This coming Saturday, December 1, I will be available at the Barnes & Noble bookstore located in the Grand Teton Mall (2300 East 17th Street, Idaho Falls, Idaho). Be glad to talk about either of my recently-published books – Before the Spud and Boise River Gold Country – and sign copies for people who buy them. The event is schedule to begin at 1 o’clock in the afternoon and will likely run to 4:00 or 5:00. The store announcement also links to other events that will be at the store that day.
Before the Spud: Indians, Buckaroos, and Sheepherders in Pioneer Idaho outlines the history of Idaho stock raising. It spans the century that followed the 1805 meeting between the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the horse-owning Lemhi Shoshone and Nez Percés Indians ... the “first stockmen of Idaho.” The Indians remained Idaho’s only stockmen until mid-century, when white traders, missionaries, and Oregon Trail emigrants brought cattle into the region.
However, gold discoveries after 1860 brought tens of thousands of prospectors into the region. Supply trains, and droves of cattle to provide meat for the hungry miners followed hard on their heels. That influx led to the creation of Idaho Territory, in March 1863. Stock raising blossomed, and after about 1875, Idaho stockman began driving surplus animals to railway shipping points in Wyoming and Nebraska.
Over the years, Idaho and neighboring regions to the south saw the emergence of the “buckaroo,” a herder whose equipment, dress, and techniques were more akin to the Spanish vaqueros than to the cowboys of Texas and the Southwest. They’ve remained a distinctive feature of Western stock raising ever since.
Shortly before World War I, stock raising and dairy overtook mining as the leading income sector of Idaho’s economy. Before the Spud tells the stories of the Indians, buckaroos, and sheepmen who helped make that happen. For more information, or to order, visit the Createspace “storefront” for this book. You can also visit my blog item about the book, posted on October 23, 2012. That item includes the Table of Contents.
Boise River Gold Country tells the story, in words and pictures, of the rush of miners and settlers into the mountainous regions drained by the Forks of the Boise River. The northern portion of that drainage, comprising a rough divided plain surround by high mountain, came to be called the Boise Basin. Prospectors first found gold in the Basin in August 1862. Within a year, the Boise River region held over half the 32 thousand people enumerated in Idaho Territory.
After a few years, the solo prospector gave way to investors and speculators. Large scale mining continued another ninety years. In the end, miners would extract over $5 billion (at today’s prices) worth of gold out of the region. Later, logging crews
came to harvest the area’s vast pine forests. Today, recreation, small-scale logging, and specialized mining drive the local economy.
In text and vintage photos (over 200 of them), Boise River Gold Country tells the story of those early sourdoughs, investors, loggers, and more. Freighters, merchants, doctors, and others also came to build the settlements. Naturally, that brought in a “rough element” to prey on the honest folks. Some of their stories are here too.
For more information, or to order, visit the Createspace “storefront” for this book. The blog item for this book also shows the Table of Contents.
But, best of call, come by the store on Saturday, buy a book, and let me sign it right then.