THE NEZ PERCE NEWS

THURSDAY, MAY 26, 1881

MT. IDAHO

The City of Graves and Springs; An Embryo Metropolis, etc.

Mt. Idaho, the county seat of Idaho County was first located in 1875 and contains a population of about 400 souls.  The town is admirably located on Butcher Creek, in a grove of timber on the base of the foothills at the head of Camas Prairie; being two miles from the Clearwater River and fifteen miles above the mouth of its middle fork and fifteen miles distant from Salmon river.  An extraordinary volume of business for the size of the place is transacted here, as may be readily conceived when the fact is stated that all the numberless mining camps in the hundreds of miles of territory drained by the Salmon and Clearwater rivers are largely dependent upon this point for their supplies of the necessaries of life.  From early summer till the winter rains have demoralized the roads, an almost endless procession of pack trains with freight en route from Lewiston to Mt. Idaho line the main thoroughfare between the two places.  This continuous arrival and departure of pack trains lend to the streets of Mt. Idaho a scene of cheerful business activity that is heightened by the pleasant location of the town in the timber, while the presence of mules and idle Indians clad in the gorgeous blanket paraphernalia of burden and barbarism contrast admirably with the plain dress and somewhat abrupt manners of the miners and packers busily engaged around, and these again, combing with the spruce appearance of a few blue coats from the neighboring military post of Camp Howard and the broadcloth and white shirts of the resident citizens, blends into one harmonious whole and forms the picturesque foot ensemble of a model frontier mountain town.

Such is what may be termed a birdís eye view of Mt. Idaho.  To come down to the actual details of which the whole is composed, its business interests comprise three general merchandising stores, one flour and grist mill, a hotel, livery stable, saloon, variety store, two blacksmith shops, butcher shop, drug store, boarding house, cabinet shop, three attorneys, two saw mills in the near vicinage of the town, the finest court house building in the territory of Idaho, and a Large number of private residences built in the most approved styles of modern architecture.  The stores of Mt. Idaho are more spacious and carry larger stocks of merchandise than many more pretentious places.  The branch establishment of Messrs. Grostein & Binnard, of the city, under the management of Maj. Binnard and Mr. Greenburg is doing a splendid business and the firm as usual is always enlarging their extensive warehouse or building new graineries to accommodate their extensive transactions in the products of Camas prairie.  J.P. Vollmer & Co., of this city, also have a branch store at Mt. Idaho under the management of Mr. Wallace Scott, the resident partner of the firm; they carry a large stock of goods adapted, to the varied interests which concentrate there, are doing a good business and will have a big two story brick store when bricks are cheaper.  The establishment of Mr. H.C. Brown completes the merchandising interests of Mt. Idaho.  Mr. Brown has a magnificent display of goods on exhibition and for sale, and has a large constituency of friends on the prairie and in the outlying mining camps.  The Mt. Idaho hotel is a fine, hand finished building, owned and run in tip top shape by Hon. L.P. Brown, the original proprietor and locator of the town site and the father of the town.  He also owns the grist mill on Butcher creek, fitted to run by steam power, and has also vast interest all through the Salmon and Clearwater country and in addition to being the great sheep raiser of North Idaho, he owns and operates the daily stage line between Lewiston and Mt. Idaho.  John Denny has a variety store stocked with useful notions; John McPherson owns the livery stable where stock are carefully tended at living rates; at Auchinvole & Co.s Saloon, the choicest grades of Hybrid refreshments are served in real ? style by the boss mixolygist, J.J. Manuel; Dr. J.B. Morris is the resident physician and proprietor of the drug store and being an ? student of medicine is ? in the practice.  Crooks & Sebastian supply the burg with the succulent meat for which Camas prairie is justly?.  G. Ellsworth manufactures furniture at his cabinet shop;  Mrs. ? ? private boarding house in the summer; the two blacksmith shops are operated by the one, by Adams Schubert , a thorough master of his profession, the other by C.R. Aben, who knows his business equally well.  Shissler & Mathisonís saw mill is located on Butcher creek, three miles from Mt. Idaho and Bartleyís saw mill on three mile creek. 

One of the solidest muldoons on the prairie is HOn. B.F. Morris, clerk of the District Court, who in conjunction with others, owns 1,200 acres fenced, and much of it under cultivation in the heart of the prairie, in the locality known as Centerville.  The county officers of Idaho county who have their offices on the ground floor of the fine court house are, Treasurer, Wm. Baird, a brother of Ezra Baird of this city, and just as good a man, auditor and recorder, J.B. Chamberlain, as good a "watch dog of the treasury" as was ever elected to that position; sheriff, T.J. Rhoades, who knows his duty and goes for it on the spot; the probate judge is John Bower, in whose hands the interests of widows and orphans are ever safe; we can personally vouch that W.J. Rainey is a zealous assessor, for he stopped us on the trail and cinched a $4 poll tax out of us, but we forgive him for that as he serves Chinamen just the same way.  The county surveyor is Fremont Cobb a late arrival from Kansas, who is inducing a large immigration to Camas prairie from that state by the glowing descriptions he is publishing of this favored country.  The law practice is confined to A.H. Gordon, Hon S.S. Fenn and J.H. Forney.  Mr. Fenn is North Idaho's favorite statesman; he has represented the territory in Congress for four years as it was never represented before nor since; besides being repeatedly sent to different legislations; we accepted his hospitality for a night and gleaned much valuable information from his well stored mind, for which our thanks are due.  Mr. J.H. Forney is a gentleman of southern birth and a natural born lawyer, who has so assiduously cultivated his talents by hard study that he has become a ripe scholar, ? we were not surprised to hear that he has been uniformly succeeded ? his practice, never having ? case, which speaks volumes for the industry ability and zeal which he puts into his clients cause, and accounts for the good practice he is building up.

At this point our notes are very indistinct so we are reluctantly compelled to bid a temporary adieu to Mt. Idaho an din so doing return our special thanks to Hons. L.P. Brown, B.F. Morris, J.H. Forney, F. Cobb, Joh McPherson and S.S. Fenn for valuable courtesics extended and also generally to a large number of other friends on the prairie including the county officials for favors and hospitality accepted and preferred.  No stronger proof of the hospitable character of the people of Camas prairie can be advanced than the bare statement of the fact that we have accepted 30 invitations to dine with different hosts on Camas prairie on the coming glorious Fourth of July. 
 

©pbc 2004-Present - Keeping Genealogy Free

If you have information to share, questions or corrections, please email County Coordinator