History Index


Emmettsville's merchants from Langley's 1876 Business Directory
Hawley's 1920 History of Gem County and Emmett, in detail.
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
Walking Tour of Downtown
photos of Main Street signs, Thanks Madonna Colburn for sharing!
photos of alley signs, Thanks Madonna Colburn for sharing!

Newspaper Articles

1888 Caldwell Tribune, Emmett News Bag, includes Jim Wardwell, D.L. Badley
The Emmett Index, January 21, 1898, multiple stories
1899, Aug. Ola News, Mr. Ramble, Wm. Litle, E. K. Hayes, E. E. Beal, back from Klondike
1889, Sept: Caldwell Tribune includes Aaron Bascom, Sawdust Kelley, John S. Wittle, Mrs. Moody, Elsie Wardwell, H. H. Fulton, John Daley, Jas. Patten, Davie McAuliff, James Fuller, Pet Wilson, Gerwicks, W. R. Adams, W. S. Badley, Finley Monroe, Harrison Housel, E. C. Blanchard
1893, Daily Stage to Emmett from Caldwell
Railroad Reaches Emmett, April 1902
Fifty-five Carloads, Mining Machinery for Thunder Mountain, June 19, 1902
The Fourth at Emmett, July 1902
Emmett Red Birds Cover Themselves with Glory, Other News, Dissolution Notice, July 10, 1902
Farmers' Co-Operative Irrigation Co. Plans, January 13, 1903
The Emmett Index,February 6, 1913, extensive list
1919,Civic Club Plans Better Roads, Frank Knox, T. B. Hargus, B. B. Davis, G. B. Mains, Ed Skinner, Ed Reilly, C. D. Bucknum, Dr. R. E. Rose
Liberty Mine near Sweet Sold, October 1929
Ekekiel Sweet's Experience as a Postmaster, February 1931
Martial Law Declared, August 1931
"Progressing with Gem County", "Scenic Idaho, Winter 1954

When Col. Dewey bought the Caswells' Thunder Mountain claims (east present-day Valley Co.) in late 1900, the rush was on - much of it through present-day Gem County. Ads from "Thunder Mountain News," April 22, 1905, courtesy of Steven Harshfield - Thank you, Steve, for sharing!

    Boise & Pearl Stage, T. B. Walker, Prop.
    Millers, Ola & Miller's Store at Thunder City
    Plowman's, Montour
    Sults' Ola, Thunder City, Vanwyck Stage
    Taylor House, Sweet, W. Taylor & Sons, Props.


Gem County Post Offices and Postmasters
"Sixteen Postmasters, Twelve Different Locations", November 17, 1938
Ekekiel Sweet's Experience as a Postmaster, February 1931
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)
Andy Little (1870-1941)
Ron Rekow, cutting hair on Main Street since 1941 (at KBOI2 news)
Jay Sisler (1926 - 1995), Dog Trainer for Disney (off-site)

Biographies from "History of Idaho, The Gem of the Mountains," Vol. III. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chicago, 1920.

Burkhard, George J.
Holverson, Elmer L.
Kesgard, Mrs. Kate
Knox, Clayton Bane
Knox, Walter
Riggs, Boise G.
Riggs, Henry C.
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.


Historic topo maps
School Districts map
Gem County Post Offices and Postmasters
The Marsh-Ireton Ranch, by Nellie Ireton Mills, "The Emmett Index," April 22, 1948
Sweet Methodist Church (on historical register)
Gem County Buildings on the National Register and Century Farms
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

Pearl & West View Mining District


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.

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

Serving Gem County since 1973.

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