Emigrants included Many Non-Miners

Only a few people, relatively impermanent, went to the Weiser River area as early1864-65. Within a few years, while the Crane Creek variant of the “Tim Goodale road” was in use, about 1867 in larger numbers, many ranches and towns people began to populate the area from Middle Valley west, east, and north to above the Council valley. From that time mixed-occupation residents helped towns develop there, and the preponderance of the evidence proves that those emigrants who came from the east through Boise followed this central Crane Creek route. We know that Brownlee left his Ferry in 1864, but did that end the traffic across the Snake River there? We will later examine some little known information about this ferry site! A few accounts indicate that some men who came back east to the upper Weiser area from the west did go down the Burnt River and crossed on the Olds Ferry, and then came up to the valleys. Other accounts give evidence that people continued to find their way across the Snake River at the Brownlee site, going both ways!

As before written, little evidence indicates that emigrants used the original Goodale Train route north of the Weiser River. The two sections of the March 1863, Horton report completely ignored this route, but clearly supplied the mileage for crossing from Oregon at the Olds Ferry and following the Payette River east. It also confirmed the route north on the Crane Creek link to Little Weiser River valley and beyond. Journal evidence supported by other information indicates that Crane Creek was a well used route, from the Payette River to the upper Weiser valley, for almost 20 years after Goodale.

One early area that began to be settled north of Weiser was along Mann Creek, and several farmers/ranchers began to settle there just before 1868. About the same time settlement began in the Midvale area, though the town was established only in 1903. Surprisingly, though Middle Valley was NE of Mann Creek, 10 miles from its upper waters, as late as the 1880s emigrants were going to that valley by the Crane Creek road and then back SW from the crossing of the upper Little Weiser River and the Salubria Valley! (See Map) That seems to hint about the poor condition of the section of the Goodale Train route over the hill to Middle Valley! During settlement, Mann Creek road may have become a better wagon road, but same-period reports raise doubts about the condition of the rest of the road on over Midvale Hill (information under Adelia Parke, “My Mother’s Family were Pioneers” (Midvale, ID: Midvale Library, n.d.), p. 1. An unpublished family history written by a former Midvale resident and archived at the Library. Obtained by Internet from the Midvale Library by a Google, “Goodale, emigrant” search, June 10, 2004.,). Both of those sections of a road were indicated as being in place on the 1870 surveyor’s land plat, described in 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.–without indicating the condition of each.

As before verified, by 1870 no road or road segments were indicated by the surveyor following the sometimes claimed or estimated trail route of the Goodale wagons anywhere parallel to or west of Mann Creek-indicated by some writers as following near U. S. 95. Though Allen Thompson, Surveyor, had traversed all the area in his survey to complete the section lines, he did not indicate on the plat or in his notes any road near the supposed U. S. 95 route, north along Monroe Creek from the Weiser area! On the plats he had marked and noted some other existing road segments west of lower Mann Creek and south near the Weiser River where they crossed survey lines!

About 1867, some settlers had begun to end their long travels in the area where Goodale had crossed the Weiser River for the second time, and the town of Salubria in the “Salubria Valley” grew up on the trail. Accounts from the histories of many of these families indicate they were some of the emigrants coming across the trail system from the east, and some had followed the Jeffrey-Goodale all the way across Idaho. A few had also come back east from Oregon. The central variant, called the “Tim Goodale road,” was the main highway from south and west. Some of these families will be viewed later.

Shortly after Salubria was beginning, ten miles to the east in another large basin Indian Valley began to be settled. And in 1868, Henry Childs, an unmarried man, became the first emigrant to settle north of Indian Valley, just above the Council area, up Hornet Creek. Almost a decade later, this Council Valley began to be filled with other settlers, and the town of Council grew up. Emigrant trains, through the Crane Creek route, continued to bring people from the east into the 1880s. (Trail diary information will be found in the next section of this paper.) Much of the above described emigration was during Merrill Wells’ stated “another three seasons,” 1866-69, [1]Merrill and Wells, p. 15. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright.

In October 1875, another ferry was built by William O. West and O. Gaylord at the old Brownlee Ferry site. A new road was constructed to the Weiser mines, and one from those mines to Salubria soon replaced part of the old Goodale route from Salubria to the Brownlee Ferry. At that time the improved road was opened, “from Salubria to Baker City, a distance of 75 miles.” We will later see what was happening at the Brownlee Ferry site between Brownlee’s departure in 1864 and this new 1875 ferry.

Back to: Goodale North Trail


1Merrill and Wells, p. 15. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright

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