Idaho History

Idaho History

Boise was ‘progressive and wide awake’ way back in 1910

In the first decade of the 20th century, the population of Boise nearly tripled, from 5,957 to 17,358. A business directory of the city published in Denver in 1910 listed several of them owned and operated by women. These included four who ran rooming houses, one who managed a hotel, two who were dressmakers, one a corset maker and four milliners. Three worked in beauty parlors, one owned and operated a needlecraft shop and one a confectionary. Two were listed as stenographers, and Ednah L. Ingram was secretary of the Anti-Saloon League of Idaho.

Idaho History

Early Idaho newspapers made classic observations on love and marriage

Love and courtship have always been favorite subjects for readers of pioneer Idaho newspapers. This bit of advice appeared in the Idaho Tri-weekly Statesman on May 12, 1868: “A bewitching little widow gives the following recipe to ‘trap’ a fellow. Invite a nice young man to tea, keep him laughing every five minutes during the evening, let him have six kisses, and you’ll be his wife before 20 similar operations. It was never known to fail when properly administered. A neat ankle and a low neck dress rather help the matter.”

Idaho History

Love and marriage in early Idaho were ... well, a little different

The relationship between married couples is revealed, discussed and pontificated on in early Idaho newspapers, often in an amusing way, but this example from the Idaho World of Idaho City of April 6, 1866, was hardly amusing to either party. “To the Public. My wife Mary Remish, having left my bed and board against my consent, and without any fault of mine, I therefor hereby give notice that I will not become responsible for any debt that she may incur. Signed, Louis Remish.”

Idaho History

Fur trader Alexander Ross explored much of Idaho in early 1800s

Alexander Ross was among the employees of John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company who came by sea around South America aboard the ship Tonquin and landed at the mouth of the Columbia River in March 1811. Wilson Price Hunt’s Overland Astorians were then struggling across what became Idaho after the disaster at Caldron Linn on the Snake River, where one of the company’s most experienced voyageurs had lost his life in the raging river, leading the company to cache its canoes and other goods and set off for Astoria on foot.

Idaho History

Astor party made epic trek across Idaho, 1810-12

Washington Irving was one of the first American writers to gain an international reputation. He had moved to England on family business in 1815, and it was there that two of his best-known short stories were published. “Rip Van Winkle” (1819) and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (1820) became classics that are still read in schools today, and have been made into movie, cartoon and television features that you can watch on your computer.

Idaho History

Lewis and Clark group, fur traders first explored what became Idaho

The first white men and the first black man to set foot on what is now Idaho were members of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1805-06. William Clark’s African-American slave York is remembered for his part in the epic trek. Diaries kept by some of its members tell us that he participated equally in its work and adventures, and was treated with respect by his white comrades.

Idaho History

In Idaho’s past, newspaper editors flung insults freely

Political insults, with or without any factual basis, have been used extravagantly throughout American history, and even against men now revered as our nation’s greatest heroes. Newspaper editors produced most of what found its way into print, as did this from the Salem Advocate of Salem, Ill. In referring to local resident Abraham Lincoln, newly elected president, he wrote:

Idaho History

Bears and Southern Idaho have rich history together

“BEAR in TOWN” read the headline of a story in the Idaho Tri-weekly Statesman on Sept. 26, 1868. The bear had been discovered in a vegetable garden, and quite a crowd had given chase. When last seen, the bear had crossed Main Street and was heading for the hills by way of Crane’s Gulch.

Idaho History

Jack rabbits by the thousands were a constant plague for Idaho farmers

Jack rabbits were so numerous and did so much damage to farmers’ crops in early Idaho that they were often in the news. In July 1874, when W.H. Thurman’s son accidentally shot his little sister in the leg, the Idaho Statesman wrote, “The boy has been in the habit of shooting rabbits for some time, which troubled his father’s grain fields, killing a hundred or more a day.” W.H Thurman operated a grist mill about 5 miles west of Boise City where many area farmers brought their wheat to be ground into flour.

Idaho History

Welsh have a long history in Idaho

In the 1916 election for governor of Idaho, both candidates were foreign-born. Democratic Gov. Moses Alexander, a clothier and former mayor of Boise, was born in Germany. He narrowly defeated banker D.W. Davis, a Republican from American Falls who was a native of Wales.

Idaho History

19th-century ads in Idaho promised miracle cures

Quack medicine ads appeared regularly in the Idaho Statesman in the 19th century, often over the name of a Boise drug store where they could be purchased without a prescription. Myers & Boomer and John F. Ridenbaugh had Main Street drug stores that advertised regularly. Others cure-alls advertised could be ordered only by mail.

Idaho History

University of Idaho dig looks for traces of Boise’s military past

University of Idaho is once again conducting a summer urban archaeology dig in Boise. Last year, the team focused on the River Street neighborhood in Boise. This year, the focus is the former parade grounds at old Fort Boise. The public dig seeks to retrieve anything of historic value from the ground before a parking lot covers it up forever.

Videos

Expert tips: Storing historic clothing

Sarah Phillips, curatorial registrar at the Idaho State Historical Museum, shares her expertise in the best ways to store historic clothing.
awebb@idahostatesman.com
Expert tips: Storing historic clothing 2:12

Expert tips: Storing historic clothing

Expert tips: Preserving old quilts 1:08

Expert tips: Preserving old quilts

Boise State linebacker Ben Weaver eager to face Baylor's 'brand' 6:09

Boise State linebacker Ben Weaver eager to face Baylor's 'brand'

Boise State tight end Jake Roh says Cactus Bowl the right fit 5:05

Boise State tight end Jake Roh says Cactus Bowl the right fit