Idaho Daily Statesman – Boise, Idaho

April 9, 1899

IN AN AVALANCHE – Tragic Death of Jack Roche at Buffalo Hump


Found Dead half an Hour Later a Short Distance from the Point Where He Had Been Working.

The Grangeville Free Press says that Jack Roche, a well-known Florence miner, was killed at Buffalo Hump a few days ago by a snow slide.  The news was brought to Grangeville by Ed Adams and J.P. Anderson, who made the trip from the Hump to Grangeville on snowshoes in two days.  The Free Press tells the story as follows:

Deceased had been working for Frank Brown, the Hump storekeeper for about two months.  On Friday last he had laid off for the purpose of prospecting and making a snow location if luck favored.

Roche was seen b y several men to descend a steep incline.  A great quantity of fresh snow had fallen which overhung the top of the steep place.  Miners shouted to Roche that he was working in an unsafe place, but he gave no heed to the warnings, and commenced to dig near Frank Harnett’s cabin.

Roche commenced his work in the morning and at noon stuck his shovel and pick in the snow and went to dinner.  On his return he found a small slide had buried his implements so that he was forced to borrow another shovel to dig them out.

That was the last seen of Roche or Harnett’s shack.  Men working on top of the hill heard a muffled roar and saw a moving mass of snow.  The spot where Roche had commenced working was a small flat or ledge half way down the slope on the north side of the Hump.  Below Harnett’s shanty the incline became exceedingly precipitous.  Those who witnessed the slide, therefore, felt it useless to search for their unfortunate comrade at any spot short of the bottom of the steep.

It was but a little time before 10 or 15 men were at work with shovels at the foot of the baranca, and their efforts were soon rewarded by the discovery of Jack Roche’s body covered by only two or three feet of snow.  In spite of the light weight, however, the unfortunate man had breathed his last.  His lifeless body lay at a spot 400 yards from the place where he had last been seen working.  Eye-witnesses state that until half-way to the bottom of the hill, Roche was carried on top of the slide.  The supposition is that death was caused by internal injuries resulting from deceased being dragged over the packed surface of the old snow with the weight of many tons of loose snow superimposed.  Suffocation also may have caused death, although it was but a short half hour from the time the snow ceased to slide until the body was recovered.

Jack Roche was well-known in Florence, no man better, having been identified with that place ever since the camp existed.   He was formerly a railroad man, and had worked on the Union Pacific.  So far as known he leaves no relatives nor was he a member of any fraternal order.

Messrs. Adams and J.P. Anderson state that at the time they left the Hump, Saturday morning, the intention was to bury Roche near the camp.



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