Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dec 1: North Idaho Wants Out

The December 1, 1887 issue of the Lewiston Teller newspaper urged citizens of north Idaho to hurry out and sign an annexation petition. That petition asked, demanded really, that Congress separate the “Panhandle” from Idaho Territory and add it to Washington Territory.

The Teller noted the “impossibility” of maintaining any sort of business relationship between the Panhandle and those living south of the wild mountains of central Idaho. In a flight of editorial fancy the Teller said, “no means of intercommunication can be established between the two sections, except, perhaps, the carrier-pigeon system or the more expensive and dangerous migratory voyage of the balloon airships of modern invention.”

People in north Idaho, and especially in Lewiston, had fought for annexation ever since southerners had “stolen” the Territorial capital … moving it to Boise in 1864.

The new proposal was to combine the Panhandle with Washington to create a new Territory of “Columbia.” (Version of Columbia Territory: redrawn from historical maps.)

However, by the late 1880’s the annexation question no longer dominated popular concerns in north Idaho. Although backers came close, nothing had changed when Washington became a state in 1889 and Idaho in 1890.

M. Alfreda Elsensohn, Eugene F. Hoy (ed.), Pioneer Days in Idaho County, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho (1951).

An Illustrated History of North Idaho, Western Historical Publishing Co. (1903).

1 comment:

  1. And the lower part was to become part of Nevada. The Bill actually passed both the House & Senate, but died on Pres. Cleveland's desk. All he had to do was sign it, and Idaho would've ceased to exist. Here is the story: Two bills were introduced into the forty-ninth Congress to satisfy the aspirations of Washington Territory and northern Idaho.

    One of these (S.B. 67) was introduced by Senator Dolph of Oregon,
    and provided for the admission of Washington to the Union
    with northern Idaho annexed. The other was introduced by Delegate
    Voorhees of Washington (H.B. 2889) and had for its sole object
    the annexation of the Panhandle strip to Washington Territory.

    Both bills proposed the same line of division:
    "Commencing at a point in the middle of the Blain channel of
    Snake liver due west of the headwaters of Rabbit creek /0 thence
    due east to the headwaters of Rabbit creek; thence down the middle
    of said Rabbit creek to its junction with Salmon river; thence up
    the middle of said Salmon river to the junction of Horse creek;
    thence up the middle of said Horse creek to the junction of the East
    Fork of said creek; thence up the middle of East Fork of Horse
    creek to the crest of the Bitterroot range of Mountains."