With the above facts we can begin to better understand the importance of the route that was soon opened directly north of Emmett, in connecting the whole Goodale Cutoff: It soon spliced the Goodale routes together in their middle. The first 203 miles from Fort Hall to Ditto Creek, Elmore County, and the trail north from Boise was by this variant connected to the Powder River, OR. The new route provided a much more useable trail to the meeting with the Oregon Trail. A great deal of traffic continued to pass both ways on the Goodale North for several years, and also to connecting side routes both west and east-to the Olds Ferry and to the Boise Basin. Thus it seems more than proper that the soon-opened central Crane Creek variant was actually referred to by writers as “the old Tim Goodall [sic] road,” even as late as 1876.

From here [Boise] to the Upper Weiser valley the route follows the old Tim Goodall road, and is traveled by the Weiser people and is in good going with respectable loads. . . . It then strikes a sort of plateau, over easy rolling hills the rest of the distance, diverging on Crane’s creek to the middle and lower valley and to Indian valley. 1)Milton Kelly, Editor, “Editorial Correspondence: Emmettsville,” Idaho Statesman, Boise, June 22, 1876, p. 2, col. 1. Obtained from Larry Jones, ISHS, June 9, 2004.

At that time, the Editor of the Idaho Statesman recorded that Boise dignitaries and others had been discussing the possibility that this road would become the improved and only road that connected southern and northern Idaho. He wrote,

. . . the people of Boise City and Boise county, with the labor given by the Weiser [area] people, will put the road in good condition. Besides this, several settlements will be opened along the route. On Crane’s creek, Big Willow, and in Smearage’s valley, there is excellent farming land for twenty farms, which would soon be taken up and improved [developed] if the road was assured. 2)Milton Kelly, Editor, “Editorial Correspondence: Emmettsville,” Idaho Statesman, Boise, June 22, 1876, p. 2, col. 2. Obtained from Larry Jones, ISHS, June 9, 2004.

Eventually U.S. 95 fulfilled that need for a through route, especially on the western side of the State of Idaho. The reflection of the continued importance and much-use of the Crane Creek variant of the Goodale road can be seen in this account of 1876.

Another Tim Goodale influence of importance was discussed by Irving Merrill. He presented some facts that elevate the importance of the Goodale North route, which did involve the use of the variant, in use by emigrants for many years after Goodale passed, to the same level of significance as all of the eastern part of the Jeffrey-Goodale Cutoff. The use and importance to emigrant travel on the first part of the Jeffrey-Goodale Cutoff, including the many miners on their way through Boise, has now been well established by many researchers and writers. The importance of the second part north from Boise did not diminish just because some Cutoff travelers going on to Oregon followed the older Oregon Trail. Most soon changed travel toward Emmett and down the Payette River on the Olds Ferry route. Somewhat fewer made it to the Brownlee Ferry to go on to Oregon.

[Merrill] Mattes’ estimate of annual trail migration ends with the year 1866. Merle W. Wells, Idaho State Historian emeritus, has written that the excitement over the first gold and silver mining in Idaho took place from 1862 through 1869. Thus it is possible that the longest migration wave continued for another three seasons [from 1866]. 3)Merrill and Wells, p. 15. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright

Many of those migrating families did not get as far as Oregon because Idaho became the place of the mining hotspots, and many of the emigrants had developed a greater interest in mining than in farming. (Other Idaho areas were being settled too.) By 1863, a large part of traffic traveling north of Boise was going to the Boise Basin’s rich mining strikes.

By that time [1863] Idaho City was larger than Portland, and a new transportation network had been developed to meet Idaho’s mining needs. Goodale’s Cutoff continued to attract a lot of emigrant wagons. . . . Mining travel remained heavy on Goodale’s Cutoff for many years, with a variety of destinations that shifted regularly depending upon which gold rush happened to be underway 4)ISHS, “Goodale’s Cutoff North of Timmerman Hill.” Reference Series, # 1071 (April 1995), p. 2. .”

The best way to the mines, whether up to the Salmon River to Florence, or to the more recent discoveries in the Boise Basin, was the Goodale North, with the Crane Creek route fully supplanting the original western route from the Weiser River to Midvale. This became the way of most travelers, both from the east and from the west! Some present writings that discuss “Goodale’s Cutoff” refer to the whole road from the Fort Hall site on the Snake River to Baker Oregon, and assume without much explanation that the road that was used through the Crane Creek route was part of that complete Cutoff.

But was this travel north from Boise and through Crane Creek as well as easterly from Oregon across the Brownlee Ferry, mostly only miners with pack trains? Was it not also followed by wheeled vehicles for many years? Finding our research resources very limited with direct emigrant journal information, what do the other facts and information reflect and directly prove? We will see that many emigrants, with interests and occupations quite varied from mining, traveled the Goodale North-some only on portions but also along the complete route. It all began with Tim Goodale in 1862, but his ground-breaking example and influence was extended for many years.

Back to: Goodale North Trail

References   [ + ]

1.Milton Kelly, Editor, “Editorial Correspondence: Emmettsville,” Idaho Statesman, Boise, June 22, 1876, p. 2, col. 1. Obtained from Larry Jones, ISHS, June 9, 2004.
2.Milton Kelly, Editor, “Editorial Correspondence: Emmettsville,” Idaho Statesman, Boise, June 22, 1876, p. 2, col. 2. Obtained from Larry Jones, ISHS, June 9, 2004.
3.Merrill and Wells, p. 15. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright
4.ISHS, “Goodale’s Cutoff North of Timmerman Hill.” Reference Series, # 1071 (April 1995), p. 2.