History Index

Post Offices and Postmasters  ~   Schools ~ School District Map  ~   West View Mining District & Pearl   ~   Newspaper Articles

Museum Treasures

Dentistry 1865 - 2000
Abalone Shell hand-painted by Ada Riggs
Copper Boiler
Kerosene Can Christmas Story
Jim Flake's Still, courtesy of Art Beal - Thank you Art for the generous contribution!
Valentines, Quilt

General History

The Payette River Road, early route to the Boise Basin
Emmettsville's merchants from Langley's 1876 Business Directory
"Emmett's Lumber Industry in the Past," The Emmett Index, June 15, 1916
The Lumber Industry and Logging, from Nellie Ireton Mills, "All Along the River/Territorial and Pioneer Days on the Payette."
Reed's Sawmill and Reed Bros. Logging Crew, Dry Buck; Warners Mill, Cascade; Pioneerville & Grimes Creek
Polk's Idaho State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1914
Hawley's 1920 History of Gem County and Emmett, in detail.
Prohibtion in Idaho, 1916-1933
1954 "Scenic Idaho," Progressing with Gem County
Natural Disasters (1938-1967)


What's in a Name?, (Emmettsville and Emmett Cahalan) by Director-Curator, Meg Davis
Nathaniel Martin House by Director-Curator, Meg Davis; includes history of Martin Ferry
"140 years of memories, Emmett cemeteries" by Diana Baird
The Cherry Festival, from its beginning in 1928, including queen list through 1980
WPA Project Built a Home for Justice in Gem County, by Jacob A. Sweeten, Capitol Law Group. Gem County Courthouse, Construction completed, July 29, 1939. Cost, $70,000. Architect, Frank Hummel.
Walking Tour of Downtown
photos of Main Street signs, Thanks Madonna Colburn for sharing!
photos of alley signs, Thanks Madonna Colburn for sharing!


Early Settlers profiled in "The Village That Grew" by Ruth B. Lyon, 1979
Gill Family Establishes Way Station by Meg Davis, Director/Curator
First Gem County Officials
Gem County Sheriffs 1915-1993
WWII German POW Camps, including Emmett. Thank you Gordon R. Peterson for digging out this information!
Governor Frank W. Hunt (1861 - 1906) on South Fork Companion blog
"Three generations of bullfighters" - Curley, Eddie and Matt Heath (Abstracted from the Messenger Index, July 31, 2013)
Boxer Harry (Kid) Matthews (1922-2003) and wikipedia(off-site)
Ron Rekow, cutting hair on Main Street since 1941 (at KBOI2 news)
Jay Sisler (1926 - 1995), Dog Trainer for Disney (off-site)

Biographies and Obituaries

Harold A. Beal (1910-1999)
Eagle Eye, Last Chief of the Tukidua, by Shelia Reddy; Tukudia, by Shelia Reddy; Eagle Eye of the Northern Shoshone, by Larry Kingsburg; for more on the Dry Buck area of Boise County see ID AHGP
Fox, Baalam (1845-1925), Civil War veteran, stage driver. Buried at Sweet. Story by Kennie Lynn Klingback
Hayes, Edward K. (1870-1956) and Elsie Wardwell Hayes (1869-1962)
Little, Andy (1870-1941), Sheep King
Reed, James Levi (1849-1914), sawmill owner, lumberman
Wardwell, James (1834-1891), Sawmill Owner, Lumberman, Developer
Wardwell, Park (1865-1916), 1908, Shoots the Chutes, 1916, Killed by Train in Ogden, Utah

Biographies from James H. Hawley's "History of Idaho, The Gem of the Mountains," Vols. II and III. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chicago, 1920.
Burkhard, George J.
Cruickshank, Alexander
Davies, John B.
Holverson, Elmer L.
Hon. Frank W. Hunt
Jensen, James L.
Kesgard, Mrs. Kate
Knox, Clayton Bane
Knox, Walter
Riggs, Boise G.
Riggs, Henry C.
Talley, John H.
Womack, Isaac

On-line at archive.org and google books - This is 900 pages of biographical sketches. Gem County entries include many familiar names: Alsagar, Cronk, Cruickshank, Davison, Hartley, Kesgard, Kessler, Morehouse, McCrossin, McKay, Pugh, Riggs, Werle, and Wilhelm, to name a few.


Goodale's Cutoff from Boise Valley to Powder River (ISHS Reference Series 1048, 1994)
Esmond Stage Stop, Placerville Trail, 1880's
"The Legend of Squaw Butte" by Mrs. Bert Wright
School Districts map
Black Canyon Dam
Groves as recreational gathering places
1933, Third Fork CCC Camp, courtesy of Art Beal - Thank you for sharing!
Liberty Mine and the Squaw Creek District
The Marsh-Ireton Ranch, by Nellie Ireton Mills, "The Emmett Index," April 22, 1948
Sweet Methodist Church (on historical register)
National Register of Historic Places and Century Farms/Gem County
Pickett's Corral Idaho State Historical Society Reference Series, No. 253:

"Picket's Corral, located at the head of the valley east of Emmett, is a natural lava rock corral. Tradition identifies this as the base for a band of horse thieves who operated in the vicinity when settlement began in the valley below. At the time of the gold rush of 1862-1864, the corral provided an ideal base for such a gang. Well concealed, it receives a limited water supply from a small stream which flows through the corral from the center of a rock wall. W. J. McConnell, a member of the Payette vigilance committee and later a United States senator and governor, remembered Picket's Corral as a hideout not only for horse thieves, but for bogus dust peddlers as well. McConnell also explained how his vigilantes succeeded in breaking up the Picket Corral gang and the Washoe Ferry outlaws. The Payette vigilantes took credit for making the area safe for the law abiding citizens."

See Early History of Idaho, by William John McConnell for his account


Known Gem County Civil War Veterans
Veterans buried in Emmett's Riverside Cemetery
Veterans buried in Bramwell Cemetery
Veterans buried in Sweet-Montour and Ola Cemeteries
WWII Memorial, at tank, in front of courthouse
Memorial, WWI, Korea and Viet Nam at tank, in front of courthouse
John McLean Tribute, First Gem County WWI casualty, June 27, 1918
George Hall, Spanish-American Vet's Body Moved to Sweet Cemetery, November 16, 1930

To contribute to Gem County Veterans Project, contact Gem County Veterans Project or Janie Schaut
Janie Schaut wins Idaho State Historical Society's 2013 Esto Perpetua Award Messenger-Index and histor-e.

Wake Island Civilian POW's

Marvin Gross (1902-1982)
Emmett Newell (1919-1987)
Glen Newell (1921-2014)

Other known Gem County men on the captured Morrison-Knudsen construction crew include and Gross' uncle Leroy Cramer. Leroy Cramer died on the hospital ship on the way home. He is buried at Ola. Bill Charters was also in that crew. For more information, see Wake Island on historynet.com.

Clippings shared by the extended Gross family
Prisoners released     Gross-Morris return; "The Bull" Sentenced

Off-Site Sources

"WPA Project Built a Home for Justice in Gem County" (courthouse history)
History news articles at the Messenger-Index
Arthur Hart at the Idaho Statesman

On the OregonTrail

July 29 - Traveled nineteen miles today, reaching the Boise River. It was easily forded, and always muddy owing to the placer mines at its headwaters where gold is washed. . .

July 30 - This morning go into the City which is only a city in name, just a small mining town the people mostly transient keeping all manner of supplies for miners, and the emmigration to Oregon, at very exorbitant prices. Our roll of 'Greenbacks' which had been tucked away for three months because there was nothing to buy, was now brought forth. We however had more flour than we would use, sold it in exchange for gold dust receiving for it $16 hundred. One of our party sold a featherbed for $1.00 per lb. his wife refused for awhile to give up her feather bed but they must have something to eat and money to pay ferriage, so the feather bed went

July 30 - Camped on 'Dry Creek' last night and would be glad to remain here to day (Sunday) but for lack of grass and good water must move on. At night reached the Payette River. A beautiful stream and abundance of grass and wood. . .

Aug 2nd - Still going down Payette river. Met to day a circus from Oregon going to the mining towns." -- Harriet Loughary, 1864 -- "Covered Wagon Women, Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails, 1862-1865", edited and compiled by Kenneth L. Holmes; University of Nebraska Press, 1989.

Copyright © 2008 - All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise attributed, all photos and text are the property of Gem County Historical Society

Serving Gem County since 1973.

Wednesday - Saturday 1:00pm - 5:00pm & by appointment    ::    Extended hours during The Cherry Festival in June.