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Peter Pence, John Bivens, John Franklin Nesbitt, Henry Elsworth Robinson,  Ellis Hartley, Dr. Ira Woodward Sr.,  W. A. Coughanour, Leonard John Josephson. The story of Mrs. Chase is found on the Archives page.

Peter Pence 1837-1922

Payette County ID Archives Biographies.....Pence, Peter 1837 - 1922 ***Copyright.  All rights reserved. http://www.usgwarchives.org/copyright.htm http://www.usgwarchives.org/id/idfiles.htm ***  File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by: Patty Theurer seymour784@yahoo.com September 16, 2005, 9:37 pm Author: The Idaho Magazine The Idaho MagazineVol. 1, No. 2July 1905 By F. W. Ellis 

An Appreciation of Hon. Peter Pence, One of the Fathers and History Makers of the Payette Valley. 

Of the hundreds of settlers who have located in Idaho during the past few years Hon. Peter Pence claims the distinction of being the very first and is therefore an indispensable part of our story of the Payette Valley. He was one of the vanguard of  civilization to the state and a pioneer of Idaho industries.  

When first attracted to the Payette Valley in 1862 he saw the possibilities of its future development and drove deep his stake, although there was as yet not a single settlement in South western Idaho he determined to seek no further; soon tiring of the uncertainty of prospecting and the hardships of freighting to and from the mining camps in this section he took up a homestead in the valley and became one of Uncle Sam’s husbandmen.   

Those were the halcyon days when flour sold for $1.00 and bacon for $1.50 per lb, oats at $30 per cwt.  Here his whipsawed lumber brought him $300. per M.  He saw the first ranch staked out in the Boise Valley on June 16, 1863 by “Beaver Dick” but his personal preference held him in the Payette Valley.  His home for several years was about ten miles up the Payette river from the Present city of Payette nearly opposite the present location of New Plymouth.  Here he soon made a record in stock raising, with his steadily increasing herds of cattle, horses and sheep on the unexcelled Summer range in the surrounding mountains and valleys, his sales of cattle alone in 1887 amounting to $42, 750.00, but all was not clear sailing in those early days. 

None of the streams were bridged and many hardships and dangers encountered that are unknown to the present homeseekers to the beautiful Payette Valley with its modern conveniences, Rural mail delivery and Independent telephone system.   The Indians were a constant menace and many times settlers were obliged to seek refuge in the three stockades of the valley where Mr. Pence with a few other sturdy yeoman repeatedly repulsed their attacks, guns and ammunition being furnished by the territorial Government from the post in the Boise Valley where it still remains a token of pioneer days.   

Mr. Pence was one of the original promoters of the first irrigating systems in the Payette Valley, known as the Lower Payette Ditch, of which company he has been president for the past twelve years, and under his leadership two extension companies have been organized and the original canal materially lengthened until it now empties into the Weiser river, and under this system he still retains over 1000 acres of choice land.   His sturdy character and efficient leadership have often demanded his service in public life, he was chosen the first mayor of Payette and served as chairman of its first school board.  In 1901 he yielded to the popular demand of his many friends and served as the representative in the state legislature.   

While nearing the seventieth mile post of his active and helpful life he is still increasing his sphere of usefulness in developing the many industries in his home locality. He is president of the Idaho Ganning Company, Vice-president of the Malheur Irrigation Company, President of the Payette Valley Creamery and Vice-president of the Bank of Commerce, the leading bank of Payette.  He is still a recognized power in the community, one who has borne golden sheaves from the harvest field, reaping where he has sown, acquiring success by steadfast drudgery and stern endeavor.    

John Bivens 

File at: http://files.usgwarchives.org/id/payette/bios/pence8gbs.txt This file has been created by a form at http://www.genrecords.org/idfiles/  

Author: James H. Hawley History of Idaho, Gem of the Mountains James H. HawleyS. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1920 


John Bivens, a farmer of Fruitland, was born in Pike county, Missouri, May 27, 1854, his parents being David M. and Honor (Reyley) Bivens, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter of Illinois.  However, the mother went with her parents to Missouri and was married there.  David M. Bivens was a farmer and stock raiser, devoting his entire life to that occupation.  In 1862 he came to Idaho, crossing the plains with the Atchison train, of which he was a lieutenant.  They passed through Idaho the same year and went to Oregon, laying out the site for the town of Union, located between Baker City and La Grande.  In the fall of 1863 they returned to Idaho and settled near Falk, in Payette county. 

They had but one encounter with the Indians in crossing the plains, one of their company being killed, but the Indians paid a heavy score for the life they took.  With the return of the Bivens family to Idaho the father established a stage station at Weiser and also one at Falk, where later the family made their home.  In 1864 the William Stuart family also located in the same locality and the Stuart and Bivens families established the first school in southern Idaho.  Both families were connected with the cattle business on an extensive scale and as the ranges were open they had thousands of head. 

Each spring saw them on the road east to the nearest railroad station in Nebraska with hundreds of head of cattle which they had prepared for the market.  In 1876 David M. Bivens made a trip to Mexico and brought back with him some alfalfa seed, thereby introducing the crop into this state.  

To raise that product it was necessary to have water, so accordingly his son, John Bivens, began the building of an irrigation canal, which at that time was called the Bivens and Pence ditch, but is now known as the Lower Payette ditch.  They built about sixteen miles of ditch and the system has since been extended until the ditch is now thirty-four miles in length and serves more than two hundred farmers. 

At one time in the early days the family received a great scare about the Indians.  A man was seen lying in the sagebrush apparently dead and it was reported to the settlers that Ben Bivens was out there dead, with the addition that no doubt he was killed by the Indians.  The settlers went out in fear to hunt for the body but upon reaching the spot found the man alive and beside his camp fire.  He had been drunk and was sleeping off his intoxication.  Ben Bivens was found at his camp in good health. 

The day before the outbreak of the Bannock war John Bivens was carrying the mail from Payette to Indian valley and while stopping at Sand Hollow to eat his lunch an Indian overtook him and pulled a gun on him, but Mr. Bivens managed to get his horse between himself and the Indian and get out his own gun, whereupon the Indian decided to engage in conversation.  He then rode along with Mr. Bivens to the Indian valley.  Mr. Bivens, however, was convinced by the actions of the Indian that trouble was brewing and advised the settlers to that effect. 

During the Bannock war the Indians stole a large number of horses, many of which belonged to Mr. Bivens, who was one of a party of ten who pursued them through the Indian valley to Council valley, at which place five of the party started on the return trip, while the other five followed the Indians into the Weiser canyon.  One of these men was William White, who was captain of the party, and all were filled but a Mr. Keetley, who was badly wounded and was without ammunition.  He saw there was nothing for him to do but roll over the rocks and down the river bank into the river, and , swimming up the stream instead of down, he thus saved his life.  The Indians made a close search for him but he managed to evade them.  He remained in hiding until after dark and then worked down the stream in the water, never touching the bank, for a distance of twenty-five miles and extending over a period of three days.  Although severely wounded he immediately went to the fort and reported the trouble with the Indians.  A message was sent to the lieutenant governor of Boise, Mr. Bivens acting as messenger and making the trip alone.  He delivered his message to the governor and troops were dispatched to Payette, where Peter Pence, Mr. Bivens and ten other men accompanied them to the scene of the murders and buried the dead white men but found no Indians. 

The parents of Mr. Bivens passed through all the hardships and privations of these pioneer times and the troubles incident thereto.  The father died in 1883 at the age of fifty-four years and the mother passed away in 1899 at the advanced age of eighty-nine years, the death of both occurring in the Payette valley.

During the Bannock war, while a freight train of about twenty wagons were camped under a bluff just north of New Plymouth on the Payette river, they were surprised by the Indians, who attempted to steal their horses and did succeed in getting ten head.  A battle followed, Mr. Pence and Mr. Bivens being of the posse who pursued the Indians.  In the morning they found traces of blood, which assured them that their weapons had not missed their aim. They tracked the Indians by their footprints and one among them made a print eighteen inches long.  He was known as Big Foot.  In the morning, at the top of a bluff, they found three newly made graves. 

They followed the Indians to Indian Grove, north of Weiser, and there found the horses grazing.  Here Mr. Pence ordered caution.  They formed a circle around the Grove and when the Indians found they were trapped they made a run for their horses and in the skirmish that followed two Indians were killed, but they got away with six of the ten horses.  Big Foot was so swift a runner that he could outrun a horse and so ran the six horses into the Snake river and swam them across, carrying his rifle on the back of his neck, and as soon as he reached the opposite shore he discharged his rifle at his pursuers. 

Such were some of the conditions which the early settlers faced, making the history of that period a lasting memory to all who participated therein. On the 12th of January, 1884, Mr. Bivens was married to Miss Fannie E. Stuart, who was born in Sullivan county, Missouri, and in 1882 came to  the Payette valley to be with her sister, Mrs. J. B. Nesbit.  She passed away at Payette, July 6, 1918.  She had become the mother of six children, three of whom are deceased, Walter, John and Albert.  The three living are as follows:  George S., who was with the Ambulance Corps of the United States army, is still in France.  The engine was blown off his car but he was uninjured.  Emily F. is at home.  Jessie E. is the wife of Alonzo H. Heap, who is a farmer near Falk.  He was born at Montpelier, Bear Lake county, Idaho, his parents having been pioneers of this state.  By her first husband, J. P. Schall, Mrs. Heap had a daughter, Josephine E. Schall, who is now a pupil in the sixth grade. Mr. Bivens is living on a ranch of twelve acres at Fruitland and has witnessed notable changes in the country and its development, bearing his part at all times in the work of general progress and improvement.  He made government surveys and helped to survey the railroad from Weiser to Salmon Meadows.  He furnished the meat to the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company when they were building the line through this state.  In connection with the public life of the community, he has also figured conspicuously.  He served on the school board of Payette and for two terms represented his district in the territorial legislature, aiding in framing the early laws of the commonwealth. It is to his daughter, Mrs. Heap, that we are indebted for the interesting material concerning her father and pioneer times.  Mrs. Heap was born at Payette and there acquired her education. Having been reared in Idaho when it was a frontier region, she relates many an interesting story and reminiscence concerning the early days.  She tells of a man by the name of Ward, who was a bronco buster, and while breaking a horse the hackamore came off and he naturally therefore could not manage the animal.  He accordingly called to Mr. Bivens and an Indian buster;  “Oh, please corral me.”  Every time that he would attempt to get off the horse would strike at him with his front feet.  One day when Mrs. Heap had been riding she passed the house of Tom White, who was sitting on his front porch loading his old muzzle loader gun.  She asked him what was up and he replied;  “A bear has eaten all of my pigs and now he has begun on the garden, so I am going after him.”  That night they  heard the man shooting and after waiting for a long time for his return went out to look for him.  They found him all out of breath.  He said that he had been kicked.  In the morning they found the bear dead and when they skinned him they found his hide so full of carpet tacks that they could hardly get it off.  This accounted for the kick, for instead of loading the gun with shot, in the dark the man had used a package of carpet tacks.  Payette county certainly owes much to the Bivens family for what they have done in the development and upbuilding of this region and there is no one who has been more closely associated with the district from pioneer times to the present. 

John Franklin Nesbitt 1851-1935

Payette County ID Archives Biographies.....Nesbitt, John Franklin 1851 - 1935 ***Copyright.  All rights reserved. http://www.usgwarchives.org/copyright.htmhttp://www.usgwarchives.org/id/idfiles.htm***   File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:Cheryl Hanson ihansonb@fmtc.com January 19, 2006, 12:35 am Author: James H. Hawley History of Idaho, Gem of the Mountains James H. HawleyS. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1920 

JOHN FRANKLIN NESBITT John Franklin Nesbitt has contributed in substantial measure to the upbuilding and development of Payette and his section of the state through the important part which he has played in banking circles and in the development of agricultural and irrigation interests.  He was born in Greensboro, Vermont, February 4, 1852, and is a son of J. F. and Jennetta (Taylor) Nesbitt.  They came to America in 1830, having been married in Glasgow, Scotland, two years previously.  The father followed shoe-making in his native country but immediately on his arrival in the new world took up the occupation of farming.  He was at that time thirty years of age.  He passed away in Greensboro, Vermont, in 1862, while the mother, long surviving him, departed this life in 1883. John F. Nesbitt attended the graded schools of his native city, from which in due course of time he was graduated.  When fifteen years of age he went to Mableton, Kansas, where he worked as a farm hand for seven years.  In the spring of 1874 he came to Idaho, settling near Mountain Home, where he was employed at farm work for two years and was then put in charge of J. B. Emery’s freighting outfit and engaged in teaming between Kelton, Utah, the nearest railroad point, and Idaho City. Mr. Nesbitt dates his residence in Payette from 1880, at which time he purchased a squatter’s right to one hundred and sixty-seven acres of land.  He concentrated his attention upon farming and stock, raising and, meeting with success in his undertakings, added to his property from time to time until he is now the owner of four hundred acres of rich and arable land.  Extending his efforts into other fields he became one of the organizers of the Bank of Commerce at Payette and in connection with A. J. McFarland he built an irrigating ditch which supplies water to their respective places, which are adjoining properties.  He was also the organizer of the Payette National Bank and for many years its vice president.  His judgment is sound, his sagacity keen and his enterprise unfaltering.  These qualities constitute a broad basis upon which to build success, and as the years have passed Mr. Nesbitt has prospered in his undertakings. In August, 1882, Mr. Nesbitt was married to Miss Mary J. Stuart, a daughter of John and Mary Jane (Scott) Stuart, who were natives of Ireland and came to America in 1846.  The father was a mechanic and farmer who settled at Pittsfield, Illinois, where the daughter Mary Jane was born.  She came to Idaho in 1880, making her way direct to Falk, where she lived with her uncle, William S. Stuart, and early settler and respected pioneer of that district.  She taught school at Emmett, Idaho, for two years prior to her marriage and since that important event she has presided with gracious hospitality over their home.  To Mr. and Mrs. Nesbitt have been born the following named.  John W., a farmer and stock raiser residing in the Pahsimari valley of Idaho, married Martha Beach, a native daughter of this state, and they have three children, Frank, Joseph and Comfort Gladys.  George F., who follows farming and stock raising at Big Willow, Idaho married Priscilla Higgenbottom and is mentioned elsewhere in this work.  Milton S. is also represented on another page of this volume.  Oscar died in infancy.  Elmer H., who is engaged in farming and stock raising, married Io Kenward, a native of Provo, Utah, and they have two children, Kenward and David.  Iva M. is teaching school at New Plymouth, Idaho, and is a graduate of the Idaho State Normal School.  Clarence S., a teacher at Eagle, Idaho, was graduated from the Agricultural College at Corvallis, Oregon. In political views Mr. Nesbitt has always been a stalwart republican and served as county commissioner of Canyon county in 1900-2.  He was also for some years chairman of school district No. 20 near Falk, Idaho.  Throughout his life he has been actuated by a progressive spirit that has recognized and utilized each opportunity.  His labors have been wisely directed, and step by step he has advanced toward the goal of prosperity.  Winning a handsome competence through his farming operations, he then turned his attention to banking and again has made for himself an honored name and place in business circles. File at: http://files.usgwarchives.org/id/payette/bios/nesbitt24nbs.txt

Henry Elsworth Robinson 

Payette County ID Archives Biographies.....Robinson, Henry Elsworth 1871 - 0000 ***Copyright.  All rights reserved. http://www.usgwarchives.org/copyright.htmhttp://www.usgwarchives.org/id/idfiles.htm***  File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:Cheryl Hanson ihansonb@fmtc.com January 19, 2006, 1:01 am Author: Hiram T. French History of Idaho By Hiram T. French, M.S.The Lewis Publishing CoChicago & New York 1914 


To have the healthful advantages of Idaho’s climate was the controlling incentive that brought Henry Elsworth Robinson to this state with his family, but here he has found both health for his loved ones and splendid business opportunity for himself, being now well established in a thriving mercantile business at Fruitland, Canyon county.  He has not been the only gainer in this arrangement, for Idaho has won in him a loyal and worthy citizen and a business man who makes business and is therefore an upbuilder of his community, likewise of the state. Henry Elsworth Robinson was born in Delaware county, Iowa, March 26, 1871, a son of James Robinson and Mary Ann (Gregg) Robinson.  The father was born in Ireland to parents that had become settlers of that country as early as 1844 and were pioneer farmers there.  He also followed agriculture as his life’s vocation and departed life at the old homestead in Delaware county in June, 1908.  At one time during the Civil war when there were yet few settlers in Delaware county, he was the only man in that county that was not drafted for service, but he arranged to act as substitute for another party.  When the Union officers learned of this condition upon the arrival of the men at Dubuque, they sent Mr. Robinson back to care for the settlers’ families.  He was successful as a farmer and was a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal church, the first religious services in that county having been held in his log cabin.  Mary Ann Gregg, who became the wife of James Robinson, was a native of Ireland and passed to rest at the old Delaware county homestead in 1880, at the age of forty-six.  Thirteen children were the issue of these parents and of these, Henry Elsworth was eleventh in birth. He was educated at Upper Iowa University, the Methodist Episcopal school located at Fayette, Iowa, where he also completed a business course and was graduated at the age of twenty-one.  Up to that time his life had been spent on the farm, but he then became bookkeeper and manager of the wholesale department of the Hollister Lumber Company at Manchester, Iowa, and continued in the service of this firm twelve years.  From his savings he then purchased a farm in Delaware county and for five years he followed agriculture there very successfully.  On account of his wife’s ill health he removed with his family to Idaho shortly after that and first settled at Mountain Home, but in a short time he changed his location to Fruitland, Canyon county, his present home.  He took up his residence in Fruitland on November 27, 1910, and at once rented a store and engaged in the general merchandise business.  It proved a profitable venture from the start.  The sales of 1911 were $12,000 and the business of 1912 thus far show an increase of seventy-five per cent, over the previous year.  The political tenets of Mr. Robinson are those of the Republican party, of which he is and always has been a stalwart supporter, and both here and in Iowa he has been actively identified with party affairs, being at the present time precinct central committeeman of this district.  He is affiliated with the blue lodge and chapter of the Masonic order at Manchester, Iowa, and has filled all the offices of those branches except that of worthy master.  He is a member and secretary of the Fruitland Commercial Club and is active and consistent in church work, being a member of the Methodist Episcopal denomination and having been a teacher of a Sunday school class for the last seventeen years. His wife, whom he wedded September 10, 1894, at Manchester, Iowa, was Miss Ursula A. Hills before her marriage, a native of New York state and a daughter of L. C. Hills.  The three children of this union are named Marion Esther, Mabel and Sidney.  Mr. Robinson began his independent career with no financial help, but his father’s reputation for strict honor and integrity frequently stood him in good stead in securing him standing and credit while getting his start, and in his own conduct he has ever maintained the same probity of character.  He is more than satisfied with his life and business prospects in Idaho. 

Reminiscing - Ellis Hartley

Payette-Adams-Washington County ID Archives History ....

Reminiscing -The Monday, Healy And Grosclose Massacre Of 1878

***Copyright.  All rights reserved. http://www.usgwarchives.net/copyright.htmhttp://www.usgwarchives.net/id/idfiles.htm***  File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:Patty Theurer seymour784@yahoo.com November 19, 2005, 11:04 pm 


ELLIS HARTLEY, a long time resident of Payette County, and who lived as a small boy in Indian Valley until 16 years of age, tells of the Monday, Healy, and Grosclose Massacre of 1878, & other events.   I am a native of Idaho, having been born at Falk’s Store on January 20, 1876. I have lived in Idaho all of my life except 4 years in New Mexico.  In 1878 we were living on the Wm. McCullough ranch, which joined the Billy Monday place in Indian Valley, Washington Co., Idaho, now Adams County.  Recently I have been reading an account of the killing of Monday, Healy, and Grosclose, and the wounding of Smith, at what was known as “The Falls” on the Payette River, near Cascade, Idaho.  The article referred to, appeared in a book called “The Payette and its Pioneers” compiled by Nellie Ireton Mills, and which I disagree with in part.   Going back a little, in the spring of 1876 we moved from Falk’s Store to Middle Valley, and Father took a Squatter’s right on a piece of land about 2 miles up the river from the present town of Midvale.  He built a cabin and put in some crop and garden, but in July or August the Mormon crickets came and ate everything into the ground.  That was the year before the Nez Perce Indian War.  As it was generally known by the settlers, the local Weiser and Sheapeater friendly Indians were secretly communicating and sympathizing with the Nez Perce.  Knowing this, the settlers had commenced forting up, or in other words providing central places where women and children would be fairly safe in case of Indian attack.  Father, in taking the situation into consideration, and having lost his first crop to the crickets decided to more over into Oregon where conditions were more settled and where he could get work.  In 1878 we returned to Idaho, but instead of moving back to the Squatter’s claim we moved to Indian Valley, and rented the McCullough place, as above mentioned.   Evidently it was on August 19th, 1878, Monday discovered his horses had been stolen, and upon investigation found evidence that it had been done by Indians, and after following the tracks for several miles made sure the Indians were heading for South Fork of the Salmon River by the way of Long Valley.  This little band of Indians were often in the Indian Valley, as were other Indians, and were well acquainted with Monday, also Healy (who was a Squaw-Man) and Smith, a pioneer of these parts.  Grosclose was a young man probably not more than 20 years old.  Evidently Monday, Healy, Smith and Grosclose left Indian Valley on August 19th, going by the way of the old Indian trail to Long Valley on which the Indians had gone, and which crosses the Payette-Weiser River Divide almost due east of Indian Valley.  The Indians must have expected pursuit and as soon as they knew they were being followed selected an ideal place for an ambush.  This is about what Smith’s account was, of the massacre, which took place at a point one quarter mile north of the Falls (or Cascades) on the Payette River near the town of Cascade.  The Indians had secreted themselves in some granite rocks near the trail. The first volley of shots killed Monday and Grosclose.  Healy dismounted and got behind some rocks.  Smith, who was the last man on the trail, started back, but almost the same time his mule was killed from under him and he was shot in the hip.  Healy evidently held the attention of the Indians and allowed Smith to hide himself in a log jam on the river.  After it was dark he left his hiding place and traveled on foot some 35 miles in all, reaching White’s place at what is now Old Meadows, a day or two later.   Two other men, Daniel Crooks of Mt. Idaho, and Brady Wilhelm of Idaho City, miners, were killed the same day by the same Indians, eight miles east of Cascade at what was known as Pearsol Diggings.  Soldiers under the command of Major Drum found their bodies after finding those of the three ranchers in the canyon.  My father with other ranchers of Indian Valley went to Lardo and received from the soldiers the Monday horses and others that were taken by the Indians at the same time, and brought them back to the Valley.  Later he used the Monday team of horses to finish the harvesting of crops on the Monday place.   The Idaho Sons & Daughters marked the graves of Monday, Healy and Grosclose in the year 1929, and at the same time placed a marker at the graves of Crooks and Wilhelm.  In the fall of 1964, my wife and I, and my sister and her daughter visited both to theses gravesites.   Wm. Monday was not the first settler of Indian Valley as stated in the book compiled by Mrs. Mills.  A Mr. Spoore was the first, and he was also the first Post Master. Our association with the Monday family was very close, and though I was only a little more than two and one half years old, this event was reviewed by our family over and over for many years afterwards, and in my opinion is very near to what really took place.  Mr. Ellis Hartley   


An auto-biography prepared for a group collecting information on the mayors of  Payette



I was born May 17, 1874  in West De Pere, Wisconsin; my parents were Jennie and Israel Woodward.  We moved from West De Pere in 1879, coming west to Denver, Colorado in a covered wagon.  We settled in the Black Hills near Denver, moving to Idaho Springs, Colorado in 1881.  In 1891, we moved to Denver where I had one year in the Denver High School and one year at Denver University before I entered the University of Denver College of Medicine in 1894.  While in Medical school, I carried newspapers to finance my schooling.  Also while in medical school, I contracted tuberculosis in the dissecting room.  I was graduated from the College of Medicine in 1897 with an M. D. degree.  At that time there were no internships available.  During my medical school days, my income was $30.00 per month.

            After my graduation from medical school, I opened an office in Idaho Springs, Colorado, which had been my home town.  This was a mistake since I was too young and there was no business for me.  I then moved to Mercur, Utah, the last wide open mining town in the West.  The population of Mercur, at that time, was 5,000 and the largest cyanide processing mill in the United States was located there.

            At the time of my move to Mercur, my bank-roll consisted of one thin dime.  I secured a contract as Mine Surgeon for the DeLaMar, Mercur, La Cigale, Ophir and other mines and mills, and for the first month or two helped my financial situation by dealing roulette at one of the many resorts there.

            At that time there were no Unions.  The management of the Mines had to close the mines for two days at pay-roll time but made arrangements with the gambling houses to try and “clean” the workmen in those two days so that work could be resumed until the next pay day.

            In 1899 it was found that the mines ran through ore body.  The Mercur mine for which $40,000,000 had been offered, and refused, was abandoned.  Within a month, Mercur became a “ghost town”.  The 1950 census gave it a population of 2 – the smallest city in the United States.  My bank-roll was again shot to pieces! 


            In December of 1899, I moved to Payette, Idaho.  Dr. S. H. Pinkerton, Chief Surgeon, Union Pacific Railroad, furnished my transportation and the freight facilities and appointed me District Surgeon for the Union Pacific in Payette.  I have held that position until the present time.  When I arrived in Payette, I was possessed of the sum of $2.00.  During my early days in Idaho, I received a great deal of help and much needed advice from Dr. J. A. Numbers, Weiser, Idaho and from Dr. L. P. McCalla, Boise, Idaho.

            In 1904, after the death of my father in Denver, in 1902, I was joined in practice in Payette by my older brother, Dr. Jesse Charles Woodward, Sr.

            In approximately 1907, I was appointed as a member of the State Board of Medical Examiners.  At about this same time I also passed the State Board Pharmacy examination.

            In December, on the 4th, in 1907, I was married to Anna J. Hastings, R. N., a graduate of St. Mark’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah.  I have one daughter, Jean Elizabeth, born December 19, 1910 who is now an attorney at law and research attorney for the Supreme Court of California.  She is married to Justice Jesse W. Carter of the California Supreme Court.  I have one son, Ira Richard, Jr., a graduate of Northwestern Medical School.  He is married to the former Kathryn Whalen of Payette and has three sons, Michael, William, and Thomas.  I was joined, in the practice of medicine, in 1940 by my son, Dr. I. R. Woodward, Jr.


From 1909 until 1913, I was a member of the City Council of Payette. 

I served from 1917 until 1933, and again from 1935 until 1941 as Mayor of the City of Payette.

            I served four terms as Master, Washoe Lodge No. 28, A. F. and A. M.

            I am a member of Knights Templar, Shriners, American Medical Association, Idaho State Medical Association, and the Southwestern Idaho District Medical Society.


I have always been interested in minerology and at one time had quite an extensive collection of native rocks and minerals.

            Ever since my arrival in Payette I have taken yearly trips, by horse-back and with pack horses, into the primitive areas of Idaho.  I like nothing better than to get way “back in” and off the beaten trail where the fishing and hunting are the best. 


            Mercur was quite a place and there was no reason to complain of lack of patients.  Large tanks of cyanide of potassium solution were used in leaching the ore.  There were numerous almost instantaneous deaths from drinking from pails which were, or had been, used in the tanks.  One outstanding case was that of the foreman’s son who fell into, and was completely submerged in, a standardizing tank.  He was pulled out and suffered no after effects!  We managed to save some cases by the use of large quantities of hydrogen peroxide.

            The caving system was used in the mines with the logical result of numerous fatal accidents.

            At this time no masks, or other protection, was provided for the workmen.  The ore contained large quantities of arsenic which, when roasted, would redeposit in thick layers on the cold water pipes.  Despite this, and the lack of protection, we had very few cases of arsenical poisoning.

            During my time there we had eight cases of poisoning by arsenuretted hydrogen gas during one refining effort.  There were two survivors.  Dr. Noble Wiley Jones, then a recent medical school graduate who was later to become President of the Portland Clinic, Portland, Oregon, reported on these cases and received wide-spread attention in medical circles.

            Once case of an eruptive fever created a great deal of interest among local physicians.  A sheepherder volunteered the information that the disease was quite common in Idaho and that it usually occurred in June.  He also said that it was caused by sheep droppings in springs and streams from which human beings drank.  I know now that it was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  After going to Payette, I went on a fishing trip with three friends and all of us contracted the disease.  I was later to have the privilege, and very interesting experience, of accompanying Dr. Ricketts of Montana during his study of the then “strange” fever.  We collected ticks from all sources.  From this study came the knowledge that we all take for granted today.

            At this time there was, of course, no such thing as Workmen’s Compensation.  In the event of an accidental death, someone, usually a gambler, would pass a hat.  This would usually net about $1,500 for the family of the deceased.

            I have often thought that the so-called “coffee hour” of today had its origin in Mercur with one small change.  All professional and business men and mine officials would meet at a favorite bar to have one drink on the “even” hour after which they all went back to work until 8 or 9 p.m. when the serious drinking and gambling for the day began.  I remember that there was at least one chronic alcoholic in town – a terrier dog, the down pet.  His sad, or happy, state (as the case may be) was caused by the miners pouring the remains of their drinks in his water bowl. 

            As I have said, Mercur was a wide open town.  One small cottage organ in the Episcopal Church there had on it a sign which informed the congregation to “Please do not shoot the organist – he is doing the best he can”!

            I remember one terrifying experience I had in Mercur.  We had there a very small, and primitive hospital, of which I was in charge.  I was not usually all alone there, but on the night in question the entire town, including the hospital staff, had gone to a dance leaving me alone except for the body of a deceased miner.  Sometime during the very late hours, I thought I had better take a look at the body.  Much to my surprise, I not only could not push the door open into the room, but I heard some very loud, and unmistakable snoring!  Being very young in those days, I rushed out to procure reinforcements.  Upon being so reinforced, we discovered that a very large dog had gained entrance through an open window and was peacefully sleeping, and snoring, right against the door!

            Of great interest to me was Ajax, a settlement on the nearby prairie.  Ajax consisted of a very large, and complete, department store with living  quarters, stables, and salesrooms completely underground – a hold-over from Indian days.

            Winter was a pretty rugged proposition in Mercur.  The roads were very bad and house calls were quite an ordeal.  I remember that the liverymen would sharpen inch long horse shoe caulks before allowing the teams to start out on the icy roads. 


            Shortly after my arrival in Payette, there was a small pox epidemic in town.  There were around 500 cases of the dread disease, some of which were very severe.  To protect themselves, physicians wore long white gowns, hoods, masks, and gloves.  A special wagon was available for the stricken.  This wagon had a mattress on its bed and entire families would be placed on it.  The wagon would then be driven down Main Street on the way to the Pest House.  Needless to say, when the wagon was seen approaching, Main Street would rapidly become deserted.

            One case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in its early stages was, upon consultation, diagnosed as small pox.  The patient was sent to the Pest House and later, upon being told of the mistaken diagnosis, considered it a good joke on the county authorities who had paid his expenses.

            In those days there were no hospitals available.  All babies were delivered at home for a flat fee of $25.00.  I remember one delivery which took place in an abandoned mine with the front partially boarded up.  I had reached the mine through four feet of snow to find that it was an arm presentation.  The husband of the patient assisted me and there were no complications.  The fee remains to this day uncollected!

            In obstetrical cases there was usually no pre-natal care since the physician was usually notified that his services would be needed during the last week of pregnancy.  In many cases we were notified after labor had started.  Our fees were not what could be called exorbitant - $1.00 for an office call, $2.00 and $3.00 for residence calls, and as I have said $25.00 for any type of delivery.

            Surgery in those days was also very apt to be accomplished with some little difficulty and under odd circumstances.  I have done appendectomies on the kitchen table by candlelight; I did a tracheotomy on a kitchen table using bent hairpins as retractors.  The old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” had strong applications in the early days!

            On July 16, 1903, I purchased the second car in Idaho and the first to be had in Payette County.  It was a General and had a chain drive to the sprocket on the rear axle.  This necessitated a continual “getting out and under” operation on my part.  It had kerosene lamps and a hand operated drop bar in the rear to prevent the auto from running backward when going up any incline.  Standard equipment for any length trip consisted of a spare axle, springs, and a transmission chain.  I remember one fine trip when I managed to drive ten miles – but I returned under my own power.

            Automobiles were not regarded with enthusiasm by those not owning them.  They were considered a great menace to the life and limb of teamsters who unsuccessfully tried to prevent anyone from driving one.  All of the few automobile drivers in the early days were expected, when meeting horse-drawn vehicles, to get the auto as far off the road as possible, stop the engine, and stand between the car and the team until the team could be brought under control.  Any refusal to comply with this expected procedure would have had dire consequences – to the driver – so we complied!

            Later years in Idaho brought, of course, many changes most of which were happy and progressive ones.  The death of my Mother on April 16, 1927 and of my brother, Dr. J. C. Woodward, Sr., were very sad experiences for me.  One of the happy changes occurred when my son and I built the Woodward Clinic Building in Payette in July 1952.

The End.

Dr. I. R. Woodward, Sr., died on May 28, 1954.

Note: while always aware that my typing could be at fault, all attempts were made to reproduce the document as presented by the author, Dr. I. R. Woodward, Sr.

Biography of  W. A. Coughanour

Mayor of the City of Payette 1897-1899; 1907-1909

W. A. Coughanour was an early developer of Payette.  He made a fortune in the Idaho City mines, bought and sold cattle ranches.

            He lived on the corner of S. E. 9th Street and 1st Avenue S in a two-storey house.  He built the Coughanour building in 1905 and enlarged it with an addition in 1907.  This building housed apartments, offices, a café, and other businesses.  He also built the Emma Theater building at the corner of 1st Avenue N and N 8th Street.  He founded the Riverside Cemetery.

            At the intersection of 1st Avenue N and 7th Street was located a large fountain and bronze statue of an Elk with a full set of antlers lighted at night.  This was donated by Mr. Coughanour.

            He married Galena Bunting.  They had two children Emma and William M.  Emma married Dr. Hamilton of Silver City.  William married Alta Stroup of Washoe.

Biography of Leonard John Josephson

Mayor of City of Payette 1961-1969 

            I was born in Pueblo, Colo. on July 2, 1895.  When I was 1 year old the family moved to Telluride, Colo. where my father worked in the gold and silver mines.  During that time an accident befell him and one of his legs had to be amputated.  In those early years Telluride was full of miners, many saloons and “houses of ill repute”, and was in general a “wild and wooly” town.  I was running wild and hard to control, so Father thought he should move his family to a better environment.  I had two younger sisters now.

            When I was nine years old in 1904, Father bought an 80 acre piece of sagebrush land 15 miles west of Blackfoot, Idaho.  Our family and household furniture and other possessions went by train.  My parents were glad to get me out of the bad influence of Telluride.  My father used one crutch the rest of his life, farmed and cleared the land of sagebrush, and worked his 80 acres and raised 6 children plus 3 boys whose mother and father had died.

            As I grew up I became a bronc-buster and wild horse roper, spending much of my time on the desert chasing wild horses, as there were many in these early days.  I learned to do some fancy roping.

            In 1916 I married the local school teacher Lora Adele Currier.  We celebrated our 62nd anniversary in 1978.  She passed away in 1979.  We farmed and were in the sheep business for several years, then farmed potatoes.  In 1922 I began to buy and ship them to Eastern markets.  In 1941 I started in the potato business here in Payette, later buying and shipping onions until I sold the business to Lynn, my son.

            I was elected Mayor of Payette in 1961 and held that office until 1969.  Then back to working in the onions; also ran a second hand store.

            I have been a Mason for many years, also a Shriner, where I have always enjoyed being in the Clown unit; was a great pleasure to appear in the parades and other activities of the Clowns.  I was on the Board of Governors of the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children for 14 years, serving from 1959-1973.  The Portland, Ore, Unit.

            For many years I was Santa Claus in Payette, I also took many children to the Shrine Circus each year; as many as 900 one year.

            In my retirement years, I still work some in the onions, travel a little and just enjoy life in general.  Work with the Senior Citizens as Chairman of the Board at the center here.  All this adds “spice to my life”.

            My parents were Swedish, but lived in Finland, and I always had a great desire to go “back to my roots” so in 1982 Jackie and I went to Finland and Sweden.  It was a great thrill to meet cousins I had never seen and didn’t even know existed.  It was a wonderful trip.  Am proud of my “roots” there.

            I have 2 children, Lynn in Payette and Lois Leavingood in Albany, Oregon.  Four grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great grandchildren. 

*Adopted great-grandson Lawrence Josephson came into museum Friday, April 22, 2011 and said that Lois lives in Medford, Oregon now and identified “Jackie” as being Leonard’s second wife and said that she is still living in Ontario.  Said Lynn’s kids were John and LynnAnn and that LynnAnn had one daughter named Lacey.  Also said that John had several kids with lots of grandchildren, too.

Mae Gilmore - Payette Historian and Author - obituary

"Independent EnterprisePayette, Idaho
Thursday, January 5, 1978


PAYETTE-Services for Anna May Gilmore, 98, Payette, who died Thursday at a Payette nursing home, were conducted at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, Payette, by the Rev. Paul Tracy, St. James Episcopal Church. Interment was in Riverside Cemetery, Payette. 

She was born Dec. 8, 1879, at Ogden, Utah. She moved to Payette when she was six years old and attended Payette schools. She graduated from Payette High School in 1898, a member of the second graduating in Payette. She married Wilbert Gilmore in 1902 at Baker, Ore. They owned and operated the C Commercial Hotel. He died in 1960. She was one of the foremost writers of historical events in the Payette area. 

She was Payette County historian and was active in the Episcopalian Church.

Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Joe (Eileen) Henggeler of New Plymouth; a son, John D. of Ontario; two grandsons and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a brother an a grandson.
This and more information can be found at http://payettecounty.info/bios/gilmoremae.html .

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