My new book – Before the Spud: Indians, Buckaroos, and Sheepherders in Pioneer Idaho – seeks to correct that mis-perception. Published under the "Sourdough Publishing" imprint, the book is now available from a dedicated web site and also online from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Any B&N store can order you a copy, although they will not generally carry independently published books on their shelves. (Sigh.)
Before the Spud tells the story of how the Idaho stock raising industry developed. It begins with the "first stockmen of Idaho" – Shoshone and Nez Percés horse raisers – and carries forward to about 1910, followed by a brief survey of the state of affairs today.
Among the pioneer stories is that of French émigré Alexander Toponce. In the 1870's, he ran "as high as 10,000 head of cattle" on leased land at Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Toponce played many roles: freighter, stage line operator, mining investor, sheep raiser, and mayor of Corinne, Utah.
In 1888, George L. Shoup, in one routine transaction, sold a thousand cattle from his Salmon River ranches. Two years later, he became Idaho's first state governor and then one of its first two senators.
In 1897, a jury convicted hired cowboy-gunman "Diamondfield Jack" Davis of murdering two sheepmen south of Twin Falls. Although two other "respectable" cattlemen soon confessed to the killings, Davis twice came within hours of hanging and was not pardoned until 1902.
|Table of Contents|
|Preface: Ground Rules|
|Chapter One: The First Stockmen of Idaho|
|Chapter Two: Fur Trade Era – Canadians Dominant|
|Chapter Three: Competition Heats Up|
|Chapter Four: Wagons Across Idaho|
|Chapter Five: Mining Makes a Territory|
|Chapter Six: Idaho Meat for Hungry Miners|
|Chapter Seven: Stock Raising Grows|
|Chapter Eight: Filling in the Gaps|
|Chapter Nine: The Last Stands|
|Chapter Ten: Cattle Drives Across and From Idaho|
|Chapter Eleven: Rails Across Idaho|
|Chapter Twelve: Livestock Boom|
|Chapter Thirteen: Nature Delivers a Lesson|
|Chapter Fourteen: Range Conflict Heats Up|
|Chapter Fifteen: A New Century|