Sunday, January 23, 2011


Mrs. Julia Berray and a friend feeding a bear cub at the Caspar Berrray homestead cabin on Bull River. Circa 1899.
Courtesy Frank Berray.

Dedication and Acknowledments,



For all the valiant people whose lives are woven in this story.

What, my soul, was thy errand here?
Was it mirth or ease,
Or heaping up dust from year to year?
"Nay, none of these!"
My Soul and I, John Greenleaf Whittier


My deepest appreciation goes first to God, whose purpose kept me in Montana where the events recorded here took place. He sustained and guided me all along the way.

Next comes my gratitude to Art, my husband, for his unstinting love, encouragement, support and the considerable amount of money it took to make it possible.

It was Audra Browman, a Missoula lady who collects historical facts about Montana, who sent me a great deal of pre-1900 material, thereby starting me in the search for more. Without her, this book might never have been written.

Special thanks go to the members of the Spokane Writers Club. It was Neta Frazier, beloved member of that august group, who said she doubted I had the necessary skills, then proceeded to guide me; Nellie Pickin, who always caught my grammatical errors and chided my use of adjectives and indiscriminate superlatives; Francine Donner, who always enjoyed the chapters I read, while gently prompting me to better them, saying, "Show, don't tell." And to all the other members who've listened patiently as I read to them, critiqued, suggested, and encouraged me to keep on, I'm gratefully indebted.

I not only give thanks for the generosity of those I interviewed, wrote letters to, telephoned and visited, but also for the abiding friendships that resulted. Words can't describe how much I learned from their examples that made my own families' lives better. Nor can words convey how much we miss Frank Berray, Clifford Weare, Lucy Jenkins, Clate Bauer and all the others who death has claimed.

A great deal of credit also goes to research librarians, especially to Ruth Ellen Bauer, Reading Room Supervisor, Division of Archives and Manuscripts at the Minnesota Historical Society who provided much of the Northern Pacific Railroad information, and to the Montana Historical Society, for use of the microfilms on deposit there and to Spirit Lake, Idaho librarian, Areta Davis, who got them for me.

To Marylyn Cork, Priest River historian, who has been my most devoted pen pal since shortly after I became disabled, who has raised my spirits countless times, shared her thoughts and perceptions, been my sincerest friend and staunchest supporter, just saying "Thank You" seems inadequate.

These acknowledgments wouldn't be complete without major credit going to the doctors and therapists who've tended my serious medical crisis' during the twenty years I've been collecting and assembling this material. Especially because of the expert care of neurosugeons Dr. Leonard Dwinnell, Dr. William Shanks, and the expert care of Richard Butt, Massage Therapist, my disabilities did not prevent this accomplishment.

To all the special people I've left unnamed who helped and encouraged me, whether by their words or deeds, I also give heartfelt thanks.


Chapter   1.   Wilderness for Adventurers
Chapter   2.   Pathway of Rails
Chapter   3.   Towns And Trailheads
Chapter   4.   Evergreen Wealth
Chapter   5.   Pioneer Opportunists
Chapter   6.   Industrious Men
Chapter   7.   Starting From Scratch
Chapter   8.   Working Men
Chapter   9.   The Transportation System
Chapter 10.   The People
Chapter 11.   Government
Chapter 12.   Love, Life and Hardship
Chapter 13.   Expansion of Work
Chapter 14.   Laying Out The Forest System
Chapter 15.   Growing Into A town
Chapter 16.   Around And About
Chapter 17.   Local Roads And Railroads
Chapter 18.   1910 Fire
Chapter 19.   The Hub of Activity
Chapter 20.   Plenty of Jobs
Chapter 21.   Aggressive Advancement
Chapter 22.   Tried By Fire
Chapter 23.   Fire Aftermath
Chapter 24.   Growing Pains
Chapter 25.   Toward Bridges and Roads
Chapter 26.   Meeting Community Needs
Chapter 27.   The Tempered Stay
Chapter 28.   Determined to Progress
Chapter 29.   An End Portends A Beginning


Chapter 1. Wilderness For Adventurers
  • Cabinet Gorge, Idaho
  • Noxon Rapids, Noxon, Montana
  • Mary Moody Steamboat
  • Painting by W. R. 'Chuck' Petersen
Chapter 2. Pathway of Rails
  • William Milnor Robert's camp and NPRR survey crew at Pend Oreille City (circa 1869)
  • Montana Cedar
  • Horse and buggy in Montana cedar country
  • Chinese Laborers
  • NPRR Cabinet Landing
  • The little steam engine
  • NPRR trestle
  • Noxon, Montana NPRR sectionhouse
  • Chinese worker
  • Plains, Montana saloon
Chapter 3. Towns and Trailheads
  • Heron, Montana NPRR depot
  • Heron, Montana (circa 1890s)
  • NPRR train wreck
  • NPRR Division Point, Trout Creek, Montana
  • 4th of July, Heron, Montana
  • Heron, Montana
Chapter 4. Evergreen Wealth
  • Kate and Ed Hampton
  • Sledding at Heron, Montana
  • Jim and Caspar Berray
  • Smeads, Montana
  • Bull River country
  • Higgin's homestead at Smeads, Montana
Chapter 5. Pioneer Opportunists
  • Henry Knott home, Heron, Montana
  • Jim and Caspar Berray's homesteads in the Bull River valley
  • Great Aunt Higgins
  • William J. Higgins
  • Baby Fern Saint 
  • Baby Maxine Higgins
  • NPRR train wreck
  • Smeads, Montana
  • Smeads ferry
  • Heron, Montana street scene
  • Bessie Knott and Mrs. Newell
  • Old house in Smeads, Montana
  • Frank and Algie Berray
Chapter 6. Industrious Men
  • Boating the Clark's Fork River
  • Lottie Colberg
  • Haying at Heron, Montana
Chapter 7. Starting From Scratch
  • William Finnigan
  • 1904 ladies event
  • James Bauer family moving west
  • Gordon family wagon train moving west
  • Bauer and Greer family
  • Noxon, Montana first schoolhouse
  • Noxon school students
Chapter 8. Working Men
  • Log drive on the Clark's Fork River
  • Humbird Planing Mill
  • B. B. Bunn's sawmill
  • Mrs. Ellis and Carrie Virginia Engle
  • Guy Engle
  • Katie and Earl Engle
  • Earl Engle's cabin on Rock Creek
  • NPRR carload of poles and cedar post piles
Chapter 9. The Transportation System
  • Quinn's Cut (between Heron and Noxon, Montana)
  • Noxon's ferry
  • Sheldon S. Brown homestead
  • Ethel Baxter
  • Bauer and Greer families
  • Noxon, Montana horserace
  • Heron, Montana baseball team
  • O'Brians and Laramies
  • NPRR signal maintenance crew
Chapter 10. The People
  • Jim Berray
  • Tallmadge family
  • Edwina Augusta Marshall Tallmadge Stanley
  • Jack, Margaret, Maynard and Laura McDuffy family
  • Irene Bauer and alzier Greer with children
  • Fred P. Allan
  • Annie Allan
  • Noxon, Montana group
Chapter 11. The Government
  • County Commissioners
Chapter 12. Challenges and Hardships
  • Capar Berray and family
  • Heron, Montana teachers
  • Miss LaFey and students
  • Heron, Montana brewery
  • Irvin Hurst and Granville 'Granny' Gordon
  • Jesse and Mary Beason and daughter Nora
  • A group at Marion Cotton's homestead
  • Fern Fulks and Ben SaintNoxon ice skaters
  • Girl and her dog
  • Emmett E. Thomson homestead
  • Emmett E. Thomson family
  • John Bauer family and friends
  • Frances 'Fanny' Hampton
  • Heron, Montana School
Chapter 13. Expansion of Work
  • Winter logging
  • Summer logging
  • Donlan and Moderie Mill
Chapter 14. Laying Out The Forest System
  • Granville 'Granny' Gordon, first US Forest Service Ranger on Bull River
  • Pauline Rathmiller Gordon
  • Gordon family, circa 1903-04
  • Ferdinand Augustus Silcox, US Forest Service officer
  • Bill Cody's Wild West Troupe
  • US Forest Service camp
  • US Forest Service crew
  • 1907-1908 Bull River US Forest Service Ranger Station
  • Horse catcher
  • Bull River US Forest Service Ranger Station
  • Noxon US Forest Service Ranger Station
  • Grandma Gordon's cabin
  • 'Horse Thief Ranger Station
  • Noxon, Montana
  • Trout Creek US Forest Service Ranger Station
  • Christmas 1908 in Bull River US Forest Service Ranger Station
  • Squaw Peak Rock House
  • Squaw Peak US Forest Service Lookout
Chapter 15. Growing Into A Town
  • William Finnigan's Saloon, Noxon, Montana
  • Charlie Maynard's Noxon Bar
  • William Finnigan's home
  • Rail Bike, Clifford and Ethel Weare, and son Neil
  • Coyer and Bull River char (fish)
  • Noxon, Montana NPRR Depot
  • Baxter Hotel, Noxon, Montana
  • Group on Baxter Hotel veranda
  • Buck's General Merchantile Store
  • L. G. Wagner and oxen
  • Noxon School students
  • Clark's Hotel
  • Noxon Schoolhouse addition
  • Noxon School students
Chapter 16. Around and About
  • William Ellis, US Forest Ranger
  • William and Nettie Ellis
  • Urie Ellis homestead
  • Noxon, Montana community celebration
  • Pauline Gordon
  • Bill Boomer and family
Chapter 17. Local Roads and Railroads
  • Mountain people
  • Road grader and crew
  • NPRR railroad maintenance crew
Chapter 18. 1910 Fire
  • 1910 fire fighting crew
  • Earl Engle's fire fighting camp
  • Harry Tallmadge
  • 1910 fire fighters
Chapter 19. The Hub of Activity
  • George Buck's Store
  • Boomer's Hall
  • Bear trappers
  • Dr. Peek's Store, Noxon, Montana
Chapter 20. Plenty of Jobs
  • Garden at Bull River US Forest Service Ranger Station
  • Stell Gordon on horseback
  • Donlan and Moderie's crw, Elk Creek, Heron, Montana
  • Holtzlander's sawmill, Elk Creek, Heron Montana
  • Laramie's Bull River homestead
  • Blanche, Stella and Grace Gordon
  • John McKay's log chute on Smead's Bench
  • Joe Wagner, Christmas 1912
  • Noxon, Montana winter 1910-1911
Chapter 21. Aggressive Advancement
  • Noxon, Montana, circa 1907
  • Northern Pacific Railroad water tank
  • Charlie Maynard's Noxon Bar
  • Party group
  • Ruth and Charles Thomson
  • Field of clover in Bull River valley
  • Noxon ferry, circa 1912
  • Essie Thomson
  • Ellinwood's waterwheel
  • Bull River, Sanders County, Montana
  • Howard Ellinwood
  • George Gardner and Loren King
  • Marian, Frieda and Clifford A. Weare
Chapter 22. Tried By Fire
  • Earl Engle's fire camp
  • Rock Creek bridge
  • US Forest Service feed stall
  • Frank Berray
  • Stella Gordon
  • Mountain goat pelts
  • Looking east from Squaw Peak
  • US Forest Service pack outfit
  • Jim and Cap Berray homesteads
Chapter 23. Fire Aftermath
  • Group of US Foresters
Chapter 24. Growing Pains
  • Helen Berray and Aleatha Bauer
  • Bauer group outing
  • Harry Tallmadge and George Kaufman
  • Ethel Tallmadge
  • Plains, Montana Saloon
  • Noxon pie eating contest
  • Shoveling out cedar post piles
  • Charlie Munson
  • Putting up winter ice
Chapter 25. Toward Bridges and Roads
  • John Fulks
  • Noxon road building crew
  • Aleatha Bauer Moonen
  • Girl on Noxon road grader
  • Pilick Schoolhouse dance
  • Noxon group
  • Bull River Ranger Station group
  • Art Legault and wife, Julia
Chapter 26. Meeting Community Needs
  • Howard Ellinwood
  • Ellinwood homestead
  • Hazel Ellinwood
  • Irene, Gladys, and Alice Ellinwood
  • Margery and Stewart Hampton
  • Stewart, Bert, Margery, Rose and Art Hampton
  • Irene and Harry Wilson homestead
  • Harry Wilson, George Gardner and Loren King
  • Mrs. Bessie Knott and Mrs. Skinner
  • George Hauffman and Frank Berray
  • Slim Smith, Mary Hampton, Stella Gordon, and Elmer Angst
Chapter 27. The Tempered Stay
  • NPRR at Noxon and railroad spur
  • Noxon, Montana, circa 1916
  • Jess Beason
  • George Gardner, Harry Wilson and Clayton Bauer
  • Noxon women, circa 1916-17
  • Granville 'Skinny' Bauer
  • Loren King and George Gardner
  • George Gardner and Loren King
  • Noxon School students
  • John Bauer homestead
Chapter 28. Determined to Progress
  • Montana Mining and Milling Company -- Gold Hill
  • Outcropping over Tunnel No. 2 -- Montana Milling and Mining company
  • Montana Mining and Milling Company cabin
  • Heron-Smeads ferry
  • Neal and Mildred Weare
  • Ben F. Saint and baby, Montana Saint
  • Trout Creek US Forest Ranger Station
  • Montana Saint and snowman, June 21, 1916
  • Montana, Ben F. and Bob Saint
  • Trained bear show
Chapter 29. An End Portends The Beginning


Overview map of the area through which the Mullan Road and the Kootenai Indian Trail passed from Walla Wall, Washington to Bannack and Virginia City, Montana.

Map of Noxon and Pilgrim Creek area circa 1906. Not all the settlers' names are included. Mining properties were located beyond the borders of this map.

Map of the buildings and businesses in Noxon in 1915. The town was platted and surveyed in 1908, however this map does not show all the streets or their names.

Map of the Bull River valley, including homesteaders settled between 1890 and 1914. The Old Daly Trail first developed into the Great Northern Railroad Tote Road, and later became known as the Bull River Road. It is little more than a rude wagon trail. The wagon road continues beyond Bull Lake, going north to the Kootenai River valley.






"Much of history is just gossip which has grown old gracefully."  Anon
Enjoy it!
Mona Leeson Vanek.

These Indians are from the same Indian tribe that inhabited the area when white men arrived in the territory. Courtesy 'Chuck' Peterson collection.

For time unknown the silence knew only the small noises of Indians and the few trappers who'd taken the beautiful pelts from trap-lines strung through the wild array of mountains where the Clark's Fork of the Columbia River carved a water route through northwestern Montana Territory. When the fur trade slumped, they left behind scant reminder of their intrusion.

For a short time in the mid-1860s, the Pend Oreille river route to the rich gold fields of Bannack and Virginia City funneled thousands of miners over sparkling waters through the narrow defile. The timbered slopes absorbed and hushed their transient sounds before reverting to the undisturbed domain of the wild creatures. But time was running out.

The invasion began in early 1882 when 7,000 men, seeming as puny as a horde of ants, brought axes, shovels, dynamite and determination to build the most difficult and expensive section of the 2,260 miles of Northern Pacific transcontinental railroad. They ruptured the peace by attacking the ramparts of timber and stone to carve a route through the lower portions of the Clark's Fork River valley. Every inch of ground they gained was a backbreaking victory, hard-won against challenging elements. And not always held. But each foot of steel track laid forebode the end of nature's reign. Railroad History –

This spurred the beginning of man's struggle to settle in the mountains that housed some of the richest trapping, virgin timber, minerals, and hydroelectric power in the Pacific Northwest. Ambitious men envisioned its development... and were not above plundering it. In the first hundred years of their efforts to conquer the mountains, to prise from them more than sustenance, men warred against each other as much as against nature, cooperating only in the face of common adversity.

The heavily timbered canyons, populated by grizzly bear, deer, moose, fur bearing animals, and fish is the scene. The Bull River Valley, northeast of Noxon, Montana, links the Clark's Fork River Valley in Sanders County (60 miles south of Canada) with the Kootenai River Valley in Lincoln County (30 miles from the international border.)

The colorful, resourceful characters are real and rugged individualists. Early prospectors located vast mineral deposits, but like the fur trade and timber business that at first flourished, mining was negatively affected for decades by the nation's economic climate.

Interest rates soared, and lumbermen and miners went broke in continuous pendulum swings between solvency and poverty in an area that had no other permanent industry. Yet the region continued to attract people. People came with all their worldly wealth, went broke and left, to be followed by a new wave of dreamers seduced by the mountains.

They were a tough, determined breed that settled in the Clark's Fork and Bull River valleys between 1882 and the turn of the century. When the United States Forest Service moved into the area in 1906, the homesteaders fight to stay and survive was no longer confined to beating the elements, and either helping or besting each other; they had government to contend with.

Slowly but unremittingly government grew. Private enterprise, at best risky and fluctuating, was squeezed to near extinction. The holocaust of the 1910 fire beset them. Surviving that, the advent of the automobile began to change their lives while only rude wagon roads and few bridges existed. As settlers struggled to improve that situation, they were soon confronted with the sacrifices exacted by World War I; the war that was to ensure their safety and pursuit of happiness forever.

They hoped only for the safe return of their sons, and for economics to stabilize enough to allow them to remain in these mountains. During the decade that followed, progress was challenged but moved inexorably forward.

Behind These Mountains is the intimate story of how they did it, what influenced them, what thwarted them, and what they valued in this pristine area in northwestern Montana's magnificent mountains. The three-volume  series of regional history stops just short of the Great Depression era.

Behind These Mountains, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 were written to acquaint you with the wonderful, remarkably stoic people who found happiness and satisfaction in settling in Montana's shining mountains where the Clark's Fork River churns. The books are fully documented and contain original material to enhance your understanding of a little-known part of Montana - the western mountains and its pioneers.


Photo by Bert Huntoon, Bellingham, WA, Courtesy W. R. Chuck Peterson collection.
During the last ice age, an enormous glacier pushed its way out of Canada, flowing down the Purcell Trench, until it reached Pend Oreille Lake. There it formed a dam. Glacial Lake Missoula began filling behind it. Before its cataclysmic end eons later, the lake would fill and empty about thirty-six times as the glacier front melted, then ground forward to create yet another dam, over and over again.

Glacial Lake Missoula extended through the Bitterroot Valley as far south as Darby, Montana. It flooded the Clark Fork valley as far eastward as Drummond, all of the Jocko, Camas Prairie and Little Bitterroot valleys, and the Mission valley as far north as Polson, where waters lapped against another icy glacier.

At the end of the ice age 10,000 years ago the earth trembled. The glacier moved. Ice nudged boulders. Soon, racing water-born, the earth's migration began on a mutinous roar. The ice dam ruptured a final time. The 2000-foot-deep water behind the dam, estimated at 500 cubic miles, rushed out at two hundred times the flow rate of the Mississippi River at maximum flood. The wall of water surged and tumbled at a rate of 45-60 miles an hour.1. Eight to ten cubic miles of water per hour, scouring all sediment from rocks in the narrowest parts of the drainage causing the greatest flood catastrophe the world has ever known occurred. It rampaged with the force equal to 60 Amazon Rivers.

Time passed. Glacial Lake Missoula, which had risen yearly until it reached just over 4,150 feet above sea level, and was as big as Lakes Erie and Ontario combined, was no more. Quiet returned.

The valley of the Clark Fork River evolved -- the land Behind These Mountains.

The geography of the land became river bottom land in a valley gouged scarcely a mile wide most of it's ninety mile length to its junction with another river. It was carved from east to west, located inland easterly from the Pacific Ocean about five hundred air miles.

From this bottomland lying approximately 2,000 feet above sea level, mountains jutted steeply. Up and up. To 9000 feet. Numerous narrow canyons, cleaved from the mountains by creeks and rivers, joined it. Cliffs and rocky outcroppings tumbled across the skyline as peaks formed ramparts blocking the view from the valley floor in every direction. Winds soughed softly through green branches. Water rushed, rippling and sparkling on its' journey toward the ocean. Many great barriers were left to impede the river; gorges, rapids, huge boulders. Several hundred centuries went by. No one knows if prehistoric man came here or when Indians first inhabited the valley.1.

The Indians who traveled the valley of the river named it 'Saleesh'. Its waters held rainbow, cutthroat and native trout, and whitefish. Suckers, penos, squawfish and perch competed for life in the river and the streams feeding it.

White-tail and mule deer shared the habitat of the verdant mountains with brown bear, black bear and grizzly. Cougar, porcupine, weasel, mink, muskrat, bobcat, martin, marmot, beaver, and coyote formed an ecological chain with gophers, mice, snowshoe rabbits, packrats and other rodents, along with bees and their honey.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, no white man had yet recorded visiting the western valley of the Saleesh. By then it was heavily timbered. Only small bands of Indians plied their canoes up and down the glacial waters; waters clear and drinkable that appeared to be green, colored as they were by reflections of the wilderness that surrounded them. They roamed the numerous trails twining along the riverbanks and canyons that led from it to the high peaks where eagles soared and porcupines and skunks waddled. All were content. Nature ruled unmolested.

Within the first few years of the century men sitting in the luxury and comfort of fur trading company's board rooms in the eastern part of the country (which was then the United States) cast votes that would begin white man's first influx into the valley.

Explorers Lewis and Clark came in 1805. They climbed the mountains and surveyed the rich land. Seeing the river, they called it 'Clark's Fork of the Columbia', and so it ceased to be the Saleesh. And these men then called the Indians 'the Saleesh'.2. And looking, they found the land good; wealthier in furs, timber, minerals and water by far than any other land.

Greed for the treasures of the valley compelled them to challenge each other and nature's forces. Never again would the land of the Saleesh River be solely nature's domain. Man had come to claim it, to dispute over it, to rape it and savor the sweetness of victory. Since then dissention has paced every thrusting step of progress and civilization.

Cabinet Gorge on Clark's Fork River. Courtesy 
Maxine Laughlin collection.
When David Thompson arrived on the Clark Fork of the Columbia River in 1809 scouting for furs and exploring for the Northwest Company he came to the first gorge, upstream from where the waters joined Pend Oreille Lake. The high rock pillars, which formed the walls of it, reminded of a high walled sitting room, the French name for which is 'cabinet'. He called the gorge, 'The Cabinet'.

Seven miles upstream from this 'Cabinet' gorge on October 12, 1809 at 9:40 a.m. he stopped at a rapids of huge boulders and ledges. The waters leaped into spray or swirled green, capped in white foam. Here he found three Tents of Saleesh fishing Herrings with a small dipping net.

"Of these fish they take great quantities, they gave us about 20 of them for which I paid a foot of Tobacco." Thompson returned November 3, 1809 ....and "At 5 P.M. put up at the Herring Rapid".3.

People knowledgeable in the geography and history of the west say that the rapids referred to above were definitely near Heron, Montana and speculate that Heron is a corruption of the word, "Herring". Their half-mile stretch was unnavigable. Thus it, too, was named: 'Heron Rapids.'

Northwestern Montana, the immense area drained by the Kootenai and Clark Fork rivers and their tributaries, of which this valley was a part, was the trapping grounds for British traders. Crude log buildings called 'Posts' were established for the Northwest Company and trade began with the Indians.

Hard situations breed hard men but the call of the mountains was strong. The very active mountaineers of the Northwest Fur Company of Montreal were competing keenly with another British fur company, the great Hudson's Bay Company. No nation had yet established any definite claim to the region. Politically it was a No-man's-land and a prize for whoever occupied it and claimed permanent ownership.4.

The Pacific Fur Company, organized by the financial genius, John Jacob Astor, sent out an expedition on September 8, 1810 from New York.5. His American trappers also wanted control of the furs and the land.

Landing on the Oregon coast March 22, 1811, they founded Astoria. But the American victory was short-lived. In 1812 war began and British ships seized Astoria in 1814.4. It became necessary to sell this post to the Northwest Company to avoid its capture by a British naval expedition that had been sent to take possession of it.5.

The 'Nor'westers' had scored a double victory over the Americans and over their bitter rivals, the Hudson's Bay Company.

Following the war, the Hudson's Bay Company took possession of the country between the Pacific coast and the sources of the Missouri river. Parties were sent out to establish trapping and trading posts in the interior and to open stations among the Indians. These were established at Walla Walla, Fort Colville, Spokane and on the Kootenai River.

Competition between the two British companies had become so intense by 1821 that the British Parliament forced them to cease from strife. They decided to unite under the name and charter of the Hudson's Bay Company.5.

In addition to the major trappers fur trading posts, log huts were built on the trails to shelter carriers and trappers. These roadside inns had no landlords. They consisted of four log walls, a roof and generally a fireplace formed of native stone and mud. Tall virgin timber stood lonely guard over them.

Possibly the first structure to be built in this region of the Clark Fork valley was such a trading post. An editor of Ross Cox' book on The Columbia River, says that the trading post Ross Cox and Russell Farnham built November-December 1812 was probably near the mouth of Bull River.

An early tale passed along by the trappers told of the killing of a bull elk here. The head was left on a stump the story goes. Another name originated -- The Bull's Head Encampment -- eventually to become Bull River.6.

At that time the Kootenai Indian Trail, a rude bridal path, extended from Walla Walla to Missoula. Pack animals could be taken over it only with great difficulty. A wagon couldn't get over it. It followed the north banks of the Clark Fork River through the valley.

Bull River flows into the Clark Fork from the north about twenty-five miles east of Pend Oreille Lake. It twists like a tortured snake, flowing south out of a half mile wide defile which interlaces the rugged mountains between the Kootenai River thirty miles north and the Clark Fork River. No one recorded when Indians ceased to camp at its mouth when the first permanent white settlers came to the valley.6

A great barrier of stone split the Clark's Fork River into two channels of churning rapids about seven miles upstream from the mouth of Bull River. Nature had heaped soil and seed upon it. By the time white men arrived it was covered with an abundance of trees, grasses and shrubs. Indians, trappers, and river travelers found it a welcome refuge with ample space to camp. It acquired the name of Rock Island.

Rock Island, looking east. Circa 1890. Courtesy William Finnigan collection.
In 1824 trapping for furs in the region was big business. The ruling spirit of the great fur empire was Doctor John McLoughlin, chief factor for the Hudson's Bay Company. He ruled as a benevolent despot from his headquarters post at Ft. Vancouver. Indians called him the 'White-headed Eagle.' His word was law, and about all the law there was throughout the entire region, which included the Columbia Basin section of Montana and other states.5

Well equipped companies of traders and trappers set out yearly from headquarters and from other base posts in the region working the various streams and watercourses very thoroughly, trapping and trading with the Indians. Many of the men were Scottish. Others were French-Canadians, many of whom were half-breed. Most were devout Catholics. They called themselves 'King George's Men' and roamed where the mountain air was sweet and cool, the native grasses fresh and untrammeled in the bottomlands.5. They followed deep game trails cut by whitetail and black tail (mule) deer through tremendous virgin growths of timber. Their only transportation routes wre the Indian trails and the rivers.

Cabins on a trapper's trap line would have made fine winter quarters for some sleepy old bear looking for a winter den. Often built about three and a half feet by six feet, of pole construction, located on a timbered ridge. A pole topped with a tin can sticking about three feet out of the snow with a small stove pipe barely showing, another pole about 12 feet distant, the latter marking the starting point of a tunnel leading at an angle down to the trapper's lair. Inside the snug shelter, a little staple food. Perhaps a couple martin hides hung from the roof.7. ( )

Beaver fur was valued at $4 a pound. Each animal provided approximately two pounds of fur. Prime martin were $35 to $45 a pelt.7. Small bands of Indians roamed through the mountains, seasonally trapping, hunting, fishing or picking berries.

For a quarter of a century the region, though held under the joint control of the American and British governments, was decidedly British in complexion. In 1843 when the historic meeting was held in the open field at Champoeg, Oregon, and a vote was taken whether a settlers government on the American pattern should be organized, the British lost by only one vote. Their influence began steadily declining. The trail blazing of the voyageur-trapper was ending.5.

The Trapper (Anon)
I hont de bear, I hunt de moose
Sometime hont de rat.
Las' wik I tak my h'axe an go
To hont de skonk Pole-Cat.
My Fran Bill say she's ver' fine fur
Same tam good for eat.
So I tal my wife I gat fur coat
Same tam I gat some meat.
I walk two tree, six mile and more
Den tink I feel strong smell.
I tink dat Got damned skonk she died
An fur coat gon to hell.
By and by I see dat skonk
Close up by one beeg tree
I sneak up close behind heem
I tink he no zees me.
By and by get ver close
And raise my h'axe up high
Dat Got damned skonk
She goes, peese
Kerplunks som 'ting in my eye.
Sacre bleu! I tink I bline!
Je-Crise I no can see!
I ron an ron an ron an ron
'Til I bomp in a Got damned tree.
By and By I drop de h'axe
An lite out for de shack,
I'm tink about a million skonks
Is clime apon my back.
My wife she meet me at zee door
An seek on me zee dog.
She say "you no sleep here tonight
Go out and sleep wid hog.
I tried to gat in dat pig pen
Je-Crise, now what you tink
Dat Got damned hog no stan for dat
On count of awful steenk.
I hunt no more de skonk,
Gat fur coat nor meat
For eef his peese she smal so bad
Je-Crise! What eef he sheet!8.

The organization of Oregon Territory by Congress in 1848 gave definite government to the mountains and valleys.*5. Only a handful of those who were governing this land of the shining mountains ever saw the treasures they governed. For over fifty years few but Indians, trappers and prospectors traversed the valley.

In 1853 Oregon Territory was divided and the valley then became Washington Territory lands.5. The 1860's marked the very earliest of settlements by white persons who came intending to stay.1. It was a slow and dangerous development. The first settlers dared not bring families into such a primitive and unexplored region. Settlement generally commenced both eastward and westward of the portion Behind These Mountains, Vol. 1, 2 and 3.

When Missoula county split from Spokane county December 14, 1860 the valley was left in Spokane county, Washington Territory.9.

Charlie Kimball was one of the first to move into the Wild Horse Plains area east of Noxon about sixty miles.10. It is an area three miles long, one to three miles wide, relatively flat and open. Wild grasses and mild, open winters formed a famous wintering grounds for the Indians animals. In 1860 Kimball built a log house near the mouth of what was later named Lynch Creek west of where Plains later became a town. His intention was to remain there to buy and sell furs from the Indians. He was there only a year or two when the Indians with whom he was trading killed him in an argument over furs.1.

* * * * *

Giving of free land to people willing to settle in the west became a topic for congress, however formal acceptance of the doctrine was held up for a time because of the slavery question. The Civil War removed all doubts. With it's beginning in 1862, the Homestead Act was passed. The horrors of clashing combat flailed the eastern part of the continent. The dispute over slavery unleased the savagery of humanity allowing petty jealousies to turn neighbor against neighbor. Friends and relatives fled in wagon trains heading west, relinquishing their homeland to find a peaceful spot on earth.11. Meanwhile men were still making their way arduously through the untrammeled land of the Clark's Fork valley where nature was their only assailant.

Under the Homestead Act settlers could become owners of 160 acres of western states land. Free, except for a small filing fee ... and the staggering fact that a homesteader must occupy the piece of land for five consecutive years. Insufficient population kept Montana unborn and no one was looking to settle down in the beautiful but inhospitable valley yet anyway. Gold lay beyond it, it seemed. East. Or south. Or north.

California gold strikes in the 1840's and 50's had spawned a new breed of man.12. Like locusts they migrated wherever the prospect of riches gleamed. Promoters manipulated them, feeding on their labors, greedily enriching themselves.

Foresighted men among them were busy. They were in contact with powerful men in the east. Many dinner parties, hunting forays, horse races, and the like abetted the gathering of influential men. Men who had access to the White House and persuasive ways with the President of the United States. Words were carried to them across the rugged land. It was the time of great railroad building schemes. Schemes that made millionaires of daring men.

In time the builders of railways envisioned a road of steel to cross the continent, wealth beckoning them. To the common man they gave the object: To reach a deep tidal estuary on the Pacific coast; to transport military supplies to quell the Indians. To take their land and to open the treasure chest of these mountains. Settle up the west, was their cry. More men heeded it and moved westward.13.

* * * * *

Idaho territory was created March 3, 1863. All of the western Clark Fork River drainage then became a part of Idaho country. Government crept closer.14.

Gold was discovered at Alder Gulch in Montana the same year.14. The experienced and toughened miners stampeded to the area from California in the southwest. Suddenly boats, rafts, canoes and crafts of every description that would float were plying the glacial waters of the Clark Fork River.15.

Rippling images of men and horses picking their way along the shoreline reflected on the swift waters. The valley rang with the sounds of horses hooves and gear as laden pack trains struggled to make their way east to Alder Gulch, Bannack, Virginia City, from Walla Walla over the Kootenai Trail. From the east, tenderfooted prospectors flocked westward, booming trade on the Missouri. Shovels, axes, mining equipment, food and clothing needs begat businesses. Whiskey and women flowed with them, some of them willing to settle for less than a home and security.

January 16, 1864 Idaho legislature created 10 counties; Missoula's western boundary was unchanged. April 30, 1864 Thompson Township was created (roughly from Weeksville - Kitchin's Mill - west.) One month later, on May 26, 1864, Congress authorized the creation of Montana Territory embracing the northwest Missoula County. Boundaries were accepted as Idaho had set them. The gold rush at Alder Gulch, Bannack and Virginia City had brought enough population to decide the territorial vote.16.

* * * * *
On July 2, 1864 President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of Congress creating the Northern Pacific Railroad Company. It was the crowning achievement for men such as Dr. Samuel Bancroft Barlow, Asa Whitney, Edwin F. Johnson and Isaac Stevens. They were the men who, as early as 1834, had recognized the vital need for a rail line spanning the continent if the land and the Indians were to be conquered. Their labors had succeeded. The line would have its eastern terminus at Lake Superior and its western terminus at Puget Sound. Much of its route would follow the trail blazed by Lewis and Clark on their expedition. This would take it down the valley of the Clark Fork.17.

A trickle of men, the miners and a few squatters, had moved into the territory. On the Clark Fork of the Columbia Joseph F. Clark became the next white man to attempt to settle. Courageously he moved into Horse Plains in 1864 to superintend the carrying of the U. S. mail by pony express ride from Fort Missoula to Fort Walla Walla.

The route used by the pony express from Ft. Missoula to Horse Plains followed much the same route as Highway 200 to the present town of Ravalli. From there it turned west to what is now Perma, where riders forded the Flathead river to the northside. Extending through the Camas Prairies country, past Dog Lake and over a low pass south of the lake, then into the settlement of Horse Plains.

The US mail contract was held by his brother, W. A. Clark, who later became United States Senator from Montana. Joseph Clark took up the ranch later owned by the Lynch family on the creek named for them. The first post office was established at that spot. As it developed the town of Horse Plains was clustered in that area, four miles up the creek north from it's present site.18. Men traveling through the valley stopped, looked around and some stayed a while.

The Vigilantes hung Henry Plummer that year. General Sully defeated the Souix at Killdeer Mountain. Worden and Company located Missoula Mills. Placer mining on Silver Bow creek marked the beginnings of Butte, Montana.19.

Those who traveled down the Clark Fork saw the pleasant narrow valley and it's timber. They camped at Rock Island and prospected the streams a bit before moving on. Staying men want womenfolk. To bring women required taming of this land. Men who were tired of roaming and searching were ready for taming, too. However they were not quite ready to be governed completely.

December 12, 1864 the first Legislative Assembly for Montana Territory began its sessions at Bannack. Before they adjourned in 1865 among the laws they adopted was the first law making the hook and line the only legal way to catch fish.20. At Rock Island, fish were still taken any way a man could get one. Who cared about laws passed so far away? Who was there to enforce them? Man, whose main sustenance was wild game and fish, took whatever nature provided without putting much store in 'foolish' laws.21.
* * * * *
By 1865 there was stiff competition for Idaho and Montana mining trade among merchants of San Francisco, Portland and St. Louis. Those traveling the Mullan road via the Coeur d'Alene and St. Regis Borgia rivers, to Fort Benton on the Missouri found themselves at a disadvantage. Lookout Pass was closed by snow eight months of the year. Before it could be crossed it was possible for wagon trains to cross the plains and for boats to go up the Missouri to Fort Benton.

North of the Mullan Road two of the trails used by Indians and fur trappers penetrated the forest wilderness. One of these trails, the Skeetshoo Road, connected Plantes Ferry on the Spokane River with Seneacquoteen on the Pend Oreille River. After crossing the Pend Oreille to the north side, the trail continued past the present site of Sandpoint, Idaho to where Boyer Slough enters Pend Oreille Lake.22.

Here the trail split. The Lake Indian Road led north. Later it would be called the Wild Horse Trail after gold was discovered on a creek by that name in British Columbia. The other fork was called the Road to Buffalo, or Pend Oreille Route. Travelers used it to reach the Montana gold fields when the Mullan Road was closed by snow. Both routes were very difficult to travel.23.

One newspaper account gave the following description of the trail known as The Pend d'Oreille Route,
"From the crossing of the Spokane to the ferry on the Pend d'Oreille, a distance of forty-two miles, the road is already a passable one for wagons, and the last thirty miles is nearly destitute of feed. Leaving the ferry, we next took the trail leading toward the BitterRoot, around the edge of the lake.
"This is the part of the trail which is most feared on account of the mud and water. The flats over which the trail passes are exposed at low water, being from eight to fifteen feet above low water mark. The soil is clay and covered with swamp grass, which, after being water soaked under the snow during the winter, is very poor feed for animals. Occasionally we met with rushes, which helped to fill up our otherwise starved animals.
"The lake flats are bordered by Cedar Swamps, in which the snow was still lying from a foot and a half to three feet deep, and water was standing in ponds and pools, making them impassable. Sloughs put in from these swamps, which are more properly the mouths of the small streams which drain the country to the north. The flats are muddy from the travel, but not bad, as horses only sink in about six inches; then the ground is stiff enough to hold them up.
"The sloughs spoken of look formidable, but pack horses seldom mire down in them, and, altogether, the trail is not so bad as was expected. Thirty five miles from the ferry we crossed Pack River, and in sixteen miles more reached the head of the Lake, at the mouth of the Clark's Fork-fifty one miles.
"The Pend d'Oreille Lake is a beautiful sheet of water, environed by mountains, whose steep precipitous sides are covered with snow, and threes stick amongst the rocks wherever the soil or a crevasse afford a foothold. The maps do not give a correct idea of the configuration of its shores, … the indentations of its bays or its mountains. For a wagon road the north side of the lake presents but a few obstacles, but to construct it will be expensive – say $500 a mile
"Up the Clark's Fork: For six miles the trail keeps up the right bank and crosses two large creeks coming from the north, then we ascend the Cabinet mountain, covered with snow (April 13), and struck the Clark's Fork above the Cabinet ... The pack string jangled its way through the heavily timbered mountain valley following the faint Kootenai Trail. Over twenty weary mils passed before the first grass for the horses was found at Vermillion River ... the estimated distance being 447 miles, or nearly 100 miles further than the wagon road."23.
Despite the hardships many miners and commercial packers used the roads and trails, the gold fields of Montana tempting them to brave the hazards. Opportunity beckoned the enterprising. A group of men from Oregon decided to use the Pend Oreille lake and the Clark Fork River to speed prospectors through the mountains. The Oregon Steam Navigation Company (O.S.N.Co.) and Zenas F. Moody believed steamboats would prove profitable. Zenas Moody, in partnership with a Mr. Davidson, built the steamboat, Mary Moody, at Seneacquoteen during 1865-66.

The hull and superstructure of the 108-foot vessel were built from hand sawn native timber. The boat measured twenty feet wide and four feet, nine inches deep. The machinery and boilers had helped open other wildernesses having been used in the Express on the Willamette of Oregon and the Colonel Wright on the Snake and Clearwater rivers before being shipped to Pend Oreille by ox team for the Mary Moody.24.

The launching of the steamboat Mary Moody, at Seneacquoteen, in May of 1866 shattered the quiet solitude of the north Idaho wilderness forever. It also heralded the need for woodcutters to supply fuel for the steamboats. Eventually the forest was hewed back from the shores of Lake Pend Oreille to the extent that guards carrying rifles were hired to secure the steamers woodpiles.

(Caption: Mary Moody steamboat on Lake Pend Oreille. Courtesy Chuck Peterson collection\Bonner County Historical Society.)

The Indians roving in the Clark Fork valley watched the big white boat move up the river. Her double-tiered decks were crowded with men. The noise of their strange speech, their clothes and manners, were at once fascinating and disquieting to the natives. Smoke drifted from the tall stack of the boat, falling on the breezes to hang like a banner after the boat had passed upstream.

Braves spoke of it in the sweat hogans beside the little lake in the valley of Bull River; and again around their fires in the canyons that fed water to the Clark Fork. Some compared it to the boats on the other river far to the east. The white man wanted only the pelts and the yellow metal, they said. Then he quickly moved on. There was nothing to fear. When ice covered the river, the boat would not work. Still, some Indians were uneasy. Already the small animals were less. If the yellow metal were found in the valley...

Zenas Moody had no time to worry about the Indians. Besides, they'd helped the white travelers cross through the mountains many times. They sold pelts to them, bartered their fish and grains in exchange for tobacco, beads, cloth and rifles. And where the buffalo roamed, fur traders often wintered with the Indians. Moody reasoned that a road from the east end of the Spokane prairie to the southern tip of Pend Oreille Lake would be a shorter and better route than the Skeetshoo road to Seneacquoteen when it was built.25.

Meagher was appointed Secretary for the Territory of Montana in 1865, of which he was for long the Acting-Governor. The following excerpt is from what is thought to be Meagher's last written words before his sudden death July 1, 1867 when he fell from the deck of a steamer at Fort Benton. For Harper's he recorded his trip from New York to San Francisco, via Nicaragua--thence by sea to Portland, Oregon--thence up the Columbia to Walla Walla--thence on mule or horse back to lake Pend d'Oreille, in the Territory of Idaho. He "awoke one Sunday morning in the month of August, 1866 " ....on a pretty little steamboat...."in a world of mountains.... the whole scene derived a character of immensity, infinite beauty, and infinite granduer."

He was on the Mary Moody, owned by Zenas Moody, at 'Moody's City' near Buttonhook Bay on Pend Oreille Lake when he wrote,
"Stepping ashore, I found myself in odorous contact with a group of Spokanes - a woeful cluster of emaciated vagrants, of whom one old fellow, almost naked, having nothing on him but a red blanket, ingeniously shaped and stitched into something like a windy dressing-gown, with the help of a "buck and saw" was shortening fire-wood for the Mary Moody - his grandson, a sort of Cupid in a very sooty chemise, helping him with the brightest industry. The son of the old top-sawyer - an elderly scamp in another red blanket, furnished with a fur collar - sat on his breechless haunches close by, smoking a brier-wood pipe; and, solemn as an owl in daylight, superintended the job complacently."
Describing the Mary Moody he wrote,
"Built on the lake in the winter of 1866, all her timbers were whip-sawed. The planking is of yellow fir. Her upper woodwork is of white pine. Four months after the first tree was felled for her she was afloat. Fifteen days after that her steam-whistle startled the echoes of the mountains, the lonesomeness and mysteriousness of which she has forever banished; and elk, and bear, and Red Man stood with straightened hair and ears at the shrill challenge of their invader."
Of Montana Meagher wrote,
" ... surpassingly rich in agricultural facilities, and, far away, the most beautiful portion of the Territory, the scenery of it blending all the sterner and loftier with all the gentler features of Switzerland and the Tyrol - will be pierced and opened from the Pacific ..."
"Entering Clark's Fork of the Columbia - or the Flathead River, as it is popularly called - we ascend twenty miles to the Landing (Cabinet Gorge steamboat landing). Swift water - of considerable dept, force, and fierceness in many places - is encountered.... out of the deep places and the swifter waters we glide into and over broad shallows that have silver bottoms; and these are the play-grounds of bewildering shoals of trout....
"What most delightfully arrests the eye is a meadow, three hundred acres in extent, smooth and level as a billiard- table - green, too, as a billiard-table, with the sweetest and richest grass, which takes one up to his neck in a sea of emerald - with Indian lodges emerging from it in all their rude upholstery of crimson-painted skins and bands of Indian horses swimming, as it were, slowly through it, their heads alone being visible except, indeed, where the grass has just been mowed, ... (by) a mowing machine - the property of the Steamboat Company - drives through it, ... The hay was hauled to Cabinet Landing "for the use of the animals that enter and come out of Montana by this most picturesque of roads ... As we near the Landing, all along the left bank, a little back from the river, grandly overlooking, and with precipitous bold cliffs of red slate serving as an uplifted shield to everything - woods, meadows, Indian lodges, all the incidents and figures of the scene - the Cabinet Mountain magnificicently towers...."
Debarking the Mary Moody he continued,
"... in a bustling little place ... in it's noisy infancy - consisting of two houses, and a capacious shed for mules and horses. A saw-mill is in vehement operation...." Mr. Abrahams, the owner, he describes "a rigid religionist, who shuts himself hermetically up on Sundays." Mrs. Abrahams table "is perfumed with a bouquet of mountain flowers, the offering of the men at work about the Landing, who ... vindicate the proverbial gallantry of Americans to their countrywomen ... Another lady is present, whose son served in the Second Wisconsin at the first battle of Bull Run."
Continuing through the Clark's Fork valley Meagher traveled,
"with a vigorous old gentleman who had been a Quarter-Master somewhere or other during the war," and an Indian half-breed of the Flathead nation, half French, half Indian, named Francis Joseph. "A striking specimen of intuitive gracefulness and intelligence. Tall, lithe, strenuous, of exhaustless activity and endurance.... waving mass of the softest and richest black hair, and hands and feet of the daintiest fashion.... brimful with good-nature, was faithful, and incessantly obliging." Their trail "for nearly two miles lay through a forest in which a fire had furiously raged some days before.....(reducing it ) to heaps of gray ashes, rendered the trail soft and treacherous, filling up, as they did, great holes into which the horses plunged, or where there were hot cinders underneath the ashes, blistering the animals into frantic pirouettes and pranks.... our ears were contantly filling with the roar of the Cabinet Rapids."25.

The Walla Walla Statesman reported,
"The first town on Pend Oreille Lake was developed by Mr. Moody to accommodate passengers arriving on the new road." Pend d'Oreille City, as the town was known, was described in the Helena Tribune of 1866, "consisting of a large store comfortably stocked with California and Oregon goods-dry, soft and liquid; a billiards saloon of grand dimensions; a moderately proportioned hotel; and half a dozen private residences, evenly and compactly built of logs and snugly shingled."26.

Painting of Pend Oreille City, by W. R. 'Chuck' Peterson.
The steamboat venture was successful. The second summer of operation,
"Up to the 12th of April (1867) the steamer had made five trips to Cabinet, carrying the mail and a few miners and travelers with their horses. On the 12th of April the first pack train went up, and went directly through without difficulty. On the first of May these trains were arriving at Missoula City, a distance of 180 miles from Cabinet (or upper) landing, to the surprise of everyone, because of the late snow. From the 12th to the 30th of April the steamer Mary Moody made 28 trips or one and a half trips daily, a distance of fifty miles between landings, transporting in said trips over 1200 animals, with their cargos, and 148 miners or travelers, besides packers to the number of 150. Passage for the 50 miles, $4, and same for riding and miners pack animals; $5 per head for pack trains, including cargoes; $3 for riding and loose animals in the train.
"The Company have their second boat, of 100 ton carrying capacity, now finished, in style and comfort equal to the Columbia River boats, with corresponding power. They will have their third boat completed and ready for service by the first of June, which will give a complete and reliable line of steamers for a distance of 125 miles, from Pend d'Oreille Landing to Thompson's River, with good wagon roads to the Columbia River, and Missoula City and Helena, in Montana."27.
The Mary Moody traveled only as far as Cabinet gorge, stopped by that chasm of deep water encased between towering walls of rock through which it roared and tumbled. Passengers, freight and animals were disembarked and portaged eight miles upstream to the upper end of the Heron Rapids. Here, the S. S. Cabinet was boarded and steamboat travel continued to Rock Island. Again, cargo and passengers were unloaded. Another portage took them upstream beyond the impassable river obstacle. The S. S. Missoula, built at Rock Island, took her maiden voyage September 1867, and began transporting travelers from Rock Island, upstream another thirty river miles upstream to the impassable Thompson falls.28.

Meagher wrote of his travels there,
" ... after a portage of seven miles along the left bank (to) avoid the Cabinet Rapids.... "the second boat on the stocks, opposite us, on a broad, pebbly beach ... ox teams laboring up with lumber from the saw-mill ..." An abundance of fresh water, fish and game and "Indains, who are few and wide apart ... cultivate the friendliest relations with all strangers, boating joyously that they have never stained their hands with the blood of the Pale Faces. These are the Kootenais, the Pend d'Oreilles, and the Flatheads."25.
In August of 1867 there were enough people in the neighborhood of Rock Island Steamboat Landing that an election precinct was created there. Election judges were F. B. (or T. B.) Bartlett, William Cage and Felix Evans. The election precinct was discontinued June 13, 1868.29.

Jocko City was never built although it was platted. Boats didn't go further upstream than Thompson Falls. In the spring of 1866 several mining claims were filed on Thompson Creek and also 18 miles down river from the mouth of Thompson Creek at Vermillion river. Steamboats quit traveling the Clark's Fork River by the end of 1869.

That same year the first white family to settle in the western Clark's Fork valley as a unit was the family of John W. Patrick who located near Plains to operate a ferry across the river for pack trains. Mrs. Patrick, her two sons and three daughters, rode horseback from their former home at Walla Walla to their new home at Horse Plains. All their possessions and provisions were brought along with them by pack train, their route being the trail used by pony express riders, which led around Lake Pend Oreille and up the Clarks Fork River, a distance of about 400 miles. This family brought with them precious flower and vegetable seeds, also a few strawberry plants and apple trees. They were the first to cultivate virgin soil in western Clark Fork valley.30.

Next: Chapter 2

  1. Manuscripts compiled by Dorothy H. Hunton, Thompson Falls, MT 1966. Manuscripts by: Evelyn M. Davis, Ruth Harlow, Russell R. Ross and others. About five miles east of the town of Eddy, not far from the highway is an immense boulder upon which very early tribes of Indians painted symbols. Another of these rocks with more numerous Indian paintings dating back before 1800 is near the present town of Perma, on the north side of the river. Indian mounds up to four feet high were found at Lightening Creek. Not even the Indians of the fur-trading era could recall the origin of the pictographs.
  2. Lewis and Clark Journals.
  3. The Missoulian, undated.
  4. History Of The Northern Pacific Railroad, by Eugene V. Smalley.
  5. Montana In The Making, by Newton Carl Abbott. Tradition has it that David Thompson built a trading post at the mouth of Bull River in 1808 but the record is not totally clear.
  6. Frank Berray, oral history.
  7. I. V. Anderson, forester and mapmaker at Thompson Falls, MT.
  8. A poem often quoted by Joe Brooks, a valley resident from aged sixteen until his death at eighty. He laughingly claimed it was all he recalled of his school days.
  9. History of Montana, by M. E. Leeson. Published by Warner, Beers and Company 1885, Chicago.
  10. Wild Horse Plains, by ... 
  11. Clifford R. Weare, oral history.
  12. Not In Precious Metals Alone, by Montana Historical Society.
  13. History of The Northern Pacific Railroad, by Eugene V. Smalley.
  14. History of Montana, by M. E. Leeson (1885).
  15. Gold Rushes and Mining Camps of The Early American West, by Vardis Fisher and Opal Laurel Holmes.
  16. History of Montana, by M. E. Leeson (1885).
  17. The Northern Pacific; Main Street Of The Northwest, by Charles R. Wood.
  18. Manuscripts by Dorothy H. Hunton Thompson Falls, MT 1966. Manuscripts by Evelyn M. Davis, Ruth Harlow, Russell R. Ross and others.
  19. Montana In The Making, by Newton Carl Abbott.
  20. History of Montana, by M. E. Leeson (1885).
  21. Clifford R. Weare and Swan Swanson, oral history.
  22. Gold Rushes and Mining Camps of the Early American West, by Vardis Fisher and Opal Laurel Holmes.
  23. The Walla Walla Statesman, an early northwest newspaper, printed many tales of the hardships of travel the winter of 1866. The Walla Walla Statesman, May 25, 1866. The Clark's Fork Route. "Ringold's City, Elk Creek, May 12, 1866.
  24. Sandpoint News Bulletin, Leisure Time, February 2, 1978. By Ken Firoved.
  25. No. 209 Harper's New Monthly Magazine, October 1867, article by Colonel Cornelius O'Keefe (a pseudonym used by Thomas Francis Meagher). 26. The exact location of this town has not been proven but according to research done by W. R. "Chuck" Peterson, historian, Hope, ID, everything indicates that it was located on the side hill behind the rocky point which forms Buttonhook Bay, in what is now Farragut State Park. Leisure Time, Sandpoint News Bulletin, February 2, 1978.
  26. Walla Walla Statesman, May 10, 1867.
  27. Sandpoint News Bulletin
  28. Polk Gazeteer August 5, 1867. This election precinct was discontinued June 13, 1868 according to the Polk Gazeteer.
  29. In 1869 William Milnor Roberts camped there while locating the route for the planned transcontinental Northern Pacific Railroad. Samuel Wilinson's writings on NPRR history.
  30. Manuscripts compiled by Dorothy H. Hunton, Thompson Falls, MT 1966. Manuscripts by Evelyn M. Davis, Ruth Harlow, Russell R. Ross and others.


William Milner Robert's camp and NPRR survey crew at Pend Oreille City (Circa 1869.) Davidson Collection, Western History Division, Denver Library, Denver, CO. Courtesy W. R. 'Chuck' Peterson collection.
Northern Pacific Railroad Company was granted right of way through public lands 200 feet on either side of the railroad, plus forty odd-numbered sections of non-mineral land for each mile of railroad line completed. The grant was made in 1864 when President Lincoln signed the Act of Congress. At this time the western half of the United States was firmly in the hands of hostile Indian tribes. The west coast needed to be protected and the United States was a nervous young nation just recovering from the Civil War. It badly needed transportation to move military supplies and soldiers into the west if it was to hold the nation together.1.

Congress added a condition to its grants. It required Northern Pacific and other land grant roads to haul all government property and passengers for half their regular rates and mail for 80 percent of regular rates.

But the land was of little or no value without the railroad. And much of it belonged to the Indians who still had them in physical possession. Nor did the land serve as a stimulus to the selling of stock to raise money to build the railroad. Additionally the Act specifically forbade the company from issuing bonds or imposing mortgages on its property.

In 1869 William Milnor Roberts, a Philadelphia born Quaker, who was the chief engineer for the company, came west and located the route. Roberts preferred the Deer Lodge Pass to the Mullan Pass for crossing the main divide of the Rocky Mountains, which put the line through the Clark Fork valley.2.

Six years after Lincoln signed the Act, the funding impasse was resolved when, in 1870, Congress authorized the Northern Pacific to issue bonds to aid in construction and to secure the bonds by a mortgage on all of its property and rights of property, including its franchise as a corporation. Bonds were issued and the banking house of Jay Cooke and Company was appointed to sell the bonds and handle the company's finances. A number of European and U.S. investors would put up the money and accept the lands as security.3.

On February 15, 1870 ground was broken for the line at Thompson Junction, Minnesota. First stirrings of activity on the west end of the projected transcontinental line came at about the same time. East and west worked to join each other. The railroad building era began creeping to the west - at a turtles pace. Twelve years would elapse before they reached the Clark Fork valley.4.

The great financial panic of 1873 brought failure to Jay Cooke and Company and bankruptcy to the railroad.3. Five years passed before new financing could be obtained and progress resumed. In the valley of the Clark's Fork of the Columbia winter snows continued to bury fur trappers cabins, spring floods raged over the river banks, tearing away soil and goliath trees to fling them onward toward the ocean. The valley embraced few save migrating Indians and lone prospectors and trappers who roamed at will through it leaving nothing of themselves behind to be remembered other than the remnants of a few tiny log cabins widely scattered in the mountain wilderness.

Shafts of summer sunlight filtered eerily through enormous stands of virgin forests. Fall frosts made golden spires of the tamarack trees and stained the leaves of deciduous trees vibrant reds and oranges before sending them all fluttering to carpet the earth before winter snows began the cycle over again. Again and again.
* * * * *
A little grading was done in 1879 on the railroad that was to span the continent but operations were not vigorously begun until early 1880. The Northern Pacific line progressed eastward that year as far as Rathdrum, Idaho. That broad flat area, enormously rich, thick with stands of the finest white pine timber, soon became the major supply area. It quickly acquired population and a town sprang into being.2.

It was under the dynamic leadership of Henry Villard, who became president of the Northern Pacific in 1881, that the lines began surging toward each other from either side of the continent.6.

Villard's entry into the transportation field came on a visit to Germany where a group of European financiers persuaded him to represent them in protecting their investments in American railroads. He soon organized his own company which eventually led to control of the Northern Pacific Railroad.6.
The railroad grading did not reach the shore of Lake Pend d'Oreille until January 9, 1882 because of the difficulty in getting ties and timbers to locations.2.

Montana cedar trees in Rock Creek, Montana prior to 1910 fire.
Courtesy Earl and Katie Engle collection.
During the construction operations, the portion of the road between Sand Point on Lake Pend d'Oreille and the crossing of the Flathead River, seven miles above the junction of that stream with the Missoula (the two forming the Clark's Fork or Pend d'Oreille, a distance of 130 miles) was called the Clark's Fork Division.2.

The valley was not to admit intrusion easily. It was by far the most difficult division of the entire Northern Pacific line to construct. And much the most expensive. The forest was "of phenomenal density, the trees standing so close together that they seemed almost to form a solid rampart of trunks. Pine, fir, spruce, cedar and tamarack consituted this remarkable growth. A thick undergrowth covered the ground. Interlaced branches overhead made a sombre twilight of the brightest noonday glare".2. To the railroad men, the valley proper seemed formed by river, "which flowed for about a hundred miles through a tremendous gorge.

"The mountains rise abruptly from the edge of the swift green stream, in some places in towering walls of slate rock, in other in exceedingly steep timbered slopes. Here and there in the canyon elevated benches of a few miles in length occur, which were eagerly occupied by the engineers as welcome respites to the enormous labor of digging and blasting a roadbed out of rocky walls or precipitous and treacherous slopes; but a considerable part of the line is steep side-hill work or blasting through places where the mountains thrust bare shoulders of rock into the river."2.

Horse and buggy in Montana cedar trees
in Rock Creek, Montana, prior to 1910 fire.
Courtesy Earl and Katie Engle collection.
 Newspaper columnist Mel Boyd said, " ... the valleys were so narrow that the dogs wagged their tails up and down. The farm fields were so steep that men kept falling out of their cornfields. And the mountains were so high that the southbound geese had to hike part of the way!"7.

The surveyors, or locators, of the railroad arrived first, tents on pack trains, equipment roped securely down. They were engineers and instrument men with tents for living in, tents for cooking in, and the office tent holding a knock down drafting table, high stools and a chest for storing engineering and office supplies.

The cook tent held a cook stove, dining table, supplies, work tables, and the cooks bed. It was a larger tent than the others. The cook was the royalty of the crew and much catered to. Woe to anyone who would offend a cook for it was his contribution of pancakes, butter, syrup, ham, bacon sausage, eggs, stewed fruit (apricots, peaches or prunes), oatmeal, coffee and canned milk that started each day. And the day, no matter how productive or how terrible, would conclude with ham or fresh pork or beef when available, or lamb, boiled cabbage, boiled spuds, coleslaw, stewed tomatoes, butter, preserves or jam, bread, canned apricots, plums, cherries or peaches, pie and coffee. If the cook had been put into an irascible disposition by the lonely life, the impossible conditions, or a complaining crew, he could just walk out on them. Damnation to the man who dared cause that. Cooks were a premium. So what if some succumbed to temper tantrums, drink, or spewed verbal abuse. He was the guardian of their needs. Humor him. Please him if you could with a present of fresh picked mushrooms, wild strawberries or huckleberries. Anything to contribute to his creative happiness was not too dear a price to pay for this indispensable person.8.

Following the surveyors was a small army of woodcutters opening space for the railroad grade. Graders were stationed at various points, largely with pick and shovel and wheelbarrow, filling the spaces between them with rock and dirt. Following these men came the tie cutters, working all along the line making and decking the ties in piles ready to be laid when track laying began. Sawmills were erected at strategic places to cut bridge timbers and timbers for trestles. All the white canvas tents reminded of an army in the field.

Instead of letting contracts for the work, the railway company did it with Mr. H. Thielsen, chief engineer of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, the supervising engineer of the Clark's Fork Division. J. L. Hallett was hired as Superintendent of Construction. Acute shortages of labor and materials occured. Fifteen thousand Chinese were imported from China, providing over half of the 25,000 laborers employed. Because of a domestic steel shortage, rails, tie plates and spikes were imported from France and England.2.

On the Clark's Fork Division, Superintendent Hallett's crews were 6,000 Chinese and 1,700 whites. The Chinese were divided into gangs of 50-100 under white 'herders'. While Caucasian men cleared trees and split ties the Chinese were used for the meanest of labor, clearing of the line and the grading.9. Wheelbarrows and pick handles were their lot as they struggled to level the earth and lay ties. They'd signed a twenty-five year contract to come to the United States to work. Fifteen cents of each coolie's daily pay went to the contractor who had paid their passage from China.10.

Most of the work through the woods and swamp along the shore of Pend d'Oreille lake was done in the winter of 1881-82. In November Small Bros. of Walla Walla had their contract continued to clear the right of way and furnish ties and lumber for the 100 miles east around Lake Pend 'Oreille and up the Clark Fork River to near the present Thompson Falls. Up at Cabinet Landing where the Clark Fork fed in from the east, the engineers aimed for 25 miles of grade to be completed by the time track got around the lake.11.

Chinese Laborers on NPRR, 1890 along the Clark's Fork River. F. J. Haynes photograph, Haynes Foundation collection, Courtesy W. R. 'Chuck' Peterson collection\ Montana Historical Society.

The 1872 survey markers along the river were long gone, swept away in spring floods. New ones had to be made. All the engineers and surveyors, who had been spread all along the line to Horse Plains with cabins built for the winter, were called into Spokane Falls where the new construction boss, J. L. Hallet was introduced. The Flathead Indians had stopped the survey across their reservation.11.

The right-of-way clearing through the land of trees "like a solid wall" ... along the Clark Fork River which "had no valley for it ran through the well known Cabinet Gorge" was nearly to the first crossing of the Clark Fork. The weather was mild and mosquitoes beset Small's crews early in 1882. A rumor sprang up that Hallet was about to resign. But this cleared up and Hallet was soon breaking an ice jam on the lake in late January.11.

The weather had changed. February brought heavy snowfalls and snow was six feet deep along the Clark's Fork grading. Thousands of men were engaged at times in shoveling the snow from the line in order that the grading and track laying could proceed.2.

As soon as spring brought relief from snow clogging the horses hooves, burying supplies, and all the other complications, high water on the river brought worse troubles. It became an obstacle to building bridges. Frost that had hardened the surface of the wagon road to a concrete-like surface all winter melted into a quagmire of mud with warmer temperature. The road which had been built at great labor and expense to transport supplies to the grading camps got into such bad condition that four horses could barely draw a load of one thousand pounds. In addition, most of the animals had to be withdrawn for a time from work on the grade to haul food and forage.2.

A little steamer, built on Pend Oreille Lake, was invaluable to the operation at this time. The HENRY VILLARD hauled supplies but could only run about twelve miles up the river, to the Cabinet Gorge.2.
The Cabinet Landing 'Front' of the Northern Pacific Railroad construction crew. Henry Villard Steamboat in foreground. Courtesy W. R. 'Chuck' Peterson collection\ Davidson collection, Western History Division, Denver Library, Denver, CO.
In rock work, Mr. Hallett employed a method new in railroad construction, according to early records. Instead of beginning at the top of a roadbed along the face of a cliff, drill small holes, and blow off the rock, little by little down to grade, Hallett began at the bottom, a little below grade. He made a number of T-shaped tunnels, filled them with great quantities of powder, and touched them all off at the same moment by electricity provided by a battery. The effect was stupendous. The whole side of a mountain lifted up and hurled into the river saving time and money for the company. He used a similar method through cuts by means of perpendicular shafts and lateral galleries. One cut twenty-four feet deep by four hundred feet long was excavated by a single blast, most of the rock thrown entirely out.22.

The work began in earnest in April. Work done during the early winter had to be re-done when melting snow washed away part of it. A hundred and fifty six men had been working on the 6,500-foot long Pack River bridge, completing it by April 25th. The advance grade crews were over the Montana line. A wagon road was started between Cabinet Landing and Thompson River as the snow melted. In early June, Cabinet Landing was referred to as the 'Front'. Hundreds of tents were strung along the river for the workers. The temporary town had 33 saloons. One, reported to be formerly of Delmonico's of New York, belonged to Al White. Called 'White's Hippodrome,' it included bar, restaurant and theatre. Four men and four women put on a free show nightly.12.

There were, "six other restaurants, a fearful hotel, a worn lodging house and other stores, plus the usual Wells Fargo. Hawkins and Co. Duboise ran a big store for the Chinese and King ran the large wooden commissary for the NP and purchased much of their produce from the Walla Walla area, which was the closest region for such items. The NP maintained several shops and stables for their well-cared-for horses."12.

The hospital, Hallett's quarters and quarters for Kingsbury, the engineer-in-charge, were on the north side of the river. This aggregation supported 2,600 Chinese and 1,400 Whites and 535 horses. This 'Front' was located on the Montana line at the 2,175-foot elevation. Just beyond was a 600-foot rock cut 27 feet deep. The advance force was 12 miles beyond Cabinet and by the end of July this location would be a ghost town, the 'Front' towns being even more transient than the mining camps.12.

The track was ten miles beyond Cabinet in mid-July and going slowly. It was completed to Heron Rapids August 12, 1882 and by late August only a little over ten more miles were in with trains running to Noxon.12.

While the railroad was being built there was a place at the mouth of Elk Creek called Russellville after a man named John Russell. At a place called 'Hyrooginville' which was between Russellville and Rock Island a saloon quenched thirsts.13.

Bob Martin took this picture, circa 1895, of the steam engine, at Hope, Idaho on the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks , courtesy W. R. 'Chuck' Peterson collection.
The 'Front' had moved to Rock Island. There were five trains daily between Sand Point and end-of-track bringing materials forty-four miles. Small wood burning American Standard steam engines were the train's motive power. They had difficult times when there was any snow. They also ran very poorly on soggy wood.12.

The second river crossing was the end of the track on November 23rd, 1882, 312 miles from Wallula. It was made on falsework. The bridge would have three Howe trusses and two 180-foot approaches. It was to be a delaying factor until the spring of 1883. The weather until mid-November had been good with only an inch and a half of snow. It then turned cold and work had to stop on the depots, which were completed to Noxon, and wood shed work took priority so that they would be ready that winter.14.

NPRR trestle three miles west of Tuscor (in background on right.) Courtesty Stewart and Agnes Hampton collection.
The reason for the first two crossings of the river were to avoid the Blue Slide, an immense sliding mass of clay soil 1,000 feet high, and impossible to pass with a railroad.

Between the first and second crossings the road passed through extensive clay deposits for about forty miles, known by early travelers as the Bad Lands, which caused sliding problems. One of these slides was probably unrivaled in its extent and suddenness by anything known in the history of railroad building.

In April, 1883, a surface area of forty acres, covered with trees, slid off into the river, carrying the track with it and partially obstructing the river. The track sunk down to a depth of sixty feet below the grade and created a 1,300 foot-long chasm.2.
* * * * *
Steam engine on round table, ca. 1894 Hope, Idaho. Grace Pretre photo, courtesy W. R. 'Chuck' Peterson collection.
In 1881 or 1882 Tom Greenough and his brothers had a store at Noxon built alongside the tracks, on the south side. It was Noxon's first building, begun to supply the construction crews of the Northern pacific railroad and to supply Greenough's tie making camps.15.

Greenough had the contract to supply bridge timbers to the railroad and made millions of dollars on it, and before long he received a letter from the General Land Office of the U.S. Government advising him he had cut and removed timber amounting to 701,918 railroad ties from the vacant public lands along the Clark Fork River, Sanders County,
"You are liable for full market value of timber at the time of it's sale by you, thirty five cents a tie."16.
By June of 1882 the railroad bed was being graded from Cabinet Landing to Rock Island. A boat was being built at Rock Island to run to Thompson Falls. Headquarters of the Clark Fork division, under Superintendent Hallett, had moved to Rock Island by July. The boat to Thompson Falls was scheduled to begin running by August lst. It was 130 feet long.

Newspaper accounts next placed the size of the stern-wheeler to be 140 feet long with a 30 foot beam. Completion date was moved back to August 20. Contractors, Ellis and Small, at Rock Island were advertising for axe men to work from the island to the river crossing.17.

A serious problem was the need for law enforcement at Rock Island, where the track ended, to adjust disputes and to marry folks. The "largest moving city in the world" consisted of "five thousand men working between Idaho and Weeksville and but only 25 women."18. There wasn't even a justice of the peace in the area.

Their camp in the dense forest was comprised of numerous individual tents, shanties, wickiups and also 12 boarding tents, 12 store tents and about 15 saloon tents. The tents ranged in size from 8'x12' to 16'x40'.18.

In August, Superintendent Hale was appointed deputy sheriff at Rock Island. Captain David McKinney was running the S.S. Missoula side-wheeler between Rock Island and Thompson Falls. But an error of the builders of this second steamer made her draft too great for her to be of service at a low stage of water. She ceased operation.19.

Steam engine #152. Courtesty W. R. 'Chuck Peterson collection.
1882 the Northern Pacific tracks were completed to Noxon and the following buildings were built of frame lumber: Passenger depot, 22' x 40', $1,000; Coal house, 10' x 16', $33; Section house, 12 ' x 14' and 16' x 36' (a two story frame house in an el shape), $1560; Chinese section house, 15' x 18' and 12' x 12', $525; Tool house, 14' x 20', $30.20. The section house was located at the foot of a forested hill about a block east of the railroad depot and on the south side of the tracks. The depot sat on the north side of the tracks between them and the Clark's Fork River, about three miles downstream from Rock Island and the rapids below it that were beginning to be called Noxon Rapids.

The house where the Chinese lived was further west and on the south side of the tracks, also. The hill climbed rather steeply southward, bounded on the east by a swift creek that supplied the water for the steam engines. Deep forest surrounded the tiny complex of buildings near the banks of the Clark Fork River.

By September 8th things had gotten along considerably. The railroad was advertising the "Missoula and Pend 'Oreille stage to head of navigation to connect with S. S. Katie Hallett at steamboat Landing below Thompson Falls." The following schedule was published:
"Portland to Bonneville, by boat, 64 miles, 6 hrs; Bonneville to Rock Island, by rail, 462 miles, 32 hrs; Rock Island to Thompson River, by boat, 34 miles, 4 hrs; Thompson River to Missoula, by stage, 120 miles, 15 hrs; Missoula to Billings, by stage, 426 miles, 83 hrs; Billings to St. Paul, by rail, 900 miles, 50 hrs."21.
A passenger could travel the transcontinental route for a total of 2,006 miles in only 190 hours! What the prospective passengers didn't know was that the S.S. Katie Hallett was grounded at the mouth of Graves Creek. Water flow was too low to allow its passage.22.

Another fact they were ignorant of was the lawlessness of the area where they would be changing from rail to water, horseback, stage or foot travel: Rock Island was in need of "a lynching society."22.

In one week twenty men were missing and twelve were found in the river with broken skulls. T. W. Roberts was accused of attempting to rape a child, Emma Gibbs, at Rock Island and reportedly gave her syphilis. Deputy sheriff, George Miller, went to get the father and child and a Negro witness but after he'd spent a night at Shannonville, a rough tent town thirty miles upstream, the father vanished so Roberts was "held over" by the court in Missoula.22.

As Supt. Hallett's crew moved on up the valley of the Clark's Fork to Weeksville the lower towns became deserted. But not all the men moved on. Some stayed and squatted the land. People traveled west on the railroad looking for land, prospecting for gold and seeking opportunity. The adventuresome and the desperate stayed to start from scratch; to build a new life; to make a town.

At Noxon, as the railroad building crews moved eastward, quiet returned to the valley. Felix Evans settled on a homestead at the mouth of Pilgrim Creek, and Dan DeLong (called by a later generation, Red Buck Dan, wild son of a wild country), stayed on.23. The Montana Company put in a shingle mill.24. The railroad operated a section house where their crews boarded and roomed.

Noxon Northern Pacific Railroad section house. L-R: School teacher, Charles DeNoyer; Mary Knutson; Andrew Knutson; Jim Finnigan; Nels Anderson; George Jamison; Bill Finnigan; unidentified; Herman Manicke. Front row: Mary Knutson' Rhoda Knutson' Ruth Knutson; Johnny Knutson. Circa early 1900s. Andrew Knutson was section foreman. Courtesy William Finnigan collection.
Greenough continued to operate his building as a supply house for tie hackers. Population fluctuated around fifty.24. The NPRR had a huge woodshed and what men there were in the area supplied wood for it.

As the railroad builders moved on, several Chinese employed on the section crew remained at Noxon. They lived boxcars, and tiny log cabins. One was called Sandy because he lived in a cave hand dug into the sandy banks of the river. They grew tremendous gardens, preserving the produce by a special drying process not understood or used by the whites. When they got together to play cards they smoked opium. They had their own whiskey shipped to town from China in flasks and made a Chinese gin from rice. It was heavier and more syrupy than the whiskey they drank. Along with the whiskey, gin and opium, they also brought some excellent cooking and some old country customs. When a death occurred, the burial ceremony included scattering coins and corn or wheat along the path to the place of internment. Evil spirits would then be delayed so the departed could be safely sent on his journey.25.

The railroad construction moved on up the valley. The firm of Washington Dunn and Bennett had the grading contract from near Horse Plains to Missoula. Since much of the distance was through the Flathead Indian Reservation Dunn's Mormon workers were a valuable asset to harmony. With these sober, hardworking people cutting the swath for the railroad tracks to be laid on, there was little trouble. As 1883 dawned in Montana the firm had finished their work in preparing the right-of-way on the Little Blackfoot and Hellgate sections of the railroad and had transferred 100 teams and 150 men to work west of Missoula. Track had been laid as far east as Thompson Falls.21.

Winter settled whitely over the river valley. Three trains became snowbound between Sand Point and Trout Creek. The line was opened January 8th when a special train left Portland with three government commissioners, Western Chief Engineer Thielsen, J. M. Buckley, assistant general manager for the western section, H. W. Fairweather, and W. T. Small, assistant supertintendent of machinery. The Train consisted of the sleeper Petrel, a diner and coaches. Speed averaged, 50 mph.14.

Vigilante actions had occurred at Weeksville in late January where Halletts crews continued to be as uproarious as the old mining camps. Restlessness to see Hallett and these tough, rowdy, lawless workers leave had set in. Raw winter weather frayed tense nerves. The town was on its last legs as a construction camp. Soon there was to be one final camp move to the east to a camp referred to as 'Last Chance', near the mouth of the Missoula River.14.

No trains were able to get through for seven days in February due to heavy snows. Late February saw the weather abating and the track was twenty-three miles east of Thompson Falls and was soon to arrive in Paradise. Horse Plains was the headquarters for the 'front' and would remain so for three months. There was to be no liquor now that the grade crews were on the Indian Reservation. Paradise, six miles upstream from Thompson Falls, was the first town in that reservation and it was a failure due to that restriction.14.
Plains, Montana saloon, circa 1890s. Courtesy William Finnigan collection.
The Clark's Fork Division was to have been completed as March ended. On April 1st, however, Hallet, his main assistant, Fordyce, and his bridge assistant, Wm. Clucas, plus the entire work force under them was discharged. The force consisted of about 800 whites and 900 Chinese. Most of the workers went west by boxcar to Baker City, Oregon to work on the Oregon Short Line Railroad.14.

Horses and construction material were to have been turned over to NPRR Engineer, Weeks. Instead of an orderly turnover, 650 horses were let loose and had to be rounded up. Construction material was left strewn up and down the right of way. The parting was stormy between Weeks and Hallett and Co. Later, aspersions were cast on Hallett's work methods and quality.21.

At Heron's Siding, six miles from Idaho, 125 men cut timber all winter for the railroad.26. Nature clobbered the workers that final spring of railroad building in the valley. In late March, two steam shovels were working between Noxon and Heron where the clay banks continued to slide. Also, on March 26th, there was a bad storm that held up work and caused a heavy rockslide between Cabinet and Noxon, which stopped trains. On April 1st the section from Sand Point to Heron was turned over to the operating department and Buckley and Thielsen put a force to work getting the section in first class shape. Late in April there was another washout at Heron.21.

In early spring the work force at Heron began building a twelve stall roundhouse.26. The railroad had decided to move their division point from Sand Point to Heron, much to the displeasure of the former town. Terminal facilities were planned for Heron and it was reported to have the best spo for a town since Westwood, near Rathdrum, Idaho. Beaver Creek provided a fine water supply for the railroads water tower.14.

Regular passenger train service went into effect on April 22nd. Although Montana was not yet a state, residents in the valley could easily travel to the county seat at Missoula, spend a day or two, and then board the return train in Missoula at 8 a.m., have dinner at Horse Plains and be back to Heron by supper time. Meals were 50 cents. Fare from Missoula to Heron was $10.55.27.
NPRR officials said, "During the construction operations the portion of the road between Sand Point on Lake Pend d'Oreille and the crossing of the Flathead River, seven miles above the junction of that stream with the Missoula (the two forming the Clark's Fork or Pend d'Oreille), a distance of 130 miles, was called the Clark's Fork Division. It was by far the most difficult division to construct of the entire Northern Pacific line, and much the most expensive ..." At 3 p.m. on August 23, 1883 the rails met and completely joined east to west. Michael Gilford of the western group drove the last spike. It was a time of great celebration. It was the ending. The valley of the Clark's Fork of the Columbia ceased to be uninhabitable for lack of access.28.
The railroad could freight in supplies. Supplies could make settlement possible. The rich timber resources could be freighted out. The ore could be mined and shipped. Cattle could be raised on the fine grasses. Men, women and children could grow and prosper in the excellent climate of pure air and water. It was the beginning.

Chapter 3

1. Railroad Lands In Montana, The Montana Railroad Association. Reprinted from The Montana Stockgrower.
"There was the immediate problem of taking the grant lands away from the Indians. There was also the problem of protecting settlers whom the government hoped would be attracted to the new West by public and railroad granted lands.
"Later, because many of the odd-numbered sections of land granted the railroad had been appropriated, the government gave NPRR the opportunity to select other government lands as replacement, or "in lieu" lands. Some of these selections were necessary because all mineral lands were excluded, although coal and iron were not considered minerals. Initially, disposal of lands at any price was difficult and the government gave away millions of acres to settlers under the Homestead, Timber and Stone Acts.
"Northern Pacific, as directed by the grant terms, sold the major portion of its lands, largely to farmers and ranchers who moved in from the Midwest, disposing of most of them by the early 1920's. In 1940, the land-grant provisions were amended so the reduced rates applied only to military freight and passenger movements and in 1946 the rates were wiped out entirely so the government now paid published rates on its traffic. At that time Congress found the savings to taxpayers in the reduced rates enjoyed on all land-grant roads amounted to 10 times the value of the grant lands. The nation had provided badly needed transportation facilities to its west coast without cost to the taxpayers and made a profit of about one billion dollars besides." (Source-Montana Railroad Association reprinted from The Montana Stockgrower).
2. History of The Northern Pacific Railroad by Eugene V. Smalley.

3. Northern Pacific: First Northern Transcontinental. Burlington Northern Railroad, public relations-advertisement department.

4. Spokesman Review. In 1871 the first white settlers, Scranton and Downing, dismounted from their horses, set up their tents, and built a sawmill by Spokane Falls. James Glover arrived in 1873 and purchased their land and began Spokane's first industry: 'Papa' Glover's Mill. Gradually the area was becoming more important as a trail confluence, river crossing and trade center.

 5. History Of The Northern Pacific Railroad by Eugene V. Smalley.
"A little grading was done in the fall of 1879, but operations were not vigorously begun until early in 1880. During that year the grading was completed from Wallula as far eastward as Rathdrum, 189 miles, and track was laid from Wallula to the south bank of the Snake River, and from Ainsworth, on the north bank of that stream, 48 miles further, to Twin Wells. At the close of the season the grade was 124 miles in advance of the track; an unusual thing in railroad building in a new country, where the advancing track is the only base of supplies. This circumstance resulted from the delay in procuring ties and bridge timber. The country traversed by the line was bare of trees, and the nearest available forests were on the Yakima River, a stream which empties into the Columbia above the mouth of the Snake River.
"Parties of workmen were sent up into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the winter of 1879-80, to cut ties, piles, and bridge timber, ready to be floated down the Yakima in the spring freshet. The "drive", for some reason, did not come down, and was left stranded up the river, so that there were no ties all the summer of 1880, and supplies for the grading camps had to be hauled in wagons. In the spring of 1881 the "drive" was got afloat, and came rushing down pell-mell, on top of a powerful freshet, which broke the booms, and scattered the ties and timbers all down the Columbia River. Much of the material was picked up, but a portion was carried out to sea.
"Enough was saved to complete the track to the forest region east of Spokane Falls, where there was no lack of good timber for railroad uses. The track reached the shore of Pend d'Oreille January 9, 1882.
"The crossing of Snake River at Ainsworth is at present effected by a transfer boat which carries an entire passenger train. A bridge is in process of construction, however, and will be completed before the high-water season of 1884, and, next to the Bismarck bridge over the Missouri River, will be the most important structure of the kind on the entire Northern Pacific line. Its length is 1,541 feet, and it is composed of a span of 125 feet, a draw span of 350 feet, with 158 feet of clear waterway on each side of the pivot pier, three spans of 250 feet each, and two spans of 158 feet each. The piers are of granite, and are seven in number, including the pivot pier, their average height being sixty-two feet. They rest on a solid rock foundation. All were built in open caissons except two, for which pneumatic caissons were required. The abutments are also of granite, and are forty-three feet high. The superstructure is an iron truss of the most approved pattern, the lower line of which is twelve feet above the extreme known high water mark. The Spokane River is crossed east of the town of Spokane Falls by a single span Howe truss bridge 200 feet long, with an open truss approach on either side sixty feet long. As the railroad approaches Lake Pend d'Oreille from the west, the country becomes broken with ridges and deep ravines, and much trestle and piling are required. Within three miles of the lake there are three trestles.... then comes the long pile bridge across an arm of the lake to Sand Point, the end of the division, which is 8,400 feet long, with a draw of ninety-four feet. Six hundred feet of this structure runs across such deep water that piles of from 90 to 100 feet in length are required.
"During the construction operations the portion of the road between Sand Point on Lake Pend d'Oreille and the crossing of the Flathead River, seven miles above the junction of that stream with the Missoula (the two forming the Clark's Fork or Pend d'Oreille), a distance of 130 miles, was called the Clark's Fork Division. It was by far the most difficult division to construct of the entire Northern Pacific line, and much the most expensive.... "
6. Destined to become one of the most colorful figures in American history, Henry Villard had emigrated from Germany in 1853 at the age of 18. He studied law and subsequently became a distinguished journalist. He reported the Lincoln-Douglas debates and the Chicago convention where Lincoln was nominated for president. In Washington he covered the political front for a syndicate of newspapers and as a war correspondent he chronicled important engagements of the Civil War.

7. L. M. Boyd, columnist, Spokesman Review. Undated clipping, circa 1980.

8. Northern Trail Adventure.

9. Missoulian, August 1882.

10. Idaho Senator, Don Maynard, tape-recorded oral history.

 11. The History of The Northern Pacific Railroad, by Louis Tuck Renz. J. L. Hallett was originally an OR&N man and had been in charge of much of that road's construction.

 12. The Construction Of The Northern Pacific Railroad Main Line During The Years 1870-1888, by Louis T. Renz.

 13. Unidentified news clipping.

 14. Northern Pacific History, by Louis T. Renz.

 15. Clifford R. Weare and Idaho Senator Don Maynard, tape-recorded oral histories.

 16. Letter from General Accounting Office files - undated. Greenough later went to Missoula and built a mansion close to the Northern Pacific hospital. Years later Greenoughs two sons had a grocery store in Spokane on Second or Third Avenue. Some of Noxon's residents bought supplies there, having them shipped to Noxon by railroad. Missoula County Times, Dec. 8, 1886 reported that T. L. Greenough was warned by NPRR General Manager, Oakes to stop cutting ties on NP land in the "lower end of the county".

Thomas Lockman Greenough had four brothers who came west. Joseph W. stayed in Missoula many years before moving to Spokane. John Brush and Wilbur Drake were in Mullan and then in Spokane.

 17. The Missoulian, June 30, 1882; July 7, 1882; July 21, 1882; July 28, 1882.

 18. The Missoulian, July 14, 1882; July 21, 1882.

 19. The Missoulian, August 1882.

 20. Letter from Northern Pacific Railway Company, March 7, 1962, L. M. Lorentzsen, Spokane District Superintendent of the Northern Pacific Railroad.

 21. Construction of Northern Pacific Railroad Main Line During The Years 1870-1888, by Louis T. Renz; The Missoulian, Sept. 8, 1882.

 22. The Missoulian, Sept 15, 1882; Sept 29, 1882; Dec. 1, 1882.

 23. The Buzzer, Noxon High School, Noxon, MT, September 1928.

 24. History of Montana, by M. E. Leeson. (1885).

 25. Idaho Senator Don Maynard, tape-recorded oral history.

 26. The Missoulian, April 27, 1883.

 27. The Missoulian, August 24, 1883.

 28. Montana In The Making, by Newton Carl Abbott.