Quite a bit of research has been done to try to find out if this story is actual truth or just someone's vivid imagination. Myself and others have not had any luck in trying to find the truth. If you know anything about this that would help verify the validity, please email me.
IDAHO COUNTY FREE PRESS
DECEMBER 24, 1886
A WILD CHILD - A Denver Doctor Finds His Lost Stolen Daughter in an Idaho County Cavern
(Warrens letter, St. Louis Globe - Democrat)
Local papers published an account two months ago of the discovery of a wild girl in the mountain forty miles from this place. A correspondent of the San Francisco chronicle visited the scene, and from person observation furnished that journal with a full description of her cavern home and surroundings. As a result of the publication, one of the greatest mysteries of the far west has been solved. Mr. G.N. Holbrook, of Denver, Colorado, read the reports and recognized the "wild girl" as his own daughter. After being mourned as dead for nine years, she comes forth as from the grave and is restored to her father.
A hunter, while wandering in the depths of the Salmon river mountains far from the habitations of man, saw before him a beautiful lake, in the grandest, wildest, natural settings giant cedars with pendent festoons of moss and towering columns of granite. A fair girl, unadorned, unclothed except by a fleecy wealth of golden hair, stood waist deep in the water. She looked with a nervous stare that betrayed a wild nature. She sprang from the water and disappeared in a black yawning cavern. The man of the chase was not romantic. There might be such a thing as a mermaid but he did not believe in ghosts. It was dark when he found his comrades by the log fire. They were old hunters and knew not fear. The story of the lone girl in that gloomy solitude was related. The flickering flame cast shadows more weird; when the owl hooted and the echoes died away the stillness seemed oppressive. These three Nimrods visited the lake next morning. The same fair creature was standing at the foot of the cliff beyond the water. She was clothed in the skins of wild animals; her hair was blown about by the light breeze in fluffy ringlets about her shoulders. She was startled - looked for a moment and fled. The explorers did not trespass upon the strange lady's sacred precinct.
When they returned to the valley their story was widely circulated and the newspaper correspondent accompanied by some daring cowboys, decided to trace the rumor to the foundation head. They found a beautiful, unrodden grassy valley of an area of 100 acres around two sides of what is known on the surveyors' maps as Moose lake. Few white men have ever passed through the dense forests and rugged depths to look down into the sheltered dell. No signs of life were apparent when the enrippled water reflected back the gray moss covered wall of rocks that stood so nearly perpendicular on the border. The entrance to the cave could be seen, but only the black sides and arches marked the home of the object of their search. The investigators passed up the uneven worn stone steps up to the door of the subterranean domicile of the apparition or angel. They paused, they peered, but all was hidden in the heavy shadows. They hallooed; an echo answered as from a well. A stir in the passage and a frightful visage was seen, with tangled strings of gray hair dangling, with blinking watery, red eyes glaring as a feeble trembling Indian tottered forward. His attitude was that of defiance as he placed himself in the door of his dungeon, but the withered form and the paisley arm were a miserable caricature of the warrior of fifty years ago. He was pushed aside. The reckless men rushed forward guided by a torch through winding tunnel into a great cave with many angular recesses and uneven roof and walls. Corners and columns divided the vast interior into apartments. One of these divisions was the wild girls' boudoir. Seated on a robe in convolutions of fright was a well-developed maiden of twelve years. The torch dazzled her sight. She turned her face from the intruders and sobbed pitifully. They did not approach her but turned away and passed from her presence, filled with sorrow and moved with sympathy, which her intense emotion seemed to communicate to even these toughless young men of the plains. The withered old guardian was found to be dumb. When addressed in the Nez Perce Indian language he could understand but replied only with signs. These facts were published when the party returned to civilization and Mr. Holbrook, in his far off Colorado home read them several weeks after the discovery. He traveled with all possible speed to the Salmon river valley, his former home, and soon organized a party to assist in the rescue including two of the company that had made the exploration on the previous occasion.
The faithful Indian was guarding his door. He offered no resistance at the entrance, but trotted on before as the invaders raised the narrow door and led the way to where the girl sat. She was wrapped in furs to keep warm. The anxious father rushed forward to clasp his daughter to his bosom, but that old relic of a noble race placed his warped form between father and child. Like a man of straw the Indian was pushed away. No word of meaning but a wall of anguish burst from the lips. The girl sprang to her feet. The father was hurled back as if he had tried to embrace a tigress. The Indian was addressed in his native tongue by one of the cowboys, and gave signs, after some delay, that he understood the situation. He communicated to the frightened child by signs, and she settled down on the robe, and stared with wild eyes at these around her. After a long one-sided conversation, the old cave dweller expressed his consent that his ward should go with her father. She could speak no language, but was quieted by a pantomime on the part of her protector. To make the story short, Mr. Holbrook, by a great deal of persuasion, and some force, succeeded in getting his daughter to the house of a friend. The Indian accompanied the party, and is siding on the work of taming the "wild girl" and teaching her to talk before starting across the continent and separating her from the only human who can communicate with her.
In 1877, Mr. Holbrook was engaged in the stock business on Salmon River. The first raid of Joseph's warriors was in that country, and Mrs. Holbrook and three year old child were taken prisoners. Mrs. Holbrook was released after fearful torture, but never recovered from the injuries and nervous shock. The little girl was supposed to have been murdered. It now transpires that she was rescued by the old dumb Indian and carried to his lonely home where she lived nine years without hearing a human voice or seeing a human being except the deformed and feeble old man. This old Indian was once a member of the Nez Perce tribe, but was decided to be a sorcerer or a witch and was condemned to have his tongue cut out and be banished. For years, too far back to be reckoned on the tablets of the aboriginal intellect, he was lived in that gloomy cave. He has made visits to the settlement and traded furs to the whites for powder and lead. Fish, game, roots and berries have been the only food, and the skins of wild animals the only clothing in all these years of loneliness.