The trail from Boise to the Emmett area was only one possible route that the Goodale Train followed, but much consideration of the available information was necessary to try to identify as nearly as possible the road upon which Goodale led his wagons in 1862. The ruts still exist across many miles of the route, on both BLM and undeveloped private land. Information will be considered that supports the fact that the original Goodale’s route did not disappear, and that many other travelers were soon following the same road, in the Goodale Train ruts. It was needed to be defined from three possible routes (Map, p. 26) that existed by five years after the Goodale Train, when in 1867-68 most of the surveyor land plats were finished. The older records, together, show the three routes, along with a couple of slightly later plats that fully connect the older ones. The three routes all went NW from west of the Boise area to the Payette River. The most probable route will be discussed below-the only one that went to the top of Freezeout Hill!

The present satellite photos still show parts of all three of the old roads, which can still be very much traced in continuous lines from the Eagle area to the Payette River. There are multiple sets of ruts across some areas for short distances, possible slight route changes by later travelers for the purpose of easier travel. Two of the three routes do some-what cancel themselves from being the probable original route of Goodale by their locations and by some of the other evidence found on the old land plats.

According to information on the old plats, and the present satellite evidence across undeveloped areas, one route was by 1867 a through road that left the general area of Highway 44, turning from west to NW 4 miles west of Eagle (T4N, R1W, Sec. 11). It then followed across to the area of later Bramwell, a 1902 LDS settlement found in T6N, R2W, Sec. 21 1)Adams County Historic Preservation Commission, pp. 4-5; Hannah, (June 19, 20, 21, 1880), Council Valley Pct., p. 372.. There it dropped down from the heights into the Payette River valley, and in 3 miles to near Letha, joining a trail following the south side of the Payette River westerly. This road can rather easily be eliminated from being the old Goodale by the historic evidence available about the Goodale route. The Goodale route descended to the Payette Valley near the winding Freezeout Hill road! The Goodale trail would have run at a distance from and somewhat parallel to this first road, but closer to a second evident road. The Goodale trail would have been 5-6 miles to the east of the Bramwell Road.

The second road considered here was indicated on the 1867 plats. It ran northerly, beginning on the east side of the present Horseshoe Bend, Hwy, 55, through the former Floating Feather Airport-near the junction of Hwy. 55 with Floating Feather Road. It veered NW within T4N, R1E, Sec. 34, and ran NW, crossing the present Jackass Gulch Road 2 miles east of Highway 16. It dropped northwesterly on a line into the Payette River valley, to the bottom and east of where the present Emmett Highway 16 begins to turn from NNE back to the west (T6N, R1W, Sec. 16). This road passed 2 miles east of the old winding Freezeout Hill Road, and that far away from the earliest road down the ridge that still bears the scars of the Goodale Train and following wagon traffic! Besides the Jackass Gulch crossing east of Freezeout Hill, the starting place of this road 2 miles east of Eagle does not come anywhere close to the Emigrant Trails of Southern Idaho, Goodale NW turnoff. The probability is low that it would have been the Goodale route!

This road was named on the 1867-68 land plat, on the bottom one-third of T5N, R1E. The name “Boise City and Payette Road” was added to this trail by the surveyor, and in 1868 the plat was finished with section lines and other features 2)LaFayette Carter, Surveyor Gen. of Idaho, Land Survey Plats (Boise: BLM, State Office, June and November 1870), Allen Thompson, Surveyor. Obtained from Microfilm files at the BLM State Office, Oct. 18, 2004. T5N, R1E, April 18, 1868. . (Part of that Payette Road is now “Pearl Road” to that Gem County town site.) The “Payette” part of the name is likely to have indicated the destination on the Payette River east of Emmett, not to the town of Payette. The road would have made the trip longer on to the Snake River than the Bramwell road and longer also than the third road identified below.

Here is more support for the probable reason for the named, “Payette Road.” The extension of this road is found on the June, 1892, survey plat across the northern two-thirds of T5N, R1E. On that later completed plat the same road was named the “Road to Marsh and Ireton’s 3)Willis H. Reith, Surveyor Gen., Land Survey Plat (BLM State Office, June 1895). Obtained on Oct. 18, 2004. .” Marsh (T7N, R1E, Sec. 27) was a small “post office and stage station, at the mouth of Stage Coach Canyon, near the present site of Montour,” Gem County. In 1870 this site had been called “Squaw Creek,” but changed to Marsh in 1889 4)Lalia Boone, Idaho Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary (Moscow, ID: University of Idaho Press, 1988), p. 243. . The “Ireton” family was a ranching family living along the Payette River near Marsh-the family of Nellie Ireton Mills, the author quoted in Endnote 15. By the land plat evidence, we know this second road was destined to approach the Payette valley and the Payette River, turning from NW to the NE through the Black Canyon area. It connected with the original Horseshoe Bend/Placerville Road. This road ran about 2 miles to the east of the third road that we will now consider. Thus the third road was located between the western Bramwell area route and this eastern Payette/Marsh Road.

The third road was been begun by the Goodale Train, before the Bramwell or Payette Road. In Emigrant Trails of Southern Idaho, page 62, Map 46, the route that left the Boise area and followed along Hill Road to the west has been generally accepted as the Tim Goodale trail. That Map shows a road turning NW across the NE corner of Sec. 8, T4N, R1E, going along the bottom of Sec. 5, and then NW through Sec. 6. On the 1867 plat for this area the same road is shown, instead turning NW from the area of Eagle, across the corner of Section 8, continuing across Section 5, and not touching Section 6! A road also connected from the Oregon Trail variant that followed along the later Chinden Blvd. route. This connector went NE across Sections 7 and 8, and then turned back northwesterly until it connected with the Goodale route in Section 5.

The original plat does not indicate the supposed road across Section 6, nor do the surveyor notes for the plat indicate that a road crossed the section or township lines, on the bottom or top of Section 6. This type of data was recorded on the plats and in surveyor’s notes for other section line crossings! (Thus we see that sometimes the absence of certain information on a plat and in the surveyor’s notes can still indicate important information.)

The particular land plat (T4N, R1E) shows a road turning NW across and exiting the NW corner of Section 5, north of present Eagle. In the next plat above (T5N, R1E) the road crossed the section line where Beacon Light Road now lies, at the SE bottom of Sec. 36. Unfortunately this plat only indicated the road crossing up from the bottom of Sec. 36, and then exiting on the left and passing from Sec. 19, not completing the trail route along this line! Fortunately, the old ruts of that trail still exist on the ground, and have been visited by this writer and Wally Meyer, from just north of Homer Road (top line of Sec. 36), and all the way through Sec. 19! The remaining ruts complete a perfect line between the indicated road crossings of the section lines on that plat.

Following this central “Goodale North/Umatilla” road (Map, p. 26), still visible on the satellite photos and continuous on the land plats, it eventually crossed the NE corner of T5N, R1W, just before crossing the North Fork of Willow Creek in the NE quarter of Section 3. On the 1867-68 land plat, that road was named the “Umatilla and Boise City Road.” By late November 2004, the old ruts of this road had been found on the ground, and they have few interruptions! By June 2005 the ruts had been discovered from Homer Road to Willow Creek, and also over some foothills 2 miles to the top of Freezeout Hill!

This road turned NW from Eagle, crossed Little Gulch, and then crossed Big Gulch and to Willow Creek. Eventually, according to the surveyors’ information, it dropped down into the Payette Valley across Section 16, T6N, R1W 5)LaFayette Carter, Surveyor Gen. of Idaho, Land Survey Plats (Boise: BLM, State Office, June and November 1870), Allen Thompson, Surveyor. Obtained from Microfilm files at the BLM State Office, Oct. 18, 2004. T5N, R1W, Jan. 28, 1868; T6N, R1W, Dec. 15, 1868. . In that section, north of old Freezeout Hill Road, the Goodale-begun road/ruts still pass down a steep ridge into the valley. All land from the Boise River north to Homer Road has been developed and no trace of ruts can be found south of that Road.

Goodale North, Eagle To Freezeout Hill and Possible Variant

Goodale North, Eagle To Freezeout Hill and Possible Variant

According to information obtained during the research, it had been previously believed that the Goodale route or a possible variant (Map above–dotted line) may have run NW across the west end of Homer Road (T5N, R1W, SW ¼, Sec. 26), 2 miles west of the Umatilla Road. The information indicated that this road continued on to near present Highway 16, to Emmett. According to land plat information it may also have connected north and NE to the Umatilla Road in Section 3. Good evidences of this route are found on the satellite photos. On November 8, 2004, an on-the-ground examination of this route was done by Wally Meyer, past National OCTA Board member, past I-OCTA Preservation Officer, and present I-OCTA Board member, and this writer. The multiple sets of ruts and deep wear were impressive, and indicate former heavy usage.

However, a close examination of the 1868 surveyor’s land plat and the surveyor’s notes gave no hint of this route by that year! Not only is this road not shown, but the notes, which are faithful in recording in many other places the crossing of section and township lines by roads, partial road segments, trails, and creeks, does not hint of any such crossings where those existing ruts now pass. (Some surveyor’s note samples show these indicators of road crossings elsewhere, i.e., “66.50 Umatilla and Boise City Road course NE & SW… 2.50 Road Bears N & W. . .2.00 Wagon Road bears NW & SE 6)Allen M. Thompson, Field Notes of the Boise Meridian and First Standard Parallel North of the Baseline (Boise: BLM, State Office, November 16, 1867), V. 62, pp. 178-187; Thompson, Survey Land Plat (August 9, 1867), T5N, R1W, from microfilm BLM office, Boise; Surveyor notes, V. 1, p. 117, V. 11, p. 72, V. 45, p. 451. ,” but are conspicuously absent where the ruts of this later road crossed sections lines.)

The angle or line of the road that would have approached the south end of those existing ruts, crossing near the west end of Homer Road, would have been on the same line with that possible road on page 62, Emigrant Trails of Southern Idaho, discussed above. Since these ruts, on a line with Section 6, had earlier been considered Goodale ruts, and marked as such, this may be the reason the book had the trail turning across that section. We are now sure that it was a later road. Unless an old map or other convincing evidence can be produced that shows this to be an earlier route, ignored by the surveyors-who normally did not leave out evidence of other old roads across the plats and in their notes-we must consider the earlier decision made that this was the 1862 route of Goodale as erroneous!

John Basye settled in the Emmettsville area sometime before 1870, and is found on the 1870 Census. Basye built a lumber mill, which remained in the ownership of his family for many years. The same year as the Census he “built the first grade over Freezeout [Hill],” replacing the steep Goodale ridge road. It had been reported that it “sometimes took as many as twelve teams of horses and more than a day to pull a freight wagon up the hill [the Goodale ridge route] 7)Clyde (August 1, 1870), Centerville Precinct, Boise County, p. 26; Cort Conley, Idaho For the Curious: A Guide (Cambridge, ID, Backeddy Books, 1982), p. 150; Surf the Sake Website, “Home, Gem County History,” Gem County Official Website (Emmett, n.d.), p. 3; William S. Bethel, “John F. T. Basye,” History of Idaho the Gem of the Mountains, Vol. 3 (Mosley, Editor), pp. 564 & 567. From Ancestry.com, November 12, 2004. .” Basye needed to get his wagons of lumber to Boise quicker and easier than that. Though Basye was reported to have later worked with others in improving the roads to Placerville and Thunder Mountain, no early information was found about improvements or route changes to the remainder of the road to Boise.

It seemed reasonable to conclude that Basye’s Boise road improvements included routing his lumber wagons across the deep rutted, probable freight-used variant, which crossed the west end of present Homer Road . It appears that soon after 1870 that route was being followed and greatly used, and was opened before flat-grading and resurfacing was being done on roads. It is a primitive Ada County road! An 1897, U. S. Geological Survey map, “Boise Sheet,” with 1890 survey data, indicated that Basye’s grade road did connect to and follow the later Hwy. 16 route, and continued on that west end of Homer Rd. trail. 8)A. H. Thompson, Geographer, U. S. Geological Survey, “Boise Sheet,” 1897. A copy provided to James McGill by Dan Lute, Boise, ID, in May 2005.

Back to: Goodale North Trail

References   [ + ]

1.Adams County Historic Preservation Commission, pp. 4-5; Hannah, (June 19, 20, 21, 1880), Council Valley Pct., p. 372.
2.LaFayette Carter, Surveyor Gen. of Idaho, Land Survey Plats (Boise: BLM, State Office, June and November 1870), Allen Thompson, Surveyor. Obtained from Microfilm files at the BLM State Office, Oct. 18, 2004. T5N, R1E, April 18, 1868.
3.Willis H. Reith, Surveyor Gen., Land Survey Plat (BLM State Office, June 1895). Obtained on Oct. 18, 2004.
4.Lalia Boone, Idaho Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary (Moscow, ID: University of Idaho Press, 1988), p. 243.
5.LaFayette Carter, Surveyor Gen. of Idaho, Land Survey Plats (Boise: BLM, State Office, June and November 1870), Allen Thompson, Surveyor. Obtained from Microfilm files at the BLM State Office, Oct. 18, 2004. T5N, R1W, Jan. 28, 1868; T6N, R1W, Dec. 15, 1868.
6.Allen M. Thompson, Field Notes of the Boise Meridian and First Standard Parallel North of the Baseline (Boise: BLM, State Office, November 16, 1867), V. 62, pp. 178-187; Thompson, Survey Land Plat (August 9, 1867), T5N, R1W, from microfilm BLM office, Boise; Surveyor notes, V. 1, p. 117, V. 11, p. 72, V. 45, p. 451.
7.Clyde (August 1, 1870), Centerville Precinct, Boise County, p. 26; Cort Conley, Idaho For the Curious: A Guide (Cambridge, ID, Backeddy Books, 1982), p. 150; Surf the Sake Website, “Home, Gem County History,” Gem County Official Website (Emmett, n.d.), p. 3; William S. Bethel, “John F. T. Basye,” History of Idaho the Gem of the Mountains, Vol. 3 (Mosley, Editor), pp. 564 & 567. From Ancestry.com, November 12, 2004.
8.A. H. Thompson, Geographer, U. S. Geological Survey, “Boise Sheet,” 1897. A copy provided to James McGill by Dan Lute, Boise, ID, in May 2005.