Idaho History

Idaho History

Forming Idaho’s 44 counties took more than half a century

After the Idaho Territory was created in 1863, 13 new counties were formed, and after Idaho became a state in 1890, the process continued. In 1892, the Legislature authorized a local election to see whether those affected were in favor of dividing Ada County to create a new county in the west. The desire to be as self-governing as possible would lead prominent citizens in larger Idaho towns to lobby the Legislature to allow such a vote to create a new county, with their town as county seat. Probably no new county was born with as much excitement and celebration as was Canyon County in 1892.

Idaho History

Japanese workers instrumental in building of Northwest railroads

The Alien Contract Labor Law passed by Congress in 1885 banned the importation of foreigners and aliens under contract to perform labor in the United States. That the law had not been strictly enforced was revealed in the 1890s in the Pacific Northwest when railroad companies, in urgent need of manual labor, spurred the massive importation of Japanese crews under contract, in direct violation of the 1885 law.

Idaho History

Captain Bonneville led a life of adventure while exploring the West

Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville was born near Paris in 1796, the son of publisher Nicolas Bonneville and his wife, Marguerite Brazier. The family moved to the United States in 1803 when Benjamin was 7. Their passage was paid by English-American Thomas Paine, who had lived with the Bonneville family in France and was godfather to Benjamin and his brothers Louis and Thomas. Paine left most of his estate to Marguerite Brazier Bonneville, who cared for him in his last illness.

Idaho History

Horse thieves were universally detested in early Idaho

In an age when Idahoans relied on horses for transportation, for hauling freight and for every kind of farm work from plowing to haying, horse thieves were despised. Their victims felt the outrage people feel today when a thief steals the automobile they rely on to get them back and forth to work, to do their shopping and to handle a dozen other chores.

Idaho History

Cheerful New Year’s festivities varied in early Idaho

On Jan. 2, 1872, the Statesman reported: “The cannon at Fort Boise, at 12 o’clock last night, fired the old year out and the new year in. This was greeted by the firing of smaller arms throughout the city. The morning broke as pleasant as May Day and everybody seemed disposed to close up business and have an old-fashioned jollification day by meeting friends, exchanging congratulations, and wishing each other a Happy, Happy New Year.

Videos

Columnist Arthur Hart says people will always enjoy history because it's about people

Arthur Hart shares his love for history as a teacher, museum director and in his columns found in the pages of the Idaho Statesman.
Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com
Columnist Arthur Hart says people will always enjoy history because it's about people 3:00

Columnist Arthur Hart says people will always enjoy history because it's about people

Expert tips: Storing historic clothing 2:12

Expert tips: Storing historic clothing

Expert tips: Preserving old quilts 1:08

Expert tips: Preserving old quilts

'Letters from Anne & Martin' performed in Boise after vandals mar memorial 2:33

'Letters from Anne & Martin' performed in Boise after vandals mar memorial