Fording Middle Fork of Salmon River

Alturas County, Idaho Genealogy and History

Welcome to Alturas County, Idaho a part of the American History and Genealogy Project (AHGP). It is our goal to provide you with the best information possible when searching for your Alturas ancestors. We are Judy White and Dennis Partridge and we will be your host for Alturas County, Idaho.

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This is a life, a name, the ages will revere, He seeks a country new, afar, the pioneer. On March 3, 1863, Idaho Territory was organized out of parts of Washington, Nebraska and Dakota Territories, with Lewiston the capital. The new Territory contained four counties which had been created in the following order, while forming a part of Washington Territory, namely, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Idaho and Boise, ten mining towns and 20,000 people.

The first session of the Territorial legislature met at Lewiston on December 7, 1863. During that session three counties were created in the following order, to-wit: Owyhee, Oneida and Alturas. This made seven counties in the new Territory. Alturas County was created on February 4, 1864, with Esmeralda the county seat. The latter was situated near the present site of Featherville, on the South Boise River, about six miles in an air line from Rocky Bar, but its exact location is unknown. The county seat soon there after was removed to Rocky Bar, and thereby hangs a tale.

Alturas County at this time included all lands north of Snake River from the mouth of Bruneau to Little Lost River and as far north as the Sawtooth Mountains. Bancroft in his history of Washington, Idaho and Montana says Alturas is a Spanish word meaning “Mountainous Heights.” It was said by the Indians who inhabited that part of the country to mean “Heavenly Heights.”

This site is a member of The American History and Genealogy Project (AHGP), an unincorporated not-for-profit network of independent sites devoted to History & Genealogy, and covering North American Countries and Territories. For more information about our group, including how you can join us, please see our About page.

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