The history of Bannock County, Idaho

Although Bannock county is not yet twenty-five years old, it has seemed desirable to collect her history, before the adventures and legends of early days have been lost in the more prosaic and pressing interests of today.

Probably no state in the union is less known than Idaho. "Wyoming has her "Buffalo Bill," Colorado her Pike's Peak, Nevada her far, but ill-famed Reno; Utah her famous salt lake; all known throughout the English speaking world. But Idaho, rich in natural resources, fertile and prosperous, has furnished no wild-west tragedy like that of Custer in Wyoming, to attract the attention of writers. She possesses no natural wonder to rival the Niagara Falls or Grand Canyon; she has produced no Kit Carson or Daniel Boone to fire the adventurous blood of ten-year-olds.

Few people in the eastern states can accurately locate Idaho. They know dimly that it is in the great northwest, but whether it is hill or plain, mine or ranch, they have forgotten along with much of the other lore of early school days.

The history of Idaho, however, has already been published by men whose long residence in the state and experience in its public affairs eminently fitted them for the task. It is our more bumble and less pretentious pleasure to record the annals of our own county — Bannock — than which no other in Idaho is more beautiful in scenery, more romantic in history or more promising for the future.

It is a pleasure to make grateful acknowledgment here of the valuable and ready help so courteously given in the compilation of this history by the heads of the various United States departments at Washington, the officials of the Oregon Short Line, the city and county officers and the many private persons whose personal knowledge or study of the early days of Bannock county made their assistance indispensable. The list is too long to reproduce, but in most instances the authority has been cited in the text, although in several cases names have been omitted at personal request.

Of course, what we call Bannock county today has existed since the time of Adam. And so — not to begin in the middle of the story— the first chapter is devoted to a rapid sketch of the territory comprising Bannock county, before the county was created.


Table of Contents

Introduction 9

Preliminary History 11

Some Natural History 23

The Indians 35

The Cowboy 46

Fort Hall 55

The Nez Perce Indian War 66

The Bannock Indian War and the Sheep-Eaters 76

The Stage Coach 88

The Railroad 101

General Conditions and Development 111

Pocatello 122

Conclusion 136


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The territory now comprising Bannock county first entered the pages of history when, in 1662, the French Sieur de la Salle planted his country's flag in what he called "Louisiana," after his sovereign, Louis XIV, of France. In order to prevent England from gaining it, and hoping at the same time to win an ally, Louis XV ceded Louisiana to Spain in 1762. Napoleon traded it back from Carlos IV of Spain, but later sold it. This was the territory purchased for the United States by Thomas Jefferson in 1803 and for which the country paid $15,000,000. It included the greater part if not all, of the present state of Idaho, and certainly all of Bannock county.