The foregoing information has been presented to help dispel the doubts that the Goodale North variant through Crane Creek-called “Tim Goodale road” by some writers in informational road accounts and being used by pack trains in fall of 1862, only weeks after Goodale’s Train-soon became a wagon/emigrant train traveled road for many years, first to Boise Basin. We will look at some of the travel accounts found. Though they are somewhat sparse, compared to numbers of journals and accounts left behind by travelers on other trail routes, they do illustrate well the movement of emigrants for several years along the route. These give ample proof that the route, surely a variant of the Goodale North, deserves to somehow have the name “Goodale” in its identification!.

We will look at some real emigrants and their records, wagon travelers who did clarify and verify their travels on the Emmett to Crane Creek route. One might ask, “How many emigrants are needed to designate a road as one of the routes of the total system of emigrant roads in southern Idaho?” Then the question follows, “How many emigrants’ journals need to be discovered to prove that a trail route was an emigrant route?” Such questions seem irrelevant and maybe unnecessary in trying to write the history about and map and mark this section of the total Goodale route. In the past some trail historians have depended upon large numbers of diaries to make emigrant trail system decisions.

As far as the route under this study is concerned we will consider the number of people, many who can be fully classified as emigrants by their origin, travel, and destination, that started outside of Idaho and arrived at points A, B, C, etc., served by most or parts of this variant route. Whether a man was a miner or of any other vocation need not be figured into the equation! We will find that people of many occupations, coming in wagons from a great variety of areas, east, south, and northwest, arrived in the Boise Basin and in the Upper Weiser River areas. They not only profited from the gold and fertile lands, but they stayed, settled, developed towns and ranches, began logging, built connecting roads, and became a part of the fabric of Idaho’s society. Some wagon travelers went to Oregon.

The 1881 Diary of Emily Towell, who landed with her family in the Middle Valley as late as August 11, 1881, having begun their travels in Mercer County, MO, exactly 3 months before on May 11, is one of our best primary sources. Though she gave few details about the route from Boise to Middle Valley, traveled from August 8-11, her references do indicate the road the train of 40 wagons had followed. Members of the train could not find the through route north from Emmett on their own. She wrote, “August 8. We crossed the Payette river. An old man accompanied us as our guide to the Crane Creek Valley.” These emigrants went on through the Salubria area and then back SW to Middle Valley, not following the little used Goodale route, Mann Creek-Midvale Hill.

Crane Creek Reservoir Now Covers Some Of The Variant Ruts

Variant North Of Emmett followed Gradual Elevations

Variant North Of Emmett followed Gradual Elevations

The Towell family wagon was not alone, and certainly not the first nor the last to follow the Crane Creek route north. The very fact that a 40 wagon train would follow the variant to the Weiser River as late as 1881, offers a strong likelihood that other trains had known about and continued to come that route (though few diaries have been found) from the time of first settlers to the area in the 1860s! We have established that the continued 1866-69 migration wave was encouraged by the opening of Goodale’s mining routes (information in Endnote 13, p. 11). Merrill wrote also of the period from 1870 on.

During the trough years, beginning in 1870, farm families heading their wagons up the Platte probably kept [followed] Goodale’s Cutoff the major trail segment across Idaho because the cutoff was on their major destination [some to central Idaho]. Trail journals from these decades support this contention. 1)Merrill and Wells, p. 15. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright

Towell’s Diary entries covered the Jeffrey-Goodale Cutoff all the way from the Fort Hall area. Merrill referred to the journal of Emily Towell. We see now from the records, some which will be presented here, that many farmers and ranchers not only used the Jeffrey-Goodale Cutoff, but also followed along the northern route from Boise, the Goodale Cutoff. Many of them moved into the Middle and Upper Weiser valleys as early as 1867-68, following the Crane Creek route. (Some Goodale Train travelers also returned!) In 1868, the first white settlers to have moved into the Middle Valley were members of the John Reed family. Reed constructed a sawmill, and the family raised eight children there.

Other settlers came in the years following, but the most noteworthy boost [to population] came when there arrived in 1881 when [sic] a train of forty covered wagons came from Mercer County at the extreme north of central Missouri. 2)Merrill and Wells, “Introduction,” p. 197. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright

That was Emily Towell’s train, and she was 52 years old. On page 219 of the book where Towell’s journal was found, “Epilogue,” Kenneth Holmes, Editor, added the list of 47 persons in the Mercer train. All but seven persons had to be old enough to drive a wagon!

Some of those settlers went on to Salubria and Indian Valley according to the last entry of Emily’s Diary, on August 11. There are a few other accounts of families that came to the same area which the Towell family settled within. By 1885, there were about 30 permanent families in Middle Valley, 3)Midvale School Administration, “History of Midvale high School,” (Midvale, ID: High School archives, n.d.), p. 2. Found on Midvale Library Web.  Yahoo search, 6-12-2004. mostly emigrant families from other States.

It is fortuitous that we have another of very few records that have been discovered. In August 1881-the month that the Mercer train also went to Middle Valley-another train of 12 wagons came from Missouri to the Valley. Ethel Reynolds wrote:

The road my mother’s people came from Missouri on, in the 12-wagon train, came from Boise through Emmett, August 1881, down Freezeout Hill, through Willow Creek, Crane Creek and Dixie, down what we called Leddington Hill, which one travels coming from Salubria to Midvale on [sic]. 4)Ethel Ader (Nelson) Reynolds, “Personal Letter to Maxine” (Midvale: Library archives, December 11, 1979), p. 1. This letter was written from Toledo, OR, with some family history that was to be included in a history of Midvale in the News Reporter. Ethel was 75 years old at the time, born in Midvale in 1904, and she had interviewed her mother in 1957, recording the emigrant story.

The family names given in the Reynolds letter do not match the list of names given with the Emily Towel Diary, and the number of wagons differed. Therefore, this had to be a second train.

Another reported train came to the valley in 1884, according to Reynolds, on which her father came, and soon met her mother. The father’s family name was Ader, and there were also some relatives, Potter and Hopper names, on the train. Some other Ader relatives, named Keithley, had arrived on a third train, but no date was given. The Keithley brothers ran a hardware store in Midvale. 5)Ethel Ader (Nelson) Reynolds, “Personal Letter to Maxine” (Midvale: Library archives, December 11, 1979), p. 1-2. This letter was written from Toledo, OR, with some family history that was to be included in a history of Midvale in the News Reporter. Ethel was 75 years old at the time, born in Midvale in 1904, and she had interviewed her mother in 1957, recording the emigrant story.

The next detailed history section is given to reinforce sparse emigrant diary information.

More Information: Other Emigrants

The name attached to “Leddington” (sic) Hill by Reynolds was derived from an Elijah Calvin Ledington family that immigrated to the Mann Creek area. Elijah was born in Buchanan County, MO, October 16, 1841, and came to Idaho by way of Pottawatomie County, KS with his family. A son, also Elijah, was born August 19, 1882, in Kansas, and a daughter, Bertha, was born in Idaho, July 4, 1888. 6)Washington County Records, SSI Records, Idaho Death Records, Internet Ancestry.com files, search “Elijah Ledington,” 10-27-2004.

A bit of eastern newspaper information from the era gave the year and the approximate time of the Ledington’s arrival, at the end of an 1883 trip up the Crane creek variant. There was also a Ledington brother, Daniel, and his family who came along. Research on some of the other names that were listed on the wagon train might find information about other emigrants that arrived at the same time. (We note that the Idaho area was no longer a part of Washington Territory, so the planned destination was not reached!)

Back to: Goodale North Trail

References   [ + ]

1.Merrill and Wells, p. 15. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright
2.Merrill and Wells, “Introduction,” p. 197. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright
3.Midvale School Administration, “History of Midvale high School,” (Midvale, ID: High School archives, n.d.), p. 2. Found on Midvale Library Web.  Yahoo search, 6-12-2004.
4.Ethel Ader (Nelson) Reynolds, “Personal Letter to Maxine” (Midvale: Library archives, December 11, 1979), p. 1. This letter was written from Toledo, OR, with some family history that was to be included in a history of Midvale in the News Reporter. Ethel was 75 years old at the time, born in Midvale in 1904, and she had interviewed her mother in 1957, recording the emigrant story.
5.Ethel Ader (Nelson) Reynolds, “Personal Letter to Maxine” (Midvale: Library archives, December 11, 1979), p. 1-2. This letter was written from Toledo, OR, with some family history that was to be included in a history of Midvale in the News Reporter. Ethel was 75 years old at the time, born in Midvale in 1904, and she had interviewed her mother in 1957, recording the emigrant story.
6.Washington County Records, SSI Records, Idaho Death Records, Internet Ancestry.com files, search “Elijah Ledington,” 10-27-2004.