Gem County, IDGenWeb project

Neighbors -

Adams County
Valley County
Boise County
Ada County
Canyon County
Payette County
Washington County

Gem Co. map
Reading & References
Sharon McConnel, Gem County Coordinator

Welcome to Gem County!

Historical Background

Prospectors and miners moved through this county in 1862 enroute to the gold rush in the Boise Basin to the east. By the next year irrigation begain along the Payette River as farmers raised crops to sell in the mining camps.

In late summer of 1862 Tim Goodale brought his wagon train through the valley, crossed the Payette River, followed Haw Creek into the foothills to the north, crossed Willow Creek (Payette County) traveled up Four-Mile Grade and followed Indian and pack trails to Brownlee Ferry in Hells Canyon.

When Idaho Territory was established in 1863, the area now known as Gem County was part of Boise County. When Ada County was formed in 1864 it included a portion of what is now southern Gem County; then when Canyon County was formed in 1891 it included a portion that later became southern Gem County. The northern part of Gem County remained part of Boise County until Gem County was established March, 1915 with its county seat at Emmett. It was named for the state nickname, "Gem State."

It contains one incorporated town Emmett
and the communities of Sweet ----
Ola ---- See Ola Community Newsletter for current Ola happenings.

Jackkife Saloon by Lange
Gem County images at Library of Congress
Pearl mining camp site

Part of the northern portion of the county is in the Boise National Forest and parts of the southern portion are under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. BLM maintains a fire lookout on Squaw Butte. The Bureau of Reclamation's Black Canyon Dam on the Payette River is also in this county.

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If I can answer your questions or point you in the right direction, I will do so. If you have anything you would like to share, please do not hesitate. My e-mail address is Sharon McConnel, Gem County Coordinator This site is a collaborative effort of all us who have roots in Gem County.

I would like to thank Sherri Paustian and Jeanette Harper, past county coordinators, for all the work they did on this site.

You are our

visitor to this site since 1 May 2004.

Updated 3 February 2018

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Copyright © 2009 - Sharon McConnel. All Rights Reserved.

The IDGenWeb Project is a genealogical and resource collection for the state of Idaho and its counties. The many volunteers are dedicated to preserving and promoting free genealogical and research resources from the state's rich ancestral history.