Thursday, November 30, 2017

Convicted Murderer and Thief Hanged at Idaho Penitentiary [otd 11/30]

On November 30, 1901, authorities hanged convicted murderer Edward Rice. He was the first individual executed at the Idaho Penitentiary as a state institution and only the second in its history. Rice had been convicted of murdering Matthew Mailley, a Wallace cigar and candy store owner, the previous year.
Wallace, ca 1898. Illustrated History.

The evidence was largely circumstantial, in that there were no direct witnesses. A potential customer had found the store door locked at around 9:30 on a Monday morning in October 1900. Finding Mailley’s thriving business closed at that time of day was unusual, to say the least.

The person then walked around and peered in a window, and spotted Mailley’s body lying near the back. A report in the Idaho Statesman (October 5, 1900) said that authorities then forced the door. Mailley had suffered several blows to the head and then his throat had been cut. The article noted that the store owner “had lived in the Coeur d’Alenes about 15 years and had no known enemies.”

Account books showed an $800 shortfall of cash and checks in the store and on the murdered man’s body. Suspicion soon fell on Edward Rice, a casual laborer who had been around town for awhile. Rice had cadged small loans off numerous locals, some of whom had taken to dunning him for repayment whenever they ran into him. Later on the day of the murder, Rice had not only paid off over $100 of those debts, he had “purchased a hat and pair of trousers.”

Investigators also found two bloodstained handkerchiefs at the crime scene, one of which had apparently been used as a gag. Both bore marks assigned by the Wallace laundry to Rice’s belongings. Unable to explain this evidence, Rice’s lawyer tried to raise doubts about the chain of custody on the items.

At his trial, Rice’s lawyer surely did his best to focus attention on those doubts, and the fact that no witness had placed Rice near the scene of the crime. Available accounts do not report what story they advanced to explain his sudden relative affluence. (Throughout this affair, Rice’s activities suggest that he was, in fact, of substandard intelligence.) The attorney’s presentation clearly did not impress the jury: They “found a verdict in thirteen minutes.”

Naturally, the matter did not end there. The scarcity of direct evidence was emphasized in his appeals, which went all the way to the Idaho Supreme Court. One of the other issues the defense raised was that “popular excitement and prejudice” about the case prevented him from getting a fair trial. The High Court conceded that such sentiment certainly justified a request for a change of venue, but no such request was made.
Old Idaho Penitentiary.
Wikimedia Commons, attribution to Peter Wollheim.

Up until 1899, executions had been carried out at the county level. Then the law was changed to require that all such acts be carried out at the State Penitentiary. The only previous execution at the Penitentiary had been under a Federal order, when Idaho was still a Territory.

Early in 1901, even as his appeals proceeded, Rice somehow obtained a knife and ostensibly tried to commit suicide by cutting his own throat … but failed. One last-ditch appeal called for time to examine of his sanity, but that too failed and the execution proceeded. 
                                                                                                                                     
References: [Illust-North]
“[Appeal Denied, Rice to Hang],” Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, Idaho (November 30, 1901). 
"Executions," Idaho State Historical Society monograph.
"State Versus Rice," The Pacific Reporter, Vol. 66, West Publishing Company, St. Paul (1902).

Friday, November 24, 2017

Fire at State Mental Hospital in Blackfoot, Joe Glidden Patents Barbed Wire [otd 11/24]

Early on November 24, 1889, a fire destroyed the state-run mental hospital located in Blackfoot, Idaho. The sanitarium, as it was then called, housed 47 male and 20 female patients at the time. Early accounts said 7 patients (5 men and 2 women) were missing afterwards, with two bodies found in the ruins. However, Hawley’s later History suggests that no one was killed in the fire.

South Idaho Sanitarium, now Idaho State Hospital South.
J. H. Hawley photo.
Located a half mile or so north of Blackfoot, the asylum had been authorized in 1885 and opened for patients the following year. Before then, mentally ill individuals had been housed in Oregon, under contract with that state. Officials transferred thirty-six patients (26 man and 10 women) when the Blackfoot facility opened.

After the fire, male patients were kept temporarily at the Bingham county courthouse and females at the local Methodist Episcopal Church. The institution was rebuilt at a location a few miles further north.

In 1905, the legislature funded a second state hospital; it was built in Orofino. As views on mental health issues became more sophisticated, the terms “sanitarium” and “asylum” were dropped in favor of a simple “Idaho State Hospital South” and “ … North.”

Today, Idaho is still wrestling with the proper approach, or approaches to treating people with mental health problems. Clearly, sufferers who are a danger to themselves and to others require different methods and facilities from those with lesser problems. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.

Official drawing for Patent No. 157,124.
On November 24, 1874, the Federal government granted a patent to Joseph F. Glidden for an improved form of barbed wire. Over the years, many ideas had been tried but Glidden’s was the first effective design that could be manufactured at reasonable cost.

Homesteaders benefited first from the new product: It provided a way to protect fields from range cattle and sheep. In many jurisdictions, courts would not award damages for losses to stock unless the owner had tried to provide some sort of protection for his (or her) crops. An 1873 Idaho law said, in part, that farm fields “shall be enclosed with a good and lawful fence, sufficient to secure the crops therein from the encroachments of all kinds of domestic animals.”

Possible awards then hinged on the phrase “good and lawful fence.” A split rail fence met the criteria, but the materials were costly and difficult to obtain. In many areas, even wooden posts for stringing a wire fence had to be hauled from miles away. Still, posts and wire were far more affordable than anything available before.

Stockmen also quickly saw the advantages of fencing large expanses of range to keep it for themselves, and they had the capital to buy wire by the train car load. Thus, production of the new form jumped 60-fold a year after the patent was granted. Barbed wire fences brought their own problems, of course. The lore of the Old West is replete with stories of the fence cutters and gun-handy cowboys hired to patrol the wires.
                                                                                                                                      
References: [Brit], [Hawley], [Illust-State]
Joseph M. McFadden, “Monopoly in Barbed Wire: The Formation of the American Steel and Wire Company,” Business History Review, Vol. LII. No. 4 (Winter, 1978).
J. Orin Oliphant, On the Cattle Ranges of the Oregon Country, University of Washington Press, Seattle (1968).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Newspaper Publisher Ben Read, Lurid Headlines Attract Readers [otd 10/18]

Ben Read. J. H. Hawley photo.
Idaho Falls newspaperman Benjamin Harrison Read was born October 18, 1888 in Palco, located about 25 miles north of Hayes, Kansas. His father, a storekeeper, moved the family to Iowa when Ben was a young man. After high school he attended Grinnell College, graduating in 1910. (Grinnell is about 45 miles east of Des Moines.) After graduation, Ben worked at the Ames Times newspaper.

Within two years, he attained a partnership in the newspaper, which became the Ames Evening Times. He soon assumed management of the paper, which he took from a weekly to a daily in about 1916. Like many newspapers of that day, the company also maintained a lucrative job printing operation.

In 1917, Ben sold the Ames newspaper and moved to Idaho. There, he and his brother Clifford bought a controlling interest in the Idaho Falls Daily Post. The earliest known operators of the Post were brothers Charles and Ernest Sumner in partnership with Henry Gabbe. In 1905, the partners shipped equipment in from Colorado and began publishing the first daily newspaper in Idaho Falls. (Library of Congress records indicate that an Idaho Falls paper of that name began in 1903, but nothing is known of its circulation or management.)

The Post had to compete with two existing weekly newspapers: the Idaho Register and Idaho Falls Times. The presence of a daily did force the Register to go semi-weekly, in 1908. However, it soon became apparent that three newspapers might be too many for the town to support. When the novelty wore off, the Daily Post struggled, going through a succession of owners before the Read’s bought it.

Daily Post offices. Idaho Falls Post Register archives.
Ben and Cliff rejuvenated the paper: They contracted for a dedicated newswire so they could feature the hottest events from around the world, and published full-color Sunday comics. They also packed their pages with sensational stories: notorious (preferably bloody) murders, white slavery, marquee sporting events … whatever would grab attention. On the side, they ran the usual printing operation.

Their competitors merged in 1920 to form the Times-Register, which also went to daily publication. In 1922-1923, Ben served a couple months as private secretary to newly-elected Idaho Governor Charles C. Moore (Idaho Statesman, December 24, 1922). In 1925, the brothers sold the Daily Post to J. Robb Brady, son of former Idaho Governor and U. S. Senator James H. Brady. Ben and Cliff moved to the Los Angeles, California, area. Ben remained in southern California until his death in 1972. Cliff returned to Idaho for a time to run another newspaper.

Robb Brady had originally moved to Idaho to settle the estate of Senator Brady, who died in office from a heart attack. Ironically, a year after purchasing the Post, J. Robb also had a heart attack and died. The manager he hired, E. F. McDermott, arranged a merger with the Times Register, changing the name to the Post-Register. McDermott operated the paper for the next half century. The Post Register is still being published today, six days a week (no issue on Monday).
                                                                                                                                     
References: [Hawley]
Chronicling America: Historic Newspapers, Library of Congress (online).
Mary Jane Fritzen, Idaho Falls, City of Destiny, Bonneville County Historical Society, Idaho Falls (1991).
“Golden Jubilee Edition, 1884–1934,” Idaho Falls Post-Register (September 10, 1934).
William Hathaway, Images of America: Idaho Falls, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC (2006).

Friday, September 22, 2017

Opening Day for the Academy of Idaho (Now Idaho State University) Classes [otd 9/22]

On Monday September 22, 1902, the Academy of Idaho – precursor to today’s Idaho State University – celebrated its first opening exercise. Ironically, the people of Pocatello wanted the Academy so badly, it almost didn’t get off the ground.
Pocatello, ca 1895. Bannock County Historical Society.

Pocatello was incorporated in 1889. As a major railroad junction, it grew explosively, topping 4,000 citizens by the 1900 census. After hard lobbying by locals, the governor signed a bill, in March 1901, that authorized the creation of the Academy [blog, Mar 11]. The institution would provide college prep and “industrial” (vo-tech) courses. However, the Act allocated no money to buy land for the school; that was up to the people of Pocatello. The bill set a deadline of May 1st for a site decision.

The subsequent dispute almost killed the Academy before it started. The city split mainly over whether the school should be east or west of the railroad tracks and yards. However, even within those factions, splinter groups formed to push specific sites. The wrangling continued for over six weeks. By April 30, the day before the legal deadline, they had reached an impasse. The Pocatello Tribune reported, “The Board then took a recess and a lot of people went out on the streets and swore.”

Finally, “under the gun,” they settled on what is now the lower part of the ISU campus. Forty students showed up for those first classes in 1902. By the end of the decade, school enrollment would reach nearly 300. In 1906, the Academy’s first Principal, John W. Faris, wrote, “The Academy has demonstrated beyond the question of a doubt that it fills a most important place in the educational system of Idaho.”
Academy, ca. 1914. H. T. French.

School administrators moved aggressively, adding three city blocks to the campus in 1910 and expanding the school’s offerings: night classes for adult education, winter short courses, and summer sessions. Even that early, they had aspirations to attain full four-year status. The only immediate result of their lobbying was a name change – to “Idaho Technical Institute” (ITI) – in 1915.

Recovering from a severe downturn during World War I, the school’s enrollment topped a thousand by 1920. Locals continued to push for four-year status. Finally fed up, the 1927 legislature took drastic action: They made ITI a subordinate division of the University. For the next twenty years, the Pocatello school would be the “Southern Branch of the University of Idaho.”

World War II crushed enrollment again, but afterwards about a thousand veterans attending under the G.I. Bill increased the student body to over 1,800 students. Thus, in 1947, the school became Idaho State College, an independent, four-year institution. Curriculum expansion became a major priority, and the school attained University status in 1963.

Since then the school has grown steadily. That included the addition of a major “College of Health-Related Professions” and a nearby Research and Business Park. The Park began with a large Technology Center that provided space for business start-ups and science-related spin-offs. It now contains a half-dozen substantial facilities, private and public.
                                                                                                                                     
References: [Hawley]
Merrill D. Beal, History of Idaho State College, Idaho State College (1952).
Diane Olson, Idaho State University: A Centennial Chronicle, Idaho State University (2000).

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Army Establishes Fort Lapwai on the Nez Percé Indian Reservation [otd 07/22]

According to Idaho State Historical Society records, a troop of Oregon Volunteer cavalry established Camp – later Fort – Lapwai on July 22, 1862. The location selected was near the mission established by Presbyterian minister Henry Harmon Spalding in 1836 [blog, Nov 29]. Although the church abandoned the mission after the Whitman Massacre in 1847, the Nez Percé Indians continued to occupy the site.

When Elias Pierce discovered gold on Orofino Creek, in 1860, prospectors poured into the region. However, the gold fields lay within the boundary of the Nez Percé Indian Reservation established in 1855. The Indians demanded that white authorities expel the invaders, as stipulated in the 1855 treaty.

White officials met at Lapwai with the Nez Percé in 1861. The Indians agreed to allow mining and the construction of a shipping warehouse – but nothing else – where the Clearwater River entered the Snake. Of course, the full town of Lewiston sprang up immediately. Tribesmen complained, but otherwise did nothing about this violation of the agreement.
Lewiston, 1862. Nez Perce County Historical Society.

 Authorities then stationed a company of dragoons near the meeting place. They claimed the troop was there to protect the Nez Percé, and keep the miners in line. However, the troopers did absolutely nothing to curb trespassers. There’s no question that their real job was to over-awe the more militant factions within the tribe.

Officials decided they needed a more permanent base, so the Army built Camp Lapwai near the old mission. By the fall of 1862, they had stationed two cavalry companies there. That did not solve the problem, and the local Indian Agent convened a meeting at the fort to foist a new treaty on the Nez Percé. The 1863 Treaty drastically reduced the size of the reservation and sowed the seeds of future conflict [blog, June 9].

The Army temporarily vacated Fort Lapwai after the Civil War, when authorities disbanded many Volunteer regiments and there was a delay in replacing them with Regulars. By late 1867, the Department had stationed two cavalry companies at the installation. These troops played a key role when lingering 1863 treaty tensions exploded into the Nez Percé War of 1877. Of course, Nez Percé warriors badly beat the Lapwai soldiers who responded first to the outbreak [blog, June 17]. However, the fort then became a vital staging area for additional troops and supplies to fight the war.

In 1878, the Army established Fort Coeur d'Alene at what soon became the town of Coeur d'Alene City [blog, April 16]. This provided a post from which authorities could observe activities at both the Coeur d'Alene and Nez Percé Indian reservations.
Fort Lapwai, ca 1890. National Park Service.
When civilian steamboats appeared on Lake Coeur d’Alene in 1883-1884 [blog, Apr 4], it became clear that Fort Coeur d'Alene was the more effective location. The War Department decommissioned Fort Lapwai in June 1884. The structures basically reverted to tribal use by default.

The History page of the City of Lapwai says, “The Northern Idaho Indian Agency, originally located at Spalding, was relocated to Fort Lapwai in 1904. Fort Lapwai was later converted into a government Indian school and then into a tuberculosis sanatorium with a hospital, boys' and girls' dormitories, and a school.
"Lapwai remains as the seat of government for the Nez Perce Indian Nation. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Northern Idaho Indian Agency is also still located in Lapwai."
                                                                               
Reference: [Hawley], [Illust-State]
“Fort Lapwai,” Idaho Museum of Natural History Digital Atlas, Idaho State University, Pocatello.
“Idaho Military Posts and Camps,” Reference Series No. 63, Idaho State Historical Society (May 1971).

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Early Nez Percés: Image versus reality

After the Nez Percés treaty of 1855, mentioned in my blog item of about a week ago, white Indian Agents made every effort to downplay the warrior traditions of the tribe. By selling that image they could validate their decision to make what they considered big “concessions” in “giving” the Nez Percés such a “generous” amount of land. After all, they said, “The tribe has always been a friend to the white man,” so they deserve special consideration.

The Agents tried equally hard to sell that notion to the Nez Percés themselves, hoping to counter the glamorous image of those tribesmen who followed the old fighting traditions. Only then could they hope to impose “assimilation” on the bands.

After the 1863 treaty, the Indian Agency stepped up its efforts to sell that image. It was a source of great frustration that they had little success within the bands, although they did fine with whites who wanted to believe that the Nez Percés were becoming peaceful, non-threatening agrarians.

I address this issue in my book, Before the Spud: Indians, Buckaroos, and Sheepherders in Pioneer Idaho.

Here are a couple of excerpts: “… historical records contradict the pacific image [of the Nez Percés]. Recall that when Captain William Clark first met the Nez Percés in September 1805, the ‘great chief’ of that band was off raiding enemies.”

And
“Right into the Seventies [1870s], tribesmen regularly fought east of the Rockies. There, they joined Crow Indians against the latter’s traditional enemies, the Sioux and Cheyenne. Men like White Bird and [Chief] Joseph’s younger brother Ollokot earned impressive warrior reputations.”

To reach their Crow allies in eastern Montana and northern Wyoming, bands of Nez Percés had to cross territory nominally claimed by the Blackfoot coalition. Tribes in the coalition had a notably fierce – and well-deserved – reputation as fighters. Yet it is recorded that they were generally careful to avoid Nez Percés bands unless they had a distinct advantage in numbers and/or weaponry.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Stricker Log Home at Rock Creek Burns Down [otd 03/09]

On March 9, 1900, the Rock Creek home of Herman Stricker and his family burned to the ground. In some ways, this was a blessing as well as a tragedy.
Rock Creek. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Even before white men arrived, travelers in south-central Idaho depended upon the stream that gave Rock Creek Station its name. In August 1812, Robert Stuart provided the first written description of the feature. He called it Precipice Creek because, he wrote, “The banks of this stream, at and some distance above its discharge, are almost 300 feet perpendicular.”

The creek empties into the Snake River. For most of its length to the foothills, it runs through a narrow, steep-sided valley, 50-60 feet deep. Emigrants on the southern route of the Oregon Trail also knew it well. From near today’s Milner Dam [blog, May 7] on the Snake, wagon trains sought an upper stretch of Rock Creek as the nearest reliable water source.

In 1864, Ben Holladay had a stage station built near where the creek exits the higher foothills onto the plain. This “home” station – it provided meals and lodging – soon attracted a trading post. The store, established by James Bascom and John Corder, served stage passengers and bullwhackers piloting big freight outfits that hauled loads to Boise City. With the completion of the transcontinental railroad, stage and freight traffic connected at Kelton, Utah. After 1870-1871, miners and stockman became part of the clientele.

Herman Stricker emigrated to the U.S. from Hanover, Germany, a few years before the Civil War. He then joined the Union army, and saw action at Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and several other major battles. He moved to the Mountain West two years after the War. In 1870, he opened a store in the Snake River Canyon, about eight miles east of today’s Twin Falls.
Herman Stricker. J.H. Hawley photo.
In 1876, Stricker and a partner bought the Bascom-Corder store, plus a stable and log dwelling that had been added to their holdings. A year before Stricker's purchase, Charles Walgamott had come west and gone to work at the stage stop. [See my September 17th blog for an 1877 incident involving Charlie.] In 1879, Charlie's sister Lucy came to stay with her sister and brother-in-law. There, she met Stricker and, three years later, married him. They settled down in the log home to raise a family.

Stricker bought out his partner in 1884. By then, Oregon Short Line Railroad tracks had been completed across southern Idaho. Within months, through stage and freight traffic totally ceased. Fortunately, the expansion of the regional cattle business more than offset that loss. The population more than tripled between 1880 and 1900.
Stricker home, 1901. Friends of Stricker, Inc.
While Lucy surely missed the belongings lost in the fire, she did gain a far better home. Started on the same spot soon after the fire, the wood-frame plank structure was larger, with a nice covered porch. Within a few years, they added a second-floor dormer to the longer wing of the house.

Herman died in 1920, while Lucy lived until 1949. Today the immediate area is administered as a state Historic Site: The Rock Creek Station and Stricker Homesite.
                                                                                 
References: [Hawley]
John Bertram, et al, Rock Creek Station and Stricker Homesite: Idaho Historical Site Master Plan, Idaho State Historical Society (2001).
Robert Stuart, Kenneth A. Spaulding (Ed.), On The Oregon Trail: Robert Stuart's Journey of Discovery, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman (1953).
Charles Shirley Walgamott, Six Decades Back, The Caxton Printers, Ltd, CaIdwell, Idaho (1936).

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Six Miners Killed in Sudden Mining District Fire [otd 02/25]

On Tuesday, February 25, 1902, about three o'clock in the morning, the residents of the connected Standard Boarding and Lodging houses slept quietly. Most of them worked for the Standard Mine, located on Canyon Creek, about five miles northeast of Wallace, Idaho.
Standard Mine, ca. 1910. University of Idaho archives.

Placer miners prospected Canyon Creek for gold in 1884. However, as happened for many Coeur d’Alene strata, they failed to note the valuable lead-silver lodes buried in these ridges. The following spring, four partners explored the area and located the Standard Mine plus over a dozen other claims – collectively referred to as the Standard Group.

The claims proved so promising that the owners built an ore mill the following year. They located their mill closer to Wallace, near the mouth of the Creek. After awhile, rail lines served many claims along the canyon. By the turn of the century, observers considered the Standard Group the most productive properties in all the Coeur d'Alenes.

On this morning in 1902, flames suddenly flared in the wood frame structure of the Boarding and Lodging houses. The fire probably started from the stove in the room where the men’s work clothes hung to dry. However, the destruction was too complete to be certain later.

The fire moved so quickly, there was no time to use the building's fire fighting apparatus. Some men had no warning at all. Even those who awoke in time had to resort to desperate measures … the flames blocked the internal staircase leading to the building exit. About a dozen men, some also with severe burns, were injured leaping from the top floor windows.

Fearing that the fire would spread to the Standard Mine works, firefighters dynamited the home of one William Fletcher. That stopped the flames, but the home was a total loss, along with the residence halls.

Searchers found the bodies of four men – all but one under twenty-five years old – among the ashes and charred timbers.  Newspapers as far away as Boise, Portland, and Seattle reported about the fire. The Portland and Seattle articles provided complete lists of the known dead as well as those of the seriously injured. The Oregonian, in Portland, said, “There is no hope for the recovery of McCallum and Bowhay, and very little for Yarbrough.”
W. J. McConnell, Early History of Idaho.

Indeed, doctors and their hospital assistants were unable to save the first two. Thomas Yarbrough survived despite excruciating burns. Nine men required treatment for lesser injuries suffered in the fire or in jumping to safety. The report in the Idaho Statesman said, “W. C. McConnell, who is named as among those less seriously injured … is a brother of Mrs. W. E. Borah.”

Besides being brother-in-law to future U. S. Senator Borah [blog June 29], William C. McConnell was also the son of former Idaho Governor and U. S. Senator William J. McConnell [blog, Sept 18].

The Illustrated History described the event as "one of the worst disasters of its kind in the history of the Coeur d'Alene."
                                                                                 
Reference: [Illust-North]
Newspapers: “[Deadly Mining District Fire],” Seattle Daily Times, Idaho Statesman, Boise, The Oregonian, Portland (February 25-26, 1902).

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Attorney, Developer, and Public Servant Albertus Freehafer [otd 02/12]

Attorney and legislator Albertus L. Freehafer was born February 12, 1868, in Mansfield, Ohio, about seventy miles southwest of Cleveland. After high school, he taught for three years, saving as much as he could.
Ohio Northern University, ca 1890.
Vintage postcard, Columbus Metropolitan Library.

With that “nest egg” and what he could earn during the summer, Albertus attended Ohio Northern University, then called Ohio Normal University. He graduated in 1893.

For three years, Freehafer served as a high school Superintendent in Ohio. He then began reading law with a firm in his home town. Albertus married in 1897, and served as a Deputy County Clerk while continuing his law office studies. However, in 1900, the couple and their year-old daughter moved to Scofield, Utah. There, Albertus worked as a school Principal while his wife, Olive, was a teacher.

After two years in Utah, the Freehafers moved to Council, Idaho, where Albertus again had a job as school Principal. Throughout this period, he studied law, and passed the Idaho bar exam in 1905. Albertus then quit his school job and opened a law office in Council. Six years later, his business had increased to the point that he added a partner.

Besides his law practice, Freehafer took up a homestead near Council. He also dealt in real estate and insurance, and was a director of the First Bank of Council. For a time, he provided legal counsel for the bank.

Freehafer served one term in the Idaho House of Representatives, starting in 1907. While there, he was House Leader for the minority Democratic Party. Voters then elected Albertus to two consecutive terms as state Senator from Washington County. Also active in local politics, Albertus served as Chairman of the Council Board of Trustees (roughly equivalent to a mayor’s position), and as City Attorney in 1911-1914.

In 1911, Senator Freehafer introduced legislation to carve Adams County out of Washington County.  Washington County officials fiercely opposed the division. However, the proposed new county held about half the assessed valuation and area of the existing Washington County, and about 44% of the voters (Idaho Statesman, January 28, 1911). The bill passed and Council became the county seat.
Adams County Courthouse, built 1915.
Adams County Historic Preservation Commission.

Freehafer was appointed to the state Public Utilities Commission in 1914. During a second term, he then served as Commission President. One of the more interesting 1918 cases denied a request to have electrical power service extended to a village in southeast Idaho. The refusal was, the Commission decided, “necessary for the conservation of raw material, capital, and labor required for the winning of the war.”

Freehafer served through 1921. He then moved his law practice to Payette, later serving two terms as state Senator for Payette County. In the Thirties, he performed legal work for various Federal agencies, generally related to “New Deal” programs.

He moved back to Council in 1939. There, Albertus was nominated for the state Senate from Adams County, but withdrew for health reasons. He passed away in October 1940. (Freehafer was the maternal grandfather of U. S. Senator from Idaho, James Albertus "Jim" McClure.)
                                                                                 
References: [French], [Hawley]
Albertus L. Freehafer (Pres.), Sixth and Seventh Annual Reports of the Public Utilities Commission, State of Idaho, The Caxton Printers, Ltd, Caldwell, Idaho (1920).
"Freehafer, Albertus LeRoy - Obituary," Independent Enterprise, Payette, Idaho (November 1940).