We have already described both the original route from the Weiser area to the Cambridge Valley, and the central variant from Emmett north to the Little Weiser River and beyond. Both the continuation of the Goodale North from the lower Weiser area, and the variant north from Emmett, saw less early traffic than the part of the road that continued on to the Olds Ferry, crossing into Oregon, but both were the legitimate routes on to the upper Weiser River valley and to the Brownlee Ferry crossing of the Snake River.

We do repeat the fact of the probable little use of the “Midvale Hill” route for some years after Goodale, even though speculation in some written accounts from the past suggest more extensive use of this route than the present evidence and primary accounts support. Several undocumented written statements, claiming the road followed the path of U.S. 95, have been found, but the surveyor’s evidence and the lack of primary accounts of that area traveled leave an important question about the amount of early use in following the original Goodale route. On the other hand the use of the variant through Crane Creek has now been better documented and included in information presented in this paper.

Little more is needed to be said here, but the Crane Creek route north, which we have identified and often implied was a Goodale variant, carried emigrant traffic for several years. The evidence of the deep and well-worn old ruts, found in many places along the present road as well as miles of ruts across unchanged areas along the route, speak to the long and varied use of the trail there. Though Goodale did not lead his train through that route, there is a strong possibility that he had before traveled through there, and thus he knew that it would not be appropriate for wagons until route improvements were made!

While the Goodale Train was waiting in the later Salubria area and before building the road to the Brownlee Ferry, some freight packers going from Umatilla to Boise found them there. They advised them about improving the trail to the Brownlee Ferry to get the wagons through. This information suggests that they knew the area and may have followed the Emmett area pack trail. Packers were using that route earlier than the time of the Goodale Train! We are not told in the account by Moses Splawn how he and his “Grimes party” mining group, traveling with Goodale, later returned to the Boise Basin. They brought 50 packers from Walla Walla with them, and it is believed that they returned by this central trail and may have been the first miners to follow that route. They would then have known about the route. Splawn wrote that the larger party arrived back in the Basin in October 1862, and Pioneer City was begun on Grimes Creek. 1)W. W. Lloyd and Mrs. Edna A. Melhorn, “Baker County Historical Society,” Oregon Historical Quarterly, V. 49 (1948). p. 306; Hiram T. French, “Discovery of Gold,” Chapter 5, History of Idaho (Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1914), p. 35; Ibid, “Boise County,” p. 133. French quoted the story told by Moses Splawn, before recorded in John Hailey’s History of Idaho.

Goodale appeared to know where he was going all the way to the Snake River at the Brownlee site, and did not attempt that which would have been too difficult for wagons. As Merrill and Wells wrote, and which was quoted earlier, Goodale did know “enough about that country to avoid traps there,” 2)Merrill and Wells, p. 11. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright. The later emigrants and miners that followed him across much of his whole Idaho Cutoff, but were soon able to follow that central route rather than going the longer distance, appear to justify the idea that it became a Goodale Cutoff variant.

Back to: Goodale North Trail

References   [ + ]

1.W. W. Lloyd and Mrs. Edna A. Melhorn, “Baker County Historical Society,” Oregon Historical Quarterly, V. 49 (1948). p. 306; Hiram T. French, “Discovery of Gold,” Chapter 5, History of Idaho (Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1914), p. 35; Ibid, “Boise County,” p. 133. French quoted the story told by Moses Splawn, before recorded in John Hailey’s History of Idaho.
2.Merrill and Wells, p. 11. Jewell included a written account of the Goodale Train travel, written by Dunham Wright