Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Territorial Governor George Shoup Calls for Idaho Constitutional Convention [otd 05/11]

On May 11, 1889, George L. Shoup, Governor of Idaho Territory, issued a proclamation calling for a convention to draw up a constitution for the proposed state of Idaho. His proclamation contained features we would consider unorthodox, and might be thought technically illegal.
George L. Shoup.
National Archives.

Idaho’s status as “just” a Territory had frustrated locals almost from the start. The issue was kept alive by on-going friction between the elected legislature and the officers appointed to the executive and judicial branches, most of whom were outsiders. Of course, the Territory’s population was really too low for statehood, but the supposed minimum had been ignored before.

Hard-nosed politics presented the real roadblock. In 1874, Democrats had wrested political control of Colorado Territory from the Republicans, and thought they could retain it.
Two years later, Congressional Democrats agreed to statehood for the Territory. But they were wrong about keeping control of the new state. In the Presidential election that fall, Colorado’s electoral votes for the Republican candidate ultimately cost the Democrats the White House. The lesson was not lost on either party.

Thus, for over a decade afterwards, Congress admitted no new states to the Union. Finally, elections across the country in 1888 seemed to open the door again. Proponents began to encourage the notion of statehood for Idaho.

But first, Territorial legislators had to resolved two issues: the “Mormon question,” and secession advocacy in North Idaho. They addressed the first by passing legislation – almost certainly unconstitutional – that disenfranchised most members of the LDS church. They blunted the second point by agreeing to give North Idaho the state university, in Moscow.

With those issues out of the way, in early April Governor Edward A. Stevenson issued a proclamation calling for a constitutional convention. Because of the rush, it quickly became apparent that nothing could be accomplished in the way of a convention. Then, at the end of the month, Shoup began his term as Governor [blog, Apr 1].

The difficulty for both proclamations was that the U.S. Congress had not passed “enabling” legislation, authorizing the Territory to write a constitution. That meant the Territorial government could not legally fund any action related to such a document: election of delegates, expenses during the convention, or a ratification ballot.

Precedent suggested Idaho could go ahead and write the document. Many territories had previously ignored the “enabling Act” technicality. The lack of legislative funding authority, however, meant that local governments had to cover all expenses. Unfortunately, many counties could not afford that. Thus, they did not act on Stevenson’s call.

Governor Shoup’s proclamation cleverly circumvented that problem. “If,” he wrote, “… the citizens of any county prefer to elect their delegates by some other equitable method, I am satisfied that the delegates so chosen will be recognized and admitted to seats in the convention.”

In the end, only a handful of counties actually ran elections. In most, the political party organizations – either directly or in local conventions – selected the slates. Each major party picked half; if there was an odd number, the party winning the most recent election received the extra spot. Individuals or the party organizations also paid convention expenses.

Once leaders had a document in hand, the people had to vote on it. Again, local cash funding simply did not exist, so volunteers performed much of the work. The referendum easily passed, setting the stage for the favorable Congressional vote on Idaho statehood in 1890.
                                                                                 
References: [B&W], [Hawley]
“Constitutional Convention and Ratification,” Reference Series No. 476, Idaho State Historical Society (1974).

Monday, May 10, 2021

Message Transmitted: Transcontinental Railroad Completed [otd 05/10]

On Monday, May 10, 1869, telegraph operators clattered a message all around the United States, East and West: “D-O-N-E”. That signaled the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The story of the vast national changes the rail line caused has been told and retold, in grand scale.
Meeting of the railroads, 1869. National Park Service.
But perhaps no other region, not directly on the new tracks, felt that impact as much as Idaho, although western Idaho didn’t hear about the event until days later. (Over five years would pass before Boise City and Silver City were linked to the main telegraph system.) The first public news of the link-up appeared in the Owyhee Avalanche in Silver City, Idaho, on Saturday, May 15. Buried on page three was a brief item that began: “Promontory Summit, May 10th – The last rail is laid, the last spike driven.”

Still, even before the Golden Spike Ceremony, the station at Winnemucca, Nevada had become a preferred link from south-central Idaho to California. Its station handled stagecoach and freight traffic in the fall of 1868, and there is some evidence that stockmen were also shipping animals to San Francisco.

Traffic soon increased substantially: Records show that cattlemen shipped over ten thousand head from Winnemucca to San Francisco in 1870-1871.

Further east, Corrine, Utah – about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City – became the transfer point for stagecoach and freight wagon traffic headed north to Montana. The first substantial cattle herds reached the settlement at Taylor’s Bridge (today’s Idaho Falls) within a couple years.

The town of Kelton, Utah – a few miles north of the Great Salt Lake – grew directly from the presence of the railroad. There, stagecoach and wagon traffic to and from Boise City could connect with trains that linked all the way to the East Coast. Before, a trip East to visit family or business associates could easily take a month or two. Now the same might be accomplished in a couple weeks – to us, still a lot, but it vastly reduced the people’s feeling of isolation.

Pioneer Charles Walgamott came west in 1875. He got off the train at Kelton to catch a stagecoach into Idaho. He wrote that Kelton was “ a mere speck in the desert, consisting of some half a hundred houses built around the depot, and large commission warehouses for handling the freight for Idaho. … Large ox and mule teams moved here and there, loaded for the interior, or preparing to load.”
Freight Wagons. Reminiscences of Alexander Toponce (1971).
Charlie was just one of many. The numbers tell the story. When Idaho Territory assumed something near its present shape, in 1864, the legislative census tallied about 19 thousand people. Boise City counted 1,658. But over the next six years, many of the “easy” placer gold fields played out. The 1870 U.S. Census for the Territory enumerated 17,760, a relatively small drop. However, Boise City suffered greatly. It fell to 995 (roughly a 40 percent loss).

Those census takers made their rounds about a year after the rails linked up. Little change could be expected that soon. Ten years, however, made a dramatic difference. The 1880 Census counted over 32 thousand people, an increase of about 84 percent. Boise practically doubled in size. Three years after that, the Territory had its own east-west railroad, and it became a state in 1890.
                                                                                 
References: [Brit]
Stephen E. Ambrose, Nothing Like It In the World, Simon & Shuster, New York (2001).
“Census of 1864,” Reference Series No. 130, Idaho State Historical Society.
Fred Lockley, Mike Helm (ed.), Conversations with Bullwhackers, Muleskinners, Pioneers … , Rainy Day Press, Eugene, Oregon (1981).
J. Orin Oliphant, On the Cattle Ranges of the Oregon Country, University of Washington Press, Seattle (1968).
Charles S. Walgamott, Six Decades Back, The Caxton Press, Caldwell, Idaho (1936).

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Grand Opening for Owyhee Hotel in Downtown Boise [otd 05/09]

On May 9, 1910, the Owyhee Hotel in downtown Boise opened for business. Naturally, managers touted their new establishment as the best, with the most modern features and richest d├ęcor in all the Pacific Northwest. The lobby and surrounding balcony, for example, could seat a thousand people for grand events.
Owyhee Hotel, ca. 1920. J. H. Hawley.

Hotels appeared early in the history of Boise City. Among these, the Overland Hotel, located just three blocks from the capitol building, was the place to stay for nearly forty years. Built in 1866, it was where “movers and shakers” scheduled their most important meetings and events. Politicians made important (to them, anyway) speeches from its expansive second-floor porch.

Travelers throughout the Pacific Northwest knew the hotel. They saw it as a civilized oasis between the coast and Salt Lake or Denver. “Meet me at the Overland” provided all the directions needed for a business or social occasion. However, by the turn of the century, the Overland was seriously showing its age, despite multiple renovations and upgrades.

The Idanha Hotel, built a block or so to the northwest in 1901, took over the top spot. (New owners razed the Overland in 1904 and erected a large office building.) The Idanha, new and with all the most modern conveniences of the day, happily filled the void and “ruled the roost” for almost a decade. People famous – Teddy Roosevelt, Clarence Darrow, and William Howard Taft, among them – and not-so-famous just naturally stayed at the hotel when they visited Boise.

However, the Owyhee Hotel quickly challenged the Idanha’s position. The “new kid on the block” had all the latest, most modern features, that huge opulently-decorated lobby, and multiple dining rooms. Of its 250 richly-furnished rooms, 150 had private baths, something many hotels of the period could not match.
Owyhee Hotel, rooftop garden, ca. 1911.
VintagePostcards.org sales image.
Plus, the Owyhee boasted a unique feature – and soon its biggest draw – a “roof garden.” There, patrons could enjoy drinks and the latest,“smartest” entertainment. Before air conditioning, this was the place to be on a hot summer evening in Boise.

And the Idaho Statesman (June 9, 1913) reported something totally new for the 1913 season: “a genuine cabaret is to be presented for the first time in Boise.” At the time, cabarets were the coming thing in New York and other big cities. In a classic cabaret, the performers move about the room to interact with their audience. American cabarets downplayed the social and political commentary that was part of the original that appeared in Paris in 1881. Here, they focused on singing and dancing, with snippets of comedy. The cabaret style entertainment proved very popular in Boise, and became a regular feature.

The hotel prospered because it also had much else to offer visitors. Those features arose from the experience and expertise of Eugene W. Schubert: He had managed the Idanha Hotel, the Owyhee’s older competitor, from 1902 until his first retirement in 1908. Thus, with financial backing from prominent Boise businessman Leo J. Falk, the Owyhee took its place among the elite hotels in Boise. Unfortunately, Prohibition dampened enthusiasm for the rooftop entertainment, and that attraction never fully recovered.

Still, the hotel's many other amenities sustained much of its grandeur and success for another half century. Then, with a project started in 2013, the property was converted into "The Owyhee," a multi-use structure with up-to-date offices and shops, rental apartments, and banquet and dining facilities (including the rooftop terrace.)
                                                                                 
References: [Hawley], [Brit]
Dick D’Easum, The Idanha: Guests and Ghosts of an Historic Idaho Inn, Caxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, Idaho (1984).
Arthur Hart, “Idaho History: Owyhee Hotel Opened in May 1910,” Idaho Statesman (April 4, 2010).

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Idaho Woolgrower, Businessman, and Legislator Fred W. Gooding [otd 05/08]

Fred Gooding. H. T. French photo.
On May 8, 1856, woolgrower and state legislator Fred W. Gooding was born in Devonshire, England. Fred began work in a factory there at the age of eight, laboring in the morning and attending school in the afternoon.

The family emigrated to the U.S. in 1867 and settled in Michigan. As a young man, Fred worked on a farm in California before returning to the Midwest. There, he took business classes at what later became Valparaiso University in Indiana.

In 1882, he moved to Ketchum, Idaho. After a year or so in the mines, Gooding opened a wholesale-retail butchering business. With the extension of the railroad to Ketchum in 1884, the area boomed [blog, Apr 26] and Fred’s venture prospered along with it. However, the surge died remarkably soon, done in by falling silver prices and labor troubles. Production from the mines dropped abruptly in 1888.

Thus, that same year, Fred moved to a small settlement near the Toponis Railroad station, about fifteen miles west of Shoshone. There, he took up the sheep business. Gooding started in a big way, acquiring nearly four thousand sheep within a couple years. Unfortunately, an unusually severe winter in 1889-1890 ravaged his herds and left Fred heavily in debt. His good credit gave him time to recover and he soon had a new herd and began paying off what he owed.

In 1895, Fred moved to a new residence in Shoshone, but retained his sheep holdings. By around 1898, he owned well over a thousand acres of land, and sometimes had as many as thirty thousand sheep on his ranch. (Toponis, where Fred started out in sheep, became Gooding in 1907 [blog, Nov 1], named in honor of Fred and three brothers.)

Among other business activities, he established the First National Bank of Shoshone, and later became one of the directors of the First National Bank of Jerome. He and two brothers spearheaded construction of a water system for Shoshone, and an electric light plant.
Western sheep shearing. Library of Congress.

Gooding eventually owned over three thousand acres of private range and irrigated farm land. He became one of the largest wool shippers in the region. A charter member of the Idaho Wool Growers Association, he served two terms as the organization’s president.

In 1921, the state “fast-tracked” emergency legislation to create a new commission to oversee the Idaho sheep industry. At its first meeting, the commission elected Fred as its chairman. The measure addressed the fact that, according to the Twin Falls News (February 21, 1921), “Sheep scabies are prevalent throughout Idaho to the extent that the federal government threatened to quarantine Idaho sheep … ”

In additional to several terms in various county offices, Gooding served on the Shoshone city council and as mayor. He also served two terms in the Idaho legislature, holding the position of president pro temp of the Senate after his election in 1909.

Fred developed a strong interest in improving Idaho’s road system as a way to encourage commerce and settlement. In fact, such was his advocacy and leadership in improving Idaho’s road system, he earned the nickname “Good Roads” Gooding. When the governor created the first Roads Commission, he appointed Gooding as its chairman. Fred Gooding passed away in July 1927.
                                                                                 
References: [French], [Hawley], [Illust-State]
James H. Hawley, Eleventh Biennial Report of the Board of Trustees of the State Historical Society of Idaho, Boise (1928).
"Site Report - Wood River," Reference Series No. 206, Idaho State Historical Society (1981).

Friday, May 7, 2021

Irrigation Pioneer and Twin Falls Developer Ira B. Perrine [otd 05/07]

I. B. Perrine. [French]
Twin Falls area developer Ira Burton Perrine was born May 7, 1861 near Muncie, Indiana. He followed relatives to the Wood River Valley in 1883 and briefly pursued mining claims. He then decided he could do better selling dairy products. In the fall of 1884, Perrine wanted to move his small herd to a more protected spot for the winter.

Locals told him that early pioneer Charlie Walgamott could help him find a good spot. “Bert,” as he then called himself, drove his cattle south and found the Walgamott homestead without too much trouble. He arrived fairly late in the evening, but Charlie’s wife fed him and they provided a spot for the night. Charlie later said, “Next morning we drove the cattle to the Blue Lakes and with very little trouble worked them down the Indian trail to the valley below.”

The spot, deep in the Snake River Canyon,  so impressed Perrine that he filed a claim and began raising fruits, vegetables, and other farm products. He also raised stock, partly because they could walk themselves out of the canyon: It rises over 500 feet in three-quarters of a mile, with one stretch where the grade is nearly 40 percent – steep even for a set of stairs.

Perrine studied how to efficiently divert water from the river to irrigate more and more land at Blue Lakes. He prospered and soon owned considerable property in Shoshone, located about thirty miles from his spread. There he could load his products onto the Oregon Short Line Railroad.

Much back-breaking labor converted the Indian trail into a decent road. Perrine eventually also cut a road into the south face of the canyon, across the river. Traveling over the countryside high above both sides of the canyon, he saw vast expanses of arable land. But that soil was bone dry for most of the year.

Perrine now knew what needed to be done to irrigate that land. The question was: How to do it? Years earlier, a river surveyor had recorded, but only in his notes, the notion that a dam at “The Cedars” could impound water to irrigate the high ground. The Cedars marked a spot where the Snake constricts from the high plain into its narrow canyon.

Milner Dam, 1905. Library of Congress.
Perrine had the same vision … and followed up. In June 1900, he filed water rights at The Cedars on both sides of the river. Various financial and technical obstacles slowed his vision for Milner Dam. Still, in the spring of 1905, water began flowing onto tracts around the brand new town of Twin Falls.

In February 1907, the legislature split Twin Falls County off from Cassia and made the town the county seat. Even before that, Twin Falls had rail connections to the outside world. Perrine continued to encourage development projects in south central Idaho for many, many years. He also had projects elsewhere, including a mineral-extraction company near Soda Springs.

Perrine was among those leading the push for a huge bridge to link Twin Falls with the north side of the Snake River Canyon. The “Twin Falls-Jerome Bridge” officially opened on September 15, 1927. Years later, the name was changed to the “I. B. Perrine Bridge.”

Two years after that, at aged 68, I. B. was still busy promoting growth for the region, in this case a fruit packing plant in Jerome. Perrine passed away in October 1943.
                                                                                 
References: [B&W]
Jim Gentry, In the Middle and On the Edge: The Twin Falls Region of Idaho, College of Southern Idaho (2003).
Eugene H. Grubb, W. S. Guilford, The Potato: A Compilation of Information from Every Available Source, Doubleday, Page & Company, Garden City, NY (1912).
“[I.B. Perrine News],” Twin Falls News, Idaho Statesman, Boise (Aug 1918 - February 1929.)
Charles S. Walgamott, Six Decades Back, The Caxton Press, Caldwell, Idaho (1936).

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Idaho and the U.S. Armored Corps

Idahoans have a long tradition of military service. That history through World War I has been described in over a half-dozen articles here. Sources show that Idahoans served in all branches, including the “aero corp” and even the U.S. Coast Guard. The Idaho National Guard itself generally saw duty as infantry or in the field artillery.

Just recently, however, I learned of yet another historical role played by Idaho servicemen. This information came from an informant whose father, Theodore Thompson Budrow, was a member of the Guard/Army from 1916-1919. A follow-up e-mail also said that his father “drove a tank in France during WWI.” This was the first I had ever heard that Idaho soldiers were involved in the creation of the U. S. armored corps. Turns out, Dr. Budrow had seen combat in a French-built Renault tank. 

Renault Tanks, 1918. U. S. National Archives.
Theodore T. Budrow was born in Wyoming to Gideon and Jennie (Fowler) Budrow, in October of 1897. Around 1905, the family moved to Boise, where Gideon found a job as a clerk. Three years later, they relocated to open a mercantile store near Soda Springs. However, for a time in 1913, Theodore was boarding at the College of Idaho, in Caldwell, where he took preparatory classes. It’s not clear how long he was there, but he reportedly did very well.

Then, in early 1914, the family moved to Twin Falls, where Gideon purchased an interest in a dry-cleaning business. Theodore graduated from Twin Falls High School in May of that year. (Twin Falls Times; May 14, 1915.) On evenings and weekends, the local company of the Idaho National Guard drilled and marched in the streets. Theodore decided he’d like to be a part of that, and joined up in early 1916. They weren’t worried about the fighting in Europe, believing that President Wilson’s hands-off polices would continue.

However, Pancho Villa’s raids across the Mexican border had become more than a minor nuisance. On June 18, 1916, state authorities mobilized the Guard for duty on the Mexican border [blog, June 18]. The Guardsmen were not allowed to cross the border, but they freed up Regular Army troops to chase Villa in Mexico. As noted in the other blog, the Guard encamped near Nogales, Arizona.

Intelligent and observant, Budrow said, “The landscape, flora and fauna of the Arizona desert intrigued me, and I would often climb over the hills, and down into the dry creek beds the Mexicans called ‘arroyos’.” Although Idaho soldiers never saw live action, the expedition definitely toughened them up. Theodore observed, “The tender pale-skinned youngsters who were exhausted by an hour of close-order drill in November were now able to make a 35-mile hike in full packs of fifty pounds each.” 
Nogales Camp, Idaho National Guard, 1916. Budrow Family Archive.

 The Guard returned home just before Christmas. However, some months after they had been mustered out of their special service, they were back. This time around, they were mobilized as the 2nd Idaho Regiment, which was then inducted into the U. S. Army [blog, August 5]. They became part of the 41st Infantry Division, along with national guard units from Wyoming, Montana, Washington, and Oregon. They were first assembled for training at Camp Greene, near Charlotte, North Carolina. Budrow wrote, “We were now the 146th Field Artillery, United States Army; it was the end of Company ‘D’ of the Idaho National Guard.”

After some preliminary training, elements of the 41st Division departed for Europe. They assembled in the St. Aignan-Noyers area, in central France about 120 miles northwest of Lyon. There, to the disappointment of many, the Division ended up in “depot” duty. That is, they mostly helped train and acclimate the steady stream of reinforcements arriving in France. Now and then, individual units from the 41st Division might be doled out as replacements – mostly at the company level, apparently.

Yet that status also led to a key “course change” in the life of Theodore Budrow. The scope of this blog only allows a brief sketch of the creation of the U.S. Army Tank Corps. The corps was officially authorized in December of 1917. Its commander directed Captain (soon to be Lieutenant Colonel) George S. Patton to establish a training facility for the new force. After two months of instruction at the French tank school, Patton began setting up a U.S. tank base at Langres, located in northeast France about 40 miles north of Dijon. 

Lt. Colonel George S. Patton. U. S. Army Photo.

 Patton had great difficulty obtaining equipment and personnel, especially officers. They would not have any actual tanks until near the end of March, 1918 – ten Renault light tanks, supplied by the French. But even before that, Patton had recruited a cadre of twenty-two junior lieutenants from the coast artillery and sent them off to train at the French tank school. He followed that in early February with a visit to the depot unit, where he brought 125 volunteers on board. Available records do not identify the enlisted men of the Corps, but it is estimated that perhaps a couple dozen were from Idaho. Still, that first contingent was not enough, so they put out calls for more men.

One such notice reached Theodore Budrow, who was then with the Field Artillery Replacement Regiment, which included a number of other men from the old 2nd Idaho Infantry. Budrow liked the notion of serving in the “iron cavalry.” He also observed, “Riding a tank into battle, I thought, would be much preferable to riding a horse-drawn caisson.” He and several other volunteers arrived at Langres on April 5th. Budrow ended up in the 344th Tank Corps Battalion, but a month passed before he even saw a tank. Instead, he helped build structures for the training center, hauled supplies, and stood guard duty.

Finally, they all began to learn about the Renault light tank. (“Light” only by classification; it weighed around 7 tons.) Powered by a gasoline engine in the rear, the vehicle had room for just two men, the driver and a gunner. A lieutenant or sergeant commanded the tank and manned its weapon. The basic model had two configurations: one armed with the 8-mm Hotchkiss machine gun, the other with a 37-mm cannon. They now even got to drive actual tanks, learning the controls … including basic things like shifting gears. Budrow commented, “For those experienced in driving cars, there was little to learn; but most of us had never driven a car.”

As could be expected, the vehicle was quite noisy. Thus, the crew had to learn a set of control codes: A kick in the driver’s back from the tank commander meant move forward; on right shoulder, turn right; and so on. (The crude headphones of the day – invented in 1910 – could never have survived a combat environment.) The Corps spent the summer training with the shared machines.

Meanwhile, General John “Blackjack” Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force, was preparing to attack the Saint-Mihiel Salient. The salient bulged about eighteen miles beyond the main line, hampering communications and the flow of supplies along the front. Eliminating the bulge would also put Allied forces close to Metz, a vital railway junction for the German forces. Pershing’s plan called for the first use of the new Tank Corps in battle. Thus, machines finally began to arrive for the 344th and 345th Tank Battalions. Budrow received his, equipped with a 37-mm cannon, on September 2, 1918.

The two battalions went into battle ten days later. While not a spectacular success, the Tank Corps made several solid contributions, despite deep, thick mud that hampered their efforts. They cut gaps in enemy barbed wire barriers, knocked out a goodly number of machine gun emplacements, wrecked a battalion of artillery, and scattered a battalion of infantry.

Budrow’s tank also helped haul several other tanks and artillery transports out of the mud … before it ran out of gas. They weren’t the only one: The heavy going had caused much higher fuel consumption than expected. Refueled the next day, his tank and several others pushed ahead until they discovered they were about five miles beyond the official front line. They hid in some brush until they were recalled that evening. The two battalions reportedly began the offensive with 144 operational tanks. Only two were lost to enemy shell fire, but 36 had mechanical problems or were hopelessly trapped in the shell holes and mud. Still, personnel casualties were quite light … only 14 wounded or killed.

Within hours of their recall, Budrow’s battalion headed for a train station somewhere to the east. Over a period of days, they were allowed to stop several times to catch up on repairs. At the station, they faced a challenge. The available flatcars were barely suitable for carrying even their small tanks. Two men had to hold extra support posts under the end where a ramp was set up. Otherwise, the weight of the tank would lift the other end of the car off the rails. The process of carefully balancing a load of several tanks was touchy and time-consuming. Their ride lasted about eighteen hours and ended at a station about 45 miles due east of Reims. They had about a week to make final repairs and rest before the massive Meuse-Argonne Offensive was scheduled to open.

On September 25, the tanks moved up to just behind the front. The next morning, Budrow said, “I was awakened by the deafening sound of the barrage.” Within perhaps an hour, the battalion headed into battle. German units defended furiously, but French and American troops made steady progress over the next several days. Budrow wrote, “We cleaned out a lot of machine gun nests, and no doubt saved a lot of lives of the infantry.”

However, after less than ten days of battle, only thirty of the ninety or so tanks that began the offensive were still in action. And many of those were really unfit for combat. The few that could be repaired quickly were assembled into a provisional company, while the rest were sent back to the tank base at Langres.

Budrow’s tank was evidently part of the provisional company because he does not mention returning to Langres at that time. He did not, however, take part in the final Tank Corps action that began on November 1. Some weeks before that (he doesn’t specify when), the starter crank on the tank’s engine kicked back and broke his wrist. (This was a not uncommon mishap before the advent of the starter motor.) Medics sent him to a hospital in Bordeaux, and he did not return to base until the first week of November. He was then tasked with teaching newcomers how to drive a tank. Thus, he was there when the war ended on November 11, 1918.

At this point, Budrow just wanted to get out of the Army and get on with his life. But the Army had other plans. He still found himself “teaching tank driving, peeling potatoes, work details, and other chores.” Finally, Army records listed Budrow aboard the troop transport USS America, which departed Marseilles on April 21, 1919. They disembarked at New York City, and Budrow and a friend were soon headed west on a troop train. They were officially discharged in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Theodore walked away with a ticket to Twin Falls. 

USS America Arriving in New York, 1919. U.S. Navy Photo.

By the end of summer, Theodore was working in Pocatello, where his parents had moved. Gideon and Jennie stayed in Pocatello for over a decade before opening a grocery business in Eugene, Oregon. Due to ill health, they returned to Idaho in the spring of 1947 to live with their daughter Anna (Budrow) McHan. Theodore’s sister had married Virgil F. McHan in 1923 and they settled in Idaho Falls the following year. Sadly, Gideon and Jennie both died within a few months after their move. They, along with Anna and her husband, are buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Idaho Falls.

Meanwhile, Theodore Budrow had chosen chemistry as a way to escape menial, boring jobs. A Twin Falls chemist suggested he attend Washington State College (now University) in Pullman. With jobs on the side and a small scholarship, Budrow graduated with his B.S. degree from WSC in 1923. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota, and found a wife there (they married in January 1927). After completing his degree, he joined a chemical company in upstate New York. That company was soon acquired by the DuPont de Nemours company. Budrow was head of the DuPont patent department when he retired in 1958. He passed away in 1998.

With no available enlisted-men’s roster, it’s difficult to tell just how many soldiers from the 2nd Idaho Regiment served in the fledgling Tank Corps. But Dr. Budrow’s autobiography certainly implies there were others besides him. Also, records show that at least ten other Idahoans enlisted in the Corps. Thus, the state can rightly claim a role in the founding of what is now called the U.S. Army Armor Branch, one of the most formidable military units in the world.
                                                                                

References: [Brit], [Hawley]
Louie W. Attebery, The College of Idaho, 1891-1991: A Centennial History, The College of Idaho, Caldwell (1991).
“[Budrow Family News],” Twin Falls Times, Post-Register, Idaho Falls, Idaho (Jan 1914 – September 1947).
Theodore Budrow, One Time, Carlton Press, New York (January 1, 1992).
Timothy K. Nenninger, “The Development of American Armor, 1917-1940,” Armor, Volume CXIX, No. 2, Department of the Army, Fort Knox, Kentucky (March-May 2010).
Orlan J. Svingen (Ed.), The History of the Idaho National Guard, Idaho National Guard, Boise (1995).

Owyhee Mining Investor and Developer John Scales [otd 05/06]

John Scales. Commercial Directory.
Owyhee silver mine developer John Scales was born on the 6th of May, 1840 in County Clare, Ireland. The family moved to the U.S. and settled in Maine when John was a teenager. He first found factory work there before attending business school in New York. In 1868, he traveled to California via the Isthmus.

Scales decided Idaho offered better prospects and immediately moved to Silver City. Like most newcomers, he started out as a laborer and worked his way up to better-paying jobs. John soon had enough of a stake to invest in several mining properties.

In 1875, the Bank of California, which had funded much Silver City development, suffered a financial collapse. Large-scale corporate mining activity in the area nose-dived. Historian Hiram T. French observed that, “During the next fifteen years only the smaller properties, that were individually owned, were active.”

Two years after the collapse, Scales and a partner purchased a company that owned valuable claims and a mill west of Silver City. The mill had more capacity that they needed for their own claims, so they generated extra income by processing ore from other small operations. Thus, as French suggested, the partners remained active during the overall downturn and extracted steady, respectable returns.

Within a decade, Scales was counted among the top operators in the Owyhee mining districts. As his affluence grew, he took an interest in local government: He served terms on the county commission in 1883 and 1885, and also as school superintendent. (He later sat on the county commission again.)

Large scale mining began to recover in the late 1880s. Millionaire mining investor Captain Joseph De Lamar played a major role in the recovery. In 1887 and 1888, he bought up numerous mining claims and consolidated them into the De Lamar Mining Company. In 1890, he sold the company to a group of London investors.

Around 1891, Scales discovered that the tailing stream from the big De Lamar mill contained significant quantities of gold and silver. Apparently the owners saw no profit in recycling the stream, or investing in a post-processor. Scales purchased land around Wagontown, a stage station not quite two miles downstream from Delamar. At first, he dammed Jordan Creek and caught the tailings there.

Scales’ tailing reservoirs and mill. Commercial Directory.
Soon, however, John made arrangements with De Lamar – the exact details of which are unknown – to process the tailings directly. He then built a flume to carry the outflow directly to “tailing ponds” excavated on property he purchased further down the hillside. In 1893, he built a mill to process what he had collected.

By the end of the decade, his ponds had impounded tailings worth in excess of a half million dollars in recoverable metals. In 1902, the company processed so much material, they ran out of chemicals. The Idaho Statesman reported (November 8, 1902) that “anticipating there would not be time to send for a fresh supply, they closed down for the winter.”

Around 1905, Scales bought property in Hollywood, California, and acquired a “beautiful home” there. He and his wife moved into the new home, although John continued to look after his business interests in Idaho. John passed away in 1909 and his wife returned to Idaho to keep house for their two sons, who were living in Nampa. She died at a Boise hospital in early 1911. Her death notice said she was to be buried beside her husband in Hollywood. (Idaho Statesman; January 13, 1911).
                                                                                 
References: [French], [Illust-State]
A Historical, Descriptive and Commercial Directory of Owyhee County, Idaho, Owyhee Avalanche Press (January 1898).
Mike Hanley, with Ellis Lucia, Owyhee Trails: The West's Forgotten Corner, Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho (1973).