This historic point was for many years during the early life of
the county an important resting place for teams traveling from Lewiston to
Grangeville, Mount Idaho and the mines. In 1863 Wheeler & Toothacher were in
charge of the Cottonwood station, situated where Joslin's shop now is. They were
succeeded about a year later by John Byram, and he by Joe Moore and Peter Ready,
from the latter of whom it passed to Benjamin Norton, the man who lost his life
during the Indian war. After the cessation of hostilities, L. P. Brown became
practically the owner of the townsite by buying the place of Knighten, Harry
Wilson and others.
A postoffice was established in the early days but the first
business aside from that and a blacksmith shop was the store of F. B. King,
opened about 1880. Some four or five years later, Charles Wood and A. A. Harris
built a saloon. Robert Nugent tells the writer than when he came to the place in
1887, he found "Judge" Gilmore in charge of the blacksmith shop. H. H.
Nuxoll and Barney Stubert in a carpenter shop, and the business men just
referred to at their respective places. Mr. Nubent bought out Wood &
Harris's saloon. F. B. King's store was transferred to Weiler & Wax about
1891. Mr. Nugent started a restaurant in 1893, in which year a pork packing
establishment was also started. Dunham & Company, of Chicago, ran it for a
couple of years, but eventually failed through mismanagement and gave the
farmers a bill of sale of the property in payment of the sums due them. At
present the building is used as a slaughter house.
In 1893, the first paper of the town, the Cottonwood Report,
made its bow. Its first issue, bearing date January 27th, shows by its
advertising columns that Wax & Goldstone were then engaged in the dry goods
and grocery business: that C. B. Wood was proprietor of the Cottonwood House;
that Felix Warren owned the Lewiston-Cottonwood stage line; that Revs. T. L.
Buzzell and William Cronger were pastors of the Methodist and Catholic churches,
respectively; that Davis & Sweet had a saw and planing mill; that F. M.
Bridgfarmer was engaged in house, sign and carriage painting; that J. W. Gains
had a livery, feed and sales stable; that J. W. Turner, M. D., was practicing
medicine and surgery; and that Tannatt & Hogan were engaged in the real
estate business and in surveying, also were townsite agents. The paper shows,
too, that a literary society was in existence, of which E. T. Tannatt was
president and Miss Ettie Simpson, secretary.
In 1895, the town began building rapidly, and it is since that
date that the Cottonwood of today has come into existence. Without attempting to
fix the dates of the coming of later business houses or the sequence of their
establishment, we summarize the present busness houses of the town as follows:
Three merchandise stores, Samuel Goldstone's, Brown & Brusts's and Harry
Nuxoll's; three livery stables, J. T. Hale's, C. C. Burge's, and J. M. Eller's;
J. W. Turner's drug store and that of the Idaho Drug Company; the Idaho County
Bank, of which E. M. Ehrhardt is cashier; the saloons of Lyons & Dixon, John
Peterson and John Funke; and the brewery of Schobert & Peterson; the St.
Albert hotel, of which A. B. Rooke is proprietor, and the Cottonwood hotel
(closed at this writing), owned by John Proctor; harness and saddles, Schiller
& Simons; planing mill, sash and door factory, Webster & Wright; a steam
flour mill of twenty-five barrels capacity, J. W. Crawford; blacksmiths, J. F.
Davidson, E. Joslin and S. Saux; meat market, Simons Brothers; millinery and
dress making, Mrs. William Bash; bakery, Mrs. Alice Tipton; grain warehouse,
Samuel Goldstone; barber, John Caldwell; hardware and implements, H. H. Nuxoll;
printing office (Camas Prairie Chronicle), Frank S. Wimer, proprietor;
furniture, J. N. Moden; a Chinese laundry. It is said that a large creamery,
capable of handling the cream from four or five hundred cows, is in project,
also a new brewery. J. M. Wolbert, an attorney, is engaged in the real estate
business, and George W. Coutts is also engaged in the practice of law. The
dentists of the town are Drs. T. W. Bray and J. E. Smith, and the physicians
practicing there are Drs. J. W. Turner and R. Truitt. Samuel R. Libby, the
postmaster, is a watch repairer and jeweler.
The churches of the town at this time are the Catholic, Rev. H.
A. Kremers, pastor; the Baptist, to which Mr. Daik ministers; and the Methodist,
without a pastor at the time of the writer's visit. There is a large four-room
public school in Cottonwood in which three teachers labor, namely, Prof. E. O.
Steininger, Miss Mary T. Hayden and Mrs. Gussie H. Clark. A Catholic school is
maintained by Rev. H. A. Kremers in connection with the church, intended, it is
said, as a forerunner of a sisters' school. Fraternal orders are well
represented, there being subordinate lodges of the I. O. O. F., Rebekahs, K. of
P., M. W. A., and K. O. T. M. The first mentioned order has a large two-story
hall with lodge and banquet rooms above and an opera and dance hall below.
While Cottonwood is as yet without a railroad it has daily stage
connections with Grangeville, Lewiston and Keuterville, and tri-weekly with
Kamiah. The O. R. & N. survey passes through the town.
Cottonwood enjoys a very favorable situation on the creek from
which it takes its name. It is convenient to a large stock raising country, and
there are six saw mills within ten miles of the place. The rich surrounding
country furnishes the business men of the town assurance of a reasonably
abundant and permanent patronage, and as the country grows their business and
their number must enjoy a corresponding increase.