Possible Project Goals

Though at some earlier time researchers evidently did not find enough information to include the Goodale North routes in the publishing of Emigrant Trails of Southern Idaho, it is now hoped that this paper, further research, and more on-the-trail discovery of the trail ruts will provide enough information and documentation that this part of the exclusive “Goodale Cutoff” would be included in any future revision and republication of that book. Of course along with this information, many days of ground footwork will be done to find and map the remaining ruts from Boise north. The original routes along and north from the Payette River to the crossing of the upper Weiser River should be included, as well as the variant from Emmett through the Crane Creek area.

Recent information that has become available, the subject of which was mentioned under the 1864 Harriet Loughary train route on pages 29-30, offered opportunity to fully verify the original Goodale route as well the better known but later trail south of the Payette River, from Emmett, NW and then north toward Payette, ID. The route on the north side of the Payette River was being used extensively by emigrants earlier than most that followed the Crain Creek variant, and deserves identification as a part of the Goodale Cutoff. Research and investigation will continue for all routes as the whole project is followed in further exploration and planning. [1]Addendum Two, the information update of 01-09-05, added below the Endnotes, supports this change about the probable original Goodale Train route.

Many photos and much depicted and mapped information will be made available to provide the required documentation and evidence for all the northern routes. All the routes have now been preliminary covered, and nine reports with photos have been prepared, part of the documentation that is still ongoing. There is still a need to more thoroughly investigate, cover trail sections, and verify, with land owners’ permissions, rut sections that cross private land sections. The assistance and cooperation of the BLM, the Idaho State Historical Society, and other relevant agencies will continue to be elicited to contribute to the whole project.

Decisions about the trails, locations, and appropriate decal labels is hoped to be a group effort, based upon real evidence that has been accumulated and the opinions and comparative choices of many well qualified people who have searched for, walked, and located other miles of historic trails across Idaho. If the documented information were not reviewed and agreed upon by the available experts, and the written production(s) that verify the emigrant routes found scholarly and credible, then the whole project and its results would be somewhat less than successful and legitimate!

As before stated and insinuated in much of this information about the “Goodale North,” a term chosen by this writer to identify all of the relevant routes in the system of trails traveled by miners and other emigrants, all the original Goodale route and the variants must be identified as well as possible. Route names need to be applied that will identify the historical significance of this trail system, and that will give Tim Goodale the credit he deserves for his contributions to Idaho.

We have seen the importance of the starting of this route north from Boise, under Goodale’s leadership, which not only helped make the shortest route possible all the way to the upper Weiser Valley and Brownlee’s Ferry, but which soon offered a connection to the Olds Ferry and a good alternative for Oregon bound emigrants. And the roads that were heavily used followed Goodale’s passing offered stages and freighters a better route east and west between Idaho and Umatilla/ Walla Walla. Goodale’s Cutoff provided many advantages for all travelers into and across Idaho to other areas.

We know that the study evidence supports the middle part of the original Cutoff north, both the Weiser to Salubria route-probably beginning along lower Mann Creek and not heavily used-and the more central Crane Creek variant that became extensively used after Goodale finished his original route. One important significance of the 1864, George Woodman, “Mining Sections” Map [2]Ralph N. Preston, Early Idaho Maps (Portland: Thomas Binford, Pub., 1978), pp. 18-21. Maps signed by LaFayette Carter, Surveyor General., is seen by his location of the “Gordon [Goodale] Trail.” Though the scale is on a large map of Idaho and Oregon, he made a well-defined distinction between the Olds Ferry route, part of which was Goodale’s original route, and the central Crane Creek route. Thus in 1864 the Crane Creek route was mapped as the “Goodale Trail,” even though Goodale went around a different route, and for many years others identified that central route in the same way! This route became the main trail that completed the Goodale North!

Woodman inscribed a road from west of Boise, at about the Eagle location, across to the Emmett area. There one continuing road was inscribed down the Payette River and going on NW to the Olds Ferry. On that 1864 map there was absolutely no road indicated going from the area of Weiser NE, along the U. S. 95 corridor, or up Mann Creek toward the Middle Weiser valley! The Mann Creek road was first found on the 1867 surveyor’s plat, and by then some were evidently following the same, as found in the 1867, Adelia Park account [3]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 … Continue reading. This all tends to support this writer’s prior contention, based upon all the evidence at hand, that for some years few people tried that route after Goodale passed through the area.

From near the north end of the road that connected both the later Eagle, and Emmett, the trail on the map that Merle Wells maintained should have been “Goodale’s,” goes northerly and then NW to the area of the Snake River to meet the river a bit south of the actual location of Brownlee Ferry. (The map scale makes this difficult to judge.) On his 1864 map, Woodman also added another road going north from the Payette River near Emmett and eventually turning westerly to the Brownlee Ferry. It appears that the route of the trail and the road north were probably really one and the same. In his effort to plot the supposed “Gordon’s Trail,” a name which no historian or record seems to recognize, Woodman did not completely understand that the trail was actually the forerunner of the road through Crane Creek that connected the Payette River to the Snake River. Though the accuracy of these routes is not very good on such a large map, the fact remains that a variant, elsewhere called the Goodale Road, was thereon defined up through central Crane Creek. This route was also verified as a part of the Goodale North in several other records that have been discovered.

We add here an important supportive fact about the central variant north of Emmett. For many years the official Idaho Maps of the State has included a code-line marked route across Idaho. It is drawn from the Fort Hall site to Boise, and then north from Boise to Emmett, up the Crane Creek route, and on along the route to the Brownlee Ferry site. The Map Legend had for years informed the reader that this coded line was the “Goodale Cutoff!” Thus it appears that for many years some influential historians have considered the central variant to have been a part of the northern Goodale Cutoff.

Back to: Goodale North Trail


1Addendum Two, the information update of 01-09-05, added below the Endnotes, supports this change about the probable original Goodale Train route.
2Ralph N. Preston, Early Idaho Maps (Portland: Thomas Binford, Pub., 1978), pp. 18-21. Maps signed by LaFayette Carter, Surveyor General.
3Adelia 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.

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