"if you can't hide your skeletons, at least make them dance"


Lemhi County GenWeb Project

Charcoal Kilns - Lemhi County
Photo by Larry Prescott
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Neighboring Counties

Butte County, Idaho
Clark County, Idaho
Custer County, Idaho
Idaho County, Idaho
Valley County, Idaho
Beaverhead County, Montana
Ravalli County, Montana

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Credits and

A big thank you goes out to prior Lemhi County Coordinators, Trinity Boss and Alberta Wiederrick. Special thanks also to the Idaho State Coordinator, Mike St. Clair and Asst. State Coordinator, Mitch Ryder. If I've missed a contributor, please let me know.

The following books are a suggested reading and research list for Lemhi County. Some of these books may be obtained through interlibrary loan, while others are located at the Salmon Idaho Public Library.

A word about Interlibrary Loans.....

For those of you haven't tried "Interlibrary Loan" - it is the greatest thing since ice cream! If you want to read a book that you can't get locally talk to your librarian. Most US libraries participate in the program. Write down the book title, author, and any other details you may have such as publisher. Give it to your librarian and she will order the book in for you. My library charges me between $2-$5 to get any book that circulates in the country. The process usually takes several weeks. The library calls you when it comes in. Usually you can take the book home for several weeks. Some libraries require you read the book on the premises. It depends on the policy of the lending library and the value of the book. Some books are so scarce that they don't circulate.

If you can't obtain your book through interlibrary loan - there is still hope. Make a trip to the Library of Congress in Washington DC some day. They have a copy of almost every book ever published in the U.S. Everyone needs to visit this wonderful repository at least once in their life! And don't forget Ebay - always a good source for obscure books, as is Amazon.com. One final place to look - check out the local historical societies - they usually have books and transcriptions available for sale because sale of their transcriptions is one of their major sources of funding.

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the fire that saved America, by Timothy Egan, a great book that outlines the huge forest fire that swept through Idaho and Montana in the early 1900s. This fire, in which many lives were lost, was instrumental in the creation and support of the US Forest Service by Teddy Roosevelt and the US Congress. Index online!

Walking Main Street: A History of Salmon City Main Street 1866 - 2010, Researched and written by Lemhi County Historical Society members Cheryl Jones, Alberta Wiederrick, and Kay Chaffin. This book can be purchased for $14.95 plus .90 sales tax – $15.85. They can be reached at:
Lemhi County Historical Society
210 Main St
Box 645
Salmon, Idaho 83467
Phone: (208) 756-3342

The Quiet Ground, Julia I. Randolph , published 1989 by Maverick Publications, Bend OR. This is an extensive writing of all the cemeteries within Lemhi County with the exception of the Salmon Cemetery
The Lemhi, Sacajawea's People, by Brigham D. Madsen

Sacajawea's People: The Lemhi Shoshones and the Salmon River Country, by John W.W. Mann

Historian, John W. W. Mann offers an absorbing and richly detailed look at the life of Sacajawea's people before their first contact with non-Natives, their encounter with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early nineteenth century, and their subsequent confinement to a reservation. He follows the liquidation of the Lemhis’ reservation in 1907 to their forced union with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation and recounts their continuing struggle to maintain their political, economic, and cultural integrity.

Images of America, Lemhi County, by Hope Benedict, Lemhi County Historical Society.

Author and historian, Hope Benedict was born and raised in the Lemhi Valley. In this Arcadia publication, Benedict uses the extensive photo collection of the Lemhi County Historical Society and Museum to portray the history of this American Western community. Photos of the Lemhi Shoshoni, mining, ranching, the timber industry, early transportation, pioneers, and Salmon City at the turn of the twentieth century, instill a sense of this place and its past.

Fort Limhi: The Mormon Adventure In Oregon Territory 1855-1858, By David L. Bigler

In this comprehensive history, David Bigler demonstrates that the LDS colony, known as the Salmon River Mission (Fort Limhi), played a pivotal role in the Utah War of 1857-58 and that the catastrophic end of the mission was critical in preventing all out war between Mormon Utah and the United states. In the process, he uses a multitude of primary sources to reconstruct a dramatic and compelling story involving stalwart Mormon frontiersmen, Brigham Young, Native Americans, the U.S. Army, and mountaineers. As historian Will Bagley writes in his foreword to this book, "With its astonishing fish stories, desperate Indian battles, life-threatening chases, and heroic rides to rescue a terrified and helpless outpost, this work has all the elements of a great frontier novel."
"Get Off And Push": The Story of the Gilmore & Pittsburgh Railroad
By Thornton Waite

Completed in 1910 to facilitate mining in the "Texas Mining District"of Lemhi County, the Gilmore and Pittsburgh Railroad faced a multitude of challenges in its thirty year history, including steep mountain tracks, harrowing snow storms, floods, and an unstable economy. A shortage of profits led to poor maintenance and the train earned a variety of nicknames, including "The Get Out and Push."Nonetheless, the railroad played a critical role in the early growth and development of the region.
History of Lemhi County, By G.E. Shoup

This brief history of Lemhi County (originally published in the Salmon Recorder Herald) was compiled by George Elmo Shoup, son of Colonel George Laird Shoup who not only played a significant role in the economic and political development of Lemhi County but went onto become Idaho's last territorial and first state governor as well as one of Idaho's first United States Senators. George Elmo was first hand witness to much of his story and he provides an interesting perspective on the early years of a western mining and ranching community.
Idaho's Governors: Historical Essays On Their Administrations, By Robert C. Sims and Hope A. Benedict

Idaho's Governors: Historical Essays on Their Administrations is an excellent guide to the history of Idaho through its top political officials. The essays, written by regional historians, cover critical issues in the development of state's government and of the state in general. In addition, the book serves as resource for future research into the rich political history of this state. The essays span the territorial era through the midpoint of Governor Cecil Andrus' third and fourth terms in office.
Lewis and Clark in Lemhi County, Idaho, By Richard R. Smith
A Salmon, Idaho, native, Smith portrays the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery experience (August 1805) in Lemhi County, Idaho.
Lost In The Shuffle: A History of the Veterans of Lemhi County, Idaho
By Julia I. Randolph

Julia Randolph, regional historian and author of a number of books on East Central Idaho, including This Quiet Ground and Gibbonsville: The Golden Years, compiled the biographies of Lemhi County Veterans from the Civil War to those who served in World War I.
Madame Charbonneau, By John E. Rees

John E. Rees, early Lemhi County resident, teacher, politician, and businessman, wrote this account of Sacajawea just over one hundred years after the Lewis and Clark Expedition. To the continuing mystery of Sacajawea's life, Rees adds his theories about the young woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery.
Murder on the Middle Fork, By Don Ian Smith and Naida West

Based on a true story - one of Idaho's strangest murders (1917): Frieda lives by the laws of the wilderness in primitive isolation with her husband until she finds something more important than raw survival. Suspense intensifies to the shocking conclusion, then resolves in deliverance. Set on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
Patchwork: Pieces of Local History , By Students of Salmon High School Patchwork Class

Salmon High School students, under the direction of teachers, Dr. Terry Magoon and Mike Crosby, interviewed regional residents, conducted archival research, and created a series of historical journals invaluable to the history of this state. This is one of the few editions still available.
Cobalt: The Legacy of the Blackbird Mine, By Russell Steele

Mining and the search for mineral wealth has been a major factor in the history of the Blackbird Canyon, starting with the discovery of copper and gold in the 1800s, and then cobalt, a strategic mineral during WWI, WWII and Korean War. This book is a chronologic history of the Blackbird Mine, starting with the discovery of copper by a native american, ending with clean up of the environmental damage created by human activity in the canyon. Steele shares with readers what it was like to live and work at the Blackbird. He tells his family stories and those families that participated in creating the Blackbird legacy.
Salmon River Memories: Pioneers, Characters, and Great Neighbors , By Boyd Rood

Enjoy "The way it was" memories, pictures, and some history of a portion of the Idaho that is the Salmon River Country. The book describes early pioneer life in the homeland of Sacajawea . . . "You will laugh, you will cry, and maybe, just maybe, you will have a longing for life in the"good old days." The author grew up on a cattle ranch sixty miles west of Salmon and had first-hand experiences of "the way it was."
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