The History of Idaho, The Gem of the Mountain, by James H. Hawley, Volume I, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1920:

The Counties of Idaho, C - F


"On the same day that Butte County was created (February 6, 1917), the western part of Blaine County was cut off and erected into Camas County, which takes its name from the Big Camas Prairie. The county is an irregular triangle, bounded on the north by Custer County; on the east by Blaine; on the south by Lincoln and Gooding; and on the west by the County of Elmore. Fairfield was declared to be the county seat by the act creating the county, which was given one senator and one representative in the state legislature, assigned to the fourth judicial district and the governor was directed to appoint ofiicers for the new county to serve until the general election of 1918.

"The officers appointed by Governor Alexander and instructed to assume their duties on May 26, 1917, were as follows: E. D. Perkins, J. O. Couch and W. J. Sonner, commissioners; Nelson B. Higgs, auditor and recorder; C. L.Bach, sheriff; Robert Price, treasurer; Frank Croner, probate judge; I. W. Edgerton, prosecuting attorney; Louis Walton, assessor; Dewitt P. Higgs, coroner; Bessie L. Fletcher, superintendent of public instruction.

"Big Camas Prairie, in the valley of the Malad or Camas Creek, has about three hundred thousand acres of land that can be farmed by either irrigation or dry farming methods. The soil of the prairie has a clay sub–soil which holds moisture, and this section has been called 'the granary of Southern Idaho.' For many years the leading crop was hay, but recently other crops have been introduced. The leading industries are farming and stock raising.

"Transportation is furnished by a branch of the Oregon Short Line railway system, which runs between Richfield, Lincoln County, and Hill City, on the western border of Camas County. The stations along this railroad are Blaine, Corral, Fairfield, Hill City, Macon, Magic and Selby. The incorporated Town of Soldier, a short distance northeast of Fairfield, and Manard, on the Malad River, are important trading points. In 1918 the property of the county was assessed for tax purposes at $2,803,501."


"On March 7, 1891, Governor Willey approved an act authorizing the county commissioners of Ada County to submit to the voters in the western part of the county the question of cutting off that portion of Ada County and erecting therein the County of Canyon. The question was accordingly submitted at the general election in 1892 and a majority of the votes were in favor of the new county.

"As originally established, Canyon County included the present counties of Canyon and Payette and that part of Gem County lying south of the southern border of Washington County. Gem County was cut off in 1915 and Payette in 1917, reducing Canyon to its present dimensions. It is bounded on the north by Payette and Gem counties; on the east by Ada County; on the south by the Snake River, which separates it from Owyhee County; and on the west by the Snake River which here separates Idaho from Oregon. The county derives its name from the Snake River Canyon.

"One of the first settlers in this county was Garner Miner, a native of New Haven, Conn., who came to Idaho in 1861, nearly two years before the organization of the territory. For awhile he followed mining at Florence and in the Illinois Gulch of the Boise Basin, where he took out about a thousand dollars a week, finally selling his claim for a good price. He then went to the lower Payette Valley and purchased 300 acres of Government land. which he developed into a fine farm and lived there until 1892, when he retired and spent the remaining years of his life in the City of Caldwell, the county seat of Canyon County from its organization.

"Canyon is one of the best agricultural counties in Idaho, the average altitude being only about two thousand feet above sea level and the soil is of exceptional fertility. An item in one of the Caldwell newspapers of August 24, 1918, says: 'Livestock, grain, potatoes and hay to the amount of 889 carloads and aggregating $1,358,000 in valuation have been shipped out to the markets from the tributary country during the past six months. Shipments of the remaining six months of the year will be vastly larger, since more grain, potatoes and live stock will be shipped out than during the first six months of the year.'

"Caldwell and Nampa are both cities of considerable size. The main line of the Oregon Short Line Railroad passes through those two cities. At Nampa branches leave the main line for Boise, Lakeport and Murphy, and the Wilder branch leaves the main line at Caldwell. Middleton and Notus are the most important villages. Minor railway stations are Bowmont, Greenleaf, Melba, Tendavis and Wilder.

"In 1910, before Gem and Payette counties were cut off, the population was 25,323, Canyon then being the second county of the state in the number of inhabitants. In 1918 it stood sixth in the valuation of property, its assessment for that year being $18,420,120."


"One of the three counties created by the Fifteenth State Legislature was Caribou County, the creating act being approved on February 11, 1919, and Governor Davis shortly after naming a full list of county ofiicers, D. K. McLean, Frank M. Butler and W. J. Chester being appointed commissioners; Kenneth Gorton, clerk of the district court; N. E. Snell, county attorney; L. P. Carr, probate judge; A. J. Gronewald, assessor; R. F. Hickey, treasurer; W. E. Donahoe, school superintendent, and Paul Tipton, sheriff. The county is 1,250 square miles in area, and has a population estimated at 3,500. with assessable property of value of $4,000,000. The county was taken from the western part of Bannock County and Soda Springs named as the county seat. Soda Springs was a favorite camping place of the trappers who visited the Northwest before emigrants began traveling across ' the plains,' and is frequently mentioned in the narratives of Captain Bonneville, John C. Fremont and other early day explorers, being commonly called 'Beer Springs' by them. Soda Springs was a favorite resort of President Brigham Young and he is generally credited with starting the town and there he spent many summers. The name of the county is derived from Caribou Mountain, which in its turn was called after a man named Fairchilds, who was nicknamed 'Caribou' from the mining camp of that name in British Columbia where he had formerly lived, and who on a prospecting trip to Southern Idaho, in company with a man named George Chapin discovered both placer and lode gold mining claims on the mountain they named 'Caribou' and started a town called Keenan near the discoveries. This town had at one time a population of 1,000, as the mines looked promising, but development showed they were valueless and there is nothing left of the City of Keenan except a few deserted houses and the tradition that it was once a lively place.

"There is considerable farming done in Caribou County, but stock raising is the principal business of its people, the ranges being excellent and the sheep industry especially thriving. More wool is shipped from Soda Springs than from any other point in Idaho."

Cassia County

"Cassia County is situated near the center of Idaho, its southern boundary being Utah and Nevada and its northern the Snake River. The territory comprising the county was formerly a part of Owyhee County and as it was first created embraced the present county of Twin Falls.

"The surface of the county, excepting the valleys of Raft River, Goose Creek, Cassia Creek and Little Basin, is generally rough and broken, sloping from its southern boundary to the Snake River. From the mountains in the southern portion spurs extend northward, the largest of these being known as the Goose Creek Mountains. The county is traversed by Raft River, Goose Creek, Marsh Creek, Cottonwood and several smaller streams. The old Overland stage line from Kelton, Utah, to Umatilla, via Boise, ran entirely through Cassia County and settlements were commenced in several places along the stage line in the early '70s. About the same time Mormon colonies took up lands on Goose Creek and established the Town of Oakley, gradually settling all over the county. A little gold placer mining was done on the banks of the Snake River in Cassia County in the early days, but the principal business of the people has always been farming and stockraising. On the old road from Boise to Salt Lake City, in Cassia County, near the peculiar natural formation called 'the City of Rocks' are still to be seen the remains of earthworks and rifle pits, where a train of emigrants was massacred by Bannock Indians under the leadership of Chief Pocatello in 1862.

"The act creating the county was passed in 1879, and under its provisions a special election was had that year and Albion in Marsh Creek Valley was chosen as the county seat. After the Twin Falls section was opened a branch railroad from Minidoka to Twin Falls City was constructed and this road left Albion ten miles from its nearest point. One of the Idaho normal schools was established at Albion in 1893, and has since been maintained at that point. An efiort was made in 1912 to remove, the county seat from Albion to Burley, but failed. In 1918 the attempt was again made and succeeded.

"The principal towns of Cassia County are Albion, Burley, Keogh, Lovett, Marion, Elba, Oakley, Malta, Sublett and Starrh's Ferry. In 1910 the population of the county was 7,197, and in 1918 the assessed valuation of its property was $9,710,771. Most of the Minidoka National Forest Reserve lies within the county and affords good grazing facilities. In 1918 the county reported 19,333 head of cattle, and 69,142 head of sheep."


"The first county organized at the fifteenth session of the Idaho Legislature was Clark County, the bill creating the county having been approved by the governor on February 1, 1919. This county was formed out of the northern and western part of Fremont County, and contains about half the area formerly embraced in the last named county.

"The permanent county seat of Clark County was located at the Village of Dubois. The county, for judicial purposes, under the act, was included in the Ninth Judicial District of the state.

"In accordance with the creating act, the governor, shortly after its approval, appointed county officers as follows:
County Commissioner—Joseph P. Jacoby of Dubois.
County Commissioner—Jas. Denning of Dubois.
County Commissioner—Christian P. Jensen of Kilgore.
Assessor—John W. Hays, Jr., of Dubois.
Auditor and Clerk—Caroline Allen of Spencer.
Treasurer—Bessie Meeker of Dubois.
Sheriff—Earl C. Mair of Dubois.
Probate Judge—A. P. Button of Dubois.
Prosecuting Attomey—Grant W. Soule of Dubois.
Superintendent of Schools—Fred Frederickson of Kilgore.
Surveyor—Daniel T. Murphey of Dubois.
Coroner—William A. Patt, of Humphrey.

"The main business of the people of the new county is farming and stock raising, for both of which purposes its soil and its climate are particularly well adapted.<"


"A county called Clearwater was created by the Legislature in 1899, but because of certain defects in the act that county was never fully organized. On February 27, 1911, Governor Hawley approved an act creating the County of Clearwater from the eastern part of Nez Perce County. It is bounded on the north by Shoshone County; on the east by the State of Montana; on the south by Idaho and Lewis counties; and on the west by Latah and Nez Perce counties. The northern half of the county is devoted to lumbering, grazing and mining. In the valleys of the Clearwater River and its tributaries are rolling prairies of rich soil, where wheat yields from thirty to fifty bushels to the acre. Some of this land is irrigated and here general farming is carried on with great success. A large part of the Clearwater National Forest, which contains 822,700 acres, lies in this county and many ranchmen along the boundary of the reserve take advantage of the grazing opportunities offered by the Government.

"The act creating the county assigned it to the second judicial and fourth senatorial districts and designated Orofino as the county seat, although that town is situated on the Clearwater River near the westem boundary. far from the center of the county. It was in this county that gold was first discOvered in Idaho and the early history of the mining camps is given in another chapter.

"Two lines of railroad pierce the county, both in the western part. A branch of the Northern Pacific follows the Clearwater River, passing through the towns of Ahsahka, Orofino and Greer. and Elk River is the terminus of a branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul system. with stations at Jersey and Neva. Away from the railroads the villages of Dent, Fraser, Pierce City. Teakean and Weippe are important trading points for farming communities. In 1918 the property valuation was $9,374,290."


"Custer County was formed under an act of the Territorial Legislature of date January 8. 1881, which provided that all that portion of 'the counties of Lemhi and Alturas, and whatsoever others embraced within the following boundaries, towit: (Then follows a long description of the boundary lines) shall be erected into a new county, to be known as Custer County.'

"The county was named in honor of Gen. George A. Custer, the dashing cavalry officer who was killed with his command, at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, on June 25, 1876. It is bounded on the north by Lemhi County; on the east by Lemhi and Butte; on the south by Butte, Blaine and Camas; and on the west by Boise and Idaho counties. Rugged both in surface and outline, Custer County contains some of the most picturesque scenery of Idaho. Along the southern border run the Sawtooth Mountains; farther east are the Lost River Mountains; the northwestern part is touched by the Salmon River Mountains; the central part is an elevated plateau, where some of the finest grazing in the state is to be found. This plateau is drained by Salmon River and its branches and the southeastern part is drained by the Big and Little Lost rivers. Near the eastern boundary the Pahsimeroi River flows in a northwesterly direction, emptying into the Salmon near the little Village of Ellis. Parts of four national forests are in Custer County.

"Probably the first white men to penetrate to the region now comprising Custer County were those forming a prospecting party which came to the headwaters of the Salmon River in July, 1863. In this party was Frank R. Coffin, now president of the Boise City National Bank. In a basin near the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains they found 'pay dirt' and named the place 'Stanley Basin,' after John Stanley, the oldest man in the party. The difficulty of getting in supplies and the danger from roving bands of Indians caused them to abandon the basin and return to Idaho City.

"About three years later another party of prospectors from Montana, under the leadership of a man named Richardson, ventured up the Salmon River until they reached the branch now known as Yankee Fork, but remained in the country only a short time on account of being so far from any point where supplies could be obtained.

"In 1869 prospectors from Lemhi County located rich placer mines on Loon Creek, north of the Stanley Basin, and within a short time several hundred miners, were engaged in washing out the yellow metal. A town was laid off, which in 1870 had a population estimated at fifteen hundred, but three years later it was entirely deserted. During the time the Loon Creek mines were worked over half a million dollars' worth of gold was taken out. Quartz mining was introduced about 1875; Bonanza City was platted in 1877 and the next year A. P. Challis and others laid off the Town of Challis. Up the Salmon River about ten miles from Challis the Bay Horse Mining District came into prominence and in 1880 a twenty—five ton smelter was built there, which treated the ores from the adjacent mines. There is still some mining carried on in the county, though farming and stock raising have become the leading occupations. In 1917 Custer reported 25.466 cattle, 5,094 horses and 85.060 sheep, only three counties in the state returning a larger number of cattle and six a larger number of sheep. The assessed valuation of property for 1918 was $3,493.659.

"The act creating the county named James M. Shoup, of Challis; J. S. Robinson, of Custer City; and Enos Watson, of Bonanza City, as special county commissioners to hold an election on the third Monday in June, 1881, for the election of county officers and the location of a permanent county seat. Challis was chosen as. the county seat, which distinction it has retained until the present time. Mackay, in the Big Lost River Valley in the southeastern part of the county, is the principal town, by virtue of its being the terminus of a branch of the Oregon Short Line Railroad which connects with the main line at Blackfoot: Other stations on the branch are Huston and Leslie. In the interior the villages of Clayton, Dickey, Goldburg, Bonanza and Stanley are trading centers I for farming districts. The population in 1910 was 3,001, the smallest of any county in the state at that time."


"Elmore was the last county to be established while Idaho was still a territory, the act of the Legislature creating it having been approved on February 7, 1889. It was taken from the southwestern part of Alturas County and was named 'Elmore,' after the famous Ida Elmore quartz mine at Rocky Bar, one of the greatest producers of gold in the later '60s. Rocky Bar, situated near the headwaters of the South Fork of the Boise River and formerly the county seat of Alturas County, was named in the act as the county seat of Elmore, but some of the citizens were in favor of having the judicial center of the county at some town on the railroad and after a spirited contest the county seat was removed from Rocky Bar to Mountain Home.

"The permanent settlement of the county dates from the building of the Oregon Short Line Railroad, when people began to turn their attention to farming and developing the resources of the country. Among those then resident or who located about this time in Elmore County were: Franklin P. Ake, George A. Butler, J. H. Brady, J. H. Casey, R. P. Chatten, O. B. Corder, W. C. Howie, Z. N. Hungerford, J. A. Purtill, A. W. Lockman, E. M. Wolfe, E. C. Helfrich, R. W. Smith. W. H. Shuman and J. H. Van Schaick. Franklin P. Ake built the telegraph line from Mountain Home to Rocky Bar and was the promoter of the first irrigation project in the southern part of the county. E. C. Helfrich was one of the pioneer merchants of Mountain Home and was still in business there in 1918, and William C. Howie opened a law office in Mountain Home about the time it was made the county seat.

"The first election was held in the county on October 1, 1890, at which Nelson Davis, Samuel B. Blackwell and William H. Manion were chosen county commissioners; W. C. Wickersham, clerk; George F. Mahoney, assessor; D. B. Hill, sheriff; Clarence T. Waller, treasurer; E. C. Towne, surveyor; W. F. Smith, coroner; Augustine M. Sinnott, probate judge and ex–ofiicio superintendent of public schools. In 1916 the present courthouse was completed at a cost of $35,214.

"Elmore County is bounded on the north and northwest by Boise County; on the east by Camas and Gooding counties; on the south by the Snake River, which separates it from Owyhee County; and on the west by Ada County. It has an area of 4,785 square miles and is one of the leading agricultural and stock raising counties of Southern Idaho. In 1917 it reported 14,222 cattle and 122,980 sheep, being at that time the second county in the state in the number of sheep and thirteenth in the number of cattle. The assessed valuation of property for 1918 was $8,140,073.

"The only railroad in the county is the Oregon Short Line, which. follows the Snake River along the southern border to Doran, where it leaves the river and runs in a northwesterly direction. The stations on this line are Chalk, Cleft, Doran, Glenn's Ferry, Hammett, King Hill, Medbury, Mountain Home, Sebree, Slade and Sunnyside. In the interior the principal villages are Atlanta, Greendale, Lenox, Mayfield, Pine, Prairie and Rocky Bar. In 1910 the population of the county was 4,785.


"On January 30, 1913, Governor Haines approved the act creating Franklin County out of the eastern part of Oneida and fixing the county seat at Preston until the general election of 1914, when the question of a permanent county seat should be decided by the voters. Franklin is one of the small counties of the state; bounded by Bannock County on the north; by Bear Lake County on the east; by the State of Utah on the south; and by Oneida County on the west.

"Although young as a county, Franklin can claim the distinction of being the site of the first permanent settlement in Idaho. In April, 1860, thirteen Mormon families from Utah formed a little settlement where the Town of Franklin now stands, near the southern boundary of the county, and before fall about fifty families had found homes in the new community. Among these pioneers were Samuel R. Parkinson, Thomas Smart, Lorenzo H. Hatch, Edward Buckley and William Woodward, many of whose descendants still reside in the county. When the Utah & Northern Railroad was under construction, the Mormon Church advised the settlers along the line to aid in grading the roadbed, which they did, thus contributing to the success of the enterprise that brought Franklin County in touch with the outside markets and added to the material prosperity of its people.

"The act creating the county attached it to the Fifth Judicial District and designated Preston as the temporary county seat until the general election of 1914, when the voters of the county established the permanent seat of justice there. Other towns in the county are Clifton, Dayton. Garner and Weston, on the main line of the Utah 8: Northern (now the Oregon Short Line) Railroad; Franklin and Whitney 0n the Cache Valley branch of the same system, which terminates at Preston; and Banida. Fairview, Mapleton, Minkcreek and Riverdale, in the interior. Besides the railroads mentioned the Ogden, Logan & Idaho electric line connects Preston with Wellsville, Utah, so that the county is well provided with transportation and shipping facilities. Dairying is one of the leading industries and considerable quantities of cream are shipped out of the county. Much of the land is irrigated and large crops of timothy, alfalfa, grain and sugar beets are grown.

"No point in the county lies at a lower altitude than 4,600 feet. In 1910 the population of Franklin County was included in the returns from Oneida County, but in 1917 the population was estimated at 6,000. The assessed valuation for 1918 was $5,912,368."


"Fremont was the first county created after Idaho was admitted into the Union as a state, Governor McConnell approving the act on March 4, 1893. Two days later he approved the act creating Bannock County. The act creating Fremont fixed the boundaries to embrace 'all that portion of Bingham County which lies north of a line drawn from the provisional base line due east across said County of Bingham along the township line between townships 3 and 4 north, to the east boundary of the State of Idaho.'

"As first created, Fremont County included all the present county of that name, the counties of Jefferson, Madison and Teton, and the eastern portion of Butte. The Town of St. Anthony was named in the act as the temporary county seat and it was made the permanent county seat by the voters at the general election in 1894. The creative act attached the county to the Fifth Judicial District and authorized the governor to appoint county officers within ten days, to serve until the next general election. On the same day Governor McConnell approved the act he appointed the following ofiicers: F. A. Pyke, R. F. Jardine and John Donaldson, commissioners; F. S. Bramwell, clerk of the district court; J. B. Cutshaw, sheriff; T. J. Winter, treasurer; Miles R. Cahoon, probate judge; Milo Adams, surveyor; Wyman Parker, Sr., coroner.

"Fremont County was named in honor of John C. Fremont, who, as a lieutenant in the United States topographical engineers, made explorations in the Rocky Mountain country in the '40s and visited old Fort Hall in September, 1843. Its surface is mountainous or composed of elevated plateaus, no place in the county having an altitude of less than 4,600 feet. Four national forests—the Beaverhead, Lemhi, Palisade and Targhee—are found partly within its borders, the headquarters of the last two being located at St. Anthony. After Jefferson, Madison and Teton counties were cut off and the county reduced to its present dimensions, it is bounded on the north by the State of Montana; on the east by the Yellowstone National Park and the State of Wyoming; on the south by the counties of Teton, Madison, Jefferson and Butte; and on the .west by Butte and Lemhi. Along the Snake Rivef there is a large area of irrigated land, but the greater portion of the county is given over to grazing and dry farming. In 1917 Fremont reported 21,295 cattle and 108,714 sheep, being then the third county of the state in the number of sheep and fifth in the number of cattle. The total assessed valuation of property in 1918 was $12,567,672.

"The main line of the Salt Lake–Butte division of the Oregon Short Line railway system, crosses the central part of the county and the Yellowstone Park branch of the same system crosses the eastern portion. The Victor branch leaves the latter at Ashton. There are more than a score of railway stations in the county, the principal ones being Ashton, Drummond, Lamont, Marysville, Parker and St. Anthony. Kaufman in the Birch Creek Valley in the western part of the county, and Farnum in the southeastern part are trading points for farming communities. Island Park, on the Yellowstone branch of the railroad, is becoming famous as a summer resort. In 1910 the population of Fremont County was 24,606, being then the fourth in the state in this respect. but since then the population has been reduced by the formation of new counties."

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