Leacock's Station

Leacock's Station

Card addressed to: Mrs. Roy J. King, Grass Valley, California.
"Darling, this is where I stopped for the night of July 2nd. The town consists of one house and three individuals. Lovingly, Roy"

"Homestead of Abner C. Leacock, at confluence of Nappias and Big Creek."

From "Centennial History of Lemhi County, Idaho," compiled by Lemhi County History Committee, Hon. Fred Snook, Chairman; 1992; p. 168f

by Marilyn Afford

While Thunder Mountain is not a part of Lemhi County, its history is enmeshed with ours. The trails to Thunder Mountain and the old town of Roosevelt were heavily traveled and many Lemhl County people were involved with the short but hectic story of that area. Thunder Mountain is located on the Payette National Forest near the head of Monumental and Marble Creeks, both western tributaries of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

In 1991, as a part of the National celebration of the centennial of the first Forest Reserves in the United States, the Salmon National Forest began maintaining and reconstructing a segment of one of the historic trails to Thunder Mountain for use by recreationists. While the location of parts of the old trail are unknown, or have been obliterated by roads or other activity, the segment from Williams Lake to China Springs is still largely intact and recognizable.

The gold rush was intense, involving thousands of people from all walks of life. To supply their needs, horse and mule strings found their way through the rugged terrain of the Salmon River Mountains from several directions, including Salmon City. One of the routes used involved travel from Salmon, up Lake Creek. past Williams Lake, to China Springs. then southwest to Yellowjacket on the way to the Middle Fork and Thunder Mountain. It was a long and arduous trip of over one hundred miles through some of the most rugged terrain in the state of Idaho. The trail from Salmon City to China Springs was steep and largely dry. At China Springs, teamsters and their animals could stop and refresh.

The gold rush began in the Thunder Mountain District in 1901, spawning the boom towns of Roosevelt, Thunder City, and Belleco. On December 11, 1901 an item appeared in the local newspaper that indicates the excitement that existed over the Thunder Mountain area:

The Red Rock and Salmon River Stage Line is preparing for the rush to Thunder Mountain. and has ten 4-horse Concord coaches and four 6–horse Concords in readiness. This will handle Twenty-five to fifty passengers daily, conveying them within fifty miles of Thunder Mountain at Yellow Jacket, from which point the journey must be made by pack outfits. It will require three days to make the trip in, one day being used to travel from Red Rock to Salmon. and two days from Salmon to Thunder.

Another item from the "Lemhi Herald" of November 20. 1901 reads:

Salmon to Leesburg, 14 miles –Leesburg to Leacock Station on Big Creek, 9 miles – Up Big Creek to Forney, 12 miles – Forney to Three Forks (which form Camas Creek), 14 miles –Down Camas Creek to the Middle Fork, 14 miles – Up the Middlefork to the mouth of Marble Creek, 8 miles Up Marble Creek to Mouth of Mule Creek, 20 miles —You are now in Thunder Mountain Country, but not the heart of it Up Mule Creek. 9 miles and we are in the land of wealth.

The combined population of Roosevelt and Thunder City grew to over five thousand, but some sources indicate that in 1902 there were as many as 22,000 men at work there on 11,000 claims. About fifty mining stock companies had formed, but only two had any money to work with.

The boom was short-lived, as the town of Roosevelt was drowned by a landslide–formed lake in 1909. Water seeping through the workings, true to the predictions of many experienced miners, caused the slide. The mountain slid 2.5 miles down Mule Creek to the mouth of Monumental Creek Canyon in twenty six hours, damming Monumental Creek.

Today, the waters of this remote lake ripple over the remains of a ghost town that was perhaps the most isolated mining town in Idaho.

References. "Recorder Herald" August 1991, and Research notes of Marjorie B Sims

Source: archive.org

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