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


"On January 5, 1875, Governor Thomas W. Bennett approved an act of the Legislature creating Bear Lake County, with the following described boundaries: 'Commencing at the twenty-third mile post on the boundary line between Utah and Idaho territories; running thence northerly along the summit of the range of mountains between Cache Valley and Bear Lake Valley to the corner of townships 9 and 10 south, range 41 east; thence east twelve miles; thence north to the summit of the divide between the waters of Bear River and the waters of the Blackfoot River; thence easterly along said last named summit to the line be tween Wyoming and Idaho territories; thence south on said last named line to the southeast corner of Idaho Territory; thence west to the place of beginning.'

"The above described boundaries are those of the present and until the creation of Franklin and Madison counties in 1913 Bear Lake County enjoyed the distinction of being the smallest county in the state, as well as one of the richest in proportion to area. It was named for the lake on the southern border, about one-half of which lies in Idaho and the southern half in Utah. This lake, which is one of the most attractive in the Rocky Mountain region, is about twenty miles long by eight miles wide, with an elevation of 5,900 feet, is fed by the mountain streams and abounds in fish of various kinds. Its outlet flows north into the Bear River and its shores are of sand or gravel, affording a clean and easy approach to the water's edge. Some years ago an effort was made to ascertain its depth near the center, but the sounding line ran out to 900 feet without touching bottom.

"All through the Bear Lake Valley are mineral springs, the most noted of which are the soda springs, in Caribou County, and the hot springs on the shores of Bear Lake, where a stream of water, almost boiling hot, flows from the side of the mountain. These waters contain niter, sulphur and other ingredients, which make them of great curative value in ailments of a rheumatic nature and when they become well known they will rival the famous hot springs of Arkansas as a health resort.

"The first settlements in the county were made in the fall of 1863 and the spring of the following year, at Paris and Montpelier, and are described in connection with those places in the chapter on 'Cities and Towns.' Charles C. Rich, the founder of the settlement at Paris, was a native of Kentucky, where he was born in 1809. When about twenty years of age he went to Illinois, where in 1832 he joined the Mormon Church and in March, 1849, was ordained one of the twelve apostles. In 1857, when Col. Albert Sidney Johnston led the expedition of United States troops into Utah, the Mormons, expecting Salt Lake" City to be destroyed, organized for defense and Mr. Rich was elected colonel in the Utah forces. He was afterward prominent in locating new colonies and when the land in Bear Lake came into market he acquired a half section, which he developed into a fine farm. One of his sons, Joseph C. Rich, was at one time judge of the Fifth Judicial District of Idaho, and another son, Samuel J. Rich, assisted in building the first roller flour mill in Bear Lake County. Mr. Rich at his death left fifty-two children, living, many of whom were afterwards prominent in public affairs.

"In the mountain valleys the precipitation is great enough to enable the lands to be cultivated without irrigation, but in the lower altitudes much of the land is irrigated. Dairying is becoming one of the leading industries of the county, some of the'finest dairy herds in the state being found here, and the cheese making industry, especially, having assumed great proportions. The Caribou forest reserve, the headquarters of which are at Montpelier, contains 718,000 acres; most of it lies in Bear Lake County and afiords good grazing. The greatest deposits of phosphate in the world have been found in the county and have been held in reserve by the United States until recently, when an order was issued by the Government for their development.

"In 1910 the population of Bear Lake County was 7,729 and in 1918 the assessed valuation of the property was $8,260,218. The main line of the Oregon Short Line Railroad runs through the county from southeast to northwest and a branch runs from Montpelier to Paris, the county seat. Besides Montpelier and Paris, the principal railroad stations are Border, Dingle, Georgetown, Manson, Nounan and Ovid. Bloomington, a few miles south of Paris, Geneva in the eastern part, St. Charles on the shore of Bear Lake, and Sharon in the western part, are thriving villages not on the railroad."

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