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


"Thirty–one of the forty–eight states in the American Union each has a county named Washington and all were either directly or indirectly so called in honor of Gen. George Washington, the first President of the United States. Washington County, Idaho, was created by the act of February 20, 1879, with boundaries that included all the present counties of Washington and Adams, and that portion of Gem County lying north of the Second Standard Parallel. It was reduced to its present dimensions when Gem County was created in 1915, and is now bounded on the north by Adams County; on the east by Adams and Gem; on the south by Gem and Payette; and on the west by the State of Oregon, from which it is separated by the Snake River.

"Section 6 of the creative act provided for a special election for county officers and to decide the location of the county seat. The election was held on April 14, 1879, and the following officers were elected: F. M. Mickey, I. E. McKinney and John Cuddy, commissioners; I. M. Hart, clerk; James P. Gray, sheriff; J. D. Wade, treasurer; S. R. Denney, assessor; T. C. Underwood, probate judge; H. A. Parker, surveyor; T. M. Jetfreys, superintendent of schools; J. W. Kelley, coroner. At this election the highest number of votes cast for any candidate was 226. The only exciting feature of the campaign was the contest over the location of the county seat, two places being voted for—Weiser Bridge (now Weiser) and Upper Valley (now Salubria)—Weiser Bridge winning by a vote of 117 to 106. The county had no courthouse until 1882, when a cheap frame structure was erected. Prior to that time the various county officials kept their offices at their homes in different parts of the county, so that the transaction of public business was attended by many difficulties. The present courthouse and jail were erected in 1890.

"John Cuddy, one of the first board of county commissioners, was a native of County Tipperary, Ireland, came to America in 1840. when he was but six years of age and in 1865 became a resident of Idaho. For about four years he was engaged in the mercantile business in Boise and in 1869, with a partner named Tyne, erected the first fiour mill in what is now Washington County. Cuddy Mountain bears his name.

"Edward S. Jewell, who settled in the Salubria Valley in 1869, entered 160 acres of land, upon which the Washington County fair grounds were afterward located. He was twice elected county commissioner and was a delegate to the constitutional convention in 1889.

"Andrew and Henry H. Abernathy, brothers and natives of Indiana, came to the Weiser Valley in 1864 and engaged in freighting and keeping a hotel at Farwell Bend on the Snake River. Henry afterward removed to the Salubria Valley and became one of the prosperous farmers of the county.

"Other pioneers were James Colson, J. N. Harris, William B. Allison, T. C. Galloway, Woodson Jeffreys and John Moore. James Colson and William B. Allison settled in the Salubria Valley in 1868, and Woodson Jeffreys was one of the first settlers where the City of Weiser now stands. His son Thomas M. Jeffreys, was Washington County 's first superintendent of public schools.

"Two lines of railroad furnish transportation to the people of the county. The Oregon Short Line passes through the southwestern part along the Snake River, and the Pacific & Idaho Northern follows the course of the Weiser River. The principal towns along these railroads are Cambridge, Eatons, Midvale, Vulcan and Weiser. Salubria, a few miles east of the Weiser River, is a town of considerable importance to the farmers of the Little Weiser Valley.

"Both irrigated and dry farming are carried on successfully and fruit growing is becoming every year of more importance. From the earliest settlement stock raising has been an important industry. The Weiser Forest Reserve, the headquarters of which are at Weiser, covers 162,900 acres within the county limits and affords excellent opportunities for grazing. In 1917 Washington County reported 14,462 cattle, 7,981 horses and 5,457 sheep. The total assessed valuation of property in 1918 was $8,726,600. Mining for copper has been carried on in a limited way at various points in the 'Seven Devil' Mountains. In 1910 the population was 11,101, but the erection of Adams County the next year after the census was taken, and of Gem County in 1915 reduced the number of inhabitants in Washington. In 1918 the population was estimated at 8,000."


The first settler in Weiser was Thomas G. Galloway, who located a farm there in September, 1863, and built a small cabin of willow logs, with a dirt roof and without either floor or window. He kept a pony express station. furnishing meals to the riders, who, when they remained over night, slept in their own blankets. In 1865 Mr. Galloway built a frame house, and when the postoffice was established he was appointed postmaster.

When Washington County was created in February, 1879. the location of a county seat was left to the decision of the voters. There were two contestants for the honor –— Upper Valley (now Salubria) and Weiser Bridge (now Weiser) and the latter was chosen by a substantial majority. A saloon was opened early in the year 1880 and a few weeks later the townsite was surveyed on land belonging to Solomon M. Jeffreys between the Weiser River and Monroe Creek. In the fall of 1883 the Oregon Short Line Railroad was completed to a point about a mile and a half south of the present railroad station and passengers were transferred by means of a stage coach. There the railroad company platted a new town, to which they gave the name of “New Weiser.” This aroused considerable opposition on the part of the citizens of the old town, with the result that after the bridge acrOSs the Snake River was completed the company built a new station on the present site and “New Weiser” passed out of existence.

On May 29, 1890, Weiser was almost completely destroyed by a fire which was started by a drunken man dropping a kerosene lamp in the barroom of the Weiser Hotel. This fire afforded an opportunity for rebuilding the business district more convenient to the railroad stations, though some made an effort to retain the old site. Thus the main portion of the city came to be located at the confluence of the Snake and Weiser rivers.

Weiser is situated in the center of a rich agricultural and fruit growing district and in 1910 reported a population of 2,600. Eight years later the population was estimated at 4,000. It has three banks, two newspapers, about twenty miles of concrete sidewalks, well-paved streets, waterworks, electric lights, a $250,000 hotel, free mail delivery. a creamery, well-stocked stores handling all lines of merchandise, an active commercial club, eleven churches, fine school buildings, and ships annually large quantities of fruit, farm products and live stock.

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