Category Archives: Weekly History

Idaho History Nov 11, 2018


(part 4) News

Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey


The Evening Bulletin – San Francisco, Calif. September 21, 1871

There have been six cases of small-pox lately at Florence, Idaho
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The Evening Bulletin – San Francisco, Calif. October 2, 1871

Smallpox has been ravaging among the Chinamen of the town of Florence, Idaho

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Idaho Tri Weekly Statesman – Boise, Idaho May 8, 1873

Major Alvord writes us from Florence, Idaho county, under the date of the 19th ultimo, that he arrived there on the 14th, and found the snow six feet deep. He opened his store on the 15th and had a good trade. This is just one month earlier than the usual time for opening that camp.

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Daily Evening Bulletin – San Francisco, California June 10, 1889

Last fall a number of orange trees were planted at Florence, Idaho. They are growing nicely

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1896 New Florence

(click here for larger size)

Residents standing amidst placer piles in the streets of New Florence, 1896. Idaho State Historical Society photo.
source: Nez Perce National Forest
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Idaho Daily Statesman – Boise, Idaho April 16, 1896

New Florence – New Town to Be Located Near the Old Camp

Grangeville Free Press:

The miners of Florence district in mass meeting assembled last Sunday decided unanimously upon the location of a new town to be situated a quarter of a mile south of the old town of Florence on Summit Flat. The new town is to be called “New Florence.” A more sightly location for a town could not be selected in the camp. It is situated on a large, flat, high and dry gravel belt, surrounded on all sides by groves of small black pine and having good drainage. It is a central location and is convenient of access to all parts of the camp, besides being situated directly on the state wagon road.

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The Florence Miner – Florence , Idaho March 9, 1898

Things are decidedly quite at present, but after the 20th of May Florence will be full of activity, with work of all sorts under way. Hotels and saloons will be added, perhaps another meat market and store, and while we already have three livery stables, will probably have two or three more. The secret of Florence’s prosperity will be the output from hundreds of stamps reducing the ores that will make Florence one of the greatest of camps.

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Idaho County Free Press April 7, 1899

Three Men Drowned

Salmon river, to a greater extent than any other stream in the mountains, has the reputation among men familiar with the country, of being a wicked and dangerous stream, even in its most peaceful stage. At this time when the melting snow adds to its great volume of water it is treacherous throughout its entire course.

McCaffrey, Mallory, Shorthill and O’Brien has all made locations at Mallick and started back on foot for Florence with samples. Seven miles below Mallick at Elk Creek, they came upon Jeff Turpin, who had made the trip with a boat full of grub and having cached his provisions, was about to start down stream and offered the men a lift.

The whole outfit got along swimmingly until they reached a point six miles above Madame Carey’s ranch at the old wire bridge. At this place there is a sharp bend in the river and the stream sets strongly to the north bank, perpendicular cliffs, creating a dangerous backwater and breakers. Despite frantic efforts, the boat was swept toward the bank and under the breakers, capsized and put the five men in the water. McCaffrey succeeded in getting away from the breakers and managed to kick off his rubber boots. The only man he could see was Mallory and they succeeded in catching the boat, bailing her out and spent considerable time searching for their comrads without success.

Upon their arrival at Florence a search party was organized, without success.
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Idaho County Free Press June 2, 1899

The body recently found on Salmon river was identified as J. O’Brien. It was impossible to remove the body, so it was reburied and the grave surrounded by a fence.
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Idaho County Free Press June 16, 1899

The bodies of Jeff Turpin and A.T. Shorhill have been found near Freedom and Slate creek, identified by papers found in their pockets.

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Idaho Daily Statesman – Boise, Idaho February 12, 1899

Klondike Weather Has Struck Florence

Spokane, Wash., Feb. 11 – Reports received today from Florence, Idaho, state that Klondike weather has struck that isolated camp. The thermometers were not graded low enough by one and one-half inches to indicate the temperature, but the grading down showed approximately 62 to 65 degrees below zero.

Florence is a famous old placer camp of the early 60’s, and has come into renewed prominence since the recent gold discoveries on Buffalo Hump.

A raw-hide train of three men and seven horses left Florence for the Hump. It was the first trip with horses, but the trail will probably be kept open from now on. The horses have snowshoes fitted to their feet and travel on them very successfully. The snow is about six feet deep.

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The Anaconda Standard – Montana June 21, 1899

A $10,000 Fire

Spokane, June 20 – A message from Grangeville tonight says that the Banner mill at Florence, Idaho, the chief milling point of that district was burned today. Loss $10,000; Insurance $5,000.

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The Mount Idaho Mail – Mt. Idaho, Idaho February 27, 1900

(reprinted in the Idaho Daily Statesman)

Dredge Launched

We learn from our correspondent at Florence the new dredge is completed and was launched last Saturday. It is christened “The Florence No. 1.” The launching took place at 4 o’clock, at which time the keys were knocked out and the dredge slid gracefully into the water with a cheering crowd upon her deck and the Stars and Stripes flying at her bow. Three rousing cheers were given the Florence and three more for her builder, Ole Olson. The launching of this dredge marks an epoch in the history of Florence, and if its operation yields as satisfactory results as are expected, several more similar machines will be built and put to work on the Clearwater and other streams by the same company.

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First Public School in Idaho

(click here for larger size)

School in New Florence, 1898. Ace Barton Collection.
source: Nez Perce National Forest
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Idaho Daily Statesman – Boise, Idaho November 25, 1905

Reminiscences of Pioneer Idaho Days

Major Fenn Tells of the First Public School in This State, Of the First Baby in Florence, and of Ostner’s First Washington Statue

Major Fenn, superintendent of forest reserves in Idaho, fell into a reminiscent mood the other day. He recalled the first public school in Idaho at which he was a pupil. That was in 1864, at Florence. At the first session of the territorial legislature in this state the public school law of California was adopted, with a few minor changes to fit conditions in Idaho. Major Fenn’s father, who was a member of the assembly, returned to Florence that winter and formed a public school district there. The directors sent to Ohio for a teacher, a Mrs. J.H. Robinson, who charged the district $160 per month for teaching six scholars, who were Major Fenn, his oldest sister, since dead, a brother and three other boys whose names the major does not recall.

“Those were the great old day,” says the major with a sigh of reminiscent relief.” “I remember in the winter of 1864 a child was born at Florence. The mother was very ill and unable to nurse the little fellow. He was kept alive for a couple of days with crackers dipped in brandy, there being nothing like milk in the camp. One of the miners in camp happened to remember that on his way up the river a few days before had had seen a band of sheep being driven in to be slaughtered. He recalled that there was a lamb in the herd. Without consulting anyone he strapped on his snowshoes and hit the back trail. He found the sheep, and the lamb, likewise the maternal ewe. He carried the ewe back to camp and the baby waxed fat and sassy. The baby is now city treasurer of Baker City, Ore. His name is George Foster.”

The equestrian statue of Washington in the capitol grounds, the handiwork of Ostner, the sculptor, recalled to the memory of Major Fenn another incident of old days in Florence.

“Old man Ostner was in Florence in the winter ’63, said the major. On Washington ’s Birthday, February 22, of that year, Ostner made a statue of Washington out of ice. Miners hauled snow and piled it up in the street, until there was a mass 25 feet high. Water was thrown on it and next morning it was a mass of ice. Ostner worked a couple of days and hewed out a likeness of George Washington seated in a chair, with a sword in one hand, a scroll in the other. The statue was of heroic size – fully 20 feet high, and was a magnificent likeness.


(see also Idaho History Sept 23, 2018 Fenn Family Idaho County)
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1907 Baboon Gulch, Florence Idaho

(click here for original)

Baboon Gulch, Florence Idaho, as it appeared in 1907, look about the same today, but the cabins are gone.
source: Idaho Gold Gettr Treasure Net
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Idaho Statesman – Boise, Idaho – October 10, 1909

Pound of Salt Cost the Same as a Pound of Flour in Those Days

Capt. Relf Beldsoe

Florence was a very busy little mining camp. I saw at the head of Baboon gulch two men, who melted snow to get water to rock with, take an average of a pint of go gold dust a day from the rich pay dirt.

All kinds of supplies were in good demand. The name of our firm was Malphy, Creighton & Bledsoe. Supplies of all kinds sold at $1.00 per pound because of the method of transportation, which was made by ox team from Lewiston to Cold Springs and by pack train from Cold Springs to Florence, a distance of 70 miles.

A pound was a pound, no more, no less, and a pound of salt being just as heavy as a pound of flour, the cost was precisely the same. A quart jar of pickles sold for an ounce of gold dust or equivalent to $12, as the dust contained some silver.

In November of that year on one of my trips for merchandise I had stopped at Slate creek where I met a Mr. Baker, a well-known packer, and offered him 32 cents a pound to take supplies from Slate Creek over into Florence, but he refused to do so on account of the snow being so deep that it made traveling extremely difficult. It had bought some oats that had been brought in by cayuse pack trains and I had a few sacks left, so I bought his whole train for $5500. This train consisted of 45 mules and five riding horses.

Quite frequently in those days one could see men packing supplies on their backs. I saw men carrying from 100 to 125 pounds in this way. There are quite a number of people in Idaho who will remember those times.

The country we traveled over from Cold Springs is now dotted with beautiful farms and fields of waving grain and is known as Camas Prairie near Grangeville. We crossed on the old Indian trails in the early days.

Florence, like other mining camps, was the center of exciting incidents. There were gamblers and robbers and other men who preferred getting the gold without working for it. The robbers were called “road agents” and watched on the highway for miners coming to and from camp. They would waylay them, take their gold and usually killed them as “dead men tell no tales,” and then make their escape.

But the easy road over which these “road agents” traveled to secure their ill-gotten gains often ended at the gallows, for many of them were afterwards caught and hung. Once a packer by the name of Berry returning to Lewiston with his gold dust was overtaken and robbed on the road by two notorious desperadoes, Peoples and English, who were finally caught, were taken to Lewiston and there lynched.

Before their capture several months I met these desperadoes on Camas Prairie as I was on my way to Lewiston to take $10,000 worth of gold dust. I was alone and as I saw them coming I recognized them and stopped. They came up and greeted me pleasantly. I had my gun across my knees and told them to ride both on the same side as I was not willing for them to ride one on each side of me. They asked me why I wished them to do so and I told them that I wasn’t willing to take any chances.

Then they laughed and asked me if I had any whisky. I told them that I had and that they were welcome to a drink, but that they must dismount and put down their guns or they should not have a drop.

Peoples laughed as he came up and told me that I was too suspicious. He said: “We do not want to hurt you. You have too many friends in this country. It’s the fellows who are not known that we are after.” He lifted up the canteens at the saddles where I had the gold dust and said: “You have a pretty good wad there.” “Ten thousand dollars,” I answered. All the time I watched their every move and they kept telling me that I was too suspicious, but I realized the situation perfectly well and they knew it.

They drank their whisky and Peoples then told me I could go on. “No,” said I, “you must go on.” “That’s a pretty hard nut to crack.” said Peoples, grinning. “You get out your horses and go on,” I said, and as they saw that it was impossible for them to take me at a disadvantage, they mounted their horses and turned up the trail toward Mount Idaho. So I started on. Only 100 yards lay between me and the open timber for which I headed and after entering it I could see the desperadoes as they went on up the prairie away above me about five miles distant. Then I turned and went down to Cold Springs through the timber, and for fear they might try to make a detour and get on ahead of me, I put whip and spur to my mule until I got to Cold Springs, where I stayed all night, and the next day went on into Lewiston.


source for all news clippings above: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey

Link to Florence Part 1

Link to Florence Part 2

Link to Florence Part 3


Idaho History Nov 4

Dixie, Idaho County, Idaho

Dixie, Idaho County, Idaho

Dixie is an unincorporated community in Idaho County, Idaho, United States, located 43 miles (69 km) east-northeast of Riggins. Dixie was an important gateway to the Thunder Mountain Mines of Idaho during the early 1900’s when Dixie was on the northern terminus of the Three Blaze Trail, a shortcut route to the mines via Campbell’s Ferry, and what is now the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, Chamberlain Basin, and southward to the mining community of Roosevelt, located on Monumental Creek.

source: Wikipedia
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Dixie Topo Map

source: Topo Zone (full screen zoomable map)
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Dixie (Gold)

Although a rush to Dixie came during the same week as the rush to Florence in August, 1861, work for practical purposes apparently did not begin around Dixie for more than twenty years. At least there is no record of any community there in the early days, and claims recorded in 1884 in what appears to have been the new camp of Dixie mark the beginning of serious activity. Quartz prospects there came into prominence after the panic of 1893, and by 1896, Dixie had attained some importance. Production records for the nineteenth century are lacking but more than $100,000 was recovered in the twentieth–mostly from a drag line placer operation during the depression. Total yield of $270,000 placer and $50,000 quartz are recorded, but are probably incomplete. The total, though, very likely did not exceed $1,500,000.

excerpted from: Mining in Idaho Number 9 1985, by Ernest Oberbillig and the Idaho State Historical Society
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Dixie (1898)

The Dixie district is another new camp opened up in the last year. It lies south from Elk City, and is on the head waters of the south fork of the Clearwater.

The ores are of high value, and ledges carrying every character of ore are found,—lead, iron, copper, zinc, antimony, gold and silver. The great Buffalo Hump district lies in the center of a triangle, with Florence, Elk City and Dixie at the three corners of the angle.
(pg 430)

excerpted from: “An Illustrated History of Idaho” 1899 (58 meg)
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Idaho County Free Press., December 30, 1898

Perils of the Mountains

James Lynch Frozen to Death In Dixie District

Dixie, Idaho, Dec. 20, 1898

This community was greatly shocked last Saturday evening when it was reported that the body of James Lynch was found about seven miles southeast of Dixie, he having been frozen to death the night of the 13th.

It happened in this wise: He and T. S. Rackliff had moved down below the Comstonck mill on Rhett Creek, to do some work on a claim belonging to Dr. Bibby, of Grangeville; after being there for about 10 days, Mr. Lynch last Tuesday took the gun and told Rackliff he would go over the breaks of Salmon river and kill a deer, and that he may be gone threw days, as if he did not get one handy to camp he would go down the river and get “Campbell the hunter to kill one for him.”

So on his non-arrival Wednesday Mr. Rackliff thought he had gone to Salmon, so he came to town after his mail and it being cold he did not get back to camp until Friday night. Mr. Lynch not having returned then Rackliff started Saturday morning to the river to see if anything had happened, never thinking but that Lynch had done as he said he would follow Campbell’s trail, a trail that he ought to be very familiar with as he had worked on the river last winter at that point, and in face had been down the trail three weeks before. Rackliff not knowing the way concluded to follow Lynch’s tracks.

Lynch had followed Campbell’s trail for about one-half mile when, for some reason, he turned off to the left and took up over a very steep mountain to the divided that runs parallel with Salmon about 3 miles; he followed this divide up and over into the head of a creek that runs down to Salmon just above the place that he said he was going to; when he crossed the creek he turned to the North directly from Salmon, and came back onto the head of Rabbit Creek, which he had crossed directly after leaving camp. By this time he evidently became bewildered as he began to wander around first one way, then the other, but kept going downhill; the country is a mass of fallen dead timber and green underbrush.

When Rackliff found that he had turned down this way he feared the worst. Finally Lynch left the level country and took down the canyon, coming within 1-4 of a mile of where Rackliff was then at work, when he turned from camp again toward Salmon, but still in the gulch botton in the brush, when it became dark, from the way he seemed to tumble about, and must have also been pretty cold, as it was 8 belfoew zero that night; at any rate, he sat down on the end of a log and evidently sat there for some time, but made no effort to build a fire, which he could have done, as he had plenty of matches and a big hunting knife and plenty of dry wood about.

While sitting down he probably chilled and evidently realizing that that would not do he began to go down the gulch again; he went over a big bunch of mountain alder, which must have been quite a task in the dark, and when through that he immediately ran into a small white fir tree, and there he stopped. He jammed his fun down into the snow to the ground, threw his hat to one side about six feet, and either lay down or had fallen down backward, and straightened out with both feet together, arms to the side and hands-on body, and there he was found in that condition. He evidently realized the end and had prepared for it; he had only gone about 100 feet from where he sat down on the log.

Rackliff found the body about 3 o’clock p.m. Saturday, and he must have perished sometime Tuesday night. Ten of Comstock’s crew went out Sunday and brought the body on a toboggan to the mill; from there the Comstock team brought him to town where a coffin and grave had been prepared.

Thus there has been a funeral in Dixie, the first in the history of the district.

Deceased was about 63 years of age. He had a ranch on Craig’s Mountain in Nez Perce County, near Westlake, and owned a 1-2 interest with Crist Mally in several claims in this camp.

He has two brothers in Philadelphia, and a brother, Frank Lynch, and family, residing now at 113 Lexington Ave., Jersey City.

transcribed by Kerry

James Lynch

(click image for source size)
Birth: 1835
Death: 13 Dec 1898 (aged 62–63) Dixie, Idaho County, Idaho
Burial: Dixie Cemetery Idaho County, Idaho

source: Find a Grave
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This is an old photo taken by William Allen Stonebraker about 1902, probably in Dixie. He was an avid photographer whose large body of work is archived in the University of Idaho Library’s Special Collections and Archives. Most were taken around the turn of the 19th Century in the Thunder Mountain, Salmon River, Dixie, Stites, and Koosia areas. He was notoriously lax in labeling his work, but what he lacked in information he made up for in quantity. His collection is avalable to view on line.

This collection consists of 540 photographs from the William Allen Stonebraker Collection, which was donated to the University of Idaho Library in 2003. Stonebraker took photographs in Central Idaho’s remote Salmon River and Frank Church-River of No Return areas at the turn of the twentieth century between 1900 and 1931. The collection contains images of the Stonebraker Ranch and homestead in the Chamberlain Basin, his businesses (dude ranch, pack train and dogsled operations, mining, big game hunting) as well as wildlife, scenic views, and early aircraft operation.

Link: Stonebraker Photograph Collection University of Idaho

[h/t SMc]
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Old hotel in Dixie [1906]

source: Shannon Dolph Perry Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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Dixie Hotel 1906

(click image for source size)

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

Comstock Mine

Dixie was an early Mining camp founded around 1862 by prospectors that had flooded the area during the Florence gold rush. Another town founded in the area about the same time was Elk City.

It is estimated that by 1924 $1,500,000 in gold had been taken out of the mines. In the 1930’s Crooked Creek was dredged, of which the remains can be seen today.

In it’s Heyday, it is said that there were 5,000 people living in the Dixie area.

Head south east out of Grangeville, down the Mt. Idaho grade, and follow the south fork of the Clearwater River for about an hour or so. When you get to the fork in the road that leads to Elk City keep right, and in another hour, or so, you’ll find yourself in Dixe.

source and photo gallery: Bob Hartman Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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1909 Dixie Idaho

(click image for source photo)

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Arrastra Wheel – probably Elk City/Dixie Area 1910

(click image for source photo)

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Idaho Daily Statesman – Boise, Idaho – January 17, 1910

Prospector Shot to Death

W.P. Boyle Victim of “Snowshoe” Brown

(Special Dispatch) Grangeville, Jan 16 [1910]

Word received this afternoon from Elk City, Idaho, is that W.P. Boyle, a well-known miner and prospector, was shot and instantly killed this morning by “Snowshoe” Brown in a gambling game in a saloon in Dixie, a small mining camp 80 miles southeast of here. Only meager particulars are obtainable.

Copyright Notice: All materials contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of those engaged in researching their family origins. Any commercial use or distribution, without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited. All images used on these pages were obtained from sources permitting free distribution, or generated by the author, and are subject to the same restrictions/permissions. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages do so in recognition of their free, non-commercial distribution, and further, is responsible to assure that no copyright is violated by their submission.
source: Murders, Poisonings and Executions in Idaho County from Area Newspaper Articles compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Dixie Idaho 1910

(click image for source photo)

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Idaho County Free Press December 7, 1911

S. M. Pruitt Confesses to Killing of E.C. Rucker

Had to Do It to Save Own Life

Tragedy Occurred Nov. 5th in Remote Mountain District. On last Saturday morning, Samuel M. Pruitt, a raw-boned mountain man, walked into Sheriff Overman’s office and stated to the sheriff he wished to surrender himself to the authorities for the killing of his partner, E.C. Rucker on the morning of November 5th, in a remote section of the mountains, forty-five miles from the mining camp of Dixie. He stated to the officers that following a row between the two men he had been attacked by Rucker and was compelled to kill him to save his life. According to the story of Pruitt he and E.C. Rucker had been in the mountains since last May, prospecting and mining with more or less success and this winter the pair established their headquarters on the Salmon river, in the wild section of the country, the nearest human being being at the Eakin placer mine, located eighteen miles down the river. The two men had prepared for a winter’s trapping and everything was agreeable until early in November when trouble arose between the two. According to the story told by the man who surrendered Saturday, on the morning of November fifth he was awakened by Rucker who arose and stated he was going to secure the ax at the wood pile to the rear of the cabin and wreck vengeance on his partner. Pruitt, realizing the state of mind of the man, jumped from his bunk and grabbing his Winchester, fled from the cabin, hotly pursued by Rucker, wielding the ax in the air, and shouting to the fleeing man that he intended killing him. Pruitt tried to make his escape but was so hotly pursued by the raving trapper that he turned and fired in self-defense, the bullett entering the body from the left side, under his arm, and death resulting. Growing frantic over his deed, Pruitt secured the body and tying a sack of rocks to the same, cast it into an eddy of the Salmon river. Worrying over his act he decided to seek civilization and inform others of the tragedy. He took a boat and rowed down the river to the Eakin property where he recited his story to the men of the camp and was accompanied back by a tourist by the name of Weider of Payette and one Fenny, a miner. The river was dragged for several miles from the point where the body was supposed to have been thrown in but without avail and the party returned with Pruitt in charge, who was accompanied out by the two men as far as Goff and left with the instructions to continue on his ay to Grangeville and surrender to the officers which he did arriving here Friday night. Pruitt, who is a man of forty-five years of age and was born in Oregon, states he has no living relatives and has followed the occupation of ranch hand most of his life. Previous to coming to Idaho county this year he worked for several ranchers over a Lewiston, Montana, who have been communicated with by the prosecuting attorney but up to the present time no reply has been received. He is a tall, dark complected fellow and has an intelligent face. He has never had a day’s schooling but seems to have picked up a very fair education. He feels mighty bad over the tragedy and when talking of the same breaks down. His story told to the prosecuting attorney seems perfectly feasible and the straightforward manner in which he talks convinces one of his honesty. A search will be made by the officers for the remains of Rucker and if found and the location of the wound as well as the description given by Pruitt of the manner in which the body was clad and other statements made by him can be substantiated he will be released. In the meantime he is being held in the county jail waiting the outcome of the investigation by the officers.
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Idaho County Free Press, December 21, 1911

He Had to Shoot

Evidence Seems to Justify the Killing of Rucker

Rucker Had Bad Disposition

Those Who Knew Him So State — Other Evidence From information received by Sheriff Overman during the past week it seems evident that the story told by Samuel Pruitt regarding the killing of E.C. Rucker by him several weeks ago near the Salmon river is true and that Rucker was an eccentric man and subject to melancholy spells if not a bad man. “Billy” Robinson of Dixie has been sent in by the authorities with an equipment with which to drag the river and in all probabilities will secure the body of Rucker. Sheriff Overman received a letter from H.W. Weider of Payette, who was hunting in that section at the time of the tragedy and who went with Pruitt to the scenes and assisted in dragging the waters for the remains. Weider states that if he is any judge of human nature Pruitt told him a straight story relating to the tragedy and then relates the story in detail which corresponds with that told by Pruitt to the officers upon his arrive in Grangeville. A communication was also received from a former employer of the deceased who states he was a barber and subject to moody spells and a man who was most peculiar in some respects. It seems he barbered for a while in Spokane and later joined a geological survey party over at Salmon City and later went to trapping with Pruitt. A letter from a hotel man at that place states there is no surprise over there regarding the news as it was expected that on account of his disposition he would meet with a violet death sooner or later. His father, a man of some seventy years of age and a citizen of Ohio, has also written the sheriff and regarding the affair. Judging grom the evidence in hand Pruitt had to shoot to save his life and no doubt with the return of Robinson he will be released from custody.
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Idaho County Free Press, Thursday, January 4, 1912

Released Pruitt

Edward Eakin, the gentleman at whose home Samuel Pruitt made his way and surrendered after the killing of one Rucker early in November, was in the city Saturday last and made a statement of the case to Prosecutor Griffith which matched up with the story told by Pruitt to the officers at the time of his arrival in Grangeville. The facts as related by Mr. Eakin coincided with Pruitt’s story and were convincing enough that the prosecutor ordered the release of Pruitt, who left Monday for Payette, Idaho, where he has secured employment with a hunter who was present at Eakin’s at the time Pruitt made his way down the river and related the events leading up to the killing of Rucker. Pruitt, who undoubtedly was justified in taking the life of his partner, and who seemed to feel quite badly over the tragedy has offered to keep in touch with Sheriff Overman and Prosecutor Griffith. The story told by Eakin of the conversation he had with Pruitt at the time he made his way down the river and told of the tragedy is practically the same as the one given in the columns of the paper some time ago. The only additional light thrown on the affair is that the tragedy occurred just after the river from Lemhi county, the Salmon river forming the boundary and that Rucker was a man with a mighty bad temper. After relating the story Pruitt suggested that he be taken to Salmon City over in Lemhi county where he had friends, but as it was evident that the crime was committed in Idaho county, he followed the advice of Eakin and the others in camp at that time to come to Grangeville and surrender to the Idaho county authorities. “Billy” Robins, who was sent from Dixie to drag the river for the body, and who was assisted by Eakin was unable to find the same but as the river is filled with boulders and the water is deep, that need not be a matter of surprise.
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Idaho County Free Press, May 14, 1912

Was Rucker’s Body

Body of Salmon River Trapper Found by Hunters

Was Killed by Partner

Man Who Did Killing Gave Himself Up

Was Self Defense

The remains of E.C. Rucker, who was killed by his partner last winter and whose body was placed in the Salmon river, have been recovered and given burial. About two weeks as a party of bear hunters, composed of Rich Danforth, Jim Loungee, and Matt Haynie were going up the river, pulling a boat, they discovered the remains of a man, with a rope tied around his waist. A hasty examination was made and it was discovered that the man had been shot through the left arm, the bullet entering his left side and lodging in the body. The remains were in a good state of preservation with the exception of the face. It was at once recalled that last winter Samuel M. Pruitt went to Grangeville and gave himself up to the authorities, and told of shooting his partner, and placing his body in the river. Pruitt claimed to have tied a rope to the body and anchored it to a rock. He also told that he shot Rucker through the left arm and body. At that time, while Pruitt was still held in jail, the sheriff sent a party to make an investigation and see if the body could be recovered. The party that went to the scene of the trouble could find no tract of the body, and there was no sigh of any conflict, and on this report Pruitt was turned loose and his story of self defense was considered true. The place where the body was found is about fifty miles down the river from where it was put in and it is supposed that the rock to which the body was tied was not large enough to hold, and that it has been moving down the river, and at last lodged in some boulders where it was found. —Mining News. ALHN Idaho, Idaho County Index.
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Killing on the Salmon River

Letter contributed by: Michael Pearcy regarding the death of his grandmother’s brother. Mr. Pearcy has copied a letter from the Sheriff of Idaho County, Idaho to his grandmother, Henrietta Rucker, relating the circumstances of her brother’s death at the hands of his mining partner.

Ed Rucker, left Scot Town, Lawrence County, to seek his fortune mining in the west. This letter has also been published on the Lawrence Register (Lawrence County, Ohio’s Genealogical and Historical Website)

Office of Sheriff of Idaho County, Idaho
Grangeville, Idaho, June 10th, 1912
Miss Henrietta Rucker
Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., Huntington, W. Va.

Dear Miss Rucker:

Your letter of May 25th, last, reached this office in due time and has not been answered before on account of the writers absence from the City until now. I Hardly know how to begin to tell you of this sad affair, but will in my own way, give you what information I have at my command. The body of your Brother was found about May 1st, by three men, R. S. Danforth, E. S. Lougee, and J. M. Haynie, all of Dixie, Idaho, being in the water on the East side of the Salmon River about a mile below what is know as the Sam Myers Ranch. This place is about 18 miles from Dixie, Idaho, and about 75 miles down the river from where it was put in. This part of Idaho County is a very rough and mountainous country and very inaccessible at any time of the year, and almost impossible to get into during the winter months. The body was buried near where it was taken from the water by C. H. Prescott and T. H. Thomas, also of Dixie, Idaho. I am informed that the body when taken from the water was fairly well preserved, but when taken out of the water decomposition soon set in, and it was impossible to keep the body but a few hours or perhaps a day at the most. At the time the body was found it would have been almost impossible to get it out to the railroad and even now I doubt if it would be practical to bring out the casket as it would have to be carried on pack horse for some 18 miles to Dixie and then 25 miles to Elk City, and then by stage some 65 miles to the nearest railroad point. Sam Pruitt, the man who took your Brothers life, came down the Salmon River in a boat to Riggins, Idaho, and from there to this place to tell his story of the awful affair, and surrendered himself to us long before the story of the killing could have reached us had he not taken that method of coming out. Pruitt was immediately confined in the County Jail, and I immediately sent three men into where the killing had occurred to make an investigation, and if possible to locate the body, and spent several hundred dollars in investigating the matter. We held Pruitt here in Jail for over a month, and finally, in the absence of sufficient evidence to bind him over to the District Court, and upon the direction of the Prosecuting Attorney released him. Pruitt has kept this office posted as to his whereabouts ever since and I could locate him by wire in a few hours at this time. The Prosecuting Attorney and this office have carefully considered every word and act of Pruitt and have found everything, even to the gunshot wound in the body and the rope with which he tied the rock to the body with which it was sunk into the water, substantially as he stated. So far we have not a single thing in the way of evidence that would justify any Court or Judge in binding him to the Trial Court.

The worst feature in the statement of Pruitt, and this is the one on which the Prosecutor and I worked, was the fact that after the killing Pruitt sank the body into the river. This statement naturally would lead one to think that there had been foul play, and both the Prosecutor and I acted on this presumption until we had made an exhaustive investigation. In writing this letter I have not gone into detail for it would take hours to write you everything concerning the case, and even then you would never believe anything but that your brother had been foully murdered, but I have attempted to tell you what had been done in a general way. You have unjustly criticized me when you say that I have been “trying to shield the slayer rather than justify the slain” and when you know more of the case you will regret having written them. On the contrary we did everything within our power, regardless of expense, to secure the facts and so far have failed to find sufficient evidence to hold Pruitt for trail. There is no need of my going into the question of your brother’s sanity for I realize as well as anyone that it is next to impossible to convince anyone as near and dear as a Brother or Sister that such would be possible. I do not know, and perhaps no living person knows positively. However I have letters to this effect, and while I do not know who your Spokane, Wn. Informant is, have little doubt but that it was from one who wrote me in substance that Mr. Rucker was of a morbid disposition. In conclusion Miss Rucker will say that I have done all that I could see possible in regard to this sad affair, and feel that the Prosecuting Attorney would not have authorized his release had there been any possible chance of holding him to the District Court. I will be glad to give you any further information concerning your Brother if you make it possible for me to do so.

Very respectfully,
J. I. Overman

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

(click image for source photo)

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Pack Horse String Dixie Idaho

source: Mike Fritz Collection, courtesy Heather Heber Callahan Idaho History

Elk Hunting Party Leaving Dixie Idaho

source: Mike Fritz Collection, courtesy Heather Heber Callahan Idaho History
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A Salmon River miner. Died when he fell off of his horse.

Sam Myers was a southerner, born in 1837. He fought in the Civil War, with General Sherman in Georgia, and received a government pension.

Myers did some placering at Myers Creek and kept a number of handsome horses. He lived on Myers Creek, on the Salmon River for 40 years.

Coming down from Dixie on the Churchill Trail with a load of winter supplies in 1923, he was thrown into a tree by a halter-pulling mare, and it cost him his life.

The spot is now known as the Allison Ranch. Myers cabin, located by the barn, was torn down. Elmer Allison got the place from Myers’ heirs by paying off a thousand-dollar mortgage held by Ed Harbison, Vic Bargamin’s trapping partner. Sam Myers must have accumulated some gambling debts in Dixie to have owed Harbison that much money.

River Of No Return
Johnny Carrey & Cort Conley
Pages 139-140

Samuel Myers

(click image for source size)

Birth: 5 Dec 1831 Myerstown, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
Death: 19 Oct 1921 (aged 89) Idaho County, Idaho
Burial: Dixie Cemetery Idaho County, Idaho

source: Find a Grave
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Dixie Cemetery

Added by: Larry Linehan on 18 Aug 2008

source: Find a Grave
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Arastra Headstones near Dixie Idaho

source: Mike Fritz Collection, courtesy Heather Heber Callahan Idaho History
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Dixie in the winter

(click image for source photo)

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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(click image for source photo)

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Dixie Idaho ca. 1957

(go to source for larger image)

source: Mike Fritz Collection, courtesy Heather Heber Callahan Idaho History
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Dixie Idaho – 1960’s

(click image for source photo)

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

(click image for source photo)

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Mineral Resources of the Gospel-Hump Wilderness, Idaho County, Idaho

(click image for larger size)

Some of the historically most important gold producing mining districts in Idaho are near the Gospel Hump Wilderness (fig. 1; Savage, 1970). Parts of the Buffalo Hump mining district lie in the eastern half of the wilderness area. The zone that contains most of the major mines in this district has been excluded from, but is virtually surrounded by, wilderness. The southern part of the Tenmile district is included in the northeastern part of the wilderness. The large gold placer and lode deposits of the Florence district border the area on the west, and a small part of the district is included in the southwestern corner of the wilderness. A few lode mines of the Orogrande district are included on the northeastern side. Lode and placer deposits of the Dixie district abut the eastern side.
(pg 4)

Mining and Exploration History

The Gospel-Hump Wilderness is surrounded by nine mining districts (fig. 1). The wilderness area includes parts of the Tenmile, Orogrande, Buffalo Hump, and Florence districts; the Dixie district is adjacent to the eastern side of the wilderness. The initial discoveries of placer gold in districts near the area were made in 1861 (Thompson and Ballard, 1924). Lode gold and silver deposits near Elk City were first discovered in 1870, but those in the wilderness (the Buffalo Hump district and at the War Eagle mine) were not discovered until 1898 (Shenon and Reed, 1934). Mining activity throughout the region subsided by about 1910 and has been intermittent since then.

Most of the gold production from the region was from placer deposits. However, in the districts included in the wilderness, production was mainly from lodes. Although production records are incomplete and estimates vary (see table 1), Thompson and Ballard (1924) estimated that more than 3 million troy ounces (oz) of gold were produced from placers and lodes in the Elk City, Newsome, Tenmile, Orogrande, Buffalo Hump, Dixie, Florence, and Burgdorf districts. Gold production of about 34,000 troy oz is reported for the Buffalo Hump district (table 1). Combined precious- and base-metals production estimates are summarized in table 1.

Precious metals exploration in mining districts near the wilderness has increased dramatically in recent years. Major recent developments include exploration drilling, pilot heap-leach studies, initiation of mining permit applications, and commencement of mining at several properties near or adjacent to the wilderness. The interest has focused on large, low-grade, heap leachable gold deposits. Information about specific operations was provided by W.L. Rice (1987, oral commun.) and Rice and others (1987).

In 1986, Coeur d’ Alene Mines Corp. began open pit mining and heap-leaching at its Thunder Mountain gold-silver property, about 20 mi southeast of the Gospel-Hump Wilderness. The mining company estimates ore reserves of 1, 788 million tons, averaging 0.095 troy oz of gold and 0.077 troy oz of silver per ton.

Late in 1986, Nevex Gold Company, Inc., began the permitting process for a heap-leaching facility at its Robinson Dike gold property, south of Dixie. The company reports reserves of 450,000 tons ore, grading 0.06 troy oz of gold per ton (Bill Porter, 1987, personal commun.). In the Elk City area, exploration drilling and heap-leach tests were begun at the Friday Gold property by Normine Resources Ltd. The company reports reserves of 3 to 4 million tons, grading 0.035 to 0.04 troy oz gold per ton.
(pg 7)

excerpted from: Mineral Resources of the Gospel-Hump Wilderness, Idaho County, Idaho
U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin # 1812 1990
By Karen Lund, U.S. Geological Survey and Leon E. Esparza, U.S. Bureau of Mines
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Dixie Dredge

(click image for source photo)

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Elevation: 5,620 Feet
Date Settled: 1862

Dixie History

Not much is known about the history of Dixie. The town was one of the earliest mining camps in Idaho, founded in 1862. A Forest Service sign in town relates a short history of the town:

Dixie was founded on August 24, 1862, by two miners who trekked over the divide from Elk City and discovered gold in Dixie Gulch. Supposedly, Dixie was named in honor of Dixie, Georgia, one of the first miner’s hometowns.

In 1900, Dixie was a boomtown. During World War One, Dixie was almost deserted as residents joined the service. By the Depression, people were moving back to eke out a living by mining a little gold. Increases in gold prices from 1932 to 1937 prompted the restaking of many properties and prospecting for new lodes.

The 1900 boom was related to the discovery of gold at Thunder Mountain. Dixie was a deep-wilderness outpost that was well-situated as a supply center for the Thunder Mountain rush.

Today Dixie is an extremely remote town that is still active with retirees, vacation cabins, and an active lodge catering to hunters and backcountry explorers. The town sits on the Gold Rush Loop Tour, along with Elk City and other local mining camps.

Dixie 2018

source: Western Mining History

page updated Nov 15, 2018

Idaho History Oct 28

Elk City, Idaho County, Idaho

(Part 4 Transportation)

Elk City Wagon Road

This painting of Corral Hill Station, by local artist Robert Thomas, depicts life along the Elk City Wagon Road 100 years ago.

Picture yourself on a wagon 100 years ago. The rough road makes your ride bumpy, and you hang on as the wagon moves forward.

In the winter you’re atop a sleigh drawn by horses wearing snowshoes. They plod their way through drifts as high as ten feet. The air is cold. It’s rough going.

Travel along the Elk City Wagon Road, and follow the same road miners and freighters took to the gold fields of Elk City.

Traveling the Road Today

How to get there:

The Elk City Wagon Road begins at Harpster, a small town on the South Fork of the Clearwater River. Harpster is between Grangeville and Kooskia at milepost 13 (about 13 miles from each town). It’s located along State Highway 13, part of the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway.
(pg 2)

Traveling the Road 100 Years Ago

On a spring day in 1900, a wagon made its way along the Elk City Wagon Road. Loaded with mining supplies and mail, a team of several horses pulled the wagon.

The driver knew he’d have to switch from wagon to sleigh when he encountered snow, but the road was well used and the snow packed. If he could make it to Mountain House Way Station [Mount Idaho] before nightfall, he could get a good meal and a place to sleep. With a little luck and no breakdowns, the freight would reach Elk City in another three days.

So it was along the Elk City Wagon Road from 1895 to 1932. The freight and stage route was prominent in the mining and homesteading history of central Idaho.

Starting at Harpster on the South Fork of the Clearwater River 80 miles upstream from Lewiston, the road stretched about 50 miles to the mining town of Elk City. A branch of the road ran from Stites and joined the main route at the town of Clearwater. Beginning in the South Fork River valley at an elevation of about 1600 feet, the road climbed as high as 6200 feet in the Baldy Mountain vicinity and then dropped into the Elk City basin at around 4000 feet.

The first route in this area was the Southern Nez Perce Trail. Indian tribes used the trail to travel from the Camas Prairie in Idaho to the Bitterroot Valley in Montana. The Southern Nez Perce Trail remains significant to the Nimiipuu, the Nez Perce people.

The first gold miners from Pierce used the trail on their way to explore the Elk City area in 1861. The trail became a thoroughfare and was modified for pack strings and wagons in the mining boom that followed.

By 1890, several way stations had been built along the trail: Harpster, Newsome House and a rest station for mail carriers called Ten Mile.

In 1894 construction started on the Elk City Wagon Road. The road was finished in 1895. It closely followed the original trail, overlaying it in a few places.

By 1896, there were way stations at Switchback, Mountain House [Mount Idaho], Corral Hill and Mud Springs, providing room and food for travelers. These stations were some of the first homesteads in the area.

A stage trip from Stites to Elk City took two days in the summer. Leaving Stites at 6 a.m., the stage arrived at Mountain House by noon and at Newsome by nightfall. There, travelers spent the night.

In the winter, the trip to Elk City took five days, with overnight stops at Switchback, Mountain House, Newsome and Mud Springs. The stage fare from Stites to Elk City was $6 in 1910.
(pgs 4-5)

Corral Hill (mile 17)

Built in 1896, Corral Hill Station provided lodging and a livery stable. The house was north above the road; the barn and stock facilities were on the ridge to the south. A spring and a house platform remain.

[This brochure is a tour of the old Elk City Wagon Road, with historic sites and a lot of history.]

(click image for large map)

excerpted from: USDA Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests
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Corral Hill, stage stop on Elk City wagon road.


Burned down in 1910.
(go to source for larger photo)

FB source: Shannon Dolph Perry Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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North Idaho Stage Lines Lewiston-Grangeville-Mount Idaho

Idaho Historical Reference Series Number 814, 1985, Prepared by Larry R. Jones

Mining excitements at Florence, Elk city and other interior locations bordering the Salmon River created a need for adequate transportation routes. Lewiston became the supply headquarters for the new mines and Mount Idaho the dispersal point. Suitable wagon and stage roads soon developed between those two points, but beyond Mount Idaho pack trains remained the standard for supplying the mines until the emergence of wagon roads in the 1890’s.

Following the Nez Perce War in 1877, Camas Prairie rapidly developed as an important agricultural and stock area and Grangeville became the leading town, eventually surpassing Mount Idaho as the dispersal point for the interior mining camps.

excerpted from: “North Idaho Stage Lines Lewiston-Grangeville-Mount Idaho”, Idaho Historical Reference Series Number 814, 1985, Prepared by Larry R. Jones
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Old post card of stage on the Stites to Elk City wagon road

(go to source for larger photo)

Staging between Stites and Elk City
Pub. for Post Office Drug Store, Stites, Idaho

FB source: Shannon Dolph Perry Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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Stites to Elk City stage

(go to source for larger photo)

FB source: Shannon Dolph Perry Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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Assessment Of The Lewiston-Elk City Trails

Elk City in 1904
Photo Courtesy of the University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives. PG 5-116-1

The Mapping and Location Of The Elk City Trails And Associated Sites in Idaho, Nezperce, Lewis and Clearwater Counties.
For The Idaho County Historic Preservation Commission
Assessment prepared by James G. Huntley
October 2016 to November 2017

Elk City was the first city founded in Idaho County when a party of some twenty men led by L. B. Monson did not heed the warnings of a Nez Perce Indian and crossed the South Fork of the Clearwater River at the present site of Stites. This party went over the Southern Nez Perce Trail to the Elk Creek Valley. Monson was accompanied by Moses Milner, who would become a legend, and who the following year, would build a trading post at Mount Idaho. The first Claim in the Elk City area was dated June 14, 1861 in the mining district of Union, apparently named by Union sympathizers.

James and William Galbraith started an express and by the end of the placer season of 1862 had shipped some $933,742 in gold dust out of the district. At today’s prices that amount of gold would bring about $70,000,000. A much more conservative estimate is: between 1861 and 1932 some 19,183,000 in gold was shipped out of the Elk City area.
(pg 4)

The Elk City Trail began in Lewiston, Idaho at an elevation of some 737 feet, it went up the east side of Lindsay Creek and entered Township 35N, R5W some 500 feet east of the section corner for section 4 &5. It then went southeast to approximately 1000 feet west of the mouth of Sweetwater Creek, where the trails forked. The southern route bearing south up McCormack Ridge and the northern route bearing east up Lapwai Creek.(pg 5)

At Kamiah the trail to Elk City tied into the Southern Nez Perce Trail and turn southerly up the west side of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River to Kooskia, some 8 miles up river. The elevation on the trail at this point is 1277 feet. From Kooskia the trail continued up the South Fork of the Clearwater River, crossing the river three times before reaching present day Stites. The Trail left the river at this point; climbing the hydrological divide just south of Rabbit Creek until it reached the common junction with the Cottonwood branch of the Elk City.Trail. The elevation at this point is 2800 feet. The Southern Nez Perce trial continues on over Corral Hill (5800 feet), China Point (6100 feet), Mountain House (6400 feet), Elk Summit (6386 feet) and at Elk City the elevation is 3962 feet.
(pg 7)

Elk City Timeline

1861: In May of that year some 52 men left the Pierce City,Oro Fino district to explore the upper waters of the Clearwater River. (Based on my plotting of these old trails, this party traveled over the trail later known at the Kamiah-Pierce City Trail as far as Kamiah.) From Kamiah they traveled up the west side of the Middle Fork as far as Kooskia. Then up the South Fork of the Clearwater River as far as present day Stites. At this point the party left the river and some six miles later the arrived at a Nez Perce village.

The Chief of the village objected to the further advance of the party citing the treaty which banned white men from the south side of the Clearwater. A long discussion followed and thirty of the party turned back, but some twenty men continued on over the Southern Nez Perce Trail and camped at what is now Elk City, where they discovered gold.
(pg 10)

1862: This year saw numerous people flocking into the Clearwater region via the Camas Prairie over two or three routes which passed through present day Cottonwood, Harpster, Kamiah, and Mount Idaho. One Mr. Allen built a way station at Cottonwood, and Moses Milner who had come back from, the Elk City region, built a station at Mount Idaho, which became known as Mountain House. When Milner finished his station he began cutting a trail to Florence which would eventually replace the trail from the Salmon River.

While Allen and Milner were busy building their stations, William Jackson was building a toll bridge and station on the Cottonwood branch of the Elk City Trail. This station was known as Bridgeport and was located at present day Harpster. Sometime prior to the Indian War Jackson apparently sold to a man named Clindinning who ran the station until the Nez Perce War of 1877, when the Indians burned the station, which was never rebuilt.
(pg 11)

1878: In August a small band of Nez Perce decided to return from their refuge in Canada. They were returning over the Southern Nez Perce trail with the Calvary in hot pursuit. When they came to Elk City they stopped at a “China-man’s” cabin looking for something to eat. The band was spotted by a white man who ran into town and proclaimed the Indians were about to attack, which resulted in the whites holding up in the fortifications they had erected the year before. The Indians ignored the whites and proceeded on the Newsome Creek where they “plundered a China-man’s” cabin and stole a horse.

Meanwhile word of the Indians in Elk City had reached Mount Idaho and a few settlers under the command of Benjamin F. Morris went looking for these “renegades”. The volunteers spotted the Indians across the South Fork of the Clearwater beyond Jackson’s Bridge. Upon encountering the whites the Indians scattered and escaped.
(pgs 13-14)

1894: Construction of a wagon road from the town of Clearwater to Elk City was started. It would be finished in 1896. The way station at Switchback was also built in this year.

1895: A gold boom occurred in the Elk City-Dixie Districts and the Salmon River regions that would last until 1898.
(pg 15)

1932: The Highway to Elk City was completed which spelled the end to the stations along the trail to Elk City. This writer has found no record of when the trail from Cottonwood to Harpster was abandon.
(pg 16)

excerpted from: Assessment Of The Lewiston-Elk City Trails, Assessment prepared by James G. Huntley, October 2016 to November 2017source: Idaho County GenWeb
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Elk City Wagon Road Stage just below Newsome headed for Elk City.

Two four-horse teams and passengers. Circa 1920.

(go to source for larger photo)

FB source: U.S. Forest Service – Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests
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Ferry near Elk City – abt. 1910

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Bridges, Clearwater River

Ten miles east of Grangeville lies the principal Clearwater river crossing for roads leading to the mining districts of Newsome, Elk City, Oro Grange, Moose Creek, Deadwood, Red River and Buffalo Hump.Two women riding side saddle are in the foreground.
Copyright is held by the Idaho State Historical Society.
source: Idaho State Historical Society
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Elk City Highway Half Tunnel

Copyright is held by the Idaho State Historical Society.
source: Idaho State Historical Society
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Landslide Elk City, ID. Feb. 18, 2016

Bret Edwards

WARNING: Foul Language! My husband, Bret Edwards and fellow co-workers were working on clearing small debris from Hwy 14 near Elk City, Id. when all heck broke loose! This has been a problem area for sometime, so whenever small rocks start coming down they get out of the way and wait for it to stop trickling. Bret usually gets out his phone and shoots some video just in case. This time it payed off! This was a very close call for the entire crew, things could have turned out much worse. Not only was there the threat of a massive landslide, there are overhead power lines that came crashing down onto the front loader and right where Bret was standing. This is a crazy, real life scary moment. I am thankful to still have him, and the rest of the guys! No one was injured. In the winter, this highway is the only way in and out of Elk City, Dixie and other small communities up river. Thank you for viewing. This video belongs to Bret and Londa Edwards. Do not use this video without written consent from its owner.


Idaho History Oct 21

Elk City, Idaho County Idaho

(Part 3 Murder)

Murders, Poisonings and Executions in Idaho County from Area Newspaper Articles compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Main Street Elk City, Idaho

View of Main Street, Elk City, Idaho

From the Mike Fritz Collection
courtesy Heather Heber Callahan Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
(click for source – larger image)
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Murders, Poisonings and Executions in Idaho County


Idaho County Free Press – Friday, December 14, 1888

Another Good Heathen

Lee Chung, the Moose Creek Murderer, is Shot and Killed on the Clearwater, While Resisting Arrest.

Our readers’ are familiar with the fact that on November 12, Lee Chung, a Chinese desperado, shot and killed two of his partners, Wong Goon Yen and Lin Ok Goon, on the well-known Moose creek mining company’s claim, near Elk City. The double murder made a considerable stir among the county officials and also in the Chinese settlements hereabouts. Several Chinamen went to Moose creek to arrest him, but failed in the attempt and it was reported that he had passed through Lewiston a month ago on his way to Portland, and that he was halfway back to China by this time. The company to which the murdered men belonged offered $600 reward for his arrest, and his description was widely advertised.

Meanwhile sheriff Talkington had received information that the murderer had been seen on the Clearwater, and being an active and zealous official he proceeded to investigate, and found it a sure enough fact. There are a good many Chinamen living on the Clearwater for fifteen or twenty miles above the Jackson bridge – packers, miners and gardeners, who inhabit the little truck patches on the margin of the stream and it soon became evident to the mind of the sheriff that the murderer had been levying upon them for the means of subsistence, and that on account of their fear of the desperado he could never capture the convict while they remained on the river, and he determined upon their removal. A posse was therefore organized and sent into the Clearwater with under sheriff White in charge to bring back to Mt. Idaho every Chinaman found in the canyon. This was done without difficulty when it was explained to them that the object was to facilitate the capture of Lee Chung, when they all went willingly enough, save for a natural aversion to leaving their cabins and gardens unprotected, and by and by, the entire outfit fled into Mt. Idaho and were cautioned to remain there until further orders.

Having thus cleared the decks for action sheriff Talkington and his deputy, C.B. Wood, proceeded to occupy the cabin of Lee Ham, situated about 600 yards above the bridge, and there they awaited developments. Nor had they long to wait, for on Friday night, after fifteen hours of patient waiting, December 7, at eight o’clock, the murderer approached the cabin, pushed the door slightly ajar and thrust in a lighted Chinese taper, as though his suspicions were aroused he desired to light up the room before entering. A Chinaman’s dog had been previously sniffing around the cabin and got the white men’s’ scent, for he barked prodigiously, and this circumstance may have awakened the suspicions of the celestial, who had probably been skulking in the neighborhood of the cabin all day. At any rate the light was silently withdrawn, and after a moment cautiously thrust in again. As he was about to withdraw it for the second time, the sheriff and Wood fired simultaneously. They were random shots, as it was eight o’clock at night, and very dark. Their only guide as a target was the position of the light, which was presumably in his outstretched hand, and from this they guessed the corresponding position of the body and blazed away. They were armed with Winchester shot guns, loaded with twelve buckshot, and a heavy grunt told them he was hit. They then went out and found him around the corner of the house sitting on a pile of brush, with a buckshot in his head, having entered square between the eyes. His left arm was also torn to pieces by a charge. His pistol and taper lay on the ground beside him, and he lived for an hour before yielding up the ghost. Examination showed that the charge from sheriff Talkington’s gun had pierced the door and top button, and then made a center shot plumb between the eyes while Mr. Wood’s shot had taken effect in the arm. It was good work well and skillfully done, and white men and Chinese alike are thankful that the affair terminated as it did – the white people because the county is saved the cost of a criminal trial with no hope of conviction, and the Chinese because they were all so afraid of him that not one would have dared to testify against him if he had been brought to trial, although several of them saw him commit the Moose creek murders.

The body was brought to Mt. Idaho Saturday morning and a coroner’s inquest held and a verdict rendered according to the evidence. Two Chinese merchants from Portland and Spokane Falls, who belonged to the same company as the murdered man had come up to investigate the affair, and had authorized the reward of $600. Within an hour after the rendering of the verdict they had weighed out and paid over the full amount and acted very honorably in the matter from beginning to end. The Chinese here, with the exception of a few who belong to his company, are very glad the miscreant is killed, as he was regarded as a desperado among them, and is known to have killed two men in China and two in California and had besides threatened to kill two more of his partners in the Moose creek claim. He was a deadly shot with a pistol and posed as a holy terror among the “little yellow men.” There is a possibility of a feud growing out of the affair among the rival companies, and it is highly probable in the event that there is any more bloodshed between them the white men will take a hand and run the whole measly gang out of the county. They are a constant source of expense to the bounty treasury and were never known to benefit any community. Their room is preferable to their company at any time.

Transcribed from original microfilm by Penny Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
Copyright Notice: All materials contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of those engaged in researching their family origins. Any commercial use or distribution, without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited. All images used on these pages were obtained from sources permitting free distribution, or generated by the author, and are subject to the same restrictions/permissions. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages do so in recognition of their free, non-commercial distribution, and further, is responsible to assure that no copyright is violated by their submission.
source: Murders, Poisonings and Executions in Idaho County from Area Newspaper Articles compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Believed to be the Chinese Laundry in Elk City 1910

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Elk City 1901

Hotel Parr and Restaurant, Big Buffalo Saloon, Drug Store, Miners Supply.

Copyright Idaho state Historical Society 2012.
source: Idaho State Historical Society
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More photos of the Parr Hotel

link: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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1914 Elk City Murder

The following are newspaper accounts of the murder trial of Frank Hye. Accused of murdering his wife Alma Litchfield Hye and Hugh Kennedy in Elk City on October 4, 1914.

There were many typos in the articles, which I have left as they were. Below is Frank Hye’s mug shot from his prison file, which I located at the Idaho Historical Society. Frank was sentenced to hard labor in the penitentiary for the indeterminate term of from 10 years to his natural life.

Frank Hye’s mug shot from Boise State Penitentiary
submitted by: Penny Bennett Casey

Hugh Kennedy – murdered by Frank Hye
Photo submitted by: Bill Salmon

Alma Hye & baby Tommie – Alma was murdered by her husband Frank Hye
Photo submitted by: Penny Bennett Casey

These pages may not be reproduced for profit. Copyright: Penny Casey 2004


Free Press, Thursday, October 8, 1914

Tragedy at Elk Ends in Double Killing
Mrs. Frank Hye and Hugh Kennedy Killed by Woman’s Husband
Act Done Sunday Evening
Alleged The Man and Woman Found Together
After the Shooting, Hye Gave Himself Up To The Law.

The Elk City community was stunned last Sunday evening by the news that Frank Hye, a well known mining man of the Elk City district and the owner of the Elk City and Stites Stage line had shot and killed his wife and Hugh Kennedy, who had been in Hye’s employ as stage driver.

It is reported that Hye, who had just returned from a visit to Spokane, had reason to suspect certain irregularities and came home Sunday evening unexpected and went to his home in Elk City where he found his wife in bed and the other party disrobing. In the scene which followed and of which nothing is known, the shooting occurred which resulted in the death of both of the victims. After the shooting Hye took his eight-months-old babe and left it in the care of Mrs. Parr, the proprietress of the Elk City Hotel where he told what he had done and immediately took steps to give himself up.

He at once started for Grangeville in the custody of “Slivers” Thompson. Sheriff Eimers, who was at Stites at the time started for Elk City as soon as he heard the news and met the two on the Switchback and brought them on into Grangeville from there, Deputy Sheriff William Webb started for Elk City from Grangeville Monday morning as soon as he heard the news but Sheriff Eimers had already taken the steps indicated to bring the prisoner in.

Hye is in jail here at present and under the advice of his attorney, Wallace N. Scales has nothing whatever to say concerning the affair. The house was locked by Elk City citizens soon after the shooting so that an investigation could be made by the county officers when the proper time arrived.

Coroner Blake, county attorney M. R. Hattabaugh and B. Auger, county stenographer have gone to Elk City to investigate the affair and to hold an inquest and Hye is held in jail pending the investigations and until further steps can be determined upon after the county attorney returns from Elk City.

Frank Hye is a man of splendid reputation in the Elk City country and is well known in mining circles, coming to the county some time ago for the purpose of engaging in mining and to develop some properties which he owned in the Elk City district. He has conducted a store in the camp for a time and was a saloon keeper there for a while. Some short time ago he took the mail contract between Stites and Elk City and bought the interests of Pettibone in the stage line.

Hye is 40 years old and was married to Miss Alma Litchfield two or three years ago. She is about 27 years old and comes from a well known and highly respected family who have resided in the Elk City district and has resided in this county for a long time.

Hugh Kennedy, the man killed, was just 20 years, 11 months and three days of age at the time of his death and was employed by Hye as a stage driver between Elk City and Stites. Kennedy formerly resided with his parents in Grangeville and he is well known in the community having attended the public schools here. His father died here about 12 years ago in 1902 and is buried in the Grangeville cemetery. After the death of the father the deceased removed with his mother and brother to Stites. The brother A.D. Kennedy, removed from Stites to Orofino where he is a highly respected business man. A.D. Kennedy is in Grangeville today and has arranged to have the body brought in from Elk City for burial with the deceased father in the local cemetery. The arrival of the remains is expected today and will be buried from the undertaking parlors tomorrow.

The tragedy comes as a great shock to the citizens of Elk City as Hye and his wife have always been held high in the esteem of the citizens of that community and there was no knowledge but that there was the best of understanding between the two parties. No charge as yet has been filed against Hye and further developments will await the return of Attorney Hattabaugh from Elk City.

Free Press, October 15, 1914

Hye Will Answer to Charge of Murder – a Strict Silence Is Being Maintained by the Prosecution and Accused
Preliminary Next Friday
Single Charge of Murder of His Wife Alma Hye is Brought Against Defendant by the State.

Little is revealed of the particulars of the tragedy which took place at Elk City last week and the officers who investigated the affair are maintaining a strict silence about the case and the inner facts of the shooting will not in any probability he revealed until the trial of Hye when he is called to answer by the law.

The coroner’s inquest was completed at Elk on Wednesday of last week and no news of the matters brought out at the hearing have been revealed. The Hye home was guarded from the time of the shooting until the county officers arrived to take matters in hand in conducting an investigation. County Attorney Hattabaugh returned from Elk City the later part of the week.

The coroner’s jury brought in a verdict that the deceased victims came to their deaths from gun shot wounds inflicted by Frank Hye with homicidal intent. A charge of murder was filed against Hye last Saturday evening, he being charged with the murder of his wife, Alma Hye.

The county prosecutor has seen fit to bring only a charge of murder against Hye on a single charge and has elected to try the defendant on the one charge of murdering his wife instead of a joint offense. Therefore Hye will be tried on the one charge and will have another facing him at the conclusion of the trial for the present charges.

Considerable interest has been aroused in the case but the strictest silence is being maintained by both the officers who represent the state and those who represent the accused. John Eimers has been in at Elk City this week and subpoenaed 12 witnesses for the state and 3 for the defense to testify at the preliminary hearing which has been set for next Friday the 16th of October.

It is reported that in all four shots were fired by Hye of which three took effect in the body of Hugh Kennedy and that Mrs. Hye was struck by only one bullet. Hye has been visited in the county jail by his brother who arrived from Spokane last week. He has declined to receive visits from anyone but his brother and his attorney, W.N. Scales. His interests in connection with the stage line between Elk City and Stites are being attended by Mr. Pettibone who formerly owned the line and sold it to Mr. Hye.

Free Press, October 19, 1914

Hye Out on Bonds
The Necessary Seven Thousand Dollars Raised this Week.

The bond of $3000, which was set in the case of the State of Idaho vs. Frank Hye, who was charged with the killing of Hugh Kennedy, said case being passed upon by Judge Garets upon the testimony brought out in the preliminary in which he was charged with the killing of his wife, was provided Monday by the defendant who is now at liberty. The total bond for the two cases was $7000. Hye left the first of the week for Stites where he will spend several days looking after business and will later return to Spokane to remain until the next term of the district court. The three thousand dollar bond was signed by John Skedgel, T.B. York, R.M. Hannaford, R.Anderson, T.C. Benoy, N. Bowman and Frank Hye. In conversation with the writer the defendant stated there was absolutely no foundation to the rumor that he would not be here when district court sets and stated he had no reason to leave the country.

Free Press, October 22, 1914

(page 1)

Preliminary Held Behind Closed Doors
Hearing of Frank Hye on Murder Charge Grinds From Friday to Tuesday.
Hye Permitted to Give Bail
Defendant Held on Murder Charge
News of Evidence Gets Out in Spite of Secrecy of Hearing

Before the hearing of Frank Hye was commenced last Friday morning Judge DeHaven sustained a motion of W.N. Scales, attorney for Frank Hye, to exclude the public and members of the bar from the hearing, allowing only the officers and attorney for accused to remain and the room was cleared. After the order was enforced the hearing proceeded.

Two witnesses were put on the stand Friday. One of the witnesses, Mrs. Baskett, of Elk City, testified as to her acquaintance with Mrs. Hye and Hugh Kennedy, the two victims, for along time dating to the childhood of both of deceased and that her position in the hotel at Elk City allowed her to know intimately the habits and dispositions of both of them. She said there had never been a thing that would indicate improper relations between Mrs. Hye and Kennedy and that no person in Elk City had reported any knowledge of such relations. Mrs. Baskett gave testimony as to the clothing worn by Mrs. Hye when she left the hotel scarcely an hour before she was killed. She said it was not the same as found on a chair in the dining room of the Hye home after the woman and Kennedy had been killed.

James H. Lysle, the Stites liveryman and the second witness put on by the state on Monday gave testimony intended to show premeditation on the part of Hye, two instances being shown where he had left Stites on horseback in the evening, one time saying he was going to Kooskia and at another time that he was going out to look for horses but each time he made a night ride to Elk City and had prepared himself with food, candles and other equipment necessary to stay out in the woods. One of these occasions was on September 26 and the other on October 3, the night before the killing at Elk City.

William Walker, a farmer, residing between Clearwater and the Switchback station testified that Hye endeavored to avoid the station by riding around but was seen on the road before reaching the station and after passing it.

Saturday only two witnesses were put on the stand, being Coroner Blake and H.T. Thompson who started out from Elk City with Hye after the per?(unreadable) of the deed.

The witness told of Hye having spent all of Sunday, Oct 4, before the shooting in the woods near Elk City, hiding his horse in a gulch where he spent the day and that he had a supply of food, candles and other things needed in staying out in the open and brought out that Mrs. Hye was either in a kneeling or pleading position when she was shot. The range of the bullet indicating this; that the clothing worn by Mrs. Hye when she left the Elk City hotel an hour before she was killed was partially burned in the parlor stove at the Hye home; that the beads worn about her neck the evening before she was shot were taken from the parlor stove at the Hye home in a partially melted condition; that the clothing taken from the chair in the Hye dining room had not been worn by Mrs. Hye; that a broken comb, buttons torn from a woman’s clothing and other women’s articles were found on the floor where Mrs. Hye and Hugh Kennedy were shot by Hye.

The cross examination by Attorney Wallace N. Seales indicated that the defense is endeavoring to lay a foundation for a contention that a fierce struggle took place in the Hye home before the shooting.

Coroner Blake testified also as the the bullet wound which passed out about five inches below where it entered Mrs. Hye’s breast, and as to certain scratches found on her head and of a bruise on her chin. Three bullets entered the body of Hugh Kennedy and there were two bullet wounds on his wrist which he could not say were inflicted by the bullets which passed through the body.

Dr. Blake also told of finding buttons on the floor which had been torn from a woman’s dress, and of a broken hair comb found on the floor and of burned buttons recovered from the ashes taken from the parlor stove at the Hye house. A woman’s blood-stained sweater was found on a chair and he said Mrs. Hye’s hair was matted with blood, the body lying on the floor near a couch. He found blood spot on the wall above the couch and blood on a woman’s stocking found behind the stove several feet away from the body.

Some beads were identified as being found in the ashes of the stove and which were identified as being worn by Mrs. Hye a short time before she was killed. Thompson testified as to the candle and food found where Hye had tied his horse.

Monday the trial was resumed and Mrs. L.A. Painter, sister of the murdered woman, testified as to the hair pins found in Mrs. Hye’s hair, showing that she had not prepared for bed and that the corset and little of the clothing found in the dining room on the chair after the shooting was worn by Mrs. Hye on the day she was killed. She also testified that the clothing worn by Mrs. Hye when last seen at the hotel was not found and had disappeared, the house being guarded from the time Hye informed others of his deed to the time of the coroner’s inquest. She identified a piece of ribbon from the corset cover worn by Mrs. Hye on the day she was killed and the beads and clover leaf pin, all found in the stove, as being worn by Mrs. Hye on the day of the tragedy.

The state concluded its evidence Monday and Tuesday after the defense had put five witnesses on the stand and Judge James DeHaven has ordered held the accused to answer to a charge of murder in the first degree, and to appear for trial before the District Court. He also provided that he should be released upon his putting up a bond in the sum of $4000, although his release on a bond was resisted on the ground that the offense was unbailable. The evidence of the witnesses put on by the defense corroborated the evidence of the state in many respects.

Free Press, November 12, 1914

Hye Gave $4000 Bonds But Is Arrested on Second Charge
Now Held on Another Charge of Killing Hugh Kennedy
Justice Garrets Fixes Bail at $3000

Last Saturday Hye gained the freedom which was afforded by bail which was furnished by him in the amount of $4000, and which was fixed by Judge DeHaven after the preliminary hearing held sometime ago on a charge preferred against him for murdering his wife. The bonds were given by John Skedgel of Stites and George Trader of Dixie and these sureties were accepted as sufficient by Judge DeHaven.

The moment of liberty from the jail was short, however, as he was almost immediately taken up on a second warrant sworn out against him before Justice of the Peace, Garets, and charging him with the murder of Hugh Kennedy. He was seen on the streets of Grangeville Saturday morning but was then in the custody of Sheriff Eimers.

As a second preliminary hearing on a second charge would put great expense on the county, and as the same witnesses would testify in the second hearing, it was stipulated between Judge W.N. Scales, the attorney for the defendant, and M. R. Hattabaugh, county prosecutor, that the evidence taken in the first preliminary, should stand in the case on the second charge, to be read by Justice Garrets and from which the opinion should be formulated.

County stenographer B. Auger was immediately urged to complete the transcription of the testimony offered in the preliminary so that the same could be read by Justice Garets, and same was completed last Tuesday. This morning Judge Garets held the accused on the second charge and he is to be admitted to bail upon his furnishing and has not been forthcoming.

The substance of the transcript is bond in the sum of $3000, which as yet not revealed and will be filed in the clerk of the district court as records of the court.

Free Press, February 4, 1915

Jurymen Drawn and Summoned to Appear Monday Morning
Thirty Jurors Summoned to Sit on Civil and Criminal Cases
Three Weeks of Jury Work

The criminal cases which will be tried at this term have all been set and the most of them will be tried during next week. The civil jury cases which have been set will take up the entire third week of the term commencing Monday, February 15. The Frank Hye case is set for trial on Monday, Feb. 22. This will be during the fourth week of the spring term of court and will probably mark the end of the jury work.

The jurors who are to serve during this term and who will render the verdicts between man and man and the state and man were drawn this week. There are thirty of them and the following is the list:

Wm. C. Brewer, Kamiah; W.B. VanWert, Grangeville; J.H. Johnson, Ferdinand, Riley Roby, Cottonwood; Albert Gregg, Grangeville; Fred Huffman, Stites; Robert Barnett, Grangeville; Wm. F. Han?, Grangeville; ? Finney, Kamiah; John F. Oliver, Grangeville; John Kerr, Harpster; C.M. Day, Kooskia; John Meyers, Cottonwood; T.W. McCune, Joseph; M.S. Martin, Grangeville; John L. Lamb, Winona; Theo P. Tollefson, Stites; J. G. Rowton, Kooskia; Fred Cullison, Grangeville; Ben Terwillegar, Greencreek; J.D. Standberry, Winona; M.I. Cross, Grangeville; James L. Mchugh, Tharp; Chas Salee, Boles; Lee Yates, Grangeville; Frank Forsman, Cottonwood; W.H. Giles, Newsome; E.W. Barnum, Clearwater; Peter Aschenbrenner, Ferdinand; Barney Stubbers, Greencreek.

Free Press, February 18, 1915

More Jurors Are Summoned for Monday
Necessary for the Trial of the Hye Case the Coming Week
One Week More for Jury
Several Cases Continued for the Term
Verdict of $7500 for Plaintiff in Case of Murphy vs. Brown

Saturday it was ordered that 35 additional jurors be drawn from the jury box of Idaho County to become a part of the regular panel. The necessity for this if found in the coming trial of the Hye case and the jurors are to report on Monday morning.

The jurors who were summoned to report are: L.H. Kerlee, Thomas S. Galloway, C.W. McLaughlin, Robert Markham, L.C. Adams, Geo. W. Stephens, Geo Simons, Robert Griffith, Howard McKinley, William E. Canfield, John A Powell, W.W. Blackburn, B.H. Abell, F.M. Bowman, George Fenn, N.F. King, C.E. McCulley, N.B. Young, W.J. Harrah, Jake Crooks, William Badgero, W.J. Braybrook, C.L. Rive, D.A. Jordan, M.S. McMurry, Dave Pugh, J.M. Foldon, John S. Warden, T.B. Fuller, J.R. McConnel, Charles Holt, A.C. Meisner, John R. Tallman, Fred Painter, N.M. Ashbaugh.

Two cases were disposed of since last week by continuance being continued by agreement, one being Davis Bros. vs. Stacey, and the other being Davis Bros. vs. Samuel Bicklet. Friday the case of the State vs. Deering was continued for the term. Deering is charged with stealing horses.

The jury cases will all be disposed of by the end of the week and next week the trial of the Hye case will commence on Monday. Following this case several other jury cases will be tried which will close the jury work for the term.

Free Press, Thursday, February 25, 1915

(Headline on Front Page)

Hye Trial Opened Monday
Preliminary Facts Established by State
The Trial Grinds Slowly
Jury Completed Tuesday
Trial Commenced Tuesday Afternoon
Statements By State and Defense

Monday morning the case of the State vs. Frank Hye, on a charge of murder of Alma Hye, wife of defendant, on October 4, last, was called for trial at 9:00 o’clock a.m. A.S. Hardy was entered as associate counsel to assist W. N Scales in the defense of the case. The witnesses, 60 or more were present and after having been sworn upon motion of counsel for the defense were excluded from the court room during the trial of the case. Mr. and Mrs. Litchfield, mother and father of the deceased and Tom Hye of Spokane, brother of defendant were permitted to remain in the courtroom. The defense objected to more than one witness for the state remaining in the room but on request of the state, L.A. Painter, a brother-in-law of the deceased wife of defendant was permitted to remain, as having been one who has assisted materially in gathering evidence for the state.

Jury Completed by Tuesday

All of Monday and Tuesday forenoon were consumed in selecting a jury and the jurymen as finally selected to hear the case and render a verdict are as follows:

Barney Steubbers, Greencreek, farmer; J.H. Johnson, Ferdinand, farmer; John Tollman, Westlake, farmer; John F. Oliver, Grangeville, farmer; W.G. Hanson, Grangeville, farmer; E.W. Barnum, Clearwater, liveryman; W.J. Braybrook, Grangeville, farmer; T.S. McCune, Joseph, farmer; L.C. Adams, Caribel, farmer; Albert Gregg, Grangeville, farmer; C.N. McLaughlin, Cottonwood, liveryman,; Peter Aschenbrenner, Ferdinand, farmer.

Of about 60 jurymen summoned and present, 45 were examined before the jury was finally completed. A large number were challenged and dismissed for cause, 14 in all. The state when the panel was finally complete accepted the jury as constituted and on its second and tenth peremptory challenges accepted the jury, exercising only 7 of the 10 peremptory challenges which the law gives. The defense, however, used all of its ten. Only 3 men of the panel first selected were retained when the jury was finally complete.

In questioning the jurors, the state invariably asked every jurymen drawn from the box to take the place of the one dismissed for cause or excused peremptorily, whether he considered the offense of adultery any more reprehensible in a woman that in a man, and also put the questions to whether if the defendant should endeavor to establish that he had discovered his wife in criminal relations with another whether that would influence a verdict on the part of the juror.

The defense very diligently endeavored to ascertain whether the jurors were acquainted with any of the Litchfield family and also asked if any of the jurors had been approached to sign a petition to be presented to the board of commissioners to raise funds for the prosecution of the case.

Trial Commences Tuesday

After the jury was empanelled just before noon, Tuesday, the court adjourned until 2:00 o’clock p.m. At that hour, it again convened for the trial of the case and upon the motion of Judge James F. Aishie, who is engaged in the trial of the cause to assist the prosecution, requested a recess of a half or three quarters of an hour to examine the exhibits in the case as he had had no previous opportunity to examine the same theretofore. An hour and and five minutes were consumed in this and then the attorneys were brought into court and directed by Judge Steele to proceed with the case.

Statement by James F. Ailshie

The statement of the prosecution was made by Judge Ailshie; and was brief, giving a short recital concerning the relationship between the defendant and decease wife from time of their marriage until her decease and mentioned the fact that he had just recently to the act for which he is tried engaged in handling the mail contract and that one of his drivers was Hugh Kennedy, also a victim in the Elk City tragedy. That a son was born to defendant and Alma Hye and that the state would attempt to prove that defendant attempted to have an abortion committed upon his wife shortly before the birth of the son. That the parties lived in Elk City making that their home and on the eve of October 4, three persons were in a room at the Hye residence, Hugh Kennedy, Alma Hye and defendant and that the former two were killed that evening by defendant. That 6 or 7 citizens visited the scene of the tragedy shortly after it occurred and that they found the dead bodies and that the body of Alma Hye had several bruises. That the act of defendant in trying to have an abortion performed would be attempted to be shown as a part of the malice in the act which ended in death and finally that the case would be developed by the evidence of the witnesses introduced in the trial of the case.

Statement by W.N. Scales

W.N. Scales briefly stated the outline of the defense, following the statement by Judge Ailshie and stated that the defense would endeavor to prove that Alma Hye and Hugh Kennedy were in the house together on the night of the tragedy and found by the defendant, the former almost devoid of clothing and the latter in the act of disrobing. Mr. Scales stated that they would show that the death of Alma Hye was connected with the death of Hugh Kennedy and grew out of the presence of the latter on the night the shooting occurred. That the case of the defense would be developed by the witnesses as they testified.

Witnesses Called by the State

Mrs. Baskett was called as the first witness for the prosecution but as she was ill at the Imperial hotel, the order of the witnesses was changed and E. M. Watson, a butcher in Elk was called. Watson has lived in Elk City about 1 1/2 years and 19 years in Idaho. The witness testified as to seeing the defendant about 10 o’clock of the night of the tragedy and had been at the Parr hotel early in the evening, later going across to his store and after reading a while, went to bed. Shortly after he had retired he was aroused by “Sliver” Thompson who told him to come over to the hotel as something awful had happened. That they went over to the hotel where they found Hye in the living room moaning and saying something about “Why did you do it Alma.”

Witness stated that Thompson advised Hye that he had better go out and give himself up as the Litchfields were very hot headed and that it would not be safe for him to remain until they heard of the act and that preparations were then made for him to leave.

A party consisting of the witness, Cora Hansen, Mrs. Baskett, H.P. Thompson, Al Austin, Fred Painter and Fred Hopwood later went to the house where the two victims were to ascertain if they were yet dead.

They went in by the way of the woodshed according to the testimony and from there into the kitchen and from the kitchen into the parlor or living room where the body of Mrs. Hye and Kennedy lay. Witness said she had nothing on but an undervest without sleeves and that next he saw the feet of Kennedy and went around the table and saw him propped up against the wall.

His testimony also established the position of Mrs. Hye and of Kennedy, he stating that Mrs. Hye was lying on her back with her left hand on her stomach and right out on the floor, her head slightly to the right and her feet pointed towards the stove. She was laying near a couch in the room.

Kennedy’s body was laying near the window in the room witness stated. Witness thought that he was dressed and that he had something red on and stated that the excitement had caused him to do little else but ascertain if the two were dead and that after this had been discovered the body of Mrs. Hye was covered with a sheet which Thompson got out of the adjoining bed room and the party went back to the hotel.

Witness served on the coroner’s jury and the bodies when he saw them again were lying practically where they were before, Kennedy being away from the wall. He stated that the bullet which killed Mrs. Hye entered above the left nipple and went out about 5 inches below on the back. He did not discover any bruises on Mrs. Hye and stated that the way the body of defendant’s wife lay, she could hardly fall in that position. He did not discover any wearing apparel about the room he stated and was not sure of this point as he was excited and did not look for any.

Witness further testified as to going back to the hotel and seeing Hye get in the buggy and leave, and before leaving he shook hands with him and that Baskett shook hands with defendant and defendant asking if Baskett wanted to shake a hand that was stained.

Following Watson, L.A. Painter, a brother-in-law of the Alma Hye, was put on the stand and testified as to making certain measurements of the Hye home and around the premises about 2 or 3 weeks ago, and identified a map of the house and premises made by C.E. Skoglar of Elk City and verified the distances as designated in the map. John P. Eimers was next put on the stand and testified as to taking certain distances and measures in the house and about the Hye place and verified the distances as designated on the map made by Mr. Skoglar. C.E. Skoglar was next put on the stand and testified as to making the drawing, the house being drawn to scale and other distances just being marked.

Mr. Painter was again put on the stand and examined and identified a drawing of the room in which the tragedy occurred and which was drawn to scale from measurements made by himself and “Slivers” Thompson. This was marked in evidence for further use in the trial. Mrs. George B. McDonald from Elk City was next put on the stand by the prosecution and testified as to particulars which were recorded, subsequent to the shooting and the proceedings at the coroner’s inquest. Mrs. McDonald proved to be a good witness and answered questions swiftly and without hesitancy.

She testified as to coming up from the Grangeville mine where she was keeping boarders and that on October 7 she went to the Hye home to help prepare the body of the deceased, Alma Hye and that she first saw the body on that day. The next day she went back with Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Painter to assist in preparing the body for burial.

She described the condition of the body stating that there was a cut in the scalp about 4 inches above the left ear; that there was a bruise on the left side of the chin; that a piece was gone out of the lip on the right side and a little piece out of the corner of the lip. Also that there was a small piece of skin gone from the little finger of the left hand between the knuckle and the second joint of the hand.

She described the gunshot wound on the left side of Mrs. Hye and stating that the bullet went out in the back, lower than where it entered the body. She helped wash the body of the deceased, she washing one side and Mrs. Painter, deceased’s sister washing the other side.

She stated that the hair of Mrs. Hye was clotted with blood and that the blood was worse on the left side where the scalp wound was but that it had run down into the hair and matted. There was blood in the left ear, in the mouth and the nostrils were full of blood according to the statement of the witness. She stated that she and Mrs. Painter raised the head from the floor and placed it in a basin of warm water to try to get the blood out and that the water was changed three times but they were unable to get all of it out of the hair. She stated that she measured the hair of Mrs. Hye and that it was about 54 inches long and that it was heavy.

Mrs. McDonald testified whether as to having seen the body when it was exhumed last week and that the wound in the scapl had shrunken. She said that Mr. Thompson and Mr. Painter had measured the wound when the body was prepared for bural and that it was about one and three eights inches long. She described the wound as going to the skull and being clean cut.

The state here put the hair of Mrs. Hye in evidence, which witness identified and testified that she cut from the head of the deceased when she was prepared for burial. She stated that it was cut about six inches from the head and that it had been washed but pointed out blood which remained in it and which was not washed out.

Mr. Hardy examined the witness on cross examination and the witness followed what she had formerly testified to and added further testimony as to the head lying on the left side and that Mrs. Hye’s hair was done up in a coil on that side of her head. She further testified as to taking five hair pins out of the hair of deceased and the Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Painter had some which they took out of her hair. Some hairpins which were offered at the preliminary hearing were then identified by witness as being like those she had taken out of the hair and were offered and marked in evidence over the objections of the defense. This concluded the work of the trial for Tuesday and court adjourned until 9:00 o’clock Wednesday.

Trial Resumed Wednesday

The trial of the case was resumed Wednesday morning. Mrs. McDonald was recalled and gave further testimony as to the condition of the rooms of the house. She stated that she found blood stains on the wall back of the couch in the parlor of the Hye home about 2 or 3 feet above the floor. She described the stains as a blotch on the wall about 3 or 4 inches in diameter and that there were stringy marks as if the head of Mrs. Hye had hit the wall. She stated that there were some blood stains on the couch cover and on the pillow cover and also on the table cover on the center table in the room. The pillow on which the blood stains were found was lying on the couch according to the witness when she discovered them and she stated that there were blood stains on the end of the cover which was over the lounge next to the wall. She testified that she saw three drops of blood on the floor of the porch which was in front of the wood shed and near the door and that they had been tramped over considerably

She testified as to seeing some women’s clothing in the dining room, which was also used as a kitchen and that they were laying on a chair. These were a white petticoat, a blue dress, a sailor suit, a corset and a pair of supporters. The chair was standing near the dining room table in the room which adjoined the wood shed and also the parlor in which the tragedy occurred. Here various articles of clothing was identified by the witness as having been seen on the chair. A pair of tan stocking and a pair of red shoes were also identified by the witness who stated that they were found in the parlor behind the stove and she pointed out a blood stain on one of the stockings stating further that the stockings were stuffed in the shoes when found.

Mr. Hardy here cross examined the witness and asked if witness had stated to Mrs. Basket and Mrs. Wm. Myers that Mrs. Hye’s skull was crushed and she admitted that she told them that she thought that the skull was crushed. These were the main points brought out and the defense having concluded their examination of witness the state elicited further testimony from witness. She said that they had found a pair of ear rings in deceased’s ears when they were preparing the body for burial and that she had a bracelet on one wrist. She testified as to seeing Mrs. Painter take a pin from the stove which she had seen Mrs. Hye wear while alive. She testified as to charred fragments of some gingham, a safety pin on a piece of pink ribbon, some beads and other articles being found in the ashes in the stove. These things were identified by the witness and offered and marked in evidence.

She stated that there was a bullet hole in the right hand wall of the parlor of the Hye home and as one would go into the room from the dining room and one in the left hand wall, also one in the corner of the room where the two walls meet and she stated that a bullet was dug out of this hole. The bullet hole in the corner was about 22 inches from the wall according to the testimony of the witness. She stated that a bullet was picked up under the double window in the room, to the left of the holes in the walls and about four feet from the wall. On re-cross examination nothing further was developed.

Testimony of Cora Hanson

Cora Hanson who teaches school in Elk was the next witness put on by the state and testified that she roomed at the Parr Hotel and saw Alma Hye last on the night of the tragedy between the hours of 8 o’clock and 8:30. That deceased remained at the hotel till about 15 minutes till 9 o’clock to the best of her knowledge and that she then left for home taking her little baby with her.

She stated that she was called from her room by Mrs. Baskett at 20 minutes past 10 o’clock and that she knew the exact time having looked at her watch which was lying on her dresser when called by Mrs. Baskett. She testified that she went down to Mrs. Baskett’s room where she found Hye, the defendant, Jessie Baskett and Mrs. Baskett and that Jessie was in bed.

As she went into the room she said that she heard the defendant say, “Alma, Alma, why did you do it.” and that she said to defendant, “You didn’t shoot them, Mr. Hye” to which he replied that he had, and in answer to her question where Mrs. Hye was he stated that she was in the parlor.

The witness then told of the party gathering to go up to the Hye home and retold practically the same story as told by Lisha Watson who was one of the party and whose testimony is given above. She told of going to the house in which the two deceased victims were and that the party entered by the way of the wood house, going on into the kitchen and from the kitchen into the parlor where she saw the bodies.

She testified that she was under a nervous strain when she entered the house and that Mr. Painter when they first entered called out the name of Alma. She testified as to the position of the body of Mrs. Hye stating that deceased was laying on her back and that her hands were crossed over her stomach and that she was laying in a straight position with her head turned slightly to the right towards the bedroom door.

She described the dress of the deceased, Alma Hye, when she last saw her alive at the hotel and stated that she was wearing a pair of red shoes, had on a lavender colored dress, a small apron and had a beaded velvet band around her neck and that she noticed a bracelet on her arm. The witness was unable to give further testimony in this way. She testified as to going into the bedroom which goes out from the kitchen, with Mrs. Baskett, one of the party, to gather up the baby’s clothes and that she went into the pantry with Mrs. Baskett to get some milk for the baby. Court here adjourned until 1:30 Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday afternoon Cora Harris (typo, probably Hanson) was recalled for cross examination. She testified that she last saw Hugh Kennedy at noon Sunday and heard him in the hotel office in the early afternoon. She testified that Mrs. Hye was in the office, that when she saw Hye after the tragedy has occurred, she has seen no blood on his hands and clothing. She testified as to the clothing Kennedy had on when she saw him lying in the Hye house, and said it consisted of a light shirt, dark trousers, no coat and shoes on. She saw some clothing on a chair which was near the center table. Witness stated that when she left the room in which the bodies were laying she put her muff up over her face and went out into the kitchen and kept her face covered and therefore she stated that she was not in position to see much in the rooms and besides the only light was lantern light which was very poor.

Mrs. G.L.L. Baskett Testifies

Mrs. Baskett, proprietress of the Parr Hotel, was the next witness put on by the state and as she has been ill since the trial of the case commenced and she had not entirely recovered at the time she testified. She stated that she last saw Mrs. Hye on October 4 between nine and ten when she was leaving the hotel to go home and that she had been there all the afternoon. She did not see Hye during the day and first saw him about 10:15 when he came to the hotel with the baby which he handed to her saying he had killed Alma and Hughie. She stated that he said “I know Hugh is dead but I don’t think Alma is,” or words to that effect., and she stated that she would go over and then she went up and called Miss Hanson.

She stated that Hye had said that he didn’t intend to shoot when he went into the room but that Hugh called him a vile name and that that was more than he could stand. She took the baby from defendant and put it in bed with her daughter Jessie. She testified that she thought that it had the same clothes on that it was dressed in when Mrs. Hye was at the hotel in the afternoon.

Mrs. Baskett recounted the facts connected with the gathering of a party together to go up to the Hye home and going up to the house, which testimony was substantially the same as that of witnesses Watson and Cora Hanson. As to what she saw at the house she testified as to the position of the bodies which corresponded with testimony of other witnesses who have testified and stated that Alma Hye was laying on her back with both hands crossed on her abdomen. She saw some clothes on a chair by the table in the dining room but could not tell what they were.

As to the clothes which Kennedy had on when she saw him in the Hye home she stated that she only saw him from the waist up and thought that he had the same clothes on that he had worn when she saw him at the hotel, but stated that he did not have the sweater on when she saw him on the floor. She also stated that she saw a coat and hat laying on a chair in the room where the bodies were. As to the clothes Kennedy wore when she saw him alive, she stated that he was dressed in a light shirt, dark navy blue pants, had a light felt hat on his head and wore a red sweater.

She also testified as to the clothing worn by Mrs. Hye on the date of the shooting and described a red sweater she wore, also a black beaded velvet band which she wore around her neck. She stated that she had on a pair of red shoes and identified the shoes offered in evidence as being similar to the ones worn by Alma. The pansy pin found in the stove was also examined by Mrs. Baskett and she stated that it looked like a pin frequently worn by Mrs. Hye before her decease. She testified as to the manner in which Mrs. Hye wore here hair. Other testimony was given with reference to what occurred at the hotel when she returned from the Hye home and which immediately proceeded the time when Hye left for Grangeville. She had prepared a meal for the party, and stated that Hye ate before leaving and drank some tea.

Mrs. Baskett was excused and Mrs. Bell was next called by the state she testifying that she came in from her home at Orogrande to assist in preparing the body of Alma Hye for burial and that she was present at the Hye home and assisted Mrs. G.B. McDonald and Mrs. Painter in caring for the body.

She said that they had tried to wash the blood out of Alma’s hair and changed the water three times and that each time it was quite bloody and that finally Mrs. McDonald cut the hair off about six inches from the head. She saw Mrs. Painter take some hair pins out of the hair and picked up some herself. According to her testimony the hair was coiled and the blood had matted it. She described the scalp wound above the left ear and also stated that a small piece was gone from the corner of the mouth and that there was a bruise on the chin of the body. Also that there was a small piece of flesh gone from the little finger of the left hand. That the left ear of deceased and her nostrils were filled with blood and that there was blood in her mouth. She saw Mrs. Painter take a pansy pin from the stove and saw the beads that Thompson had taken ??(unreadable). The witness was excused, court adjourned until Thursday morning at 8:30.

Thursday’s Proceedings

L.A. Painter was called to the stand Thursday morning and testified concerning going to the house with the party to investigate and upon entering the woodshed he called Alma’s name twice. He testified as to the position of the bodies and said that he touched Mrs. Hye’s body and it was not cold.

Upon his return to the hotel he went to the kitchen where the defendant, Mrs. Baskett and Slivers Thompson were, and they were talking about going to Grangeville and he suggested that they had better get him out before the folks found it out and he suggested that defendant take the South Fork trail.

Witness testified as to seeing blood stains on the wall and as to examining the stove with Mr. Thompson, and that they took the ash pan out, and stated that some burnt cloth, a piece of pink ribbon with safety pin, and some beads were taken from the stove and identified the articles which had been placed in evidence. He saw some hair pins picked up from the floor and saw the wound on Mrs. Hye’s head, stating that he had measured it and that it was 1 and 3/8 inches long. The cross examination brought out nothing new the witness stating that he did not see a red sweater in the room, nor a hat and coat.

Testimony of Coroner

Coroner H.B. Blake was next called and testified as to holding the inquest. He stated that the deceased came to her death from a shot wound 1 and 1/2 inches left of the medium line in front and 3 1/4 inches above the left nipple; and the would on the back was 5 inches below the wound in front and 1 1/2 inches from the medium line of the back. In his opinion the wounds were caused by the same bullet and that the heart had probably been struck. The body was lying on the back when he first saw it and to the best of his knowledge the hands were on the abdomen, the head being slightly turned to the right. Other information was brought out concerning the holding of the inquest and taking the jury to view the bodies in the afternoon of the day the inquest was held.

Mrs. L.A Painter Called

Mrs. L.C.Painter, sister of deceased was called after coroner Blake left the stand and testified as to living in the upper part of town and saw Mrs. Hye on October 4 as she was going to her mother’s place. She passed the Hye house and her sister was at home but was not feeling very well when she left eh house at 1 o’clock. As she left her sister was in the school house yard holding her baby and she stated that Mrs. Hye was going to the Parr Hotel for dinner. She saw her sister dress before she left and she put on a pair of red shoes and tan stockings, a white petticoat, a new corset, white corset cover with pink ribbons, a lavender dress, an apron and red sweater. She had put on a white hat, and a black velvet band around her neck with beads on it, and a heavy black comb in her hair. She stated that the deceased was not wearing the clothes offered in evidence and which were found on the chair in the dining room after the tragedy. She identified the ? offered in evidence and the red shoes and tan stockings. She had found pieces of a broken comb behind the couch in the living room which were similar to the comb which her sister was wearing in her hair on the day of the tragedy and these were marked in evidence. Witness stated that the comb was not broken when her sister put it on.

She testified that she and the coroner looked for the clothes the deceased had worn on the day of October 4 and looked thru the house and in the stove where she found some small pearl buttons which she gave to Coroner Blake and these were identified and marked in evidence. This was on the day of the inquest and she left the house first according to her testimony. These were the main points brought out by the testimony of the witness and court adjourned until 1:30 p.m.

Free Press, March 4, 1915

(Front Page Headline)

Hye Tells His Story to Jury

(Note: There are two stories of the Hye Trial headlined in this issue)

Defendant on Stand Wednesday and Recites Gruesome Tale
Made Three Secret Trips One Sept 13, A Second Sept 26, And The Fatal Trip Oct 3.
Case Closed This Afternoon

Testimony in the Hye case was closed at 3:35 this afternoon and Court adjourned until tomorrow when the arguments will be made. It is probable that the case will go to the jury along about four o’clock, tomorrow afternoon.

Defendant on Stand Wednesday

When court was convened Wednesday morning the room was jammed to the doors, the aisles being filled between the seats as far down as the officers would permit the crowd to push. The defense having announced Tuesday night that they would put the defendant on stand Wednesday morning, and eager crowd gathered to hear the testimony he would give. Two witnesses Mr. Titler, a mining engineer from Elk City and Doctor Stockton were put on the stand preceding the defendant. The former testified as to rooming at the Parr hotel and hearing Hugh Kennedy go to his room the night he was shot. Dr. Stockton was recalled for further cross examination by the state and was questioned with reference to certain instruments placed in evidence and which the state contends belonged to the defendant and were procured to commit an abortion on his wife and as to the physical examination of defendant recently made.

Defendant Testifies

The defendant kept good control of himself all during the time he was being examined by his attorney, W.N. Scales, and while being cross examined by judge Ailshie. He spoke in a low tone of voice and was requested several times to speak louder so that the court, the jury and the attorneys could hear the testimony.

He gave his age as 43, and stated that he was a resident of Elk City, having resided at that place for 14 years. First engaged in mining for 4 or 5 years and then was away from Elk for about a year on a ranch. He then came back and superintended some mining work at Dixie for about three months and then bought a saloon in Elk City from Kelley and Frank McGrain, the latter having a mortgage on it, running it about 3 or 4 years. He then had a confectionery store in Elk, and after he disposed of that engaged in farming and mining, up to July 1, 1914 when he secured the government mail contract.

Defendant was married September 29, 1906 to Alma Litchfield and a son was born, Thomas Francis Hye, Jan. 27, 1914. Was engaged in mining at Dixie when informed of his wife’s confinement and testified as to starting for Elk on snow shoes and getting in after the baby was born. He states that the child was prematurely born, being a 7 months baby, and that they thought that the child would be born the last of February or the first of March instead of January and that he had intended that his wife should be sent to Spokane when the child was to be born, and to put her under his sister, Mrs. Colland’s care in Spokane.

It was at this stage of the testimony that witness explained how he got the bottle of ergot put in evidence by the state, saying that he had phoned out to Dr. Stockton for instructions how to attend to certain complications that had developed in his wife’s condition after the birth and that he had procured the ergot on advice of Dr. Stockton. Dr. Stockton had testified this morning when put on the stand as to Hye having phone to him.

Here the defendant’s attorney presented an instrument which Mrs. Painter has testified that defendant had procured to commit an abortion and witness denied ever having seen it before. Certain other of the instruments were presented to the defendant and some of them he denied ever having seen before, and explained that two speculums had been left by a doctor in Elk City when called to attend to his wife. He denied ever making an attempt to borrow $25 from Mrs. Painter in Spokane to have a criminal operation preformed on his wife, and stated he never got $10 from her but that Mrs. Painter left $10 with his wife when he was away and that he had paid it back.

He stated that Mrs. Hye objected to having children and that precautions were taken to prevent conception and that the baby was born by reason of carelessness. He stated that he wanted children and desired two. Defendant denied ever having tried to perform a criminal operation on his wife at any time with her consent or otherwise, and stated that he did not know how to use any of the instruments placed in evidence and did not know that they were in the house.

He testified that during their married life their domestic relations had been congenial and that they always got along fine, and that she was affectionate towards him and he towards her. That he wrote to his wife every day he was away from home and after he took the stage business, and that he always wrote on a typewriter when he could get one. He said Mrs. Hye wrote him once a week and that they talked a great deal over the phone.

With reference to the wills which were placed in evidence he stated that they had talked the matter of making wills over and both had agreed to leave their property to the one who survived and that in accordance with this agreement they both executed wills and that he signed his in Lish Watson’s store and that he gave it to her and requested that her will and his be put in G.L.L. Baskett’s safe. He explained an erasure of the name of a witness in his will stating that he had typewritten both the wills at Stites and that in his will he had written in the name of one Harrison as witness and that his wife objected to this man signing the will as a witness and suggested that he get Hugh Kennedy to witness the will which he stated he did; hence the erasures. He said that this did not cause him to suspect his wife of infidelity.

First Suspicion of Infidelity

Witness testified that the first time that he had cause to suspect his wife of being unfaithful was on the 6th day of September, 1914, and he detailed a conversation which took place between him and his wife when defendant was taking a bath and he mentioned circumstances during the conversation which brought out the name of Hugh Kennedy, and he stated that he accused his wife then. Witness was directed to speak in a low tone of voice when he was telling of this circumstance, this being suggested by his attorney Judge Scales, and the witness spoke so low that the entire jury nor the attorneys were unable to hear him and the court requested on demand of the attorneys for the state that the witnesses speak up. He stated that he told his wife then that if there was anything between her and Kennedy that he would step out, and that she denied any relations between herself and Hugh Kennedy. He stated that he warned her to keep Hugh Kennedy away.

He further stated that he went to Stites the following day and that Hugh Kennedy was driving the stage as far as Newsome and that he had a conversation with Kennedy and in the course of the conversation warned Hugh that he should not go near his home. He stated that Hugh expressed himself as to unfaithful women pretty strongly. Witness stated that he further warned Kennedy before he left Newsome to go to Stites to keep away from his home in Elk City and not go near it.

Went Back to Elk on 15th

The defendant next told of making a trip back to Elk City about the 15th of September, arriving in the afternoon and that he rode to the further corner of the ranch, unsaddle his horse, left his saddle in the brush and watched the house. He said he staid out until about 11 o’clock that night and that he then went to the house not having seen anyone about the house but his wife and that he had no key and knocked to call his wife to come and let him in which she did. He then went out in the wood shed to get wood to build a fire to prepare something to eat and noticed that the wood shed door was open which was kept locked according to witness, and he called his wife’s attention to this and she stated something about having forgotten to lock it and he thought no further about that.

He stated that he went in then and built the fire and took the baby up and later went into the bed room of his wife and found that both pillows had been slept upon and he accused his wife of being unfaithful but that she denied it. He again brought the matter up next morning and she again denied any improper relations between her and anyone. He said that he suggested that if such a condition of affairs existed and there was anything wrong that he would give her everything and get out.

He stated that he told her that he would be gone for a month when he went out to Stites and made her promise when he left that she would be faithful and that she would not permit Kennedy to come near the house and that she made the promise.

Made Another Secret Trip

Defendant stated that he went to Stites after the visit mentioned the above statement and remained several days and started from Stites again for Elk City about the 26th of September and that he got a horse from liveryman Lyle, telling Skedgell, his stage manager that he was going to Kooskia and possibly Spokane, but that he had no such intent and intended to go into Elk that night. He took some crackers and canned meat along for a lunch and said that they were wrapped in his rain coat and tied behind his saddle. He said he had the flash light and the gun in evidence along on this trip also.

The defendant stated that he rode all that night and arrived in Elk City early the next morning. He stated that he did not eat anything coming in and in answer to Judge Scales’ question whether he had any whiskey along, he replied that he did not and never took a drink in his life. He stated that he watched the house until dark, and as darkness came on came down and watched the house from a closer view point but that he did not see anybody around the house. At daylight the next morning he stated that he went down and hid in the hay barn, covering himself with hay and that about 7:30 Monday morning he saw Hugh Kennedy go down in the meadow and try to catch his saddle horse and that he failed to do this, and that Mrs. Hye came out of the house, went out to the barn and saddle up her horse and went out and helped Kennedy catch his horse. Kennedy then rode down to the stage barn and that later he came up to the house and was around there for a while. That later Kennedy and his wife rode out in the timber and he saw them several times after that. Later Kennedy went down town and about 11 o’clock Mrs. Hye took the baby and went down town.

Defendant stated that after his wife went down town that he went into the house and made a milk shake. That he later left Elk about noon for Stites to be ahead of the stage and got in Stites Tuesday morning. He stated that he called his wife up from Stites about 8:30 Tuesday morning and accused her of being out riding with Kennedy which she denied. He said he rung off shortly after and later called her up about 11 o’clock, telling her that he was going to stay away for about a month. He said she called him “Hydie” and he called her “A” and that these were nicknames they used towards each other.

The Last Trip To Elk

The witness having told the occurrences above noted, was next questioned by his attorney W.N. Scales concerning the trip which ended in the death of Kennedy and defendant’s wife. The defendant stated that he started from Stites about 15 minutes to 3 o’clock on the 3rd of October which was Saturday and before he left he told Skedgell that he was going up the river to look for horses. He stated that he had the gun which was placed in evidence, the flash light, some food and a few other things along with him tied back of the saddle and that he got into Elk City at 5:30 Sunday morning.

After arriving at Elk City he hid his horse in a gulch and went over to the barn and got two sacks of grain hay for the horse and later went back and covered up in the hay in the hay barn so that he could see what was going on about his home. Hye gave a description of the location of the buildings about the place and stated that the stage barn was about 1200 feet south-west of the house and that the hay barn was directly north. He stated that the barn at the house is about 100 feet away from the house. He stated in answer to questions put by his attorney that the house barn and the hay barn are absolutely separated and that the stage on its arrival is left at the Parr hotel and the hustler takes the horses to the stage barn and that the drivers do not have to attend to the stage horses.

The witness then testified as to what he saw from his hiding place in the hay barn. He stated that George Trout, the Orogrande driver, who did the chores at his place and split wood came by about 8 o’clock in the morning and that he saw Helen Litchfield, Trout and his wife out in the yard. Later Helen and Trout left and he saw Mrs. Painter come to the house about 10 minutes to 11 and that she went into the house and staid about 20 minutes and he testified as to them coming out of the house and Mrs. Painter and his wife bidding goodbye to each other in the school house yard, Mrs. Painter going to her mother’s home and Mrs. Hye down town.

Witness stated that he went into the house about 3 o’clock and later took hay out from the house barn and fed his horse going back and hiding in the hay in the hay barn after that and staying there till dusk when he again went into the house, and after he came out of the home he went out into the brush and stood behind a tree and saw Mrs. Hye come home. He was about 100 yards east of the house out of sight of the road and could see the east side of the wood shed and the windows on the south side of the house.

He saw a man whom he took to be Scott come along about 5 minutes to 9 and shortly afterwards defendant stated he saw Mrs. Hye come home, go into the house and light a lamp in the dining room, and that the light went from there into the baby’s bed room and then came out again into the dining room. He testified as to Jones coming down and getting milk and heard him speak to some one in the yard as he went away but did not hear what was said or know who he spoke to. Then the lights went out in the house and shortly later another person went down the valley.

Witness said that a man then appeared near the wood pile and walked up to the woodpile and went around it three times. The man then went to the house barn and he said he saw two flashes of light as if matches were struck and that the person came out and walked west and made a complete circle of the house and came back and stood by the wood pile. From here the individual went over to a pile of machinery and looked around and then went back to the wood pile again. He then went out of sight behind the house and soon walked to the wood pile and from there went to the wood house door and reached up to a secret place where he and his wife kept the key to the door , unlocked the door and went in.

Hye Followed Man

Hye stated that he then climbed over the fence and went up to the wood house door and entered the woodshed. He said he entered carefully and flashed his light around the wood shed, then opened the kitchen door quietly and could see from there into the parlor and that there was light coming from the bed room which opened off of the parlor. He had rubbers on and went into the kitchen and started for the parlor door and had gone part way across the floor when the wood shed door slammed shut. Said that Kennedy then exclaimed; “Whats that,” and Mrs. Hye answered. “Nothing, come on.”

He then flashed light back over shoulder and lost his balance and stepped into the parlor and he says that he threw the flashlight into the bedroom and saw Kennedy back in the bed room, and that Kennedy had his pant down and commenced to put them up and buttoned the top. “Then Kennedy started for me.” witness stated, and called him a vile name saying I’ll get you,” and as he came he says Kennedy reached behind his back. Just then Mrs. Hye pushed past Kennedy and towards the defendant and grabbed the gun and he put both hands on the gun and pushed her back and as she went back he said that he heard her grunt. He said he pushed her towards the bed room door and then he shot at Kennedy not knowing whether he had hit him or not. Mrs. Hye then rushed back towards him again defendant stated and he pushed her over on the couch and his light flashed on the red sweater and the white hat and then he shot again. He said Alma then jumped up from the couch and started around the stove and that he thought that she was trying to get away out of the house and the next thing he knew someone threw a garment over his head, from the side. He did not know what kind of a garment it was and that the flashlight was knocked out of his hand to the floor. He says he pushed her away and that he reached down for the flash light and some one grabbed the back of his head and started to push it to the floor and that he (paper smudged) that the form came back towards him, he couldn’t see who it was and that he shot and the body fell over near the bed room door. Defendant said, “I flashed the light on the body and I saw it was Alma”.

Defendant stated he did not know what he was doing from that time on and remembers that he first heard the baby crying and that he went to it and took it up, going out and lighting the kitchen lamp. He says that he saw some clothes lying on a chair near the dining table and that he saw the dress Alma wore that day lying on the chair. He says that he saw several other articles but that he did not know what they were. He then took the baby to the Parr hotel. He had wrapped the baby in some blankets but he did not know whether the baby was dressed or not when he took it up or whether he dressed it or not. The defendant next identified the clothes worn at Elk on the day of the killing and up to the time he was lodged in jail. The defense then turned the witness over for cross examination.

In the course of the cross examination Judge Ailshie failed to shake the original outline of the story as told by the witness and the questions put more fully developed some of the many points brought out in the case. He questioned witness about making preparations for the trip for some time before and asked witness if he did not have a telephone conversation with his wife on the Thursday before the occurrence and whether Alma did not ask if she could come out and live at Stites and whether his wife had not stated that if he did not send for her she would come out anyway as she had had enough of living the way they did, and whether the defendant had refused the request. Defendant stated that he had talked with her and said if she wanted to come out to come out. He stated that she said he wanted to come out and leave the baby and he said she could not do that but must bring the baby along. Defendant was asked why he did not discharge Hugh and he stated that he did want to change him to the Stites end but that Hugh refused to go to Stites and that he did not want to discharge him as he was a good driver.

Defendant testified on cross examination that he did not have the gun in his hand when he went into the parlor and only reached for the gun when Kennedy started for him. Under the cross examination Judge Scales asked defendant what his intentions were when he went into the house and stated that he intended to expose them and get a divorce and that he had not intended to kill anyone. After further re-cross examination defendant left the stand.

With the calling of Howard Wetherbee to testify to the financial affairs of Hye and of Dr. J.W. Givens, superintendent of the asylum at Orofino to answer certain hypothetical questions as to Hye’s sanity at the time of the commission of the crime, the defense rested at four forty Wednesday afternoon. Dr. Givens stated in answer to the hypothetical question put to him that the defendant was probably insane at the time of the commission of the tragedy.

Free Press, March 4, 1915

(second article)

Intense Interest Manifested in Trial and Court Room Jammed
Defense Commenced Its Case Saturday Afternoon
Trial Will Consume Rest of this Week
Many Testify

A sufferer of nervous trouble for the past five years and brought to an acute stage through the tragedy which resulted in the killing of her sister and the subsequent recital of the scene which greeted her as one of the party which visited the house of sorrow. Mrs. L.A. Painter, a sister of the deceased, while being cross examined by Judge Scales last Thursday afternoon, gave away to her feelings and turning in the witness chair, faced the defendant and the dramatic gestures, pointed to Hye and in these words denounced him as the murderer of her sister. “I don’t want to face that man; he killed my poor sister. The dirty dog!”.

Mrs. Painter composed herself and went on answering the interrogations of the defendant’s council but in a few brief minutes swooned and fainted away. She was carried from the court room to the waiting room and medical help occurred, being later removed to the hotel and was not able to again take the stand until Saturday afternoon, a brief of her testimony at that time appearing later.

Heard Shots at 9:30

According to testimony brought out Friday, the shooting occurred fully twenty minutes before Hye reported the affair to the people at the Hotel Parr. The state is working on the theory that Hye undressed both his wife and Kennedy after the shooting and this testimony, it is said will go long ways toward establishing such a theory. This was brought out during the examination of a brother of the deceased, a lad who has just about reached his majority. He testified that he was at the Parr Hotel on the evening of the shooting, leaving there at 9:30 for his home to which he passed within 400 feet of the Hye house, being near the same at 9:40 at which time he heard several shots fired and after a brief pause another.

The sound came from the direction of the Hye house, but as there was more or less shooting at night in a mining camp, he thought nothing about it. The state contends that this was the time the tragedy was enacted.

Witness Who Assisted Coroner Examined

James A. McKinnon, who acted as one of the guards at the Hye home from the morning of the shooting until the coroner arrived, was the first witness put on the stand Friday and testified as follows:

Stated that he was appointed guard by Constable Mitchell and that a Mr. Kincaid also served as guard. He said when he was not on duty, that either Constable Mitchell or Mr. Kincaid relieved him.

Witness testified he entered the Hye home on the morning of October 7 with Coroner Blake and they spent about four hours examining the house before any other person was admitted. He said Coroner Blake made the examination and he assisted him. He said they found the body of Mrs. Hye covered with a sheet and he testified as to the positions of the bodies in the rooms. He said the shades were drawn and that the windows were all fastened except one and that he could not open that one.

Mr. McKinnon told of Mrs. Hye’s hair being matted with blood on the right side and that Coroner Blake felt of her head and said she had received a severe bruise over the ear. He told of the bruise on the chin and said that Mrs. Hye had blood on her hands. He said that she wore only a short vest and that on a chair were a man’s coat and hat and also a red sweater. He told of the women’s wearing apparel on a chair in an adjoining room and said it looked as though it had been taken from a line and laid across the chair.

Mr. McKinnon said he noticed a woman’s white hat on the floor between the body of Mrs. Hye and the wall and that Dr. Blake picked up the hat and examined it. He saw Dr. Blake take hold of an article and that it was a head comb. The hat was offered in evidence and the witness said it looked like the one he had seen in the house.

The witness demonstrated for the jury how Kennedy’s body was lying on the floor. He said Kennedy was dressed with a light shirt, blue trousers and shoes. He said the shoes were very muddy, the mud fairly clinging to them. He said the pants were unbuttoned at the top and he thought the belt was unbuckled. He said there were two bullet holes in Kennedy’s left arm and three bullet holes in the body. He said there were powder stains about two of the wounds.

Mr. McKinnon told of the furnishings in the room and said there was a spot of blood on the wall. He identified a piece of wall paper containing a blood stain and said he cut it from the wall of the Hye home. He said he noticed a woman’s shoes and stockings behind the stove and that he saw Dr. Blake pick up a button from the floor and that there were fragments of the material to which the button had been attached still held by the threads. The witness described the bullet holes in the walls of the room, saying they were near a corner and that one bullet entered one wall and one another. He said the bullets entered the walls about three and one-half feet from the floor. He said he and Dr. Blake removed the bullets and they were offered in evidence.

Witness said Dr. Blake and himself took about four hours to examine the house and the first person admitted was Mrs. L.A. Painter, sister of Mrs. Hye.

Hye Deputizes Thompson to Bring Him Out

H.F. Thompson was next called and stated he had been deputized by Hye, who was justice of the peace in the Elk precinct at the time of the shooting, to bring him out to Grangeville following the tragedy.

He said he saw Hye on the night of October 4 at about 10 o’clock and that Hye gave him the gun with which he said he did the shooting. Witness told of being a member of the committee that visited the Hye house and his evidence in this respect was the same as given by other members of the committee. He told of securing a buggy and departing from Elk City with Frank Hye for Grangeville. He said that when they were about a mile out of Elk that Hye left the buggy and went up a gulch and soon returned with a saddle horse. He said there were two sacks tied to the saddle and Hye placed these in the rear of the buggy. He stated he examined one of these sacks later and found it contained a “Palouse” lantern and candles. The lantern being made out of a bucket to be used with candles and is in common use with men who travel through the woods at night.

Mr. Thompson stated that while he and Hye were on the road Monday, that Hye gave him a searchlight and that about 3:30 o’clock in the afternoon they met Sheriff J.P. Eimers at the Nolan place and that he turned Hye over to the sheriff.

On cross-examination he said he was with Hye from about 4 until 3:30 o’clock the following afternoon with the exception of the short time he was with the committee at the Hye home following the shooting.

Former Sheriff Testifies

Former Sheriff Eimers was next placed on the stand and testified as tot he condition of the house upon October 11 at which time, at the request of Prosecutor Hattabaugh, he made an examination of the same. He stated the bullet holes in the wall were about forty inches from the floor and the course of the bullets had been traced by a stick and judging from the same the person firing them had stood near the heating stove. All windows of the house were fastened with the exception of one. He testified as to blood spots on the carpets in the bedroom and parlor, the partition wall of the bed room and parlor and on wall paper back of a couch.

The Mother’s Testimony

Mrs. J.C. Litchfield, the mother of Mrs. Hye was then called and identified a picture of her daughter, a postcard view of the daughter, the defendant and the baby. When cross examined by council for defense as to whose baby it was she stated: “It is my daughter Alma’s boy.” She further stated her daughter had never wanted to name the child “Tommy,” but had often referred to him as “my cute little baby boy.” She stated her daughter was of slight build and had a wealth of hair which she wore done up high on her head. At this juncture state introduced two wills, executed August 29 of last year, one by the defendant and the other by his wife. Each gave the other all property and named the survivors as the executor of executrix of the estate.

John Skedgell, the manager of the stage line for Hye with headquarters at Stites, was placed upon the stand following Mrs. Litchfield. He testified as to Hye getting a saddle horse an September 26 from the Lyle barn at Stites and stating he was going to Kooskia and might possibly go on to Spokane before returning. He went in a northern direction from Stites. Saw him next Monday or Tuesday forenoon following. States on Saturday, October 3 Hye again secured the horse, leaving town between five thirty and six in the afternoon, stating he was going up the river to look for some horses. Had rain coat tied to back of saddle, wore soft slouch hat and pair of overalls. Horse was brought in back of stage following Wednesday. Identified gun state alleges killing was done with as one which has been in the drawer of the desk in the stage office at Stites. Also search light Hye turned over to officers after the shooting. Testified as to meeting the sheriff at Nolan’s on October 5 and recalled the two sacks of exhibits transferred from one rig to another at that time. On cross examination said he had received a telephone call from Elk Sunday night, October 4, between 7:30 and 8 o’clock. Stated party asked where Hye was and he had answered Hye was up the river looking for horses and had not returned.

Testified as to Telephone Conversation

Henry Foulke, who conducts the Switchback Station, was placed on the stand to testify as to certain telephone conversation between Hye and his wife which took place September 29. He said Hye told his wife he had just gotten back from Spokane and the man with whom the deal was to be made had died. That his brother, Tom was greatly disappointed because they , the Hye’s did not come up for the fair but that they would go up in November as soon as he secured his check from the government. Foulke stated Mrs. Hye asked her husband how long it would be until he came in and when he stated a month she stated she believed she would take Tommy, the baby, and come out to Stites. Hye replied that he would come just as soon as he got his check and settle up on things. Witnesses stated that Hye addressed his wife as “Dear” on several occasions during the conversation and asked how “Cutey” the baby was. That Mrs. Hye referred to her husband as “Hidie” during the talk.

Testimony of Minor Import

E.M. Watson was recalled by the state and testified as to the wounds in Kennedy’s body. Said he would judge he had been shot from the back. That there were no powder marks on the body or clothing that he noticed.

O.A. Hammond, a stage driver for Hye was called and testified to meeting Hye at about five o’clock on the night of October 3. Hye was riding a saddle horse and he met him between Clearwater and Switchback, going toward Elk City. Had bundle tied behind saddle. Sheriff Yates was placed on the stand to identify some bullets taken from the gun and his cross examination was perhaps the briefest so far any witness has been subject to, Attorney Scales simply having him answer the question as to his official position.

Case Costing $30 an Hour

This concluded the testimony up to four o’clock Friday afternoon at which time the state asked for a recess until Saturday because its next witness, Mrs. Painter, was in such a physical condition that she could not be placed on the stand. Judge Ailshie stated that with her testimony and several others, which would be very brief, the state would rest its case. The court spoke of his desire to hurry the case along as rapidly as would be consistent with fairness and justice and incidentally remarked that his case was costing the county thirty dollars an hour and he would insist that things move along with a little more rapidity. Adjournment was taken until eight thirty Saturday morning.

Testify Kennedy Was Seeking Hye to Collect Money

The early morning session was taken up with the introduction of several witnesses who testified that when Kennedy reached Elk from Newsome, he asked if Hye had come in as he had seen tracks on the road. Other testimony was that Kennedy had stated that Hye had been in the habit of slipping into Elk City and out again without he (Kennedy) being able to see him and that Kennedy made two trips to the Hye house during the afternoon to see if Hye was there. Witnesses gave testimony to the effect that Kennedy had not been paid for a long time, that Hye owed him more than $100 and it had been necessary for Kennedy to borrow money from friends to take care of his personal expenses because he could not get hold of Hye to get money from him.

Testimony as to Criminal Operations

Mrs. L.A. Painter, who was unable to finish her testimony Thursday was then called to the stand and identified certain clothing of her sister and testified as to the place where same was found. Mrs. Painter, who is a sister of the deceased has had a most trying ordeal to go through and as a result of the recital of the terrible tragedy is on the verge of a breakdown. She has been called upon to furnish some of the most important testimony and as one of the principal witnesses for the state has had to relate circumstances and repeat conversation which only a feeling of justice and duty would prompt one to.

She identified a set of instruments found by her in Hye’s trunk and introduced by the state and which it is alleged were used by the defendant in performing abortions on his wife. She stated he had shown her these instruments several years ago, stated he had purchased them of a doctor then practicing in Elk. Stated Hye had said he did not want to be bothered with children, did not want to be tied down and not be able to go anywhere, that he did not care for children. Testified to meeting him in September 1913 when she was returning from the east. Called him up from the Pacific Hotel at Spokane, met him at Brown’s addition in the presence of her sister. Stated he wanted to borrow $25 of her to be used in having a criminal operation performed on his wife. Stated she told him he would keep that work up until he killed Alma. That he made no reply. Stated she let him have ten dollars at that time which he later paid back. Said his mind was just on those sort of things at all times and he tried to insult every woman he could.

On cross examination said the furniture in the Hye home and the clothing of Mrs. Hye had been taken from the house at the suggestions and request of Tom Hye who ask her to tell her mother to come and take it and told her she should take anything she wanted but all she had was one piece of furniture and a small personal remembrance of her deceased sister.

Said as far as she knew the Hye baby had no name. Did not know where it was now. Said she had written defendant’s sister about the baby but had received no answer.

Following Mrs. Painter, Abe House was placed on the stand and testified that he saw a man passing along the rear of a field near his road house on the Elk City road on the afternoon of October 4, and that he was carrying two bundles on his horse and hurried out of sight when seen.

John Skedgell, state manager for Hye at Stites gave testimony concerning a letter received at Stites on the night of October 4th, and Miss Bessie Zornes, telephone operator at Stites testified that Skedgell showed her the letter and read its contents.

Powder Burns on Mrs. Hye

Mrs. G.B. McDonald testified as to having seen powder burns on the chest of Mrs. Hye above the point covered by her corset and other garments when she was helping prepare her for burial and Mrs. Bell gave corroborating testimony in this regard.

George Trout testified that a few days before Kennedy was killed that Kennedy said that Hye owed him about $100 and that he had been unable to see Hye to get any money from him. Witness testified that Kennedy charged that Hye slipped in and out of Elk City without he (Kennedy) being able to see him. Witness said Kennedy stated Hye was promising to make the payments as soon as he received the big check from the government.

William Myers testified that he had known Kennedy since he was a boy and that on October 4 he saw Kennedy go to the Hye house twice but he did not enter the house. He said he knew Kennedy was broke as he had loaned him money.

Joseph Dysard testified that when the stage arrived at the Parr hotel Sunday, October 4, Kennedy turned the rig over to the hustler and carried the mail, whip and robes into the hotel. That about the first question he asked was whether Frank Hye had come in. He said he saw horse tracks in the road and thought Hye was in. Witness said Mrs. Baskett spoke up and said if Hye had arrived he had not showed up at the hotel. Witness said Mrs. Baskett suggested if anyone came in it might have been McNutt as he was due home and if he had arrived he had gone directly to his room.

State Rests, Defense Begins

The first witness for the defense was Joseph Coverly who gave testimony to the effect that he took dinner with some boys who were camping near the Hye home. He said while there he saw Hugh Kennedy come down by the Hye house and work on his stage rig that was standing near the stage barn.

Charles Moore, testifying for the defense, said he was employed in the Hye stage barn at Stites about the time of the Hye killing. He said he had noticed that Hye was agitated, nervous, absent minded and apparently under a great mental strain. He said Hye had not been himself for some time prior to the shooting.

On cross examination he testified that after Hye returned to Stites, following the killing and his release on bonds, that he appeared to be all right and was able to transact business.

John Skedgell, testifying for the defense, said Hye had been nervous, absent minded and not able to take care of his business for some time prior to the killing.

On cross examination he said Hye was indebted to his drivers and practically all of the men along the line. He said every driver had been dunning Hye for his pay and that Hye had adopted a policy of dodging them and not giving his men an opportunity to ask him for their wages.

Trial Resumed Monday Morning

Monday morning the trial was again resumed, the defense putting on 5 witnesses. The evidence educed was largely repetition and noting new developed to speak of. The first witness called was Mr. Skedgell who is the bookkeeper for Hye in his stage and express business. A letter was introduced and marked in evidence which Mrs. Hye had sent to Hye and which was received at Stites on the evening of October 4, and which was dated October 3rd.

In the letter, Mrs. Hye referred to Mr. Hye as dear and contained nothing other than would be expected in a letter from a wife to a husband. The letter refers to Dear “A” and the writer expressed herself as desiring to come down and ride in that party’s automobile. The letter was marked with kisses from Tommy, the Hye baby and from Mrs. Hye also.

Dr. Blake Again Testifies

The state next called Dr. H. B. Blake, coroner of Idaho County and in connection with his examination two dummy figures, one of a man and another of a woman were used in demonstrating the position of the gunshot wounds on their entrance and upon leaving the bodies of the two victims.

In his testimony he recounted many of the facts formerly testified to when put on the stand by the state and testified as to going to the Hye home about 7 o’clock on the 7th day of October and taking McKinnon who was on guard to assist him and that he remained in the house until about 11:30 conducting an investigation of the bodies and the rooms of the Hye home.

He testified as to going into the house by way of the woodshed and from there into the dining room where he saw some clothing on a chair of his examination he arranged the clothing which has been placed in exhibition on a chair as he found it at the time.

From the dining room he went into the living room or parlor where the bodies lay and stated that Mrs. Hye was lying with her head about 2 inches from the wall and 6 inches from the couch in the room, and that her feet extended about 3 and 1/2 feet beyond the bed room in the north wall of the room and that her feet were about 11 inches from the wall.

He described the wounds again as he did on his examination by the state and stated that he did not make the examination for any other purpose than to discover the cause of the death, and that he did not pay attention to superficial injuries, although he noticed a bruise on the head and that the nostrils and mouth of Mrs. Hye contained blood. He stated that there were scratches on the scalp of Mrs. Hye and four or five bullets may have made the wounds in Kennedy’s body. There could be no more than five bullets fired as the testimony so far has revealed no more than five shots. This was a point which the state was laying.

He further testified as to finding a white hat introduced into evidence, between the body of Mrs. Hye and the wall and that there was a comb and some broken teeth in it. He also testified as to entering the house to search for clothing worn by Mrs. Hye on the afternoon before she was killed. Mrs. Painter went with him and he first pointed to the clothing on the chair in the dining room but that Mrs. Painter stated that none of it had been worn by Mrs. Hye on the day she was killed.

Further search was made in the bed room which opened off from the living room and also in the ashes of the stove. The witness stated that they found nothing in the stove except three small pearl buttons which were found in the ash pan. He also saw an unburnt stick of wood in the stove. The ashes were not gone over carefully and the wood was not lifted out of the stove. Witness also testified as to finding three buttons on the floor of the room when he first went in with Mac Kinnon. Other articles subsequently taken from the stove were shown the doctor and he stated that he did not see them when he made his examination.

Found Some Blood Stains

He stated that he found blood stains near the wood house door and he testified that he was sure that they were blood stains. The stockings found behind the stove were identified by the doctor and he stated on direct examination that the smear of blood on one of them might have come from menstrual discharges, and on cross examination he stated that there was no indication of a menstrual period.

The doctor identified several instruments introduced by the state as being instruments procured by defendant to commit an abortion on the deceased and stated that he has seen a part, not all, of the instruments shown to him the same having been found in a trunk in the house by Mrs. Painter and shown to him by her while they were in the house. He stated that some of the instruments could be used for performing an operation but that they were not abortion instruments.

Mrs. Baskett Recalled

The defense recalled Mrs. G.L Baskett for further examination and practically nothing new was testified to by her, she merely recounting testimony which she gave when put on the stand by the state. She testified as to giving Kennedy $10 on the day of the tragedy, as a part of his wages due from Hye and that she was authorized by Hye to make payments to certain drivers. She also testified as to hearing someone walk lightly across the back porch about half past nine, when she was in the kitchen, and that later she was in the front office and heard the same person come out on the walk which goes to the drug store and which leads out on Main street. This latter was brought out by the state and who further elicited that the shortest way to the Hye home would be by going out of a gate in the back yard and cutting across.

“Slivers” Thompson Testifies

Mrs. Baskett and the other witnesses which followed her Monday were all asked if they smelled burning clothing when they stood under a tree on the night of the tragedy, when they were gathering to go to the Hye home to investigate the results of the shooting and each testified that they had not. Thompson testified as to seeing a red sweater partly under Mrs. Hye’s body and the rest between her and the wall, on the night when they visited the house and that a hair comb was lying on the sweater between her and the wall. This is the sweater marked in evidence and which other witnesses testified as to having seen laying on a chair in the room on the night of the shooting.

He testified to other points which he told of on his examination by the state and testified further as to spots on the floor of the wood house and in the room where the bodies lay, and stated that they were paint marks. He said he and Tom Hye made the examination in January. The state tried to have witness state whether they were paint or wood stain marks and witness stated that he did not know whether a stain or paint was used in painting wood work around the house but he was sure that the spots were not blood spots.

He also saw Tom Hye illustrate how one might enter the house and never be seen on the school house side, which faces the entrance through the wood house of the Hye home, and that in the presence of Lisha Watson, Mr. Hye walked out of sight and about five minutes later emerged from the wood house door and that they had not seen him enter the house. Witness Watson testified as to not having smelled burning clothing on the night of the tragedy and as to watching Hye illustrate how one might enter the house and not be seen from the school house side. The court here adjourned until 8:30 Tuesday morning.

16 Witnesses Tuesday

The defense put 16 witnesses on the stand Tuesday and the trial was tense at points during the rigid cross examination of Judge Ailshie. That most of the witnesses put on the defense had already testified and the defense was trying to make a point by showing that none of the crowd that visited the Hye home the night of the shooting smelled burning clothes, either outside the house or when they got inside. The defense also showed that it was possible for one to enter the Hye home without being seen from the school house side.

Dr. Stockton Testified First

Doctor G.S. Stockton, who was sent in to Elk when the body was exhumed to represent the defense was the first witness called this morning. His testimony as to the conditions of the body of Alma Hye when exhumed corresponded in every respect with the testimony of Dr. Jessie Rains who represented the state. Questions were put to the doctor with reference to the condition of Defendant Hye while he was in jail, the doctor having visited him at the time. Witness stated that his temperature was about 103 degrees, and that defendant was in a nervous state. On cross examination by Judge Ailshie the doctor stated that the excitement which followed the events at Elk City would tend to raise the temperature of the defendant and make him nervous.

Further testimony was given by the doctor with reference to the possibility of committing an abortion with instruments which are in evidence and which were found in the Hye home. He stated that some of them could be used for the purpose. Witness stated that he had examined the body of Hugh Kennedy as it lay in Graham’s undertaking parlors here in Grangeville and that he could not ascertain where the point of entrance and exit of the bullets were in the body. On cross examination Judge Alshie asked the doctor if powder burns had been found on the back of defendant after the shooting, whether that would indicate that he had been shot from behind and witness answered yes.

B.F. Shaw Put on Stand

B.F. Shaw, deputy sheriff, who went in when the body was exhumed a short time ago, and who officially carried out the order of the court that the body should exhumed, was next put on the stand and testified as to what took place when the doctors examined the body of Alma Hye. Questions were put as to who were present and as to whether he saw any demonstrations and he stated that he did not. He was asked on cross examination if he saw Tom Hye shedding tears and he stated that he did not.

Smelled No Burning Clothes

Miss Cora Hanson, Fred Hopwood and Al Austin were next put on the stand and questioned as to whether they had smelled burning clothes on the night of the shooting while they were standing under a tree waiting for the party to gather to go to the Hye home, and whether they smelled burning clothes in the house after they went in to look at the bodies and they all stated that they did not.

Al Austin was questioned as to whether he saw a coat of Hugh Kennedy in the house when they went in, also a hat and sweater and he stated that he did. On cross examination witness stated that he held a lantern while in the house and stood about three feet from the body of Mrs. Hye when “Slivers” Thompson covered the body with a sheet and that he did not see a red sweater under the body, thus controverting the testimony of Thompson at yesterday’s proceedings. Witness also testified as to seeing Tom Hye make a test of entering the Hye home without being seen, several others being present at the time.

Made Test of Entering House

Several besides the above witness testified as to seeing Tom Hye walk away from the school house where the witnesses were standing and entering the Hye home unseen, later appearing at the wood house door. U.G. Kinkaid was one of the witnesses who saw the test also Cornelius Jones. Posey Mitchell, constable at Elk testified as to guarding the house from Monday to Wednesday being assisted by Kinkaid and McKinnon.

Officers Testify

John Eimers, sheriff at the time of the tragedy, and Herman Hussman, John Byrom and Wm. Webb were questioned as to whether they saw blood spots on defendant’s clothes or whether he washed any clothes in the jail and they all testified that they did not. Wm. Webb and John Eimers testified as to this point from the time when they took the defendant in custody and stated they saw no blood spots. Eimers testified concerning his trip into Elk on the 11th of October to make a search around the Hye premises for clothing and other things which might be of assistance to the state in the trial of the case. He testified as to gathering the exhibits which consist of clothing placed in evidence, getting them from Mrs. Baskett.

Mr. Thomas Hye was placed on the stand and gave testimony as to going out to Elk City with her husband on the 11th of October to get the Hye baby, which she took up to Spokane later and left in the care of Mrs. Calland of Spokane, who is a sister of the defendant.

Heard the Shots Fired

The next witness put on by the state was Cornelius Jones who testified that he was in his cabin, which is about a hundred yards from the Hye home, on the night of the killing and that he went to the scene of the tragedy about 8 o’clock to get some milk and that when he was leaving he met Hugh Kennedy in the school house yard, both saying Hellos, and they passed one Kennedy going towards the Hye house and he going home. He testified as to having seen Kennedy there before, generally in the evening between 9 and 11 o’clock.

Witness stated that he first heard three shots and then in a short space of time he heard a fourth shot. That the time was about 15 or 20 minutes to ten o’clock or thereabouts.

On cross examination Judge Ailshie brought out that the witness was married but that he has not been living with his wife for more than a year and that he has been addicted to the use of intoxicants to a great extent. When the question was asked on cross examination as to how witness knew it was about 9 o’clock when he went for the milk, witness answered, “They said it was” and when the further inquiry was put as to whom, “they” were, witness stated that “they said that that was about the time she came home” or words to that effect.

Witness testified also on cross examination that he heard the shots he rushed out in the yard but decided that the shots, were fired down town. When the question was asked by Judge Ailshie whether the witness first heard three shots and then heard a woman scream, and then heard a fourth shot, witness denied at first that he heard a woman scream and then upon further examination he stated that he thought that he heard someone scream.

Jones stated that he had been intoxicated for several days and that might account for his poor memory. The witness was then asked whether he had not made a statement in Wesley Packer’s store in Stites in the presence of another witness that he had gone to the Hye home for some milk about 9 o’clock and as he left he met Hugh Kennedy, and that they said hello to each other and that Kennedy then asked if Hye was home, and when he answered that he was not Kennedy then said, “He must be home for he came in ahead of me today.” and witness denied having made such a statement.

Judge Ailshie further cross examined the witness as to whether he had not made certain statements in a saloon at Elk to one Krunk in the presence of other witnesses, which witness denied. The question was also put as to whether Jones had not seen Hye on the day of the killing and whether the witness had not gone up to the Hye home as a decoy for Hye. Hye being in his cabin at the time, later whether Hye left his house and went up to his home place perpetrated the killing of Mrs. Hye and Kennedy, which witness denied. The state brought out that witness was addicted strongly to drink and that he had been in an inebriate condition for some time before the shooting occurred and that he was so drunk that Sheriff Eimers had to roll him into the stage when he was brought down to the preliminary hearing at Grangeville and that later and soon after the preliminary witness went to a sanitarium to take the Keeley cure. The questions being pointed so as to ascertain whether he had not obtained the money working for Hye since the tragedy. Witness stated that Hye did not furnish the money and later on re-direct examination stated that his brother-in-law sent him to the sanitarium. Witness stated, however, that he had been working for Hye since the killing, but denied making statements to the effect that he was not doing much of anything but trivial things.

Mrs. U.G. Kinkaid was next put on the stand and testified that she had heard Alma state, about seven years ago, while she was single and working for her that she hated children and did not want to have any of her own. The state brought out that witness and Mrs. Hye were not on good terms at the time Mrs. Hye was killed and for some time prior, thereto, and that they did not speak. George Trader, a former owner of the stage line, was put on the stand and stated that when Kennedy drove stage for him that he carried a gun, but stated that other drivers who carried the mail also carried guns.

Testimony of Tom Hye

Thomas Hye, brother of the defendant, was next put on the stand and testified for the defense. Witness stated that he lived in Spokane and that he came to Grangeville on Tuesday following the killing and that he slept in the jail with the defendant, spending in all about thirty nights in the jail, this fact being brought out by Judge Ailshie on cross examination. He stated that his brother did not sleep and wanted to talk most of the time, ate little and was in poor physical condition.

He testified as to himself and wife going to Elk City about the 10th when Sheriff Eimers went in to make an investigation and that his wife went along to bring out the Hye baby and take it up to Spokane. While there in Elk City he made certain investigations and described the bullet holes and where the gun must have been fired in the room to make the bullet holes. He also testified as to certain paint spots on the floors of the room which were dropped evidently when the wood work of the house and the door casings were painted, and stated that they were painted with a red paint or stain. He testified as to scraping up some of the spots in the wood house where blood spots were said to have been found and that he made tests as to whether they were paint or blood, placing them in water and stating that they did not dissolve and that he was satisfied that they were not blood. He also testified as to giving exhibitions before several witnesses on entering the house without being seen on the school house side.

The defense endeavored to put a book alleged to be a diary of the defendant in evidence, which book, witness stated he had found in a trunk in the defendant’s room in the Hye home, but the state objecting, the court sustained the objection and would not allow it to be marked in evidence. Three letters which Thomas Hye stated that he had found on a writing desk which the defendant used in his home at Elk City were marked in evidence, the state not objecting. The letters were dated August 14, August 19, August 21, respectively and purported to have been written with a typewriter at Stites and mailed to Mrs. Alma Hye at Elk City, Idaho. Each was commenced, “Dear sweet little wife and dear tiny “A” and related in the defendant’s stage business at Stites, and expressed his regrets at not being able to be home at Elk, one closing with love and kisses to “Tiny little “A”. After the testimony of the witness was concluded at 5 o’clock, court adjourned until 8:30 Wednesday.

Free Press, Thursday, March 11, 1915

Sentence of Ten Years to Life Given Hye Yesterday
Will Appeal.
Conclusion of the Testimony and the Arguments

Yesterday morning, at nine 0’clock, Frank Hye was brought into court and an indeterminate sentence of from ten years to natural life at hard labor in the state penitentiary was given by Judge Steele. Before pronouncing sentence the court asked the defendant if he had any thing to say why sentence should not be passed and his council, Judge Scales stated nothing at that time. He was immediately taken to the county jail to await the arrival of the prison guard and will probably be taken to Boise Friday or Saturday. Judge Scales has stated the case will be appealed.

State’s Rebuttal

The first witness called by the state in rebuttal was Wesley Packer of Stites who testified as to remarks Cornelus Jones is alleged to have made in the store of the witness shortly after Thanksgiving. Witness testified that Jones had said he had met Kennedy on the night of the tragedy near the Hye home and that Kennedy had asked him if Hye was at home to which he answered in the negative to which Kennedy replied that he thought he had seen tracks of Hye’s horse in the snow as he was coming in with the stage that afternoon. A.A. Howard of Stites was next called and practically substantiated Packer’s testimony.

Damaging to Defendant

Jesse Baldwin of Stites was next called and testified to having talked with Hye since the shooting and of Hye having stated that when he went to the house he had his coat buttoned over his gun, that he did not want to shoot Kennedy but was afraid he might lose his temper. Witness stated Hye said when he shot his wife, “she fell like a beef.”

Miss Bessie Fitzgerald, who had charge of the central of the Stites telephone exchange was called and testified as to a certain conversation she had heard Hye have with his wife at which time the witness stated Mrs. Hye wanted to come out to Stites and defendant would not permit her to do so.

Mother Testifies Again

Mrs. Litchfield was next called and stated her daughter was exceedingly fond of children. That her daughter had stated to her that Hye did not desire children. Stated daughter had told her of husband committing several abortions. Stated daughter had told her husband has been unkind to her and she would have to leave him. This conversation took place last September. After he got mail contract he abused her and she told him she loved him no longer. On cross-examination stated Hye home was furnished in a manner good enough for anyone. Mrs. Hye had all she desired in the way of home comforts. Stated Hugh Kennedy and Jesse Baskett were devoted lovers.

Recall the Father

J.C. Litchfield, the father of Mrs. Hye was next called and testified to having met Kennedy on the day of the killing and in conversation Kennedy had asked if Hye was in town, that he had to have some money and was going over that afternoon. That Kennedy had said he had noticed a man on horseback coming in and thought it was Hye. Said he had very little to do with Hye. Thought his daughter loved the man as much as his wife did him. Said Hye’s had as nice a home as any one in Elk City . Said had he known of abortions having been performed it would have been a cold day for Hye.

Stable Man Called

Leo Zelgaski, a stable man at the Hye barn, was then called and testified as to Mrs. Hye practically having charge of things during the absence of her husband, of the location of the repair house and stated the day Kennedy and Mrs. Hye were out horseback riding driving cattle out of a field they were never out of his sight. Stated Kennedy and Jesse Basket were sweet-hearts.

Miss Hanson, the Elk City school teacher was called and testified that Jesse Baskett had told her she was engaged to Hugh Kennedy and on cross-examination stated she was the sweet-heart of Arden Litchfield.

Testifies as to Experiments

County Stenographer Auger was called and testified as to the results of some experiments he had conducted in the burning of cloth and stated his experiments had convinced him that clothing could be burned and the smell not detected in the room. Said he had burned a cotton dress Tuesday night in eleven minutes time demonstrating that it was possible for Hye to destroy his wife’s clothing on the night of the tragedy and report at the hotel in 20 minutes after the killing.

W.E Graham was called to testify as to the size of Kennedy and the condition of the body after its arrival from Elk City .

More Exhibits Introduced

A series of experiments to determine the effects of revolver shots at close range had been conducted at the Geo. Gilbert farm on Sunday and Geo. Gilbert and L.A. Painter were called to give testimony in regard to the exhibits of which there were eight.

Oliver Froberg of Elk was called and testified to a conversation between Jones and Krunk which occurred after the shooting and during which Krunk accused Jones of helping Hye dispose of the clothes and to which Jones replied Krunk was crazy.

Say Hye was Sane

Phil Hartman, Theo. Tollefson and A.J. Stuart, all of Stites, were called and testified as to Hye being a sane man at the time of the shooting.

Dr. J.L. Rains was called and in answer to the hypothetical question put to Dr. Givens by the defense replied that Hye was sane at the time of the shooting. With the examination of Dr. Rains the state closed its case.

Sur-Rebuttal Brief

David Natwich was placed on the stand in sur-rebuttal by the defense and stated he got on the stage a mile and a half from Elk on the day of the tragedy and rode to town with Kennedy. Had conversation with Kennedy in which Kennedy stated Hye would be away about two weeks or until he received his check from the government. On cross-examination witness admitted Hye was in debt to him for the sum of a thousand dollars. John Eimers was the last witness called and testified to certain distances.

The defense closed at 4:25 Thursday afternoon and court adjourned until Friday morning when the arguments were made.

Mr. Hattabaugh Open Argument

M.R. Hattabaugh opened the argument for the state Friday morning. He was followed by A.S. Hardy who made the opening argument for the defense and those two consumed the entire forenoon in their arguments, court adjourning until 2:00 p.m. when W.N. Scales made the closing argument for the defense and he was followed by Judge Ailshie, who closed the argument for the state.

Mr. Hattabaugh in opening his argument stated that the case of the State of Idaho vs. Frank Hye was one of the most important in the history of Idaho county and he then read a portion of the letter written by Alma Hye on the 2rd of October; just a day before she was shot, to her husband, and which was mailed and received in Stites on the 4th. This letter breathed the affection which the deceased bore the defendant and she begged that she might come to Stites.

Mr. Hattabaugh’s argument was exceptionally strong and closely followed by the jury and the throng which filled the court room. Following the reading of the letter he called the attention of the jury to the telephone conversation which passed between the defendant and Alma Hye and in which she had requested that she be permitted to come to Stites and join the defendant and his refusing to permit her to come stating that he would go away if she came.

Mr. Hattabaugh said there had been no rumor in Elk City against the character of Mrs. Hye and that after Hye had told her he would not be in for a month, that he had admitted he made three trips secretly. He reviewed the arrival of Kennedy in Elk City on the morning of the killing, told how Kennedy had asked for Hye because he saw horse tracks on the road and thought Hye had come in; reviewed how Kennedy had visited the Hye house during the day, had knocked at the door when he knew that Mrs. Hye was at the hotel; reviewed the conversation of Kennedy with friends and relative to being broke, needing clothes, not having been paid by Hye and that he wanted to see Hye and get some money. He reviewed the circumstances of Kennedy going to the Hye home on the night of the killing, how he met Jones near the door and according to two witnesses told Jones that he thought Hye was in the house, that he was going to see and would try and get some money.

Mr. Hattabaugh stated it was possible that Hye met Kennedy outside the door, forced him to enter the house at the point of the gun and the shooting followed or that there may have been trouble between Hye and his wife when Kennedy reached the house and that Kennedy rushed in to the defense of the woman and was shot down by Hye. He reviewed the testimony as to the clothing worn by Mrs. Hye the day she was killed and the fact that the clothing was missing from the house after the shooting. He told of the search that had been made for the clothing, but that buttons, burned materials, and the pin worn by Mrs. Hye had been recovered from the ashes of the stove. He told of the experiments made relative to burning clothing and given in testimony by witnesses for the state and reviewed the circumstances of the blood stains on the stockings worn by Mrs. Hye, of the blood on the pillow of the lounge and the blood on the wall of the room. He closed with the statement that in Idaho county the people demanded that persons guilty of stealing stock or grain be punished and that the state asked for a conviction of the defendant for the killing of his wife at Elk City on the night of October 4, 1911.

A.S. Hardy for Defense

Following county prosecutor M.R. Hattabaugh, Mr. Hardy opened the argument for the defense and after reviewing the actions of the defendant at the hotel at ? after he had come with the baby and told Mrs. Parr of the killing, and he mentioned the highly nervous state of the defendant and his actions in continually calling the name of his wife. That Hye had affection for his wife was shown by the letters introduced in evidence and written by Hye to Mrs. Hye. Mr. Hardy stated and he pointed to the fact that the defendant had provided one of the best furnished homes in Elk City and that it had been a happy home until its sanctity had been destroyed by Kennedy.

Mr. Hardy reviewed the circumstances of the making of the wills by Hye and his wife. He said Hye owned about all of the property but at that it did not amount to much, so that little importance could be attached to the wills. He referred to the abortion tools found in the Hye home and the fact the defendant had testified that he had no knowledge of the use of such tools. He reviewed the statement of Mrs. Hye to her mother wherein she said she was going to leave Hye. Attorney Hardy holding that his was a corroboration of the testimony of the defendant that a separation had been talked of between himself and wife.

Mr. Hardy then took up the story of Hye relative to his first suspicions concerning his wife; how Hye had endeavored to find out to a certainty whether there were any grounds for such suspicions; how he had ridden to Elk City in the night, remained hidden about the place and saw his wife and Kennedy ride away together and the next day when he asked her about it over the telephone, she had denied that she had been riding with Kennedy. He reviewed the testimony of Kennedy going to his room in the hotel, of slipping out later and the manner in which he approached the Hye home. Mr. Hardy said when a man is caught in a compromising position with another man’s wife, there is one of two things for him to do; he must either flee or he must try to bluff it out and the latter course was the one attempted by Kennedy. He said Kennedy threatened to “get” Hye and reached for his hip pocket and Hye had reason to believe he was going after a gun and that Hye was justified in shooting. He said no person living had witnessed the tragedy but Hye, but it is not reasonable to believe that a man will destroy his won home without reason.

He compared the testimony of Dr. Rains to that of Dr. Givens as to the indication of insanity. He reviewed the testimony of Dr. Blake, the coroner, who conducted the inquest and made a search of the Hye home. He said Dr. Blake had looked in the stove, had examined the ashes and found nothing. He said had the clothing been burned in the stove, that more buttons would have been found. He reviewed the testimony of Thompson as to seeing the red sweater beneath the body of Mrs. Hye immediately after the shooting and when Dr. Blake entered the house three days later this same sweater was on a chair. He said had the body of Mrs. Hye been dragged about as would have been necessary to remove the clothing, that there would have been more blood on the floor.

Mr. Hardy suggested the wound found on the head of Mrs. Hye might have been inflicted by her being hurled against a door jam when she attacked Hye at the time of the shooting. He told of Hye calling the name of his wife after his arrival at the Parr hotel and said the shooting of Mrs. Hye was accidental.

Argument by Judge Scales

Court adjourned until 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon following Mr. Hardy’s argument and the court room was filled to overflowing for an hour before Judge Scales opened, the crowd overflowing out on the stairs, filling the aisles between the seats.

Judge W. N. Scales opened the closing argument for the defense prefacing his speech with the statement that if he approached the case as merely a battle between opposing counsel he would approach it with trepidation, but that as the defense approached it on the ground of justification for the deed done he felt confident in the righteousness of his cause.

He invoked the rule that the jury must be convinced of the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt and directed the attention of the jurors to their oaths when they were sworn to try the case and render their verdict. The first thing referred to in this argument was the instruments introduced in evidence by the state and alleged to have been procured by the defendant to perform an abortion on his wife. He chided the state for unfairness in introducing these instruments and pointed to the fact that there were no instruments among those introduced in evidence which were properly so called abortion instruments while admitting that some of them could be used for that purpose. And he pointed to the fact that the defendant had absolutely no knowledge as to certain of the instruments and that he had never seen them before.

He called attention to the facts which indicated the unfaithfulness of the deceased, Alma Hye and stated that he had no desire except as his duty in the case demanded it, to cause pain to the parents of Mrs. Hye, and that he wished that the shame and guilt could be buried with her in her resting place.

He recounted the events which caused suspicions of the defendant and recounted that Mrs. Hye had requested Mrs. Baskett to ask over the phone if Hye was in Stites. He pointed to the fact that Kennedy went to his room in the hotel as if going to bed and then slipped out later to appear at the Hye home. He also pointed to the fact that the state had introduced testimony tending to show by the statements of Kennedy to certain persons that Hye was owing his $100 in wages and that he probably went to see Hye at his home and to get his money, and then stated that the defense had showed that Kennedy had only $22.00 coming at the time of his death and that Hye had settled with Hugh’s brothers.

With reference to the testimony of Thompson as to the red sweater under the body of Alma Hye and the other witnesses stating to the contrary he stated that the witnesses had testified to more at the trial than they knew at the preliminary.

He reviewed the testimony of Dr. Blake, to whom he referred as a disinterested party, although appearing for the state and that Dr. Blake had failed to perceive or discover many of the things later alleged to have been discovered and he indicated that the clothing had been burned by someone following the preliminary hearing. And he argued that Dr. Blake had investigated the stove and failed to find the things later found in the stove.

He ridiculed the testimony of Mrs. Painter, Mrs. Bell and Mrs. McDonald and stated that they all had testified that the chunk of flesh which they stated was gone from the corner of Alma’s mouth was about the size of a grain of wheat or some other grain, and that the other piece gone from the lip was about the size of their finger nail. He also referred to Mrs. Painter’s evidences of emotion while on the stand and referred to the fact that while she was attending the body of Alma in preparing it for burial and when she stepped across it to go into the bedroom, and later at the grave when she watched the doctors conducting the investigation that she evidenced no emotion.

He referred to the testimony as to powder burns on the body of Alma Hye, to which the three women testified to was unreasonable in view of the fact that there was no evidences of powder burns on the vest which was in evidence.

He argued that the only thing the state had relied upon and upon which they hoped for a verdict was the statement that they did not believe Hye’s story, and then he mentioned that Judge Ailshie, one of the most able lawyers in the northwest was unable to shake his story in a single respect during the cross examination.

He endeavored to establish in his argument that the indications were that some one had entered the house after the killing and had disturbed things and stated that the fact that the house was guarded would not prevent someone entering as Thomas Hye had demonstrated in the presence of several witnesses that he could enter without being discovered.

This briefly covers some of the main points considered by Judge Scales in his argument which lasted about an hour. Mr. Scales was ill at the time of the address to the jury and was not in fit condition to appear and argue the case and mentioned the fact to the jury that he had not gone over everything, he would if it were not for his physical condition. In conclusion, he invoked the unwritten law as a defense, and stated, “We don’t have to rely on that, however, for the act was committed in self-defense.” And again he stated that they had shown that it was justified and that Alma Hye was not intentionally shot by the defendant. Besides this he stated that according to the testimony of Dr. Givens that the defendant was in a condition at the time of the killing which indicated that he was in effect insane. Also that there were aggravating circumstances which would arouse the heat of the defendant’s passion, alluding to Kennedy having called the defendant a vile name. His argument was closely followed and given the best of attention by the jury.

Judge Ailshie for the State

In opening Judge Ailshie stated that we are called upon to perform various duties, pleasant and unpleasant and he directed the attention of the jury to the fact that they were called upon to perform an unpleasant on in sitting in judgment of the defendant, but that it was a duty which they owed society and the state, and that that duty was sacred to administer justice between 400,000 people and the defendant. It is an honor he stated. He stated that no more important case of homicide had ever come before him in all his experience as a judge or a practitioner and he trusted that they would not be led astray by the ingenuity of counsel and matter of evidence. There were several dramatic incidents in his statement when he faced the defendant and denounced his act in killing his wife.

“The defendant admits that he killed his wife.” Judge Ailshie stated, and he expressed himself as surprised that counsel had not dwelt on the conduct of the defendant before he killed his wife when he used cool deliberation and premeditation. “One sign of his sanity.” said Judge Ailshie, “is his selection of counsel.” In that respect the defendant was fortunate he argued, for his counsel have put in evidence a multitude of matters to distract the attention of the jury from the homicide. And he reiterated his statement made before the witnesses were put on the stand that his charge was not for the killing of Hugh Kennedy but for the killing of defendant’s wife.

Judge Ailshie addressed himself to the jury, the court and turned to the auditors in the court room and stated that he disliked using indecent and improper language but that his duty would require him to use language improper in good usage with reference to certain matters brought out in this case. and that he only did no reluctantly. He referred to matters testified to by the defendant and which he later referred to in the words by the defendant on the stand.

The defendant deliberately and with premeditation, prepared himself to do the net for which he is being tried Mr. Ailshie stated and as a result two voices are silent never to tell their story, and so he pointed that it was necessary to rely on the silent evidence of what had actually transpired on the fatal night.

Judge Ailshie complimented Mr. Hattabaugh highly for his fairness in the case in striving to not inject prejudice or bias in the case and he stated that as long as he was prosecutor there would be no danger of a man being convicted unjustly. And he then referred to the charges made by the attorneys for the defense as to unfairness and hurled them back to them.

“The statements of the defendant himself justify a verdict of murder in the first degree,” Judge Ailshie stated, for he had planned this act and it had culmination as a direct result of his plans. His evidence shows a cool, premeditated preparation to do the act done and he should be convicted on his own story if it stood alone.

The Judge stated that Hye shot his wife to silence her and stated that he did not nor no one but the defendant knew the actual circumstances. “Did he shoot his wife standing up,” he demanded turning toward the defendant, and he answered the question by stating that he shot her at an angle of 45 degrees as shown by the course of the bullet. He stated that it would be possible for her to be standing up when he shot her and then he turned to the defendant and said, “She was under him and pleading for her life.”

Taking up the dispute as to powder burns he stated that if Mrs. Hye had only been dressed in the under vest and shot at the distance of 15 or 18 inches that there would have been powder stains on the vest and he argued that the vest must have been covered with other garments and a corset.

As to the blood on the collar of the sweater he showed that it was both on the outside of the collar and on the inside of the neck, and that it was on the left side directly below the wound in the scalp and he stated that she must have had the sweater on when shot and that the blood dripped down from he scalp wound. He showed that it would be impossible for blood to get on the sweater on both the collar and the neck, the way Thompson stated it was folded and lying under the body of Alma Hye.

In referring to the pleas invoking the unwritten law, Judge Ailshie stated that this case is altogether different from any case where that rule is invoked, in this the defendant had planned for some time and prepared for the act he did and then consummated it, whereas in the case of a man walking into the bosom of his family and discovering an act of adultery, unsuspectingly the case is different, the heat of passion being suddenly aroused and there being no premeditation.

The evidence as to insanity of the defendant he called a fake insanity, and then termed it “Shuttlecock insanity, now your on and now your off.” He pointed to the fact that the defendant has been more rational since the killing and that it was testified that he could give more intense attention to his business since he killed his wife than before and that the killing of his wife seemed to calm and soothe him. He said that to refer to the defendant’s insanity was in insult to the intelligence of the jury.

At one point in the argument Judge Ailshie turned to the defendant and said, “He asked Watson as he was leaving Elk City if he would shake a tainted hand. It is tainted and from those lecherous fingers the blood of Alma Hye and Hugh Kennedy is dripping, dripping.”

His last appeal to the jury was to uphold the law and the honor of Idaho county and mentioned that several forms of verdicts would be handed to them by the court. He said the state did not demand blood and that if any of the jury felt that they would not care to impose the death sentence that they should agree on a form of verdict other than death. All that the state demands he said was justice. His argument lasted about two hours.

Court Instructs

At five o’clock Judge Steele gave his instructions to the jury consuming a half hour of time in so doing and giving to the jury six forms of verdict: Murder in first degree, punishment by death; murder in first degree, punishment by imprisonment by life; murder in the second degree, manslaughter, not guilty by reason of insanity and a verdict of not guilty.

Guilty of Murder in Second Degree

The jury retired to the jury room at 5:30 Friday afternoon and deliberated over the case eighteen hours, arriving at a verdict at eleven thirty Saturday forenoon. Immediately upon arriving at a verdict the defendant was brought into court and the jury filed in. The defendant was without council, Judge Scales being ill at his home and Atty. Hardy being absent from the city and Judge Steele offered to call an attorney from those present if the defendant so desired before the delivering of the verdict but he stated he had no objection to the reading of the verdict and the clerk proceeded. The court commanded the defendant to rise and face the jury as the verdict was read.

The foreman of the jury passed the verdict up to Clerk Harris who read the same which was as follows: “We the jury find the defendant guilty of murder in the second degree.” At the reading of the word “guilty” the defendant collapsed in a chair he had previously occupied and buried his head in grief; sobbing audibly. His brothers comforted him as best they could and at the order of the court Sheriff Yates took him in charge and shortly after left for the jail where he was placed in confinement awaiting the pronouncement of sentence. There was no demonstration on the part of the audience and with the exception of an altercation at the foot of the stairway as the sheriff was leaving with the prisoner no trouble of any kind.

How the Jury Stood

It is said the first ballot the jury stood one for acquittal, three for manslaughter one for murder in the first degree and seven for murder in second degree, the next ballot showed three for acquittal and nine for conviction, the next ballot, eleven for conviction and one for acquittal and thus it stood until late Saturday forenoon.

Free Press, March 18, 1915

Prisoners Taken to Boise

H.S. Coburn traveling guard for the state prison, arrived in Grangeville Friday night and left Saturday morning with Frank Hye and Allen McKinnon, the two prisoners sent from Idaho county this term. According to Lewiston reports Hye made the remark at Lewiston when enroute to Boise that his case would be appealed and he did not expect to serve more than three or four months. Guard Coburn stated that Gabriel, who was sent down from Idaho county last year for cattle stealing, is a model prisoner and now a “Trusty” being employed in the power house outside outside of the wall.

Free Press, April 1, 1915

Mail Contract be Re-Let
Present Contract of Elk City – Stites Stage Co. Will be Canceled

The Stites-Elk City mail contract, which has been held the past ten months by Frank J. Hye, now serving a sentence at Boise for the murder of his wife at Elk City, will be re-let, according to notices which are posted in the post office at this point and along the route. All bids must be in by April 27 and the new contract will take effect on May 16 of this year. Bids are called for on an entirely different basis than the one under which the present carrier is now operating. Under the present contract the contractor was permitted to send the grain for his own stage stock by parcel post and this has been done. The postage on a fifty pound sack of grain in the first zone is 54 cents while the contractor received two cents a pound for $1 for hauling the same package. Some for the grain was billed to Clearwater, where it was rolled and then re-billed to Elk City. On these shipments the contractor received double compensation of $4 per hundred and paid in postage $2.16 per hundred pounds.

All of this will be changed now as the contractor is not allowed to receive parcel post, either directly or indirectly along the mail route. It is expected that a number of bids will be submitted under the new call.

Free Press March 25, 1915

Frank Hye a Musician

Frank Hye, of Idaho county, who was received at the prison last week, to serve a term for killing his wife and Hugh Kennedy at Elk City, plays a good piano accompaniment in the prison orchestra. The writer saw him and heard him today at rehearsal held in the general dining room, the larger number of those convicts not in the line-up or coaching at the ball game, being the audience. Hye is anew member of the orchestra organization, which is led by Rev. Hand, the Moscow clergyman who was convicted of rape several years ago and who is serving a life sentence.

(Note: This article was very long and contained information about many different prison inmates. I have chosen to just type up what was written about Frank Hye.)

Free Press, September 27, 1917

Hye Is Pardoned!

At the meeting of the State Board of Parole, held at Boise on Tuesday of this week, Frank Hye, convicted in this county three years ago of second degree murder, was granted a full pardon and will be given his liberty Christmas. Hye killed his wife and a young man by the name of Hugh Kennedy at Elk City on October 4, 1914 and was tried during the March term of 1915. Hye’s defense was temporary insanity and the unwritten law.

When the matter of voting upon the application for pardon came up two voted for granting the same and Governor Alexander against.

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

Mrs. Bell, Noel Litchfield & daughters, Lillian & Helen

Contributed by: Jamie Edmonson

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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Litchfield Family History

This information was submitted by: Bill Salmon of Elk City.

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Litchfield Family Graveyard

submitted by the late Bill Salmon
Photos were taken in 2012 by Penny Bennett Casey.

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Elk City I.O.O.F. Cemetery

(link to original)

The original burial ground for Elk City was in the woods above the present location of the school. There were no records and no permanent markers. Bones were sometimes found in that area when excavation was done for the school or other buildings. The later Elk City Odd Fellows Cemetery was located on the hill above the intersection of Sweeney Hill Road and Elk Creek Road. There used to be a list of all the graves, but it is said that the list was sent to Kooskia for safekeeping and the Odd Fellows Hall there burned down, so the list was lost. At present, there are residents of Elk City trying to reconstruct it, but information is very hard to find.

In 2004 Bill Salmon of Elk City compiled this listing, which I have updated with photos and other information since.

Listing of burials: Penny Bennett Casey and Bill Salmon of Elk City, Idaho County GenWeb

Idaho History Oct 14

Elk City, Idaho County Idaho

(part 2 news)

Elk View Hotel, 1890, Elk City, ID


From – Idaho Historical Society
source: Betsy Roberts Idaho History 1860s to 1960s

Note: most of the following articles come from: “Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity”, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey

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


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

News from the Montana Missourian

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

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

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

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

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

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

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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Store at Elk City, Idaho


From the Mike Fritz Collection
Courtesy: Heather Heber Callahan Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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Philadelphia Inquirer – Philadelphia Penn. August 8, 1896

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

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

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

Exploring Trip

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

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

Bruin Appears

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

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

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

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

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

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

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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1908 Blue Front Saloon


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


Elk City – 4th of July 1909


more photos here: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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The Oregonian February 14, 1912

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

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

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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Horse Race, Elk City, Idaho


From the Mike Fritz Collection
courtesy: Heather Heber Callahan Idaho History 1860s to 1960s
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Idaho County Free Press Thursday, May 20, 1915

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

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

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

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

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

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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Miners from the Buster Mine


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

source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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The Montgomery Advertiser – Pensacola, Florida June 1, 1916

Strange Man At Pensacola Really Wanted

(Special To the Advertiser)

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

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

source: © PBC Idaho County GenWeb – Miscellaneous Published Articles and Newspaper Items From Idaho County and the Vicinity, compiled by Penny Bennett Casey
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1930 Elk City


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


Submitted by Stu Beitler

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

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

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

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

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

Elk City is in Idaho county.

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

(Idaho County Free Press)

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

excerpted from: Elk City, Idaho by Dusty Windshield July 9, 2016
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Why They Call It Elk City

Lewiston Tribune – September 3, 1933

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

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

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

Resting Place First

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

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

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

Many Antlers in Trees

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

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

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

Center of Vast Wealth

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

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

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

Idaho History Oct 7

Elk City, Idaho County, Idaho

(Part 1 Mining)

Elk City, Idaho Post Office 1890


Copyright Idaho state Historical Society 2012
source: Idaho State Historical Society
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Elk City, Idaho

Elk City is an unincorporated census-designated place in Idaho County, Idaho, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population was 202.

Elk City is located at an elevation of 4,006 feet above sea level. Located at the eastern end of State Highway 14, it is 50 miles east of Grangeville, the nearest city. Elk City has a post office with ZIP code 83525.

Elk City was the site of a gold strike in 1861, as prospectors rushed south from Pierce, two years before the formation of the Idaho Territory. In the 1870s, Chinese miners leased the claims but were later driven out by mistreatment. Quartz lode operations began in 1902 and dredging in 1935.

source: Wikipedia
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Idaho County

Idaho County was named for the Columbia River steamer Idaho launched in June 9, 1860 to transport gold seekers in north Idaho. By 1861, there was a settlement in the new county, but no town existed until the following year when the local government was formed in Elk City. In August 1861 rich placer deposits discovered in the mountains of north-central Idaho brought thousands of miners. By the fall of 1862, a sea of tents, lean-tos and make-shift houses had become the boom town of Florence. When Idaho County was established February 4, 1864 by the first Idaho Territorial Legislature, Florence was named the county seat. With the influx of miners and settlers into the area, conflicts arose with the native inhabitants culminating with the 1877 Nez Perce War.

source: Idaho County Historic Places
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Nez Perce

The mining camps of Orofino, Pierce City, Elk City, Florence and Warrens were all located on lands claimed by the Nez Perce Indians, yet, although their game was slaughtered and their streams polluted by prospectors and miners, and notwithstanding that they were a powerful tribe of recognized prowess in war, they quietly submitted to the confiscation of their property, without resort to the only court to which they could have appealed – that of war. That they did not go on the war-path in what would have proved a vain effort to right their wrongs was due, no doubt, to the spirit of friendliness they had entertained for the whites since the Lewis and Clark party had visited them, this spirit of friendship and good will having been fostered and cultivated by Rev. Spaulding and his wife during their missionary work among them. I believe that those who are promoters of missionary efforts among the Indians may claim, with justice, that the forbearance of the Nez Perces was largely, if not entirely, due to the teachings they received at the Christian mission at Lapwai.

excerpted from: (pgs 57-58) “Early History of Idaho” by WJ McConnell 1913
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Main Street Elk City, Idaho


source: Gen Disasters – Albuquerque Journal New Mexico 1930-03-19
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Gold Prospectors Found Elk City Deep in the Idaho Mountains

Riffle Box for Placer Mining. Library of Congress.

On August 6, 1861, a band of miners founded the mining town of Elk City, Idaho, about 35 miles east of the present town of Grangeville. Prospectors had first entered the area in the latter part of May. A large party left the Orofino area earlier in the month. Somewhat less than half penetrated the region, having ignored protests from a Nez Perce Indian chief because they had intruded onto reservation land.

They found gold near the confluence of the American and Red rivers. Further prospecting discovered more and more “color.” By mid-June they had slapped together a log cabin to serve as a recorder’s office, in which “Captain” L. B. Monson recorded the first claim on June 14, 1861.

Some men returned to Orofino for supplies and the new rush began, somewhat dampened by worries about the Indians. However, as more and more prospectors struck pay dirt, the rush swelled. That finally led to the founding of Elk City.

By the following summer, the town had four to six stores of various kinds, five saloons, and two decent hotels. Because of its location deep in the mountains, heavy winter snow shut down work on almost every claim. By the fall of 1862, a quickly-established Express company had shipped out over $900 thousand in gold dust (over $50 million at today’s prices).

Gold discoveries in easier country in Montana drew many prospectors away from Elk City the next year. However, the Evening Bulletin in San Francisco reprinted (May 29, 1863) a letter that said, in part, “Six ditches have been dug during the last winter in the vicinity of Elk City, and are now furnishing water to the miners.” As could be expected, “The miners are doing much better than before the ditches were completed.”

Also, in 1864 and 1865, determined gold-seekers built mores ditches, and flumes, to begin large-scale hydraulic mining. Thus, the value of metal extracted from the region actually increased. A sawmill built to supply lumber for these flumes did a booming business.

Miners continued to obtain reasonable returns from claims in the region for more than a decade. Then, after 1880, many claims were leased to Chinese miners. Like most of the older mining towns, Elk City’s prosperity rose and fell with the output from the gold fields in the region.

The economy received a “bump” when prospectors discovered gold in the “Buffalo Hump,” region, about 20 miles to the southwest. By the summer of 1899, about five thousand prospectors had poured into that area. Although Grangeville became the major supply point for “the Hump,” Elk City also won a share of the stagecoach and freight traffic. However, significant work at Buffalo Hump ran its course by about 1910.

source: Evan Filby, South Fork Companion
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Miners Extract Much Gold from Boise Basin, Elk City Ditches

May 29, 1863, the Evening Bulletin in San Francisco, California

A correspondent reported, “Six ditches have been dug during the last winter in the vicinity of Elk City, and are now furnishing water to the miners. The shortest of them is three miles, and the longest nine.” As could be expected, “The miners are doing much better than before the ditches were completed.”

Elk City [1901] Idaho State Historical Society

excerpted from: Evan Filby, South Fork Companion
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Elk City – Oldest Town In Idaho County

The story goes that fifty-two miners left the Orofino district in May 1861 to explore the upper waters of the South Fork of the Clearwater River. This was rugged, uncharted territory traversed only by an ancient trail, known exclusively to the Nee-Me- Poo (Nez Perce People). The trail was the Nez Perce’s route from present-day Salmon City to the northern Camas Prairie. Overlooked by the Lewis & Clark Corp of Discovery, no record of this trail had been recorded.

The miners from Pierce continued on, following a stream to where the present day town of Stites now is. Six miles farther on, they found themselves on a wooded plateau; the site of Chief Looking Glass’s village. They were not met with a warm reception, Chief Cool-cool-snee-nee objected to their advancement and told them they needed to refer to the treaty which excluded white men from the south side of the Clearwater River. Thirty turned back at that point. Twenty-two ignored the Chief’s warnings and proceeded onward. After approximately 22 miles of travel, they came to a high, flat valley or prairie which they promptly called Elk Valley. The whole flat was watered by springs and covered with rich grass. The soil they found was filled with shot gold running as high a twenty-five cents to the pan. Upon their discovery, several miners returned to Pierce City.

(Main Street towards Elk Creek Meadow – Parr Hotel on Right)

The first reported claim of gold being found was at the bottom of Ternan Hill at the mouth of Glass Gulch; the confluence of Red River and American River Road. For years a crude sign once marked the spot where the first cabin was built in 1861. By July of that same year, a town was laid out between Elk Creek and American River and renamed Elk City due to the abundance of these animals in the neighborhood. Elk City soon had a population of 2000 people, several business houses, 40 dwellings and more in the process of being constructed. This new encampment was approximately 125 miles from Pierce; this trip covered two mountain ranges separated by Newsome Creek. Since many of the miners that came to Elk City hailed from California, they feared the harsh, cold winter that was so[on] to be nipping at their heels. They left to return to Walla Walla to winter.

Elk City Main Street 2-1-1917 – Cleveland Collection

As these men were leaving for warmer climates, other miners felt that Elk City was “here to stay” and turned their attentions to founding establishments; one such investor was Lloyd Magruder along with a partner by the name of Wickersham. Magruder was knowledgeable of the Montana Territory and knew that gold would soon be discovered there. In 1862, his hunch paid off and Montana had its gold boom. Magruder knew that Elk City would become the supply point for the mines in Montana. The most direct route for the transportation of gold and supplies was through the Selway –Bitterroot Mountains. This trail followed the old Nez Perce Trail and tied Elk City directly to present day Darby Montana. He invested heavily in Elk City; especially in the development of the Elk City Mining District and it aqueducts. Elk City continued to flourish.

Lloyd Magruder – Elk City Store Proprietor

In 1896 the development of the Elk City Wagon Road (yet another portion of the Nez Perce Trail) brought new settlers to the area and they found Elk City to their liking. A stage and freight line was developed. With it, a new sense of civilization emerged. Elk City was a robust town! The development of quartz mining in the Buffalo Hump region added to Elk City’s longevity. The town was the supply point since it was directly connected with the railroad terminal at Stites via the Elk City Wagon Road.

Elk City Wagon Road – Winter Travelers – Johnson Collection

… Lumbering quickly became a good economic resource as quartz mining picked up. This sort of mining required tunneling back into the side of the mountain and heavy beam work was needed to support the shafts. Numerous sawmills sprang up to supply the growing demand. Mining remained prevalent in Elk City until 1935 when the government ordered the discontinuance of dredge mining. By this time, lumber had taken its place and would remain as such for next the 60 plus years.

Elk City today. A small, quiet community; still serving as the center of supply for the folks living in town and the outlying regions of Red River, Dixie, and Orogrande. A trip of scenic Highway 14 is a real treat. At the end of the road, you come to this quaint little hamlet. It is hard to image that Elk City once started out as tent-camp mining town.

Elk City in 2016

source: Dusty Windshield July 9, 2016
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Captain Pierce, the discoverer of gold in the north, located Pierce City on the site of his discovery, in the dense wood away up in the wild spurs of the Bitter Root mountains, about fifty miles from the Shoshonee river. Then “Oro Fino City” sprang up; then Elk City was laid out; but the “cities” did not flourish; indeed, all these “cities” were laid out only to be buried! The gold was scarce and the mighty flood of miners that had overrun everything to reach the new mines began to set back in a refluent tide.
(pg 4)

Pierce City, or Oro Fino, was one of the early camps of Idaho, and yielded upwards of thirty million dollars in placer gold. In the last few years quartz prospectors have gone back to the old deserted camps and opened up some wonderful quartz veins. A number of companies have been organized, and mills and machinery put in; three new mills having been built in the past year. The district is fast making a name for itself and will soon take a front seat as a producer.

Elk City is another of the old placer camps that gave to the world in its placer days twenty million dollars of gold. Great veins of quartz have been found in her hills, — veins of ore from ten to forty feet in width, and milling upwards of twenty dollars per ton free on an average. Two years ago these mines were prospects, but they have been prospected by shaft and tunnel for hundreds of feet, and the great ore bodies improve with depth, and modern gold mills of twenty stamps were erected last year. There is no question as to the future of this district, and it is scarcely prospected. In sight of the little camp are whole mountain ranges that have never had a prospecting pick stuck in them.
(pg 430)

excerpts from: “An Illustrated History of Idaho” 1899

1912 Buster Mine – Elk City

(link to source full size)

(more photos of the Buster Mine at link below)
source: © PBC Compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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The Modern Village of Elk City, Situated near the famous Elk City Placer District.


Discovery of Salmon River Mining District (1861- 1862)

It was the belief of many of the prospectors that the mines at Pierce City and Oro Fino were but the outskirts of some rich central deposit. Parties of prospectors scoured the country to the southward and in the summer of 1861 located rich diggings in the gulches and creeks of the Elk City district, situated on the South Fork of the Clearwater. North of the Salmon and southwest of Elk City lay the astonishingly rich placer-camp of Florence which was discovered in the autumn of 1861.

excerpted from: (pg 91) “History of the State of Idaho” By C. J. Brosnan 1918
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Elk City (Gold)

As soon as weather permitted prospecting, parties from Pierce set out to examine the surrounding country, and by the middle of May, 1861, fifty-two miners were on their way to the south fork of the Clearwater, where gold had been noticed in 1856 by a white traveler on the Nez Perce Trail. Gold was found before the end of May, and a mining district was organized June 14.

The South Fork got off to a slow start, but Elk City was established before the end of July, and some handsome strikes August 1-2 improved the reputation of the district enormously. By then the diggings there were rated as an ounce a day, and the dust was relatively good – about $16 per ounce. Some 800 or 1,000 miners were there by late August, but the rush to Florence swept away almost all the miners by the end of September, so there was little opportunity for big production the first season.

Elk City revived in June, 1862, when a surplus of miners overflowed from Florence, but production rates again were rather low. Even though ditches were dug for water during the 1863 operations, the season was a bad one, and recovery was poor. The camp, though, went on, and with hydraulic giants a relatively small number of miners began to work a lot of placer ground.

After 1872, Chinese placers predominated. Quartz properties go back to 1870, but production did not begin on any scale until 1902; some $725,000 quartz production has been recorded. Work at Elk City had gone on now for over a century, and with extensive dredging and dragline operations total production may have reached as high as sixteen million.

excerpted from: Mining in Idaho Number 9 1985, by Ernest Oberbillig and the Idaho State Historical Society
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Vernon dredge on road between Elk City and Orogrande


source: Idaho State Historical Society In Copyright
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Elk City Idaho

The year was 1856. There were some folks traveling on the Nez Perce trail along the South Fork of the Clearwater River when they spotted the glitter of what they thought to be gold in the river. 5 years later, in May, 1861, there were 52 miners on their way to the south fork of the Clearwater, to where the gold had been been reported to have been seen. Sure enough, Gold was found in May of that year, and by June 14th of 1861 a mining district was organized. The camp town of Elk City was established before the end of July.

Mining in the area was slow but in August a couple of rich strikes were made and the reputation of the new mining district became well known. Some of the diggings were rated as an ounce a day, and the dust was also reported to be relatively good ranging about $16 per ounce. By late August of 1861 there were estimates of almost a 1,000 miners in the area. In 1863 ditches were dug to provide water for hydraulic operations. The first season was not very good and the amount of gold recovered was poor. The work continued and with help of the hydraulic giants, small groups of miners were able to work a large area of placer ground.

One of the largest in the area was the Buffalo Pit Mine shown in the photo. The rich and easy to get to ground was mined out fairly quick and by 1872, most of the miners had moved on.

The Chinese miners took the leftovers but eventually even they moved on to better ground.

There is still some good gold to be found around Elk City if your willing to look for it. But be careful where you go as many active claims are being worked in the area.

“Buffalo Pit” hydraulic placer mining operation near Elk City, Idaho

The photo copyright is undetermined. Photo courtesy of Idaho State Historical Society.

source: Prospector Art
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Geology and Ore Deposits of the Elk City, Orogrande, Buffalo Hump, and Tenmile Districts, Idaho County, Idaho

By P. J . Shenon and J . C. Reed 1934


This report presents the preliminary results of the authors’ field work in 1931 and 1932 in the drainage basin of the South Fork of the Clearwater River and just south of the divide between that stream and Salmon River.

The oldest rocks of the area are gneisses, schists, quartzites, and limestones and appear to belong to the Belt series. These old rocks were intruded and injected by quartz monzonite and granodiorite of the Idaho batholith in or before late Cretaceous time. Remnants of a widespread erosion surface cover parts of the area. Faulting and warping of the partly dissected peneplain, possibly in Niocene time, formed certain basin-like depressions in which were deposited gravel, sand, and clay. Only the higher parts of the area, around Buffalo Hump, have been glaciated.

The total production of the area has probably been between $15,000,000 and $25,000,000, but records are incomplete. Most of the production has come from placer mines.

The gold lode deposits are classified as vein deposits, including fissure veins and bedded veins, and disseminated deposits. The placers comprise the high-level type, the reconcentrated type, and the recent stream type.

The lode gold has come mainly from fissure veins. The veins in the Elk City district are arranged radially within about 2 miles of a curving contact of granodiorite and gneiss. They dip steeply and stand at nearly right angles to a linear schistsity, or stretching, in the country rocks. The veins of the Buffalo Hump district are in schist or quartz monzonite at the crest of a large isoclinal anticline which has been invaded by the batholith. They apparently bear no structural relationship to the linear schistosity in the vicinity and in that respect differ from the Elk City veins, although they are otherwise similar. The veins in the Tenmile and Orogrande districts in many respects resemble those of the Elk City and Buffalo Hump systems.

The transportation facilities of the districts have been greatly improved by the completion in the fall of 1932 of a good highway up the South Fork of the Clearwater River to Elk City. This should be a stimulus to the mining activity of the region.

About 55 lode mines and prospects and 17 placer properties are briefly described in this report.

… Placer gold was discovered at Elk City and along Newsome Creek in 1861, and by fall over 2,000 people had flocked to the new diggings. By 1872 the richer and more accessible ground was largely worked out, and most of the white miners had left the field to the Chinese, who came in great numbers.

When the Chinese miners had worked over the ground left by the white miners, as well as many of the old tailings dumps, they too left the country. Since 1900 some of the more extensive, low-grade placer deposits have been worked by large-scale mining methods.

… Before 1904 trails were the only means of access into the Elk City district. That year a road as completed from Stites, a tail road point on the Clearwater River, to Elk City by way of Newsome, a distance of 58 miles, and a branch road was extended to Golden, on the South Fork. Between Stites and Elk City this road crosses two divides — Baldy, at an altitude of 6,280 feet, and Elk, at 5,700 feet.

In 1920 a road was constructed from Grangeville up the South Fork as far as Castle Creek , a distance of 18 miles. By 1929 the South Fork road has been completed to Golden, where it joined the old branch road from Stites. After that travelers to and from the district went from Grangeville to Golden and thence over the old road to Elk City. This route avoided the higher summit on the old Stites road and thereby considerably increased the season during which Elk City was readily accessible.

Another connection to the old road was completed from Fall Creek to Mud Springs by way of Moose Creek in 1931. Late in 1932 the river highway was finally opened all the way to Elk City. This is a water-grade route except where the road climbs out of the South Fork Canyon to Camas Prairie, near Mount Idaho. By this route Elk City is about 60 miles from Grangeville and is accessible by automobile or truck during all months of the year. The ultimate completion of the highway down the Clearwater to Lewiston is contemplated.

full report: Shenon, Philip J. and J.C. Reed. “Geology and Ore Deposits of the Elk City, Orogrande, Buffalo Hump, and Tenmile Districts, Idaho County, Idaho. U.S. Geological Survey Circular No.9. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934.
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Gold Dredge On Crooked River

(click to see original size post card)

Gold dredge on Crooked River, between Elk City and Orogrande. These dredges recall the gold years between the early 30’s and late 50’s when they were seen on many Idaho stream beds. Huge mouths full of gravel were screened down to the fine and heavier gold.

source: Card cow

Idaho History Sept 30

Cottonwood, Idaho County, Idaho

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

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Idaho Tri-weekly Statesman – Boise, Idaho – October 4, 1870

Murder in North Idaho

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

The following is from the Oregon Heralds:

Walla Walla, Sept 23, 1870

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

Copyright Notice: All materials contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of those engaged in researching their family origins. Any commercial use or distribution, without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited. All images used on these pages were obtained from sources permitting free distribution, or generated by the author, and are subject to the same restrictions/permissions. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages do so in recognition of their free, non-commercial distribution, and further, is responsible to assure that no copyright is violated by their submission.
source: Murders, Poisonings and Executions in Idaho County from Area Newspaper Articles compiled by Penny Bennett Casey, Idaho County GenWeb
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“Here We Have Idaho” – a few miles east of Cottonwood near the North & South Highway stands this concrete monument, shaped like the state of Idaho to mark the spot where Capt. D.B. Randall fell when he led the “brave 17” volunteers from Mount Idaho to the rescue of beleaguered soldiers at Cottonwood during the Nez Perce Indian War of 1877. The monument was ereacted by the late Evan Evans of Grangeville.

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

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

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1892 Fire At Cottonwood

Idaho County Free Press Friday, June 3, 1892

Fire at Cottonwood

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

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

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

Idaho County Free Press Friday, June 10, 1892

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cottonwood in Ashes

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

Over $225,000 Lost in Two Hours

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

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

The Origin of Fire

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

A Desperate Fight

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

The Path of Destruction

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

$235,000 Lost in Two Hours

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

Owner and Business / Value / Insurance

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

From the Ruins a Modern City

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

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

Notes and Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

source: From the Mike Fritz Collection.
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Cottonwood Pigs

(click image for original)

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

H.J. Schmidt Held for Murder of Joe Marcus

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

Bail Bond Fixed at $2500

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

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

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

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

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

Deceased’s Brother Testifies

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

Testimony of Other Men

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

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

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

Hearing Resumed Saturday

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

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

Smith Acquitted of the Charge of Murder

Trial Lasted Two Days and Was Followed With Exceptional Interest.

Jury Was Out All Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence of Defense

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

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

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

Defendant Put on Stand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cosand’s Get-Away Nipped

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

High Yields Common

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

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

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

First Building Was Versatile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

source: Wikipedia