Lemhi County

100 Years of Idaho History

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Two Hundred Years of the History of Idaho


Discovery of the Rocky Mountains somewhere in the vicinity of Yellowstone Park made by Pierre De la Verendrye, while in search of a western sea.
The Louisiana Territory purchased by the United States from France for $15 million.
Lewis and Clark are the first white men to explore the Idaho region. They enter through Lolo Pass on August 12 and cross the Bitterroot Range on their way to the Pacific.
Lewis and Clark spend more than six weeks with the Nez Perce Indians in the Kamiah area before returning eastward across the Lolo Trail.
David Thompson, a Canadian explorer, establishes a trading post, Kullyspell House, for the North West Company at Pend Oreille Lake, near Hope. Britain opens the first trading post in Idaho built for the Northwest Fur Company.
Fort Henry is built at St. Anthony by Missouri Fur Company, first American trading post.
David Thompson commences fur trade near Bonners Ferry.
Pacific Fur Company expedition, the Astorians, explore the Snake River Valley on their way to the Columbia River. Led by Wilson P. Hunt, the westward journey discovers the Boise Valley.
Donald Mackenzie establishes a winter fur trading post at Lewiston for the Astorians.
John Reid starts fur trading post on the lower Boise River.
Bannock Indians wipe out John Reid's fur trading post on the lower Boise River.

Donald Mackenzie makes first exploration of southern Idaho with his Snake River expedition of trappers.
Treaty of joint occupancy between Great Britain and the United States leaves Oregon country (including Idaho) open to citizens of both nations. Joint claim with Great Britain sets "The Oregon Country" as being between 42 degrees North to 54 degrees 40 minutes North with the Eastern boundry as the Continental Divide.
1819 -1820
Spain gives up its claim to Idaho. Treaty with Spain sets the Northern border of Spanish claims at 42 degrees North. Relinquishing claims to "The Oregon Country".
Battle fought in Lemhi Valley between men of the Snake River country expedition and the Piegan Indians.
Alexander Ross and Jedediah Smith lead separate expeditions in exploring much of the Salmon River country.
Peter Skene Ogden begins trapping in Idaho.
Russia cedes Northwest Territory to United States in a treaty.
Rendezvous at Bear Lake for fur trading.
Rendezvous held at Pierre's Hole, now known as the Teton basin, where hundreds of mountain men and fur trappers congregated.
Rendezvous with the Indians held on the Blackfoot River, where competition in fur trading became intensely keen.
Fur trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, led by Kit Carson, winter on the Salmon River.
Captain B.L.E. Bonneville leads the first crossing of the Rocky Mountains in covered wagons. The company reaches the Lemhi River on September 19. Rendezvous at Pierre's Hole.
Battle of Pierre's Hole occurs July 18 between American fur trappers and the Grosventre Indians.
Fort Hall, established by Americans under Captain Nathaniel Wyeth, becomes a hub for trails and roads to the western parts of the United States.
Fort Boise erected by the Hudson Bay Company near the mouth of the Boise River.
Presbyterian missionaries, Henry and Eliza Spalding build first mission in Idaho at Lapwai Creek near Lewiston. They also erect the first sawmill and gristmill. They teach farming methods to the Nez Perce Indians.
First school in Idaho opens for Indian children at Lapwai.
First white child born in Idaho is Eliza Spalding born at Lapwai.
Henry Spalding starts publishing the Bible in Lapwai on the earliest printing press in the Pacific Northwest.
Chief Timothy, the first native Christian leader, baptized November 17.
Father Pierre Jean de Smet begins missionary work in Idaho.
Father Point establishes the Jesuit Coeur d' Alene Mission of the Sacred Heart near Saint Maries. The Mission moves to a site near Cataldo in 1846, and is transferred in 1877 to Desmet where it stands today.
Provisional government is formed for the Oregon area, which included present day Idaho.
Oregon Trail established in Idaho, which crossed the border near Montpelier, passed by Fort Hall, then westward south of the Snake River to the ford below Salmon Falls, then to Fort Boise, crossing the Snake River into Oregon.
Oregon Treaty, 08/05/1846. This treaty divided the Oregon country between the United States and Canada. Treaty with Great Britain sets the Northern boundry of "The Oregon Country" at 49 degrees North. It granted to the United States land that would later comprise the entire states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as portions of Montana and Wyoming. Pictured is the signature page and President Polk's proclamation announcing the treaty. 
Great Britain relinquish's claims to "The Oregon Country".
The Cataldo Mission is established at Couer d' Alene by the Jesuits. The mission is the oldest standing building in Idaho. 
"The Oregon Country" organized as the Oregon Territory.
Washington Territory (Washington, Northern Idaho and NorthWest Montana) created from Oregon Territory. Oregon Territory reorganized (Oregon, Southern Idaho and WestCentral Wyoming).
Sacred Heart Mission established on the Coeur d'Alene River.
Over 20,000 emigrants who join the gold rush come through southeastern Idaho on the California Trail. Heavy traffic continues on the trail for many years. U.S.
Military post established near Fort Hall.
French Canadians discover gold on the Pend Oreille River.
Construction of the Cataldo Mission completed.
Washington Territory established. Idaho divided between Washington and Oregon.
Twenty-one emigrants led by Alexander Ward massacred in Boise Valley by the Snake River Indians. This event leads to the closing of Fort Boise the next summer and Fort Hall in 1856.
Mormons settle in eastern Idaho and build Fort Lemhi. 
Fort Boise Closed
Fort Hall Closed
Mormons at Fort Lemhi irrigate the land to farm it, which upsets the Indians. Bannock Indians attacked the Mormons at Fort Lemhi, killing two and driving the remaining back to Utah.
Oregon Territory dissolved and is admitted as a state, remainder (Southern Idaho and WestCentral Wyoming) added to the Washington Territory. 
The Mormons return to Idaho and start its first permanent settlement at Franklin. Idaho's oldest town, Franklin, is founded just north of the Utah border on April 14.
Gold is discovered at Orofino Creek in August, leads to the establishment of Idaho's oldest mining town, Pierce.
Miss Hannah Cornish starts the first school for white children in Idaho.
Mullan military wagon road built just north of Coeur d'Alene.
A bill to provide a temporary government for the territory of Idaho, 05/01/1860 
Origin of state's name: Idaho is a coined or invented word, and is not a derivation of an Indian phrase "E Dah Hoe (How)" supposedly meaning "gem of the mountains.
Go Here to see a map of 1860
Gold deposits are found in the Salmon and Boise Rivers. Fortune hunters flock to the area, creating "boom towns". By 1863, the population explodes to 70,000 people.
First newspaper published in Idaho is the Golden Age in Lewiston
George Grimes and a party of prospectors establish the Boise Basin mines, leads to the creation of Idaho City.
Packer John's Cabin built between New Meadows and McCall.
Gold discovered near present day Warren.
Congress organizes the Idaho Territory on March 3. It includes all of Idaho, Montana, and parts of Wyoming. Its capital is Lewiston and its governor is William Wallace. See the actual documents Here
Idaho Territory organized, capital at Lewiston. President Lincoln signed the act establishing the territory on March 4.  See the 1863 Idaho Territory Seal Here
Dakota Territory reorganized, North half of Wyoming and majority of Montana added to the Idaho Territory.
Soda Springs founded by Colonel Conner. 
Boise News of Idaho City issues first copy September 29. 
Mining begins in the Owyhees. 
Boise Barracks established at Moore Creek by Major P. Lugenbeel and the U.S. Cavalry. 
The townsite of Boise laid out by merchants under the lead of Cyrus Jacobs. First general election held October 31. 
First county established: Owyhee County, December 31.
See the 1864 Map Here
Montana is made into a separate territory. Montana Territory (Montana) created from Idaho Territory. Idaho Territory reorganized (Idaho and North half of Wyoming).
The capital of the Idaho Territory is moved to Boise. A resolution to make Boise the capital passes December 7
Public school system established for the territory. 
Julius Newburg Road completed in Elmore County September 7. 
Ben Holliday establishes first stagecoach line. 
The Idaho Statesman begins tri-weekly publication in Boise. 
Ada, Alturas, Boise, Idaho, Kootenai, Lah-Toh, Nez Perce, Oneida and Shoshone counties created.
Boise becomes the capital of Idaho. 
J.M. Taylor and Robert Anderson erect bridge across Snake River near present day Idaho Falls. 
Boise-Rocky Bar stage begins operations, later extended to Silver City.
Gold discovered at Leesburg in Lemhi County. 
Survey of public lands begun, L.F. Cartee surveyor. 
Congress passes Federal Lode Mining Act. 
State of Columbia proposed by the Idaho legislature in a petition to Congress, to include all the lands in western Montana, northern Idaho, and eastern Washington.
Gutzon Borglum, Mount Rushmore sculptor, born in Bear Lake County March 25. 
Bishop Tuttle, an Episcopal priest, arrives in Boise October 12. 
Idaho Legislature repeals oath of allegiance to U.S., a riot commences and Federal troops are called out. Lah-Toh County abolished, territory annexed to Kootenai County.
Idaho Territory reorganized into the Wyoming Territory (Wyoming) and the Idaho Territory (Idaho).
Lemhi County is organized
Statue of George Washington, carved from native wood by Charles Ostner, is unveiled on the capitol grounds at Boise. Idaho 
State Law Library established. 
Placer gold strike made at Oro Grande. 
Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads complete transcontinental railway at Promontory Summit, Utah on May 10, improves transportation to Idaho. 
Chinese workers flock to Idaho mines. 
Fort Hall Indian Reservation set aside by President Grant for Shoshonis and Bannocks of southern Idaho. 
First telegraph office established at Franklin, linking the town with Salt Lake City
The Gold boom over, the population drops to about 15,000. Those remaining are mostly farmers and ranchers.
Idaho population: 14,999 later census figure shows 17,804 as Utah-Idaho border was not clearly established. 
Caribou gold rush in southeastern Idaho.
U.S. Assay office and Idaho prison completed.
 Strike drives Chinese labor out of Owyhee mines.
Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation set aside by President Grant for the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane Indians.
First railroad in Idaho: Utah Northern, to Franklin. 
Idaho's first daily newspaper, The Owyhee Daily Avalanche, issued at Silver City October 17. 
Telegraph reaches Silver City.
Lemhi Indian Reservation set aside by President Ulysses S. Grant for Shoshonis, Bannocks, and Tukuarikas. 
Bear Lake County created. 
Bank failure ruins Silver City and South Mountain Mines.
The Nez Perce War is fought between the Federal troops and the Nez Perce Indians lead by Chief Joseph. The Nez Perce are defeated and forced to move onto the Lapwai Indian Reservation.
National Desert Land Act passed by Congress for reclaiming land by irrigation. 
Nez Perce Indian War: Warriors under Chief Joseph's command went on warpath after the government opened to settlement the Wallowa Valley in Oregon. Battles fought at White Bird - June 14th through 29th. Battle of Clearwater fought July 11 and 12. Fighting then moved into Montana. The war ended on October 5 with the surrender of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce. 
Duck Valley Indian Reservation set aside by President Hayes for the Shoshonis and Paiutes.


The Bannock War between the Bannock Indians under Chief Buffalo Horn and the federal troops, is fought. They are also defeated.
Bannock Indian War: Bannocks led by Chief Buffalo Horn, and Paiutes led by Chief Egan, went on the warpath when the United States Government opened the Camas Prairie, which had been reserved for the Indians. Battles fought at South Mountain and Bennett Creek.
The Sheepeater Indian War: Renegade Bannocks and Tukuarika Indians go on warpath. Indians hide out in the hills of central Idaho subsisting on sheep they kill during their raids. Battles fought at Big Creek and Loon Creek. Indians surrender September 1. 
Utah Northern railroad completed within Idaho on its path from Salt Lake City to Helena, Montana. 
Cassia and Washington counties created.
Idaho population: 32,619. 
Discovery of lead-silver lodes in the Wood River area, the rush to Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum transforms southcentral Idaho. 
The Boise and Lewiston Independent School Districts created. 
North Idaho Annexation political party forms to counteract the powerful "Boise Ring".
Historical Society of Idaho Pioneers forms to collect and preserve a reliable history of the early settlement of the territory. 
The Hailey Times begins daily publication. 
Wells Fargo office established at Challis. Custer County created. 
Earthquake centered 20 miles east of Mount Idaho August 9.
Northern Pacific railroad completed across the northern part of the Territory. 
Construction began on the New York Canal in Ada County. 
First telephone service in Idaho commenced at Hailey October 1. 
Rexburg is founded. 
Oregon Short Line completed through southern Idaho.
One of the worlds richest silver (and lead) deposits are found in the Coeur d' Alene Mountains. Coeur d'Alene gold rush, followed by Tiger and Polaris mines opening lead-silver operations. 
The Oregon Short Line arrives in Ketchum August 19. 
Freight and passenger service begins on Coeur d'Alene Lake. 
Oregon Short Line reaches Weiser, connecting Idaho to the Pacific coast. 
Wallace is founded.
The legislature approves construction of Territorial Capitol building at an expense of $80,000. 
Test Oath Act adopted by legislature, designed to bar Mormons from voting and holding public office. 
Legislature locates insane asylum at Blackfoot. 
Famous poet Ezra Pound born at Hailey October 30. 
Bingham County created. 
Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines begin operation.
Utah Northern merges with Oregon Short Line and joins Union Pacific system. 
Separate bills to annex north Idaho to Washington Territory pass each chamber of Congress, but are not reconciled. 
Construction on the Territorial Capitol completed. 
Nampa city platted.
Electric light plant goes into operation at Hailey to supply power for territory's first electric lights. 
Wardner miner's union established after wage reductions at Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines. 
Compulsory education law passed.
 A bill to annex north Idaho to Washington Territory passes Congress, but is not signed by President Cleveland and does not become law.
Ricks Academy, now known as Ricks College, established in Rexburg. 
Latah County created by U.S. Congress.
The state constitution is written in Boise. 
As a conciliatory move to keep north Idaho from seceding, the Territorial legislature locates the University of Idaho at Moscow.
As a conciliatory move to keep north Idaho from seceding, the Territorial legislature locates the University of Idaho at Moscow. 
Constitutional convention composed of sixty-eight members meet at Boise July 4 and after laboring twenty-eight days, forms and adopts constitution for the state of Idaho August 6. Constitution is ratified by the people on November 5 by a vote of 12,398 to 1,773. 
Fire in Hailey causes $750,000 worth of damage. 
Elmore county created.


  Idaho enters the Union as the 43rd state, July 3, signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison. 
Population grows from 32,610 in 1880 to 88,548. 
Great Northern Railroad completed across the northern part of the state
Congress passes Federal Forest Reserve Act.
First legislative and statewide elections held.
First session of the Idaho Legislature meets.
Great Seal of the State of Idaho, a design drawn by Miss Emma Edwards, with the Latin motto "Esto Perpetua" adopted.
Her Flag:
A silk flag, blue field, five feet six inches fly, and four feet four inches on pike, bordered with gilt fringe two and one-half inches in width, with state seal of Idaho twenty-one inches in diameter, in colors, in the center of a blue field. The words "State of Idaho" are embroidered in with block letters, two inches in height on a red band three inches in width by twenty-nine inches in length, the band being in gold and placed about eight and one-half inches from the lower border of fringe and parallel with the same.
Idaho forest reserves created.
Boise's electric street railway commences operation on August 22.
College of Idaho opens in Caldwell October 9. 
Canyon and Alta counties created
President Benjamin Harrison plants Water Oak on capitol grounds.
Violence and labor disputes break out between the miners and the mine owners in Coeur D' Alene region. Mines are dynamited, and martial law is declared by the governor, N.B. Willey. Martial law commenced in the Coeur d'Alenes on July 14 following the dynamiting of the Frisco Mill near Burke.
Hundreds of miners are arrested in Shoshone County
High freight rates and low silver prices close Coeur d'Alene mines January 16.
The Farmers Alliance and the Knights of Labor organize the Idaho Populist Party in Boise May 26.
University of Idaho opens October 3.
Idaho Education Association organized.
Timber and Stone Act passes Congress, paving way for commercial timber industry in Idaho.
The "Panic of '93" lead and silver prices collapsed, Coeur d'Alene mines shut down.
Western Federation of Miners formed.
Office of State Mine Inspector established.
Idaho State Medical Society founded September 12.
State Wool Growers Association started at Mountain Home September 25.
First state game laws enacted.
State Normal Schools (Colleges of Education) established at Lewiston and Albion.
Legislature enacts state wagon roads to connect north and south Idaho.
Bannock and Fremont counties created.
The Carey Act is passed, makes possible reclamation of Snake River Valley, which will lead to over 200,000 acres of land in Idaho being irrigated by 1909, and tremendous help for farmers and ranchers.
Albion Normal School opens January 8. Nez Perce Indian Reservation allotted to the Indians.
Gold discovered in the Thunder Mountain country.
Comprehensive irrigation law, providing for uniform use of public water, enacted on March 9.
Lincoln and Blaine counties created.
Lewiston Normal School dedicated June 3.
Idaho becomes first in the nation in production of lead.
Montpelier bank robbed by Butch Cassidy August 13.
Idaho Legislature calls on Congress to extend the right to vote to women.
Idaho Republicans split, Silver Republicans endorse William Jennings Bryan for President.
Clashes between sheep and cattle industries culminate in the murder of sheepherders allegedly by "Diamondfield" Jack Davis
Cassia County created.
President Grover Cleveland establishes Bitterroot Forest Reserve which includes much of north Idaho.
Legislature acts to protect bison within the state.
State Board of Medical Examiners established to regulate the practice of medicine.
First Idaho regiment of military volunteers called into service for the Philippine insurrection of the Spanish-American War.
Fort Hall Indian Reservation allotted to the Indians in parcels of 160 acres each, with the balance to be sold for the Indians' benefit.
More violence occurs in the mines. Most of the mine owners now recognized the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) Union. Union organizers call for a strike against two companies (Bunker Hill and Sullivan) who refuse to pay union wages. Another mine is blown up. 
Governor Frank Steunenberg calls in the federal troops to arrest and suppress riot in the Coeur d'Alene mining district following the dynamiting of the Bunker Hill and Sullivan concentratorthe miners. Hundreds are arrested and kept in large outdoor prisons called bullpens. The WFM is broken by this by the time the Coeur D' Alene mine reopens. This caused the governor to be hated by the miners, and was killed in 1905 by a bomb.
Position of State Fish and Game Warden created.

Go here for the next 100 years....


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2005 by Lemhi County IDGenWeb Coordinator Trinity Boss

Some material included on this page is reprinted with permission from Gov. Kempthorne.