Thursday, July 18, 2013

Some Idaho Mining Areas Doing Well, Territorial Census Commenced

News printed in Lewiston’s Golden Age made its way into The Oregonian for July 18, 1863. The items included good news from the Boise Basin: For the summer, three partners on one claim had “twenty yeast boxes filled with gold.”

The paper continued, “The Elk City mines are paying handsomely. They average all the way from $10 to $100 a day to the hand. There is a great demand for hands at $5 per day.”

They did report difficulties in the Florence area because the largest ditch company wanted to charge twice as much for water as their customers were willing to pay. “The result is the miners have suspended working their claims, and they are engaged in building” their own ditch and flume system.

Still, all this positive news was not good for Lewiston itself: “The Boise hegira has carried off nearly all the old residents of Lewiston, and the place is nearly deserted.”

But they looked to their “hole card” to help. The article went on, “Governor Wallace was handsomely received at Lewiston, and escorted to the Luna house, after which he immediately entered upon the duties of his office.”

Of course, as noted for July 10, there was only so much business Wallace could do. The item said, “Governor Wallace has ordered the U. S. Marshal for Idaho to proceed at once to take the census of the Territory. This will be completed in six weeks to two months, after which judicial districts will be established, and an election ordered for members of the Territorial Legislature.”
Early Fort Laramie. Library of Congress.
The Territorial Marshal, Dolphus S. Payne, would have to hustle to complete the census. The Territory had few roads, huge mountain ranges, and Fort Laramie – then in Idaho – lay almost a thousand trail miles away from Lewiston.

References: [B&W]
“Up Country News,” The Oregonian, Portland (July 18, 1863).

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