow Pine Times subscribers for stories of the Fox Farm at the Bryant Ranch.

Marjie Fields (October 3, 2010)

Your question about the history this morning sent my memories back a good many years. I know that the Bryant’s would have a more accurate story and maybe the Cox family, but I’ll tell you what I recall about the fox farm.

We started coming to the airport in 1963. We camped at the airstrip. My mother was very friendly; she and Emma Bryant became fast friends. My younger brother Bill played with Emma’s grandkids. If he were alive he’d really be the one to tell the fun stories about the fox farm. In 1963 it looked just about the way it looks now, but a good many years before Emma’s husband (who owned a Ford dealership in Boise and was a distant relative of Henry Ford) decided on a get rich scheme. I think it was the latter part of the 20’s. He was going to raise fox and sell their pelts. As I recall it only lasted a year or two and no one got rich.

The top floor was the look out, the middle floor was the bunk house and the bottom floor was the cook house with storage. When we were growing up, the bottom floor was the tack room for the many horses. I remember looking out from the top floor and seeing the mountains and airstrip from a completely different view point.

The reason that there are no trees around the white house that sits on a perch is that Emma was afraid of lightning.

Al Haskins (our local artist until he sold his little trailer to the Barclay’s) painted a picture of the fox farm from a photo. That painting hangs in my bedroom in Portland.
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by Teri Norell (October 4, 2010)

In regards to the history of the three story building at the Bryant Ranch, Marjorie Fields brought back some great memories. As one of Emma Bryant’s grandchildren, I spent many a summer playing in that building. I can certainly remember times with Bill Sumner. One in particular was when my cousin Kathy, Bill and myself went to the top floor late in the evening to see if we could connect with the spirit of Al Hennessy (an old timer who believed in the spirit world). We soon became bored and decided to check on the mother cat and her kittens on the second floor. As we started down the stairs a lg white form appeared below us. Thinking it was a ghost we all let out a scream only to hear laughter coming from the form. As it turned out it was our cousin Bob who had caught wind of what we were doing and had dressed up in a white sheet.

The three story building is known as the Cookhouse and was built in 1925 as part of a fox farm started by my great grandfather H H Bryant (whose sister, Clara, was married to Henry Ford). The name of the fox farm was “Three Star Fur Farm”. Marjorie was right, in that it was a “get rich quick” idea that unfortunately ended shortly after it began when a dog with distemper came in and wiped out the operation. The area to the west of the Cookhouse had rows of pens that housed the foxes. The top floor was used as a look out to watch over the foxes and whenever a fox gave birth, the mother was given a live chicken in order to keep her from eating her young.

The second floor was where the caretaker lived. It was equipped with a homemade log bed, kitchen table, Garland cook stove, sink, china cupboard and medicine cabinet that for years housed a set of false teeth. The bottom floor was where all the tack for the foxes was kept and on the N. side was a sawdust walled ice room.

It is a building full of memories and history and it will be a sad day when it is no longer standing.

source: personal correspondence 2010
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Cook House at the Fox Farm (Bryant Ranch)

Please respect private property.

Photos taken May 17, 2016 Local Color Photography

(click image for link to enlargable source)

This has got to be the most interesting and beautiful old building in the area. The “Fox Farm Cook House” at the Bryant Ranch on the hill just south of the Johnson Creek Airstrip.

(click image for link to enlargable source)

There used to be a sign over the door that read “Short Order” – this is another angle of the Fox Farm Cook House building.
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Old Aerial Photos of Johnson Creek

From the ITD Archives. Includes aerial shots of Cox’s Ranch, Johnson Creek, Yellow Pine, Fox Farm all dated 1958 (some probably earlier)

Link 1:
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Idaho History Jan 27, 2019

Colonel William H. Dewey

(part 2)

The Men, the Mountain, the Gold and the Town That Drowned
by Syd Albright

It all started about 1894 when the Caswell twins, their brother Dan and cousin A.O. Huntley came to Idaho from Colorado… Next, they tried Thunder Mountain (8,579 feet) and found surface gold at the mouth of Monumental Creek that flowed down from it.

… In 1894, they recovered $245 worth of gold in eight days—about $7,000 in today’s money. The following year, they made another $190, while they started building sluices for future production.

Then one day in 1900 at the old Overland Hotel in Boise, a man named Erb Johnson showed a glitzy sample of the Caswell gold to Ed H. Dewey who quickly told his father, the “fabulous Col. Dewey” in Pittsburgh about it. Millionaire Col. William H. Dewey instructed his son to get an 18-month option on the Caswell property and would pay $100,000 for it.

One report said, “The extent of this auriferous (gold-bearing) porphyry is not known, but the whole mountain appears to be porphyry (igneous rock with crystals embedded in finer grained minerals).”

The word was out, and by 1902 a frenzy of some 20,000 rushed to Thunder Mountain buying claims—most worthless. Newspaper headlines screamed the latest news:

“2,000 men working in mines, twice as many as many more seeking gold in district.”

“Law enforcement a problem, necktie parties.”

“Stores waxing rich.”

“Claims staked out over a 30-mile area” and “Dewey mine total production: $35,000.”

Dewey Mine 1902

Dewey Gold Mine, Thunder Mountain, ID (c.1902)

… “Thunder Mountain itself is nothing but a mass of ore,” another report touted. “This has been fully demonstrated by the operations of Col. Dewey and his associates. It is ore everywhere… the almost limitless quantities in sight will make it one of the most productive sections of the world.”

… When Colonel Dewey, returned from Pittsburgh with $100,000 to buy out the Caswells, a report trumpeted, “Colonel W. H. Dewey of Idaho believes he is the richest man in the world or that he soon will be…The colonel carries in his pocket a little Vaseline bottle filled with pure gold, all extracted from just three pounds of quartz.”

… Adrenaline was running high in Idaho towns where prospectors were waiting out the winter of 1901-02, hoping for an early spring when they could race to the “mountain of gold.” Some couldn’t wait and headed out into the snow. On Feb. 10, three miners were killed in a snow slide near Elk summit between Thunder Mountain and Warren.

March opened with heavy snowfall, scarcity of fuel to operate Dewey’s mill, and all timber within a mile had been used up; 250 speculators were more interested in gobbling up new claims rather than going to work; the price of flour jumped to $50 a sack, and Boise traffic could only reach the camps on horses fitted with snowshoes.

… One difficulty was getting the ore down the mountain to the mill. That was no job for “little guys” without much money, and better suited for wealthy miners like Col. Dewey who could afford the machinery and labor needed. But he had his problems too:

He had two mills shipped from Chicago — one a 10-stamp mill that could crush from 50 to 70 tons of ore in a day, and the other a 100-stamp mill. The big one only got as far as Emmett and languished there for two years and was never used. A hotel bought the boilers.

The stampede to the “New El Dorado Mountain” began on Sunday, May 25, 1902, with 350 loaded horses and a hundred men crossing Elk Creek Summit into the mountain.

… In the years that followed, it was mostly blood, sweat and tears on Thunder Mountain. Everyone overestimated the amount of gold per ton of ore, and operating expenses were much too high. Few made a profit. Some of the big boys did, but not the Colonel. He recovered only about half of his investment.

… By the end of the year [1909], the Thunder Mountain bonanza was all over. A few continuing efforts sputtered for a while, then everyone pulled out. Col. Dewey died the following year — along with his dream.

The Colonel and Nampa …

Dewey Palace Hotel. Canyon County Historical Society & Museum.

“In 1896, Colonel William Dewey became interested in Nampa and bought 2,000 lots upon which he built a majestic hotel called the Dewey Place at a cost of $243,000. The hotel was four stories high with 81 rooms. A pair of verandahs ran the length of the facade and at each end was a cupola tower sheeted with copper that could be seen in Caldwell five miles away. The interior boasted ceiling frescos, oak paneling and many amenities that are common at today’s luxury hotel properties. The hotel closed in 1956 and was demolished in 1963.”

excerpted from: The Men, the Mountain, the Gold and the Town That Drowned

see also: Roosevelt
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Dewey, Idaho (Owyhee County)


Dewey Mill (on left), Store House, Dewey Office, Dewey Hotel (far right). Col. Dewey’s house is to the left of the hotel on the hillside.

source: Idaho State Historical Society
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Biography Of Colonel William H. Dewey

Colonel Dewey, Illustrated History.

Among the prominent influential citizens of Idaho, Colonel Dewey, of Dewey, enjoys a unique position and reputation. He is a pioneer Idahoan in the true sense of that word, and the marvelous development of the interests and industries of his adopted state is largely attributable to his enterprise and sagacity. He is a man of remarkable resources, and has never failed to measure fully up to all the requirements and emergencies of life. Although over seventy years old, he is well preserved and exhibits unabated vigor of mind and body. Colonel Dewey is a native of the state of New York, and his first American ancestors were early settlers in Massachusetts.

In the autumn of 1863 he came to Idaho and located where the town of Dewey now is, but subsequently removed to where the town of Ruby City was located, and with others, March 21, 1864, laid out the town of Silver City.

The gentleman whose name introduces this review is a born miner, and from his first arrival in Idaho the Colonel became prominently connected with the mining interests of the northwest, in which connection it is perfectly fair to say that he has been one of the leading and principal factors in the development of the mineral resources of this state. He owned nearly half of the South Mountain camp during the period of its greatest activity and was one of three men to discover and locate this magnificent property.

He purchased the Trade Dollar mine in 1889, and after making numerous and expensive improvements upon it, sold to the present owners one hundred and thirty-four thousand of the five hundred thousand shares.

He also owns over one-half of the Florida Mountain group of mines and has just succeeded in forming a combination of these mining properties, in which he holds the strategic position. The accomplishment of this consolidation required rare tact and finesse.

At the village of Dewey, a town named in his honor, the Colonel has erected one of the best twenty-stamp mills in Idaho, or even in the west. He has also erected the fine Dewey Hotel, which is considered one of the best in the state, and he has built a beautiful residence for himself, and in addition constructed numerous valuable residences and business houses in the town of Dewey. He is also the projector and owner of the Boise, Nampa & Owyhee Railway, on which line is a splendid steel bridge, crossing the Snake River at Guffey, which is the pride of the whole state. Colonel Dewey built this bridge at his own expense, and also the railroad from Nampa to Guffey, which he is now extending to Murphy. He is also preparing to extend his road north from Nampa, the surveys now having been completed for a distance of fifty miles. When all these extensions are completed, the road will connect with the Central Pacific and furnish a continuous line from San Francisco to Butte, Montana, and thereby shorten the distance between these two points by about three hundred miles.

Colonel Dewey is distinctly a man of great practical turn of mind. He is simple in his habits and unassuming in his manners, being all energy, push and enterprise. He was cast in a large mold and would have been conspicuous and successful in any department of human activity that he might have entered. He has been frequently urged to accept nominations for import-ant official positions, but has invariably declined. His name is now mentioned in connection with the nomination for United States senator from Idaho. This is against the Colonel’s wishes, but his many friends are very urgent in their requests that he shall openly enter the field for that distinguished office.

source: Access Genealogy – Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.
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Silver City Court House

“A nice old postcard of the stage in Silver City.”

from the Hugh Hartman collection courtesy Bob Hartman Idaho History 1800 to 1950
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Silver City Post Office

Stagecoach in front of the Silver City Post Office, Courthouse next door. Directory of Owyhee County.

source: South Fork Companion
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Dewey, William H. 1858


Author: S. J. Clarke (Publisher, 1920)

Colonel William H. Dewey of Nampa, who has departed this life was one of the builders of Idaho’s greatness. His contributions to the work of development were real and creditable and his signal service was in the vigor he lent to the pioneer era in making his region habitable, in bringing its resources to light and in stamping his intensely practical ideas upon the constructive measures which have led to the upbuilding of the state. Such careers are too near us now for their significance to be appraised at its true value, but the future will be able to trace the tremendous effect of their labors upon the society and the institutions of their time. The possibilities of high position afforded in the United States to industry and fidelity were never better illustrated than in Colonel Dewey’s case. He crossed the plains when a man of about forty years and thereafter bent his energies to constructive work in the development of Idaho.

Colonel Dewey was born in Massachusetts in 1822 and in 1863 came to the northwest, making his way first to Ruby City, Owyhee county. From that town he afterward removed to Silver City, where he spent many years in the boom mining days, contributing much to the utilization of the great mineral resources of that district and to the progress made in other directions. He at once saw the necessities and the opportunities of the state and in pioneer times became identified with trail building; and his labors were continued in accordance with the period of development until he was actively associated with railroad building. He regarded no project that would benefit his community too unimportant to receive his attention, nor did he hesitate to become identified with the most extensive interests. In pioneer times he labored in the development of the trails, later assisted in the building of wagon roads and finally of railroads. He was also closely associated with the development of mining interests and whatever he undertook seemed to be attended with prosperity and success.

For twenty years Colonel Dewey was actively engaged in mining and his operations placed him in the front rank among those who were developing Idaho’s mineral resources. The notable properties which he owned included the Trade Dollar and Black Jack mines, which he afterward sold to Pittsburgh (Pa.) corporations. These properties had been brought to a stage of production that added greatly to the fame of Owyhee county as a mineral section. With various other mining interests Colonel Dewey was also closely associated. However, he gradually diverted his business activity to other fields, becoming interested in railroad construction and in community building.

In 1893 he was one of the incorporators of the Boise, Nampa & Owyhee Railroad Company, which constructed a standard line from Nampa to Murphy and included the building of the pioneer steel bridge across the Snake river, which still stands as one of the most substantial structures of the kind—a splendid example of the permanency of the Dewey construction. With the completion of that road Colonel Dewey took up the work of building a line north from Nampa and organized the Idaho Northern, which in 1900 undertook the work of constructing a railroad from Nampa to Emmett which was completed in 1902.

Later this road was extended to Payette lakes, one of the greatest natural summer resorts in the northwest, but which was neglected and isolated for many years because of the lack of transportation facilities. As he promoted his mining projects he always secured the best equipment that could be purchased and the same was true in connection with railroad construction. The result of this high standard of work is seen today in the excellent condition of the railroads which he built and the mines which he developed.

A contemporary writer has said: “Colonel Dewey was a typically rugged western specimen. He lived many years in the mountains but at no time did he permit that environment to render him provincial. His ambition as a builder was abridged only by his most supreme effort and his last dollar. His determination in all his work to build big and broad for the future was exemplified in a thousand directions, but perhaps at no time more noticeably to the general public than in the case of the Dewey Palace hotel at Nampa, then a small place. Colonel Dewey projected his vision down the avenues of time and built for that little place a hotel costing two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Time has fully justified his judgment. Colonel Dewey, in all his busy life, was never so much concerned as to his own financial future as he was about the future of his home section and his state, although he had amassed considerable of a fortune before he died. Essentially a builder for future generations, he left to the people of the state a magnificent heritage.”

source: Canyon-Owyhee County ID Archives Biographies File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by: Joy Fisher
[h/t SMc]
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Col William H. Dewey

Added by: David M. Habben on 8 Jan 2011

Birth: 1 Aug 1823 New York
Death: 8 May 1903 (aged 79)
Burial: Kohlerlawn Cemetery Nampa, Canyon County, Idaho

“Dewey, Colonel W. H., was born in New York state in 1822, and came to Owyhee in the fall of 1863, to the then town of Ruby City; but owing to a “hog-em” real estate crowd in that town, he, in company with others, located a rival town—Silver City—the following spring, and eventually Ruby City moved up to the new location, bag and baggage.

In April, 1864, Mr. Dewey built the first wagon road to Ruby and Silver, and in May of the same year started work on the Reynolds creek road.

At the time of the South Mountain activity, from 1871 to 1875, he owned nearly one-half of that prosperous camp.

For over twenty years past Mr. Dewey has been engaged in mine operating and promoting.

He sold the Black Jack group to a Pittsburgh company in 1889, and in 1892 disposed of the Trade Dollar group to another Pittsburgh company. Both of these properties have proven fabulously rich, and are large and constant dividend payers.

In 1895 he organized a company upon the Boonville group of mines, on Florida mountain, and in 1896 extensive improvements were made upon the property: but, with the exception of a short run to test the mill machinery, the property has been closed, with the exception of a prospecting force.

Considerable valuable ground has been blocked out in the mine, and orders to resume work on a large scale are expected at any time.

In 1896 Mr. Dewey incorporated the Boise, Nampa & Owyhee railroad, and started work on the same. It connects with the Oregon Short Line and Idaho Central railways at Nampa; at present has its terminus at Guffey, in Owyhee county. The present season will see it well up into the Owyhee mountains. The bridge across Snake river (illustrated in this book) is one of the finest steel structures in the West.

Mr. Dewey has other large mining and property interests in this county, and notwithstanding his advanced age, seventy-five years past, is recognized as one of the leading spirits in public improvement and development. Much of the prosperity of Owyhee is due to hit, untiring energy and labor in this section’s behalf”.

[A Historical, Descriptive and Commercial Directory of Owyhee County, Idaho, 1898]

source: Find a Grave
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Guffey Bridge, ca. 1898

Directory of Owyhee County.

See also: Colonel William Dewey part 1

Idaho History Jan 20, 2019

1907 Trip to Riordan Lake

Southwest Idaho in 1907


(Emmett to Roosevelt Wagon Road highlighted)

(click for larger zoomable map)

This was cropped from a 1907 State of Idaho Map.
source: Mike Fritz collection

Link to full size whole map:
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To Riordan Lake by Horse and Wagon

walterlcole-aWalter L. Cole 1907

In 1907, my great grandfather – Walter L. Cole – kept a journal of a trip he took with a friend, Perry, to Central Idaho’s Riordan Lake just southeast of Yellow Pine, Idaho. …

This copy of his journal is as he wrote it. I haven’t taken any liberties other than to put in paragraphs at the end of each day. I hope you enjoy it. – Ken Cole

Saturday Sept. 14, 1907
On this day we left Meridian at 12:35 and drove to Box Springs on Willow creek where we camped for the night.

Sunday Sept. 15, 1907
On the A.M. of the 15 we left Box Springs at 7:35 and nooned 1 1/2 miles from Sweet. At 6:15 we camped for the night at about 1/2 mile from Reed’s old sawmill on Dry Buck.

Monday Sept. 16, 1907
Next day at 7:45 o’clock we left camp and nooned at High Valley. At about 6 o’clock we camped 1 mile north of Clear Creek.

Tuesday Sept. 17, 1907
On Tues 17 we started very early and drove to Thunder City and spent until 2 o’clock getting a wheel fixed up and tire set. Then we pulled into Scott’s Valley and camped in a light rain at 5:15. Rain soon stopped and I went out and tried to catch some fish but it was too cold for them to bite.

Wednesday Sept. 18, 1907
Early next morning 7:10 we pulled out of camp and started our journey. We nooned about 4 miles west of Knox. We pulled up some very steep grade for 6 miles and then came to Cabin Creek Summit. Over the summit we drove into Trout Creek and after driving down 2 1/2 miles of the roughest road on the trip we came to camp in a nice little flat which was filled with very nice feed.

Thursday Sept. 19, 1907
Next morning we started early after my taking a picture of Perry and the team. We nooned at the Johnson Creek Summit. That night we camped on Riordan Creek. Today’s trip was the roughest and steepest we have had. We tried to catch some fish in Johnson Creek but was too cold for them to bite. We drove down Riordan Creek about 3/4 mile and camped. It was too muddy to go any further down as we feared we could not get back at all. At least without making about 1/2 mile of road.

Friday Sept. 20, 1907
Next A.M. we did not get up very early so consequently did not catch but 6 lake trout. After fishing until 2 o’clock we went to camp and got some supper and went back to fish again. I caught one on a White Miller and Perry caught 8 on a grub worm that he got out of a log. Tired and wet we pulled up the lake and went to camp to bed.

Saturday Sept. 21, 1907
Next morning the 21 we got breakfast pretty early and started to look for deer. After climbing about 4 hrs we did not see any deer sign and went back to camp. I shot the heads off of 4 fool hens and killed 2 more with rocks. After resting in camp for awhile we got dinner fed the horses & watered them and then hunted grub worms. We had fine luck finding enough for bait for tomorrow. We are having one of the best suppers that ever was cooked- Baked Beans- Jiblet gravy – fried chicken, and coffee with dutch oven bread and butter. After supper we cleaned up the dishes and smoked our pipes a short time and then turned in. Shortly before going to bed Tip raised a bark and we saw what was either a bear or a timber wolf within 25 yd’s of the camp. We were not sure that it was not a large dog that belongs at the station until after he got out of shotgun range.

Sunday Sept. 22, 1907
Next morning being, Sunday the 22, we got up early and went fishing – we did not get there early enough however but after fishing from about 9 o’clock until 4 we caught sixty-four trout and killed 2 ducks. We are living in hopes of Roast duck with dressing and brown gravy for tomorrow. We are now getting supper which consists of Dutch oven bread – good coffee, Baked beans & Bacon, Foolhen stew and prospects of duck tomorrow. Tomorrow we expect to go out for deer again.

Monday Sept. 23, 1907
We got up at 6 o’clock and after breakfast went to look for deer. After prowling around some of the worst country that ever was, until about 2 o”clock I went to camp. On the way I killed 2 chickens. About 4:15 Perry came plodding along , tired and hungry and no deer. Tomorrow we will fish again and hope for better luck. We had Bread & Butter- Tomatoes – Beans Coffee and Prunes. Pretty good for campers. And fish, I forgot that.

Tuesday Sept. 24, 1907
Next day we went fishing early. Got up at 4:20 and at 7:10 we were at the Lake. After fishing until about 4 o’clock we went home to camp and counted up. Perry had 110 and I had 75. We threw away about 50 as they were under 6 or 7 in. in length and we did not want to salt any thing so small. After supper we went to bed tired out nearly.

Wednesday Sept. 25, 1907
Next morning we did not get up until 6:30 and in the a.m. we cleaned & slimed fish and washed two towels. This after noon we corduroyed about 100 yd’s of road and had a terrible job of it. It was so bad that we were afraid that we could not get out unless we fixed it. Tonight we were expecting to pull towards home tomorrow but after having a talk with Peterson the stage man we have decided to stay and hunt some different country. He said that he was certain that we could get deer on Meadow Creek so we will try. We put the canvas on the wagon and put our tent up as it looks very much like snow or rain today.

Thursday Sept. 26, 1907
This morning we got up expecting to see a couple of inches of snow but instead the moon was shining. At about 7 o’clock the weather grew very cold and the fish did not bite at all well. We fished until 11:00 and only caught 12. This afternoon we got fish bait for tomorrow and salted down our fish. We think we have nearly 50 lbs. of trout salted and expect to get more. I tried to take a photo of the lake but was too cloudy. Will get one before we leave.

Friday Sept. 27, 1907
Today we went fishing but it was rather too cloudy & windy. We had no luck to speak of until about eleven o’clock when they started to bite pretty fair. We caught 85 good trout and about 25 that we threw back to grow bigger. We caught more big fish today than any other time. I took two photos of the lake and hope to get some more of the country around here before we leave. If we had not run out of bait we would have caught a number more fish. Perry & I shot 5 helldivers today but did not eat them. I suppose the lynx or whatever it is that prowls around our camp at night will get them before morning. Tomorrow we go for deer again.

Saturday Sept. 28, 1907
At last we are in bed again after the hardest day yet. This morning we left camp at 7:25 and went over to Meadow Creek for deer. We went down the ridge north about one half mile from the road when Perry said “Let’s look around”, then we walked out on a rocky little point and he gazed across the valley of Meadow Creek. While he was engaged in this I cast my eye on the bottom near the hill when what do I see but two deer feeding. Hastily whispering to Perry “There is two” he turned around and said “two what”, I replied, “two deer”, and then I pointed them out to him. Then we commenced shooting at them. It was all of 150 yd’s and straight downhill. We over shot them but Perry got the range well enough to get one and wound another. I fired 4 shots and crippled one but was unable to get him. He bled like a stuck hog for a half of a mile or more but could not find him. Perry wounded one too but after trailing it for nearly a mile he too lost the track and did not get him. He and I tracked his quite a way and were standing talking when here came one deer loping along in plain sight of me about 3 jumps and I, like a damn fool, stood there and let him pass. Not that I could not have hit him but I did not know enough to shoot. Then Perry went back to dress his and I took a circle around the flat. I saw nothing however and we met on the East side of the valley. After eating a small lunch that we had we went back to where his deer lay. On the way we separated and I struck the trail of blood from my shot deer. I went up and then we came back and followed it but lost it. I went a way down in the bottom and jumped one but could not get a shot at it. On the way back I heard another deer jumping off at quite a distance. At first I thought that he was coming to me but he went off to one side. Perry was hunting bear at this time but Mr. Bear is still awenting. We dressed the deer skinned her half out and put the front parts up in a tree so the coyotes & cougar would not touch it. Perry hung his handkerchief up to scare them away. If that won’t nothing will. Then we got a pole and run it through the deer’s gumbles and carried her up the hill. It was a very hard climb but at last we reached the top after a hard struggle. Then we rested a short time and struck out for home. It got awfully heavy before we got there. We stopped and gave Mr. Peterson , the stage man a piece and got a bag of white bread for dressing. Then we went to camp and ate all we could hold of venison – deer gravy- fried spuds & onions – black coffee and bread. Perry ate so much that he had to let out his belt. Then we hung up the deer and rolled into bed. Tomorrow we will go back and try to get more. It rained here since 5:45 which we hope is snow up there. If so we are sure of 1 or 2 tomorrow.

Sunday Sept. 29, 1907
We went back this morning and hunted all day and could not even find a track of one in the Meadow creek vicinity. At 4:15 we carried the other half of Perry’s deer up to the horses and came home. Feet wet and hungry too. We got to camp at 6:10. Tomorrow we will try again.

Monday Sept. 30, 1907
Today was but another day of disappointments. We started at 8 o’clock and got back to camp 6:30 and did not see a deer. We both jumped one but did not get to see it. We found no fresh deer signs in all of today’s travel. Today’s trip was the hardest on the trip thus far. It was the steepest and brushiest & rockiest country that I ever saw, on the head of Meadow Creek. Well tomorrow we will try to catch some fish and rest up a little as we are nearly tired out. We have hunted for three days straight now.

Tuesday Oct. 1, 1907
This morning we got up at about 7 o’clock and saw the ground was white with snow. After getting breakfast we fixed up the tent with a pole and also fixed the wagon cover so that it would not leak. Then I slimed the fish and put soup and beans on to boil. Then we salted down the rest of the fish. After dinner of venison soup, beans and bread & coffee. I wrote a letter to Blanche and took it up to the station. While there I met Doc Allen and his party. They had been in to Chamberlain Basin and had 1 elk 1 black bear and several deer. They told me of a big buck track that crossed the road up the gulch a ways so I hurried to camp and got the two rifles and hunted Perry up (he was to the lake after his rope) and we went after him. Perry found a lynx track quite fresh and I found the buck track and followed him quite a ways but gave him up as his track was too old. After coming down the hill for about 100 yd’s I stumbled onto tracks of four deer and followed them nearly to the lake. As it was getting near dark I left them and went to camp. We set my two traps at the skin and meat of the deer Perry got in hopes that Mr. Lynx would get in one of them before morning. Tomorrow we will try for deer again. As it has snowed all day we feel quite confident of getting one or two in the next few days.

Wednesday Oct. 2, 1907
Well to bed again, at 7:45. Rather early but tomorrow we must get up and go for deer again. We started for Meadow Creek this morning and got about half way to the summit when we came across a right fresh bear track. We debated a while whether or no we should chase him and at last as Perry wanted to we went after him. We followed him about 4 miles and got so close to him that he lit out right smart. After following him until we were sure we could not catch him we hunted a while on Riordan Creek and then as I was not feeling very skookum I went to camp. Perry came along about 1 1/2 hours later. We cooked some ribs and heart and made dressing. I made a batch of corn bread and we had a swell supper. We will try over on the East of the summit between Riordan & Indian creeks tomorrow for deer.

Thursday Oct. 3, 1907
Today I got up at 4:30 and we started up the creek at about 7:15. We went up the road quite a ways and then swung into the timber and crossed the divide into some creek or other and then kept along the ridge until quite a ways beyond Black Lake. After going on around the ridge we came back through the Chilcoot Pass and past Black Lake & Poker Jacks cabin and then down Riordan Creek home. We did not see a track or sign of any deer but saw 4 blue grouse. We tried to get some of them but they were too wild to shoot with a rifle. We have found two new places for deer where Peterson says that they are sure to be. Tomorrow we will try over on Indian Creek. We went fishing this afternoon and caught 19. Perry took my picture this afternoon and I took a picture of Peterson’s stage station. We hope to get a deer tomorrow and then we will pull over to Trapper Flat and hunt there a day or two.

Friday Oct. 4, 1907
This morning at about half past six we started for Indian Creek to try and get some deer. We went over in Meadow Creek and hunted a while there and then went on over to Indian Creek. While in Meadow creek flat we found the fresh track of a good big bear and quite fresh. We swung way down Indian Creek and started down into the bottom. While on our way down we saw the tracks of three old bucks but they were quite old. We ate our lunch and I took a photo of the valley facing west (No. 20). After climbing like cats until about five o’clock we at last reached the summit and after I took a photo of the valley facing East (No. 21) we went on our road home. Today’s climb was the hardest of any day yet. I don’t think I will ever care to come in this country to hunt again. It is the worst & roughest & steepest country that I ever saw or want to see.

Saturday Oct. 5, 1907
Today we got up at 7:10 and after a good hot breakfast we went to work on our wagon. While Perry was busy on the wagon I cleaned up the breakfast dishes and started some beans to cook. At 11 o’clock I started dinner which consisted of fried venison – fried spuds & onions boiled rice with cinnamon and raisins in it – coffee and hot flapjacks, and tomatoes. After dinner we went up to Peterson and ground our axes and fixed [any?] iron for the wagon. Then we came back and worked on the road until 5:30. After supper we put the beans in the Dutch oven to bake and went to bed. Tomorrow we will finish the road and pull to Trapper Flat and hunt there for a day or two. The we will pull straight for home. Perry found his pipe which he lost day before yesterday also a can of Eagle milk which comes in very handy as we are nearly out of milk.

Sunday Oct. 6, 1907
Well here we are at Snow’s cabin in Trapper Flat. After working on the wagon and road until about 12 o’clock we loaded up and started at 2:20 at 5:10 we were at the summit. Birch balked 3 different times but by different means we got him to go on again. We got at the cabin at 5:45 and after looking around for horse feed have come to the conclusion that we will have to pull for home in the morning. The sheep have skinned every bit of feed out of here so we wont be able to hunt here as we expected to. It was very disappointing to spend a month and the sum of money we have and then have to go home with only one deer. Next year if I go hunting I am going into the South Fork of Salmon River Country, and go by pack train. If we could wait for 2 or 3 weeks more we could get plenty of deer but cannot do it.

Monday Oct. 7, 1907
This afternoon we pulled into Knox at about 5:30 and after mailing a postal to Art Ballard & buying some hay at $30 per ton and some oats a $2.25 per cwt & a can of fine ? cherries at 30¢ we went into camp at about a quarter of a mile west. This morning we started at 8:30 from Snow’s Cabin in Trapper Flat and made 25 miles today over some very rough roads. At half past two this morning Buck came up to get something to eat and we got up and dressed and went down to the creek and got Birch and brought him up and put in the barn & gave them some more oats. If nothing goes wrong we will be home by Friday noon. That is in Meridian. Oh won’t I be glad to get back to Blanche. Well, I just guess yes. I have had a good hard time. We have hunted and tramped very hard since we got to Riordan Creek and all for nothing. Still I don’t begrudge the time and money. Next year maybe I will get to go on a good hunt.

Tuesday Oct. 8, 1907
At 8:15 this morning we started and at about 6 o’clock we made camp at Charley Cantwell’s 4 1/2 miles from Thunder City. We made 30 miles today. We nooned about half way down the summit in a very nice little flat. Did not see any birds or anything else today. Am getting anxious to get home now. The nearer I get towards home the more anxious I am to get there. Well tomorrow night will see us to Box springs. I hope and then Friday noon we will be in Meridian. Well we can’t get there too quick to suit me. My time is very valuable from now on it seems, so that I must get home quickly. I hope to go on another hunt in the near future but may have to put it off for a year or two. Anyway I mean to go into the South Fork of Salmon River country and then I sure will get game.

Wednesday Oct. 9, 1907
This morning at 4:45 I woke up and got up at 5 o’clock. There was a very heavy frost and everything was very cold and wet to handle. We got started at 8:10 and after driving quite some we nooned at Smith’s Ferry. After dinner we moved on to Dry Buck. We made camp at about 6:45 the very latest yet. Just before coming into camp I shot a pheasant and treed another one but could not find him afterwards. It certainly tasted good for supper. Perry has just put the neck of the deer to boil and we will have some stew tomorrow morning for breakfast. Tomorrow will nearly finish our trip home. We camped in the same little flat which Pop and I camped in two nights when we were up to the Lakes two years ago.

Thursday Oct. 10, 1907
This morning we got up at about 5 o’clock and drove out of camp at 8 o’clock. We got to the summit and helped two men load a couple logs on their wagon. Then we drove down Dry Buck and as we went out we cut some pitch from an old log to make fire with at Box Springs. We stopped at Sweet and got some lard, butter, sugar, and cheese and two bottles of Beer and then drove over to the Payette river and nooned. We drove from there to Box Springs and gathered up a couple of posts on the way to make fire with. We got in at Box Springs at half past four o’clock and made camp. Perry made a couple of corn dodgers and we had “taters” and onions & corn & coffee – also honey. I got a half gallon of milk and 1/2 dozen eggs.

Friday Oct. 11, 1907
I got up at 10 to 6 and got fire started and breakfast going. After breakfast of taters & onions, coffee and corn cake & honey we pulled for home arriving in Meridian at 12:15. After dinner we got shaved and hair trimmed and unloaded and divided up. I started home at 4 o’clock and just got home in time to hear great news. About 8 or half past there came a visitor in the shape of a 6 1/2# boy.

source: Ken Cole Feb 2012
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Places mentioned in the diary

Early Meridian, Idaho


source: Bob Hartman Idaho History 1800 to 1950
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Meridian (Willow Creek) Box Springs Sweet




source for above maps Boise Quad 1890 (very large)
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps
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Sweet Idaho ca. 1908


link to more old photos of Sweet from the Mike Fritz collection
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Dry Buck High Valley Smiths Ferry Round Valley




source for map crops Squaw Creek Quad 1891 (very large)
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps
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High Valley post office 1914


High Valley post office 1914, with Homer, Emily and Lydia Beal, courtesy of Art Beal, thanks for sharing!

(click for source size)
source: AHGP

Team and Wagon in High Valley – Valley County, Idaho


source: Hugh Hartman (Idaho History 1800 to 1950)
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Clear Creek Thunder City


(cropped and stitched from two maps, Squaw Creek 1891 and Garden Valley 1893 Quads)
source: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps
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1895 Thunder City

Link: Hoff Phenomenology Research – ED 574 – Pioneer Life Photo Essay
[hat tip to SMc]

Note: Even though there is nothing left of Thunder City, a road by that name exists today.


Thunder City Road (starts at Hwy 55 south of airport, bypasses Cascade and connects to the Warm Lake Road)

source: Map Quest
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Scott’s Valley to Trail Creek



map source for crops Gold Fork Quad 1954
source: USGS Topo View (large file)
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Trail Creek to Knox


(click for larger zoomable map)

source: USGS Topo View Warm Lake Quad
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Knox 1905

1905 photo, Univ. of Idaho Library digital collection, Idaho Cities and Towns.

(click for source size)
source: AHGP
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Cabin Creek Summit Trout Creek


(click for larger zoomable map)

source: USGS Topo View Warm Lake Quad
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Johnson Creek Twin Bridges


(click for larger zoomable map)

source: USGS Topo View Log Mountain Quad 1973
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Riordan Lake


(click for larger zoomable map)

source: 1937 Yellow Pine Topo Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps (very large)
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Riordan Lake 2007


source: Mike Huston Photo Collection
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Map sources

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Idaho Historical Topographic Maps


USGS Topo View

Idaho History Jan 13, 2019

Thunder Mountain – Big Creek Mining Area

Chapter 5 “Southern Idaho Ghost Towns” by Wayne C. Sparling 1974

Because of the remoteness of this region, prospecting and mining occurred slightly later than for the rest of Idaho. About 1900, stories of the Caswell brothers’ gold discoveries on Monumental Creek began to circulate and Colonel William H. Dewey (of Owyhee County fame) became interested. In the fall of 1901, Colonel Dewey declared his faith in Thunder Mountain by purchasing the Caswell claims for one hundred thousand dollars. This act immediately raised everyone’s gold fever to a high pitch, and the last of Idaho’s great stampedes was under way. Thousands of poorly equipped people, both on foot and on horseback, traveled this rough, inaccessible country with only visions of easy gold to lighten their load.

Interest in Thunder Mountain ran high in the spring of 1902 with stage lines being planned, a telephone line under construction, and the Union Pacific searching out the best route for their rails. Since the mines were accessible only by trail, it was natural that a wagon road be planned and local newspapers avidly pursued the merits of each route. While roads from Boise and Garden Valley were eventually completed, it was Colonel Dewey’s wagon road from Emmett to Roosevelt that carried most of the freight. The Idaho Northern Railroad, owned by Colonel Dewey, ran from Nampa to Emmett, and by starting his road at this railhead, he hoped to promote business for the railroad. From Emmett this wagon road led up through Brownlee and High Valley, across the Payette River at Smiths Ferry, then on through Long Valley to the small outfitting community of Thunder City. At Thunder City the road turned east-ward over Big Creek Summit to the popular way station at Knox, then rose sharply over Cabin Creek Summit and down Johnson Creek to Twin Bridges. Climbing again to Trapper’s Flat the road wound down and across Riordan Creek, only to climb up over Monumental Summit and down the long grade into Roosevelt. Parts of this tortuous old road have been utilized in the present road system, and other portions can still be covered with a pickup or four-wheel drive vehicle.

The rush to Thunder Mountain at least served to open up the great back country in central Idaho, a beautiful area of clear, swift streams and deep valleys surrounded by high, rock-strewn peaks.

Big Creek

Today, Yellow Pine is the jumping off point for the Big Creek and Thunder Mountain areas. A favorable location, coupled with a reasonably light snowfall, made Yellow Pine a natural site for a settlement, and for years a genial Mr. Behne operated the store and post office. When the road from Yellow Pine to Edwardsburg was completed in 1933, it was a great boon to the miners and ranchers along Big Creek. The Edwards ranch, with a post office under the name of Edwardsburg, served the remote Big Creek country for many years. The Edwards were Southern aristocracy who migrated north during the later years of the mining rush and took up a homestead near the mouth of Logan Creek. While Mrs. Edwards ran the post office, Mr. Edwards became interested in the mining game, holding claims at Copper Camp and for a time operating the Sunday and Moscow mines on Logan Creek.


At the very head of Big Creek, the Cleveland Mine dates from prior discoveries in 1885, when the Alton district was struggling to make itself know. Near Profile Summit, the Red Metals Mine and the Wilson Mine share opposite sides of a ridge, and Profile Sam Wilson became a well-known figure. Placer mining down in the meadows along Big Creek was undertaken by the Golden Placer Mining Company. A short ways up from the mouth of Smith Creek is the old camp of the Smith Creek Hydraulic Mining Company, farther on is the huge mill at the Werdenhoff Mine, and at the head of Smith Creek is the Independence Mine, located in 1898. Ramey Ridge, the Golden Hand, Copper Camp, and the Snowshoe Mine were all names familiar to the miners along Big Creek.

Big Creek Store and Big Creek Ranger Station are now the centers of activity for the valley. The road in from Yellow Pine is good as far down Big Creek as the mouth of Smith Creek. Beyond there it gets very rough and narrow, possibly the most miserable road Idaho has to offer. Another road leads from Big Creek to Warrens so that a loop drive can be made from Yellow Pine to Big Creek, up over Elk Summit and down across the South Fork of the Salmon River to Warrens and back out to McCall. Elk Summit, where alpine flowers still bloom in August, affords a panoramic view of Idaho’s intriguing back country. Past Elk Summit the descent into the South Fork seems almost unending; long before you reach the valley floor, you’ll swear there’s an odor of brimstone in the air. Finally the road does level off a bit and crosses the river on a good steel bridge, only to begin the long climb back up through the fragrant pines to Warrens.


Discovered during the Thunder Mountain rush, the mines around Stibnite became famous for mercury, antimony, gold, and tungsten. The Meadow Creek Mine was one of the first discoveries, and all of the early mines were opened up by tunneling. It wasn’t until the World War Two mining effort that the huge open pit was created. During the war years this mine became a leading producer of vital tungsten, and the town of Stibnite was at the peak of its glory. Changes in metal stockpiling procedures following the war years led to the closing of the mine, and the huge mill has been dismantled into a pile of debris. Most of the houses have been trucked out over the hazardous road to McCall and sold. The glory hole complete with its small lake and running stream can be seen far below the road that leads into town.


From Yellow Pine the road to Stibnite follows up along the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River. After passing through Stibnite the road climbs up over Monumental Summit and then follows down along Monumental Creek to Roosevelt Lake.


Colonel Dewey’s display of confidence in the Thunder Mountain mines immediately triggered a great influx of people, and in 1902 the town of Roosevelt was established. Named for Teddy Roosevelt, the townsite was laid out by The Idaho Land and Loan Company of Boise and lots were sold for $100 on up. The town was strung out along Monumental Creek with the Dewey Mine just two miles assay on Mule Creek. Although there were attempts to establish other towns, a good central location plus the opening of a post office in July of 1902 helped Roosevelt become the leading community.

From a blossoming tent village it had grown to a substantial town by 1904, when the wagon road and telephone use were completed. Over this new wagon road came heavy mill equipment for the Belleco mine, and construction of this mill on Marble Creek, along with a steady output from the Dewey Mill, made for prosperous times.

Upon acquiring the Caswell claims, Colonel Dewey had a sectionalized ten stamp mill and a steam boiler packed in on horses. This mill as more or less continuously from 1902 until 1907 and produced the biggest share of gold mined on Thunder Mountain. Over the ridge east of the Dewey Mine, the Sunnyside claims were purchased by a group of Pittsburgh industrialists who established The Belle of Thunder Mountain Mining and Milling Company.


The forty stamp Belleco Mill on Marble Creek had a mile and a half long tramway that carried the ore down from the ridge. This elaborate operation got under way in 1905, and after a series of problems, including the lack of proper equipment to separate the gold and the growing reluctance of the stockholders, the mill ran again briefly in 1906, never to run again.


A large portion of the tunneling at the Dewey Mine collapsed in 1906, and with the remaining ore becoming steadily poorer in grade, the Dewey Mill closed down in 1907. Although several small mining ventures continued to operate the failure of the two largest companies heralded the finish of Idaho’s much publicized Thunder Mountain.

Aside from the closing of the mines, the death of Roosevelt was enacted in a more dramatic way. On the last day in May of 1909, a huge mud slide let loose in a draw just south of the Dewey Mine and started flowing down Mule Creek. The sodden earth didn’t travel any faster than a man could walk, but it inexorably moved boulders and trees and when it finally stopped, after about thirty-six hours, Monumental Creek had been effectively dammed. Only about twenty or thirty people still resided in the town, and as the water slowly came higher they hurriedly moved possessions to higher ground. Still, there wasn’t time to remove everything, and for years people came to “fish” for items they could salvage. Today the lower shore of Roosevelt Lake is covered with logs that have floated up from the old cabins, and when the water is calm you can see the shapes and outlines of buildings.


The present Sunnyside Mill is a later development, having been constructed during the winter of 1924 and 1925. Like the Belleco, it is located on the Marble Creek side of the ridge, and a short tramway was built to bring down the ore.

Thunder Mountain City

In March of 1902 several Weiser businessmen purchased a group of placer claims at the mouth of the West Fork of Monumental Creek and set up the Thunder Mountain Placer Mining Company, Ltd. This townsite was named Thunder Mountain City, and with five mercantile stores, a blacksmith, an assay office, a hotel, restaurant, and nine whiskey mills, it was Roosevelt’s closest rival. Some prospects were discovered on nearby creeks but nothing big developed, and Thunder Mountain City served mainly as a stopping place for the many travelers on Monumental Creek.

The similarity in the names Thunder City and Thunder Mountain City has created some confusion and warrants an explanation. Thunder City was located approximately six miles south of Cascade and served as a way station and outfitting point on the wagon road into the mines. When the railroad came up the Payette River and established the station at Cascade in 1913, it doomed the small villages of Thunder City and Crawford. Although Thunder City was still going in 1916, no trace remains today.

Thunder Mountain City was situated about three miles on down Monumental Creek from Roosevelt. This town was deliberately laid out as a money making enterprise, and lots were sold for one hundred dollars and up. The tumbled remains of several log buildings can still be seen, and the numerous leveled-off spots were used for tent houses.


Marble City was another log and tent town on upper Marble Creek, below the Sunnyside Mine. This town was used mainly by people coming in from Salmon, Challis, and Ketchum. Only trails came in from this direction, and after crossing the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, the travelers would take the trail up along Marble Creek, crossing the ridge at the head of the creek to get on to the Dewey Mine and Roosevelt. Marble City was in existence only a short time, and there are no remains.

from: Chapter 5 “Southern Idaho Ghost Towns” by Wayne C. Sparling 1974

Idaho History Jan 6, 2018

Stibnite 1949 Radio Script

(Valley County, Idaho)


Radio Script and Photo Collections shared by Sandy McRae courtesy Jim Collord
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Stibnite Idaho Radio Series

Peffer CBS Radio Station KGDM Stockton, California 1140 on Dial

From Mr and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer

This is the first in s series of three stories on Stibnite, the world’s most unique mining community. The village of nine hundred population, located in a primitive area of the Salmon River Mountains in Idaho, grew up around the Yellow Pine Mine, operated by the Bradley Mining Company of Idaho and San Francisco. The Mine, in some months of World War II, produced more tungsten than all the rest of the mines in the world combined. It is credited, by those who know, with having shortened the war by many months.

This broadcast, which comes from the Peffer CBS Station in Stockton, California, was compiled and written especially for Idaho listeners by Elsie Flower, KGDM script writer, now on vacation at the lake-shore Summer-home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer on Payette Lakes. This broadcast, September 22, 1949, is voiced by Bill Hill, special announcer for Idaho, speaking from the home studio of KGDM, Stockton, Calif.

We describe Stibnite as being unique – – – as being without like or equal in the world. We do not think we are over-reaching the facts in our estimate. The history of the mine itself, and of the man, Frederick Worthen Bradley, who developed it, would give Stibnite a valid claim to that distinction. But, there are qualities, other than the historical, which make Stibnite an outstanding community.

Of these qualities we will give first place to the youth of the population. Of approximately 900 residents, sixty per cent is between the ages of 19 years and 39. Thirty-five percent of the population is under 19 years. Less than five percent is older than 39. There is not a member of the Yellow Pine Mining Staff over forty.

We give second place to the superior type of individual who makes up the Stibnite population. The intellectual and educational level is high.

Third place is given to the advanced social and civic concept of community life in Stibnite. By this, we mean that people living there do not accumulate a lot of cancelled checks for rent of their houses, and they do not know the meaning of fear at the sight of the doctor’s bill, rent is free; doctor’s bills, the minimum.

In fourth place, we put the stability of family life, prevailing in the village. Two hundred and fifty families, average from two to three children each, and the year 1948 brought 46 new-born babies into the population.

We give fifth place, to what, we as a Californian, dream, the most important of all. Every child of the 137 enrollee in the Stibnite School, was ABLE TO READ AT THE END OF THE FIRST GRADE. By the time the second and third grades are finished the child is a proficient reader. Much of this enlightened community atmosphere emanates from conditions created by the Bradley Mining Company, now carried on by the three sons of the late Frederick Bradley, and their mother. But, even the most considerate regard for the welfare of others will fail unless there is reciprocity. The people of Stibnite reciprocate.

We have now outlined to you why we think Stibnite a remarkable community. We shall now tell you how we happened to make the pilgrimage there. When we arrived in McCall, the latter part of August, one of the first plans made for us by our hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Edward F Peffer, was a flight into Stibnite. Forest fires were raging at the time and all commercial airplanes were requisitioned by the Payette National Forest Service. Stibnite could he reached by automobile, in some three hours time, but the Peffers had their hearts set on the twenty-minute trip by air, over mountain peaks, 18,000 feet above sea level, as the fitting approach to the town.

It was through the influence of Mrs. Carl F. Brown of McCall that planes and pilots of the Bradley Mining Company were made available to us, going and coming. We took off from McCall airfield at 5:20 o’clock last Friday afternoon in a 550 horse-power twin-engine Sesna [sic], Glenn Higby, Chief-pilot of Aircraft Services at Bradley Field in Boise, was at the controls, The plane, flying at 110 miles and hour, climbed steeply to surmount the ten thousand feet elevation which arises somewhat abruptly from the floor of Long Valley. Our pilot sang or whistled. We ventured an occasional question or comment, but we were mainly concerned with the feeling of the plane as it climbed toward the towering mountains ahead. We could feel its power pitted against the ascent, and curiously enough, we were reminded of the great mule-teams of our childhood which strained and pulled at the load up-grade or over heavy roads. We soon made the climb, and the plane leveled off to cross sixty miles of magnificent mountain-peak and gorge. Beautiful lakes, sparkling like precious stones, were set in the hollows of the mountains, thousands of feet below. Our pilot told us that many of these lakes had never been seen except from the air. We gradually came lower, and turned into the narrow approach to Stibnite.

It seemed that the mountains on either side, allowed little freedom to the plane as the pilot reconnoitered to if the landing field below were free and clear. The pits, which have yielded a half million tons of tungsten ore and more than three million tons of antimony ore, stretched below us in walls and terraces like a miniature Grand Canyon.

The village of Stibnite looked like a collection of white painted toy houses set in a miniature forest. Our pilot set the plane down on the field as gently as a Mother lays her child on its pillow — and we were greeted by Robert James McRae, mill and smelter superintendent of the Yellow Pine.

A short drive brought us to a white-painted two-story Dutch colonial house, which was about the last architectural style we expected to see in a mining town. We were greeted at the door by a Great Dane, a magnificent dog of seventeen months, who stood more than three feet high and, we were told, had not yet reached full growth.

Mrs. McRae, slender and blonde, attired in T-shirt and pedal-pushers, followed at the dog’s heels; and pretty soon, the children came in. Robin Stewart McRae is the ten-year-old son, and Lorna, is the five-year-old daughter. The children have the blonde hair and skin of their mother, with the dark eyes-of their father. They are attractive and interesting, despite the fact that their well behaved and courteous reserve with strangers, guards them from quick acquaintance.

We were soon seated with the family at the dinner table, which was set at a large window, looking out toward the Mill, the Smelter and the airfield. Planes flew by, seemingly opposite the window, moving as casually as the automobile on the road below them. The McRaes told us that in addition to the two company planes, maintained by the Bradley Mining Co. at Stibnite for official use, there are seven privately owned planes in the village.

After dinner, Mr. McRae took us on a tour of the mill, which covers two acres, and the newly built electric smelter which stands on an acre-site. The holdings of the Bradley Mining Company in the Stibnite area exceed five thousand acres. Our acquaintance with mining had been limited to the simple stamp-Mill operation for extracting gold from quartz, a method common in the California Mother Lode country, – and, during World War I, we had seen the equally simple flotation process to get copper from the ore at Copperopolis, in Calaveras County. But this ore, now being mined at the Yellow Pine is such a tight combination of antimony, gold and silver that a most gigantic milling, chemical, and smelting operation is necessary to separate the valuable metals from the base elements imprisoning them.

We shall make no describe the great mill and smelter, which are in operation twenty-four hours, the day and night through, and which have a record to date of three million tons of milled ore and half a million tons of tungsten ore. We make no effort to describe what is past our power to describe and our complete comprehension, but we will narrate to you the history of the Yellow Pine Mine and the Bradley Mining Company, as Bob McRae told it to us.

Outcroppings of antimony ore in the Stibnite area were discovered as early as 1880. Prospectors mistook it for lead ore and submitted samples to assayers at Coeur d’Alene, When antimony was found instead of lead, there was no interest. Antimony had little or no value at the time, and metallurgically could not be treated. In the late Nineties prospectors, going to the famous Thunder Mountain Gold boom, re-discovered the outcroppings and some shallow prospecting was done. Activity in the region was sustained by an appreciable discovery of quick silver, but for the most part, antimony and gold ores were not greatly explored by reason of their base nature. That is, the ores were difficult to treat and no smelter, at the time, would accept a concentrate from them.

In 1920, Mr. J. J. Oberbillig, who still resides in Boise, prospected the present Stibnite holdings by driving underground workings. In 1927, after many failures to interest large mining companies he brought the properties to the attention of My Frederick Worthen Bradley, of San Francisco, One of the Greatest and most venturesome mining men of the West.

Oberbillig told Bradley of metallurgical difficulties which other big mining companies regarded as insurmountable, Frederick Bradley regarded the difficulty as a challenge to the ability of his organization, and in 1927, in association with Ogden Mills of New York and Washington, D. C. and William H. Crocker of San Francisco, he took over the development the properties. He had had the benefit of mining experience in the Grass Valley area of California. In the early 1890’s he became interested in the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mine in the Coeur d’Alene district in Northern Idaho, and, as president and manager, for many years, built the mine up to become one of the largest load producers in the United States, complete with its own smelting plant.

Throughout his career, Frederick Bradley was interested in developing large low-grade gold mines. His outstanding achievement in this direction is the Alaska Juneau Mine at Juneau, Alaska. He developed the mine to a capacity of 10,000 tons a day on ore that ran less than a dollar a ton, and made it pay. He was associated in many other ventures in Canada and the United States, equally as spectacular from the mining point of view.

During World War One, Frederick Bradley and Bernard Baruch owned the Atolia Mine on the Mojave Desert in California. Under Bradley’s operation the Atolia was developed into one of the world’s largest tungsten mines supplying domestic tungsten during years of the first war. With this background of experience Frederick Bradley felt that the ores of Stibnite could be profitably mined and milled. His faith was justified in the development of 1927, ’28 and ’29. In 1930 the first milling unit was built with a capacity of 150 tons a day. The first milling operations on Stibnite properties were disappointing. No successful treatment of the concentrate could be worked out. The six-hundred mile truck and rail haul to the smelter at Salt Lake City cut down profit.

In 1933 some of these difficulties had been overcome. In June of that year, Frederick W. Bradley, the greatest mining man the West has ever known, died. His wife Mary, and their three sons, Worthen D. Bradley, James Bradley and John D. Bradley, succeeded him in the operation of the Yellow Pine properties, with John D. Bradley as executive vice-president of the Bradley Mining Company, in charge of Idaho Mining operations.

During the years of ‘World War Two, the three Bradley brothers repeated the tungsten history made by their father in the first war. Operating in Stibnite, one thousand miles away from the Atolia Mine in Mojave, Frederick Bradley’s three sons, more then thirty years later, supplied. the United States with tungsten which helped this country and its allies to win the grimmest war in world history.

[End Part 1]
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Stibnite photos c. 1951-1953








photo collection shared by Sandy McRae courtesy Jim Collord
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Stibnite Idaho Radio Series Part 2

This is the second of the Stibnite stories compiled and Written by Elsie Flower, KGDM script-writer, now on vacation at the lake-shore Summer-home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer on Payette Lakes in Idaho. The Stibnite stories are broadcast especially for Idaho listeners from the Peffer CBS Station KGDM in Stockton, California, Bill Hill, special announcer for Idaho, at the microphone, September 23, 1949.

We concluded the first Stibnite story last night with the co-incidence of two generations of the Bradley family furnishing the bulk of the world’s tungsten supply in two world Wars. During the first war, the senior Bradley, Frederick W., in association with Bernard Baruch, dug the tungsten from California’s Mojave Desert deposits. In the second war, Bradley’s three sons mined half a million tons of tungsten ore from one huge deposit in the Yellow Pine Mine at Stibnite, Idaho.

The discovery of the Idaho tungsten deposit was made in 1941, eight years after the death of Frederick Bradley, the most heroic and adventurous figure in all Western mining. At his death in 1933, Bradley was associated financially in the development of the Yellow Pine Mine, with Ogden Mills of New York and Washington, D. C. and William H. Crocker of San Francisco. Bradley held a half interest, the other two each a fourth. In 1938, the Yellow Pine interests of the three men were held in their estates. It was in that year, that the youngest of the three Bradley brothers, John D. Bradley, Manager of Idaho operations of the Bradley Mining Company, went to heirs of the Mills and Crocker estates and purchased their interests in the Yellow Pine Mine at Stibnite. We shall now continue with the story of the mine as narrated to us by Robert McRae, mill and smelter superintendent.

The Yellow Pine Mine, under the operation of the Bradley Mining Company, dates from 1927. The original workings were on Meadow Creek. In 1937, under active direction of John D. Bradley, large deposits of antimony and gold ore were discovered two miles down-stream from the Meadow Creek development. Operations in that year were transferred to the new deposits of ore. Open-cut mining methods with power shovels reduced costs to a low figure. The ore bodies had had three years of mining, and the mill had been built up to 400 tons a day, when in 1940, the SPECTER OF ANOTHER WORLD WAR LOOMED IN THE NATION’S HORIZON.

The United States Bureau of Mines began exploring for additional antimony ores in the area worked by the Bradley Mining Company. In 1941 the Bureau of Mines’ drilling program had located large bodies of antimony ore. On close examination of the drill core under ultra-violet light, scheelite ore, rich in tungsten, was discovered. THIS WAS THE TURNING POINT IN THE HISTORY OF THE YELLOW PINE MINE.

Up until this time the margin between profit and loss, had been exceedingly narrow. The three Bradley brothers, and their mother, Mary, who is now Mrs. Frank R. Girard of San Francisco, started a very active program involving great expenditure of money to place the mine in large-scale production. Their purpose was not only to recover antimony, but to mine the newly-discovered and highly strategic mineral, tungsten.

By the latter part of 1941, milling was well underway on antimony and tungsten ores. By 1942 the Yellow Pine Mine was one of the world’s greatest producers of both antimony and tungsten. Production, at the request of the Ore Production Board, continued to be increased, until by the end of 1943, the Yellow Pine Mine, in some months, produced more tungsten than all the rest of the mines in the world combined. High officials have many times credited the Bradley Mining Company and its employees with having shortened the War by many months by their high rate of tungsten production.

Tungsten enters into the manufacture of all high-class steel, which, during the war, was made into armor-piercing projectiles for naval and anti-tank defense. The Armed Forces used tremendous quantities of antimony. Its principal strategic use was as a flame-proofing agent to render fabrics fire-proof.

China was the world’s main source of antimony and tungsten until 1940, when the Japanese forces disrupted and isolated Chinese mining regions, and cut off the supply to the outside world. A small amount of antimony and tungsten was being flown over the Hump for the United States and the Allies, but the amount was negligible in comparison with the need. For lack of these two metals, the Nation found itself in a highly vulnerable position. The Allies were no better off. IT WAS AT THIS MOMENT IN 1941 and 1942 THAT THE YELLOW PINE MINE BEGAN TO POUR FORTH THE METALS TO FILL THE NEED, AND IT CONTINUED TO POUR FORTH, THROUGH THE YEARS OF ’43 and ’44 UNTIL THE EMERGENCY WAS PAST.

In these years the mill was handling 800 tons daily. In 1945, additional development went forward toward a 2500 ton daily milling production. This was accomplished by 1946, and since that time, production of antimony ore has been maintained at an annual output of 600,000 tone, This is 95 per cent of all domestic production of antimony. During these years, we have just reviewed, concentrate from the Yellow [Pine] Mine were shipped to distant points for refining. The tungsten concentrate, produced during war years, was shipped to Boise, Idaho and Salt Lake City, Utah for refining.

Antimony concentrate, until last August, was shipped to Southern California for further treatment. Gold concentrate went to Utah. This was an expensive process. Charges for transportation, freight rates and refining costs left the Bradley Mining Company with only 60 per cent of the actual value of the ore.

In 1948 the company decided to build its own smelter for production of antimony, both as metal and an oxide, and also for gold and silver bullion. Metallurgical research had been under way for several years in preparation for this step. The Stibnite staff of Metallurgists collaborated with the Bunker Hill staff In solving the smelting problems presented by the ore,

The men who pooled brains, knowledge and experience in this effort were Harold Lee, research metallurgist for the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mine and Robert McRae, mill superintendent and metallurgist for the Yellow Pine. These two men worked on all test work in close association with Harold D, Bailey, general manager of the Yellow Pine, and Silas Doo Foo, a young Chinese graduate of the Colorado School of mines, who has been assistant metallurgist at Yellow Pine for seven years.

Some of the major problems connected with treatment of the Yellow Pine concentrates were their high ‘arsenic content’ and their extreme fineness as they came from the mill. All antimony smelters, before the installation of the electric smelter at Stibnite, treated ores in lump form. The lump ore smelter could not adapt its method to the fine concentrate of the Yellow Pine Mill. The smelter at Stibnite was designed to overcome difficulties presented by the fine concentrate. Another problem to be solved was the transportation cost of fuel, used in the conventional antimony smelter for melting down the concentrate.

This problem was overcome by the use of an electric smelting furnace, which draws up to 2000 kilowatt hours or 3000 horsepower, This is converted into the heat which does the smelting. Power is derived from the 110 mile transmission line built during the war by the Idaho Power Company for the Yellow Pine Mine, The project involved the expenditure of one and a half million dollars for the smelter, and in addition, a half-million dollars to erect new houses for the accommodation of smelter employees and their families.

The smelter, which went into operation in August of this year was dedicated by Governor C. A. Robins of Idaho at Stibnite’s sixth annual barbecue held on the Saturday of August 20th. At that time, Governor Robins said, and we quote ‘The accomplishment of bringing the machinery and the building equipment to this isolated mountain community over forest roads is a tribute to initiative that would have been impossible under any system but the free enterprise system’. (end quote)

The smelter, designed to process the precious metals of gold and silver, as well as antimony and antimony oxide, is the only smelter of its kind in the United States, It is designed with a flexible capacity. In times of extreme need for antimony, it can process up to 600 tons of metallic antimony per month. In slack times, antimony production can be adjusted to suit the needs of the country, and gold ores substituted.

The Bradley brothers are following in the footsteps of their father, in extracting every iota of value from ore, whether of high grade or low-grade. The smelter is making the antimony yield outstanding and is putting gold production on a paying basis. It is prolonging the life of the Yellow Pine Mine and the Village of Stibnite, the world’s most unique community.

[End Part 2]
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1942 Stibnite School

(click image for source size)

source: Idaho State Historical Society Stibnite Photo Collection
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1951 Stibnite School

photo from Sandy McRae
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1943 Stibnite Hospital

(click image for source size)

source: Idaho State Historical Society Stibnite Photo Collection
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Rec Hall (left) and School (center)

probably mid 1940s

(click here for larger source size)

source w/more photos: The Mike Fritz Collection courtesy Heather Heber Callahan
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Yellow Pine Pit (circa 1946)

Photograph courtesy Robin McRae
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Antimony Smelter under Construction (circa 1948)

Completed Antimony Smelter (circa 1949-50)

photos from “History of the Stibnite Mining Area, Valley County, Idaho”, from a report prepared by Victoria E. Mitchell of Idaho Geological Survey, dated April 2000 (27 meg)
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Stibnite Idaho Radio Series Part 3

This is the third and the concluding story in the Stibnite series compiled and written by Elsie Flower, KGDM script-writer, now on vacation at the lake-shore Summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer on Payette Lakes in Idaho. The Stibnite stories are broadcast especially for Idaho listeners from the Peffer CBS Station KGDM in Stockton, California, Bill Hill, special announcer for Idaho is at the microphone, Sept. 24, 1949.

Stibnite, Idaho, as a community, has no counterpart. Its people are young. More than 95 per cent of the 900 population is under the age of forty years. A high percentage of the adult population, both men and women, hold university degrees. There is no rent to pay. The amount of money invested by each employee in the house in which he and his family live, depends upon the degree of respect he has for property and also on his standard of living. Medical care is no problem in Stibnite. Children in the Stibnite Grade school, read with proficiency at the end of the first year in school. These are the reasons we set Stibnite apart as a community in a class by itself.

There are 130 modern houses in Stibnite, equipped with every convenience. Forty additional houses are classified as `not modern’. All of them are rent free and are available to employees on a seniority basis. Occupants of modern houses pay $12.50 per month into a maintenance fund until a total of $150 is built up. Payments then stop until such time as the maintenance fund is depleted to one-half. It is then again built up to the $150 total. The plan prevails in the occupancy of the unmodern house with $5 monthly payments and a $60 total. The the occupancy of the unmodern house with $5 monthly payments and a $60 total.

The maintenance fund is used only for interior finish and woodwork, so it may be seen that the more careful a family is of its dwelling the less it pays in upkeep. There is a dollar a month asked for outside painting, but the company maintains roofs and foundations. The cost per month to the average employee is approximately $5, providing his family is careful and uses the house lightly. On termination of residence, the balance in the fund is returned.

Water is free. From November until the end of April, 400 kilowatts of electricity may be consumed free of charge, thus providing for the normal lighting of a house. Power used in excess is one cent per kilowatt hour. During the balance of the year 250 kilowatts may be consumed free to take care of the difference between daylight and darkness.

Dr. J. D. Mortensen is in charge of the Stibnite Clinic and Hospital. This is a modern one-story building with six private rooms and two wards of five beds each. It has a completely equipped modern surgery, X-ray department, laboratory, consultation rooms, maternity department and pharmacy. Dr. Mortensen, who is a native of Arizona, is a young man with three years active Army service and one year of practice in Boise Idaho. He has been in charge of the Stibnite Clinic and hospital for the past seventeen months. Hospital record show that in that time, 2143 persons have been treated or have availed themselves of the services of the hospital, such as free physical checkups.

In 1948, the birth total at the hospital was 46. The Bradley Mining Company sees to it that medical and hospital care is no problem to the employee and his family. Dr. Mortensen told us that bills sent out from the hospital are made out in two columns. One column gives the cost of such treatment if given in the outside world. The second column is headed ‘COST TO YOU’. This amount is one-half the charge prevalent in other places. If that one-half charge is over $25 it is again cut in half by funds from the Employees’ Voluntary Contribution and Benefit Plan. By this method, the employee or his dependents is given a bill which is one-fourth of the usual doctor and hospital bill.

Dr. Mortensen said that, in the past year, the company had made possible routine physical examinations, X-rays, and uri-analysis, free of charge in the interest of tuberculosis and cancer prevention. One hundred one fifty persons, who considered themselves well were improved in health, efficiency and comfort through the check-up. The company, we were told, has invested approximately $150,000 in the hospital and equipment, and spends $50,000 a year in operation. A staff of three registered and three practical nursed is headed by Registered Nurse Juanita Justus.

During our brief excursion into Stibnite we made it a point to talk to two of the teachers in the Stibnite Grade School. They were Mrs. Opal Sargent, principal, and Mrs. Grace McRae, teacher of the 4th and 5th grades. Mrs. Sargent is the wife of Harry Sargent, junior metallurgist under McRae, and now smelter foreman, who is credited with having done a lot of research on the million and a half dollar smelter. Opal Sargent, young, pretty and blonde, has been editor of the village newspaper The Stibnite Miner; she has been a nurse; and she taught in the Stibnite School when it was a one-roomed building. Mrs. Grace McRae is the wife of Idaho’s pioneer of the Thunder Mountain District, Daniel McRae, and the mother of Robert McRae, our personal guide on the Stibnite Tour.

The Stibnite school enrolls 137 pupils from the first through the 8th grades. Each of the four rooms of the school has from two to three grades under one teacher, averaging around 30 to 39 pupils per teacher. Mrs. Sargent and Mrs. McRae told us that the Stibnite School accents reading from the very beginning of a child’s education. All activities in art and mental periods are related to reading. At the end of the first grade, a child of six years can read. He also has some experience in number work, such as counting, learning to recognize amounts, and the meaning of numbers, By the time he is promoted from the first grade, he knows how to handle easy combinations of numbers in addition and subtraction. By the time he has progressed through the second and third grades, he is proficient in reading,

In California we had encountered eight-year-old children, who had reached the third grade, and were unable to read an ice-cream parlor billboard posted with the names of such flavors as orange, lemon and vanilla. It, therefore, seemed quite remarkable to us that the children of Stibnite are taught to read as the first and the essential step in their education.

We were told that the Three R’s are stressed in Stibnite and ‘Work’ is the motto of teachers and the keynote for children. School keeps five-days a week from 9A.M. until 4P.M. Primary children are dismissed earlier in the afternoon.

The nearest approach to California’s activity program in education, is what Stibnite calls ‘socialized recitations’. In these recitations the child dramatizes the lessen to be learned. For instance, Mrs. McRae’s fifth grade dramatized a history lesson with each child representing a Colony of the first thirteen; they formed a Continental Congress, made motions and seconded them and delivered speeches.

The school, however, sticks to the formal type of training and stresses the foundation of ‘reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, although it does give the child the advantages of music, art gymnasium and square dancing. There are always the annual Christmas entertainment, the school picnic, and the Junior Ski meet.

The recreation Hall provides motion pictures, and auditorium and stage and a bowling alley. Stibnite’s winter climate is rugged and severe. The ground is under snow almost five months a year. The floating type of employee does not go to Stibnite, as a rule, by reason of the isolation and the climate. Mr. McRae told us, that while the Company has done everything possible to make living conditions pleasant and reasonable in cost, the fact remains that only those employees who are interested in the operation and like the locations, are permanent. Their love of their work and of the environment, makes for a high class of steady employee and rather an intense community spirit and interest among the residents.

We said ‘Good Bye’ to Stibnite and the charming people we met there, and were flown to McCall in a two-place, 85 Horse Power motored, aluminum Luscom plane. It was piloted by Harry Sargent who is one of the Stibnite Villagers who owns and flies his own plane. Airplane travel and transportation form an important part of Bradley Mining Company activity in Idaho.

In December of 1946, Bradley Field at Boise was dedicated to the memory of Frederick W. Bradley, one of the pioneers in air transportation. The three Bradley brothers, their mother and the Bradley Mining company invested a half million dollars in the Bradley Field installation which includes a complete repair shop, training facilities for pilots; a restaurant and a Sky-Tel for aircraft travelers. Beautiful grounds surround the buildings and in Summer, meals are served in the patio of the Sky-Tel.

The Aircraft Service which operates out of Bradley Field, has twenty planes with Glenn Higby as chief pilot; J. I. Mayes, manager, and Les Randolph, assistant manager. Much of the service is between Boise and Stibnite. Bradley Field and Air Craft Service won the Haire award this year – a bronze plaque given in recognition of the country’s finest private airfield serving air travelers.

John D. Bradley, recalling the memory of his Father’s first travel by air into Alaska and the Yukon in the late twenties, says that he’ll always remember how thrilled his father was at the saving of time – the journey by land that consumed weeks was only a few hours by air.

In the year 1946 and ’47 the people of Stibnite published a booklet of information about their village. We quote a paragraph from the foreword: `To Mr. F. W. Bradley, his sons, John, Worthen, and James, the Yellow Pine Mine Staff and the Yellow Pine Mine employees, all of whom played a part in making Stibnite the outstanding operation and community it is today, this book is dedicated. Some time, someone will write a book telling far more completely the story of Stibnite.’ (end quote)

This broadcast concludes the Stibnite Story, compiled and written by Elsie Flower, who was flown into Stibnite as the guest of the Bradley Mining Company, and conducted on a tour of the Yellow Pine Mine’s Mill and smelter by Superintendent Robert J. McRae, to whom she is indebted for much of the material used in this story. This special broadcast for Idaho listeners comes to you through the courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Peffer of Payette Lakes, Idaho and the Peffer C. B. S. Radio Station KGDM in Stockton, California, Bill Hill, special announcer for the Idaho broadcasts, at the microphone.

source: J Collord and S McRae (personal correspondence.)
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Stibnite Photos c. 1959-1960







photo collection shared by Sandy McRae courtesy Jim Collord