"Cougar" Dave Lewis (1844-1936)

July 6, 1922, Free Press:

"You know, it has always been a mystery to me to know how all the people you see in a big city like Boise make a living." said Dave Lewis, who recently went to Boise. He had not been in the capital city since 1878.

Mr. Lewis lives on Big Creek beyond Thunder Mountain country and with the the exception of two years, 1908-10 spent in White Bird, the veteran trapper has not been out of his forest home sine 1900. Tuesday, when he rode from Cascade to Boise, was the third time he had been in a car, having seen one for the first time two years ago.

-- Cheryl Helmer, Warren Times/A collection of news about Warren, Idaho.


Duane L. Petersen in "Valley County, The Way it Was", D & D Books, Cascade, Idaho, 2002, writes:

(p. 163) "During the Sheepeater War he was a guide for the Army chasing Indians in the Salmon River breaks. . . He homesteaded on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. . .For years he made his income frm the bounty paid on cougars and on trapping."


Cort Conley in "Idaho Loners/Hermits, Solitaries, and Individualist," Backeddy Books, Cambridge, Idaho, 1994. p. 44-55, tells the story in greater detail.

"Lewis claims to have served in the Union Army at the siege of Vicksburg in 1863; to have been a volunteer at the Modoc Indian uprising in N. Calif. in 1872; and to hve been a scout with 7th Calvary Captain Frederick Benteen (also a Vicksburg veteran) in Montana Territory in 1876.

"The tapestry of known facts concerning these claim is threadbare, That Lewis was b. in 1944 in Wales & brought to New Orleans at age of 4 is beyond a doubt. So are his whereabouts in summer, 1877, when he traveled from Oregon, where where he had been prospectiong and trapping, with the Henry Jones family to Idaho's Camas Prairie near Grangeville.

"In 1928, Lewis, with the assistance of friends, finally received a homesteaded certificate for his sixty-three acres. ..The homestead spans the mouths of Rush, Trail and Sheep creeks, although the last two names have been changed to Pioneer and Cliff creeks.

"Five years later, by chance, he met Jess Taylor, an eastern Idaho rancher and Boise building contractor . . In fall 1934, Taylor bought the homestead for $1,200.

"In June 1936 he contracted pneumonia, yet managed to ride horseback, accompanied by two of his dogs, over 25 miles to Big Creek Ranger Station. He fell off his horse at the end of the airstrip, and was helped inside the warehouse, where he rested for a couple of days . . When his condition did not improve an ambulance sped for Cascade by way of Yellow Pine . En-route it had a head-on collision with a truck. Lewis died the next day, age 92, at Veteran's Admin. Hospital in Boise, his only visit to a hospital.

"Thirty-two years later the Taylors sold their ranch to the University of Idaho as a field station for wilderness study




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