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Sharon McConnel,
Gem County Coordinator


"The Village That Grew" by Ruth B. Lyon, 1979, Early Settlers Profiled in Chapter 2 (p. 13-43):

Mrs. Lyon starts with the Gill Ranch, upstream from the present-day Washington Avenue bridge, and continues downstream, westward toward present-day Letha bridge, then comes back east on the south bank of the river toward Emmettsville. In this expanded index I have arranged the names alphabetically. Exact location of each settlers' homestead may be found at Official Land Record Site The book is available at the local museum and the local library and sometimes on the secondary book market. - s.mc

Price Bane and Nellie Miller Bane - p. 23

Price and Nellie Bane homesteaded west of the Bennett-Bigham place. Nellie recalls -
Our folks were originally Missouri Democrats, but fled to Illinois after their homes and property were ravaged by bushwackers and Union deserters. Later we emigrated to Emmettsville, Idaho.

After Price and I were married November 27, 1890, we took up land west of the Bennett-Bigham homestead. Price worked hard every year riprapping the river bank to prevent eroison.. . .

Nellie reminisced: I came west with my father, Abram Miller, on an emigrant train to Boomerrang, later Payette, in 1883. Other members of our party were the Moultons, Lynn Lyons, and the Jack Patricks. The group headed for Emmettsville because some of them knew Jonathan Smith and they had heard of the gold mines. They almost thought they could pick gold off the sagebrush. The alkali dust filled the air and covered our clothes. I watched over my box in which I had stored two rose bush plants. My father was the only one who any money left - a twenty-five cent piece. . . . .

John F. Basye and Mary Albertine Basye - p. 16

In 1863, the John F. Basyes (Mary Albertine Basye), their two sons, Lisbon and David, and daughters, Josephine and Miranda (who became the wife of Aaron Bascom) moved to Centerville (Boise County), Idaho, where Mr. Basye purchased the Pioneer Mining Ditch and began operating a sawmill.

About 1866, the Basyes moved to Martinsville, and John F., with his son-in-law, Samuel Walker, constructed Martinsville's first sawmill in 1870. It was located near the river. This was an important development because the need for building and fencing was increasing as the area developed.

James and Louisa Bennett and pardner Jim Bigham - p. 18

About 1877, James and Louisa Bennett and their pardner Jim Bigham moved from Garden Valley (Boise County) to the Bennett's homestead northwest of Martinsville. Since Bennetts were allotted only one hundred and sixty acres, Bigham took up an adjoining homestead. After he proved up on the land, he sold to Bennetts.

The homesteads were watered by putting a sawhorse dam in the slough which ran through the northeast section. The dam was built by putting putting sawhorses across part of the slough and laying boards and rocks against the framework. . .

James A. Bennett served in the Territorial Legislature in 1872. He passed away in 1885. His was the first Masonic funeral in Emmettsville and he was the third person to be buried in the Riverside Cemetery.

(Doc) William Burdge Family- p. 29

In October of 1864, (Doc) William Burdge and his emigrant outfit, the finest equipped that ever entered the village, came grinding down the Camel's Back into Payette Valley. He brought the first Roan Durham cattle and Morgan strain horses to Idaho.

The Burdges, like most of the valley pioneers, settled near the river. They purchased part of the Block House Ranch located two miles west of Martinsville. The north side of the property extended to the river enabling Mr. Burdge to build a private ditch . . .

In 1874, he hauled stone grinding wheels from Eagle and set up a grist-mill. The stones came originally from Canyon Hill northwest of Caldwell. (see grinding wheel photos)

Joseph Degan Family - p. 41

Settlers on the south side of the river, like the Degans, were more inclined to engage in gardening and general farming. Joseph Degan, his wife, and four children came from Missouri in 1877. They first stopped at Weiser (Washington County). After hearing that Emmettsville had a school, they moved here and located near Martin's Ferry. The bought the former Gill Stage Station and 160 acres of sagebrush land from David Basye. After clearing part of the land, Joseph planted grapes and berries and set out a fruit orchard . . .

Bill and Eliza Jane Fuller - p. 35

Bill and Eliza Jane Fuller came to Emmettsville in 1876. They purchased a thirty acre sagebrush tract from James Wardwell which lay southwest of the present Main Street and Boise Avenue. The Fullers also acquired an island northeast of the John Portlock ranch which is still known as Fullers' Island. Their daughter, Annie Fuller Freeman was twelver years old when they came to Emmettsville. Annie says -
We came from Missouri in 1864 with two other emigrant wagons and a hundred Kelton freighters. . . .

Lorenzo and Louisa Gill - p. 13

After selling their "stopping place", Lorenzo and Louisa Gill took up land on the across the Payette River and were probably the first to settle on the north side of the river. . . Mr.Gill, a polished Missouri gentleman, was always dressed up. . .

Jared Goodsell p. 33

Mr. Jared Goodsell was born in the state of New York where he grew to manhood. Mr. Goodsell came to Emmettsville as a pioneer where he married Lenora Burdge, daughter of William Curry Burdge. He was associated with Mr. Burdge in operating the Burdge sawmill. Jared was interested and helpful in establishing first water rights under the Emmettsville Ditch. He died August 20, 1909, as the result of a fall from a lumber wagon.

Nel Hansen Family- p. 27

The Nel Hansens, Danes, took up land across the river from the Klingbacks. Their son Dan, remembers:

Dad homesteaded near the slough because he needed driftwood to make charcoal for his forge. He made nails and horseshoes out of iron hauled in from Kelton, Utah. Dad brought his anvil all the way from Denmark and set up the first blacksmith shop in the community. We went to the Wilson School, built in 1876, three months out of the year. . . .

Jason Kelley - p. 18

The Jason Kelleys homestead below the Bases. They had crossed the plains in a wagon train and had arrived at Martinsville October 8, 1869. They stayed in the Block House just west of the settlement while locating their homestead. Mr. Kelley later died there. He was among the first persons to be buried in the Riverside Cemetery.

Christian and Katherine Kjerrsgaard/Kesgard - p. 28

Christian and Katherine Kjerrsgaard and their daughters, Katherine and Mary, took passage on a wind jammer and sailed from Denmark in 1862. It was nine weeks before they landed at Castelgarden, New York. Lena Driscoll, a descendant continues the story:

The young couple set out for the golden west in quest of a home. They traveled by train to St. Louis, Missouri, where Katherine bought a cow with her savings. Eventually the family joined a wagon train. . . . Their journey was halted near the present town of Preston, Idaho, where Katherine gave birth to a son.

In a few days, they traveled on and decided to take the shortcut down the Tim Goodall Hill (probably Freezeout), as it was called at the time, and across the Payette Valley to Washington. When they reached the hill, the wagon was roughlocked. Katherine, seeing the steep incline, walked down carrying her three-weeks-old son.

The Kjerrsgaards went on to Walla Walla, but after living there for a year, they came back and took up a homestead along the (Payette) river east of the Riggs place. Their first home was made of native cottonwood logs. . . .

When Christian was about fifty years old, his team ran away, throwing him under the wagon which passed over his chest. He failed to recover and died March 1882.

(see C. A. Kjaensgaard Family Group Sheet and J. A. Kesgard Family Group Sheet)

Jacob Klingback - p. 24

The Klingbacks came from Denmark in about 1871. They settled on the north side of the river below the Price Bane place. Jacob C. Klingback and family supplemented their living by selling fish, poultry and eggs to the (Boise) Basin mining camps . . .

Douglas Knox Family- p. 30

In 1870 Douglas Knox bought a farm up the road from the Burdges for $700 and took up some adjoining land. Before moving to Martinsville, the Knoxes had operated a stage station on Willow Creek. Their oldest daughter, Ella Knox Parrish paints a word picture of her pioneer home,

I was two years old when my dad brought us here to settle in a little log cabin three miles downstream from Martinsville. It was there he planted the first fruit trees, crab apple and prune, ever grown in the valley . . .

(see D. K. Knox Family Group Sheet and C. B. Knox Family Group Sheet)

Nathaniel Martin - p. 38

The Nathaniel Martin homestead lay east of Jonathan Smith's. Nathaniel ran the ferry and Jonathan, the hostel. The ferry operated mostly in high water season, although the account book showed listings for all months of the year. . .

Nathaniel took up his homestead along the river on October 11, 1872, almost nine years after his arrival in the valley. . . Mr. Martin was known as "The Squire." He performed weddings and acted as Justice of the Peace; he also took care of the mail which was left at the Junction House until the Martinsville Post Office was established in 1867. . .

John Portlock Family - p. 42

Adjoining the Gill place on the east and across the river from Emmettsville was the John Portlock ranch. Before they settled here, they had taken up a homestead, in 1865, on Haw Creek and built the first home on the Payette River bottom west of where the dam now stands. . . .

Daniel Regan Family- p. 15

Daniel Regan, an Irishman, with his wife and five children came to Emmettsville in 1874 and located on land west of the Gill Ranch, where they went into the cattle business. They built a house with a corner tower which was known as Regan's Castle. The Regans became successful with their livestock project and some of the largest cattle shipments from this part of the country were made by them. . . . The ranch remained in the family until 1960.

Henry C. Riggs Family - p. 24

The family of Henry C. Riggs, like so many others, came from the South. They settled in Boise in 1863. It is said that the Riggs' tent was the first one to be set up in what is now Idaho's capital city. The Riggs' second son, the first white child born in Boise, was named in honor of that city. Later, Ada County was named for his sister, Ada. When a daughter was born on the Payette, Mr. Riggs, ever loyal and always supporting the territory, named the baby Idaho May.

In 1871, Henry moved his family to a homestead tract along the Payette River northwest of Emmettsville where he engaged in cattle raising. He imported the first Bob White quail - 100 of them - at a cost of $200, turned them loose, and now their offspring number millions . .

Joseph C. Shepherd - p. 34

In the spring of 1863 Joseph Shepherd was busy carrying the first express for Tracey and Company of Portland, Oregon, over the Umatilla-Placerville Trail. J. C. Shepherd and his family settled about a half mile southwest of the Smith-Martin hostelry. Joseph drove stage between Falk's Store (Payette County) and Placerville (Boise County) for several years. . .

The Shepherds donated land for Emmettsville's first school which stood on the south side of West Fourth Street . . . (it became known as) "Shep's School."

Jonathan Smith Family - p. 38

An interview with Jonathan Smith, printed in the "Index" of 1896 and excerpts from Ollie Emison story related in "Pioneer Days in Malheur County" tells us that
Jonathan Smith, his wife, and two daughters, Nancy and Sarah, and Nathaniel Martin came west in 1861 with ox teams from northern Missouri. They left due to the Civil War, law and order had broken down. . . They joined a wagon train and traveled west until they came to Burnt River, Oregon, where Jonathan mined. In 1863, Smith and his pardner Nathaniel Martin traveled up the Basin Trail in search of better mining prospects . . .They located near the present Emmett bridge. After Jonathan built a cottonwood log cabin, his family came from Burnt River and moved into their pioneer home. Jonathan kept busy helping his pardner build the ferryboat and hostel.

Nancy married George Brinnon who operated the Washoe Ferry on the Snake River near the present town of Payette . .

James Wardwell family - p. 34

Excerpts from "All Along the River" by Nellie Mills:
James Wardwell worked around Umatilla, Oregon, for several years . . He decided to move his family to Emmettsville hoping the summer climate would improve his wife's health and also that she might be near her parents, the Levi and Elsie Reed. The Reeds took up land about six miles down the valley in 1864 and built a ditch which was later enlarged and is known today as the Reed Ditch. . . Mr. Wardwell filed on one hundred sixty acres of land just west of Emmettsville in 1874 and erected a house near the Basin Trail where he moved Mrs. Wardwell and their four children, which included a daughter Elsie, who later became Mrs. Ed Hayes. . . .

. . In 1883 Wardwell purchased 160 acres from James Johnson for $1,000 and with the help of a surveyor, laid out the townsite of Emmett . . Emmett plat . . . James' brother W. F. Wardwell, commonly known as "Deacon," came from Maine to join him . .

Alex Womack - p. 37

Another early-day settler was Alex Womack, a Missourian, who had been a soldier in the Civil War. He arrived in Idaho in 1870 and went to Anderson Creek above Martinsville. There he placer-mined for gold which enabled him to send for his wife and children.

Alex soon filed on land in Martinsville. Part of the legal description of Jonathan Smith's property states that it ran to the southeast corner of Womack's land and from the Nathaniel Martin land to the center of the road near Womack's blacksmith shop. The shop, built in 1870, was located at the north end of Commercial Ave, where the present depot stands. . . .




Copyright © 2009 - Sharon McConnel. All Rights Reserved.

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