Saturday, May 4, 2013

Government Appoints Postmasters and Creates Post Offices in Idaho Territory

On May 4, 1863, the Evening Bulletin in San Francisco published the following brief item: “Post Office Matters. … The following appointments have been received: Charles Welsh, Florence City, Idaho Territory; John Flanagan, Elk City, I. T.; Joseph Patty, Orofino, I. T. … New offices have been established at the following places: Durkeeville, Idaho Territory – Clark H. Durkee, Postmaster; Mount Idaho, I. T. – Loyal P. Brown, Postmaster.”

In the spring of 1863, Florence City (or just Florence), Elk City, and Oro Fino (now Orofino) were still flourishing gold towns. But soon, the fields played out and the towns withered. Ironically, Florence was county seat of Idaho County for a time, but it’s now a ghost town.

Durkeeville and Mount Idaho began as way stations on the road between Lewiston and the gold camps of the Clearwater River and lower Salmon River. Clark Durkee emigrated to the Pacific Coast from his native Vermont in 1850, when he was not quite thirty years old. After successes in California and Oregon, he followed the gold rush into Idaho. However, Durkeeville, located about twenty-five miles east and a bit south of Lewiston, only lasted a couple years, after which Durkee returned to Oregon.

Loyal P. Brown was born in 1929, in Stratford, New Hampshire. He moved to California in 1849, did well there, and then in Oregon. He too followed the gold rush into Idaho, bringing his family along. In July 1862, he and a partner purchased the waystation what would become Mount Idaho.
L. P. Brown.
Historical Museum at St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho.

Brown soon bought out his partner. Then, over the next thirty years, he led development in Northern Idaho, becoming quite a wealthy man in the process. He served twice in the Territorial Council and secured selection of Mount Idaho as the county seat of Idaho County, from 1875 to 1902.

In 1887, Brown helped organize the Idaho County Pioneer Association, and became its first president. He passed away in April 1896.

References: “Post Office Matters,” Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California (May 4, 1863).
M. Alfreda Elsensohn, Eugene F. Hoy (ed.), Pioneer Days in Idaho County, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho (1951).

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