A Glimpse of Idaho Poor Law Legislation

Poor people and criminals were the ones that constituted a problem in the early gold camps.  In some of the most important early gold rush towns, particularly early Florence, poor people greatly outnumbered criminals.  Any number of men joined the gold rush even though they lacked sufficient means to maintain themselves, especially in a gold camp where prices were extremely high and supplies were in very short stock during a hard winter, such as the one which hit Florence in 1861 and 1862. 

Society in the early gold camps, though, lacked the necessary institutions or organizations to take care of the problem of the poor.  People who couldn’t find themselves mining claims that would pay, or couldn’t find work in the pay claims, simply were expect to leave, and they did.




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