Camas Prairie in the News 1866

Idaho Statesman, Boise City, Idaho
2 Jan 1866, pg. 3, col. 2

From Rocky Bar

Charley Barnes the indomitable expressman, arrived from Rocky Bar yesterday about noon after enduring the greatest hardships and sufferings for over a week.

He started from Rocky Bar a week ago last Thursday with the snow five feet deep and the trail unbroken. Some days he made ten or fifteen miles, some two or three, and some days he could make no progress at all.

Before coming to Camas Prairie, he got bewildered in the snow and storm and came near being out all night. His companion, though living in the neighborhood all last summer, was as much at a loss to follow the trail as he.

In wandering about to make Camas Prairie, they crossed their tracks three times the same afternoon and only succeeded in getting away from the place by observing the direction of the wind. When this thought occurred to them they were going directly back toward Lime Creek, when they turned right about and reached a house about eleven o'clock at night.

The snow was there four or five inches above the knees, and nearly all the same all the way down to the Junction House. Without the most careful attention it is impossible to follow any trail or road in the snow and storm.

The hills covered with the deep snow are perfectly unrecognizable by the most experienced travelers. At one time getting entirely bewildered, Barnes turned one of his horses loose to find his way out if he could. The animal succeeded better than his driver and kept the right course.

No one can estimate the hardships of travel on the prairie and mountain trails in these Idaho storms, till he has had some experience in them. The weary marches, the fatigue of wading and wallowing in three feet of snow, the continual struggle for existence against the intense cold, the anxiety lest the way be totally lost, and all the innumerable hardships of those eleven days in the snow, would fill a book if they were all written, and discourage most people from undertaking the trip till the winter be past.

Barnes brought down W.F.& Co.'s express, besides numerous favors for the Statesman office, which are duly appreciated. A letter express will go back in a day or two, and Barnes himself will return in about a week.

Idaho Tri Weekly Statesman, Boise City, Idaho
5 Jan 1866, pg. 3, col. 3

List of Bills Introduced

In order to make the reports of the proceedings of the legislature intelligible to the reader, we have given the number and title of all bills introduced in both houses. When new bills are introduced they will be added to the list.


No. 1 To increase the compensation of members and attachés of the Legislative Assembly. To each member, six dollars per day in addition to the pay allowed by the United States; to the chief clerk six dollars, assistant clerks five dollars, sergeant-at-arms and door keepers six dollars.

2. To repeal the act of 1853 requiring public officers to take and subscribe the oath of allegiance.

3. Toll road from Lewiston to the line of Montana Territory.

4. For a ferry across Salmon river, in Idaho county.

5. To regulate proceedings in civil cases.

6. Ferry across Boise river eleven miles above Boise City.

7. For a ferry at the head of navigation on Snake river.

8. Toll road from Rocky Bar to silver Mountain, in Alturas county.

9. To incorporate the Yuba and Big Camas Prairie wagon road company.

10. For a bridge on Snake river at the Great Falls.

11. For a ferry on Wood river.

12. Making damage to person and property of passengers a lien on roads and ferries.

13. To regulate ferries and toll bridges upon boundary lines between counties.

14. Relating to elections.

15. For a toll road in Idaho county.

16. Ferry on Snake river and bridge on the Malad.

17. To provide for and regulate the office of dealer or weights and measures.

18. To remove the county seat of Oneida county.

19. To define the boundaries between Idaho and Nez Perces counties.

20 Appropriating certain funds for the payment of the legislature.

21. Relating to quartz claims.

22. Concerning partners and tenants in common in mining property.

23 Amending quartz law.

24. Relief of insolvent debtors and the protection of creditors.

25 Abolishing Territorial treasurer's office.

26. Abolishing Territorial auditor's office.

27. For relief of T.M. Reed.

28. Bridge over Malad river.

29. To provide for the public printing and distribution of the laws.

30. To amend an act creating the office of district attorney.

31. To create the office of Territorial receiver.

32. Toll road from Wood river to the line of Montana Territory.

Idaho Tri Weekly Statesman, Boise City, Idaho
27 Feb 1866, pg. 4, col. 2

The Route to Blackfoot

Several days ago we ventured the assertion that the distance between Boise City and the Montana mines, by the most direct practicable route, does not exceed two hundred and fifty miles. Since that time we have made inquiry of several men who have been longest in the country, and who are best acquainted with the different routes through it, and from the information thus obtained we conclude that the distance is rather less instead of more than stated.

The best map to be obtained confirms this opinion. The latest military maps of this section of the country place the Blackfoot and Fort Boise scarcely three degrees of latitude apart, while the bearing to the East from this place through Camas prairie is less than one hundred miles.

Packers and travelers who have been over the route, so far as we have been able to learn, and there are several of them in town, make the same statement as the above without exception, so far as we have ever heard.

A gentleman now in this city who has been engaged for several years in carrying express and mails in Northern Idaho, and knows the country well all the way to Lemhi and Big Hole, expresses himself firmly of the opinion that the distance between here and Virginia City is not over two hundred and fifty miles. These are the facts as near as can be ascertained in regard to the distance.

As a measure tending to develop the country, this fact alone that it is the shortest possible route is enough to call the attention of the people of Idaho to their interest in it. In regard to the feasibility of the route, all the information we can get is as favorable as that already stated. The route would lay through Big Camas Prairie, leaving Lemhi some distance to the North. The trail is traveled every Summer. We have conversed with several men who came over the route last Summer, from Lemhi, and without exception, they say that a wagon road can easily be made.

There are no mountains on the road that are worse than the Goose Creek mountains, and the probability is that exploration would develop even a better one than that. For animals the trails is good as it is. It is believed that the route, through its whole length, will compare favorably, for a wagon road, with that now traveled by the stage between here and Virginia City, and it would cut off one-half the distance.

Now, considering these facts, and also that the mines of Montana are for extent and pertinency, as well established as any, it becomes us of Southern Idaho to take the speediest possible measures to open this road and secure the shortest and best communication with that new country. The road will always be needed on account of the local interest, and for the travel that has already sprung up between the two sections. But it is, when considered as a part of the great overland route from Sacramento and from Virginia City to the extreme northern mines of American Territory, that this almost unthought of enterprise will derive its greatest importance.

Not withstanding the present disheartening prospect of quieting Indian affairs between here and California, and the interests of the Columbia river corporations this route will certainly be opened. Throughout its whole length it lies through the mineral belt and that particular portion of it which is so providentially interspersed with agricultural lands. The country through which this route passes now demands United States mails to say nothing of the through travel and the through mails. To secure some action in regard to the matter would it not be well to petition Congress for a mail route and a military road from Boise City to Virginia City or Helena?

While hundreds of thousands of acres and millions of money are being expended by the government for the different overland railroads, the local interests of the mining regions ought not to be overlooked or disregarded. No portion of the Territory of the United States more deserves the fostering care and assistance of the government than the mining portion, but it is the misfortune of that portion, with some exceptions, to be but poorly represented in Congress. Not a little can be accomplished, however by good strong petitioning. This will have the effect not only to awake attention in Congress but also our own Delegate. We are inclined to think Mr. Holbrook would do his best for any such measure as he might be called upon to introduce.

Idaho Tri Weekly Statesman, Boise City, Idaho
10 Mar 1866, p. 4, col. 4

More About the Road to Virginia City

Captain McKay, who has spent the winter between here and Fort Lemhi, furnishes us with some reliable information in regard to the proposed road to Virginia City, by way of Big Camas prairie. He has taken pains to make a careful estimate of the distance from Boise City to Virginia, and says a good wagon road can be made that will not exceed three hundred and twenty-five miles. That is somewhat more than we have before stated it, but he has certainly a good opportunity to learn exactly what the distance is, probably, not over two hundred and seventy-five miles the way it is now traveled, but a wagon road cannot easily be made without choosing a longer route.

The Captain also states what we have heretofore stated, that the worst part of the road, and the heaviest hills lie between here and Big Camas prairie; that after reaching that place he can drive loaded teams all the way to Virginia City without any difficulty, and without any work or consequence.

He has so much faith in what he says about the route that he intends to start with wagons himself as soon as the snow will allow him to pass Camas prairie, which will, perhaps, be two or three weeks yet, as there has been no roads broken through during the winter.

The shortest estimate that any one makes of the route now traveled, by way of Fort Hall to Virginia, is four hundred and ninety miles, so that the Camas Prairie road will shorten the distance one hundred and sixty-five miles. It would be well for our Chico friends, and those interested in the navigation of the Sacramento river to make note of this.

Idaho Tri Weekly Statesman, Boise City Idaho
15 May 1866, pg. 4, col. 2

Overland Road to California

Some days ago we published a letter from Mr. E.B. Crocker in relation to the facilities of freighting from the end of the Central Pacific Railroad to supply the Idaho markets with merchandise. Some of the statements in it were new to us as they probably are to most people in the Territory. But the events of the coming summer, will, we have no doubt, make familiar more important facts than we at present know in regard to this overland route to California.

Mr. Crocker says that the Teamster's Association are offering to take freight from the end of the railroad to Ruby City for twelve cents. It should be remembered that that offer is made at a risk without much knowledge of the route, but is intended to be on the safe side so far as profits are concerned.

About every month the road will be shortened until the latter part of the summer, the railroad will reach Crystal Lake and the distance thereby reduced so much that it will fairly compete with any of the other routes to Idaho.

The fact is the country lying between here and Nevada and California is almost unknown, by reason of hostile Indians, but every one who ever went over it gave a good report of its natural facilities for making good roads. In this connection the following item in the last number of the Avalanche is appropriate.

The Messrs. Ewing and party drove the same team and buggy from Shingle Springs to Silver City in eleven days, including all stoppages. They came via Unionville, Dun Glen and Queens River, and pronounce it the best natural road they ever traveled. We know it is not excelled. It is neither rocky, sandy, muddy nor obstructed by any heavy mountain grades nor large streams. These gentlemen are of the decided opinion that with proper changes, stages can make the trip from here to the end of the railroad in five to six days, and from the telegraph at Star City, in two days.

This is only the hundredth time the same thing has been said, and it is well known that the Pony Express two years ago made the time from Star City to this place in three days and often in less time. It is not our purpose to blow or talk for any route in particular, or struggle to advance the claims of any particular locality beyond its real merits, believing that all such efforts are a little worse than fruitless, but it does seem that there is a point in this matter that should be looked after by the people of Idaho.

Bill Beachey and others who have best opportunities for knowing, say that when the railroad shall reach the Big Bend of the Truckee, which it is expected to do this year, there will not be over two hundred miles of stage travel between it and Ruby City, probably less, over a good road. When that happens there is no use for any other route to try to compete with it for the travel and trade between Idaho and California.

But there is another item to be considered, not less important than those already stated. Everybody now knows that every route from the Columbia river to Montana is impassible during the winter and spring except the one through Boise and Snake river valleys. The roundabout way of Salt Lake is out of the question, so if the Central Road can beat the Columbia river route in time and cost of transportation to Idaho, it will just as certainly contend for the Montana trade through this way.

When the new road through Camas Prairie shall be thoroughly known and somewhat improved, the advantages of the Idaho route from California to Montana will be more apparent. It is at the present time the best one, and if as well known would be as much used. It is, in winter, the only one that can be traveled at all, and every additional section of railroad brought into use will make it shorter and cheaper.

The Montana travel from here is now all taking the Camas Prairie and Wood River route, and we do not expect to see it ever abandoned, even in winter, for with any reasonable amount of travel it can be kept open as easily as the others. The coming year will bring, we confidently believe, the establishment of a continuous stage line from the railroad through Owyhee, Boise Valley to Montana.

Idaho Tri Weekly Statesman, Boise City, Idaho
5 Jul 1866, pg. 3, col. 4

Yuba and Big Camas Prairie Wagon Road Company

Incorporated by Act of the Legislature, January 5th A.D. 1866

The advantages of the route proposed are many. First, the whole route possesses excellent grass, wood and water.

Second, it is the most direct route from the eastern roads Volcano and Owyhee, to Yuba, and _____, via the Lemhi Trail, to Montana.

Third, there will be no very steep or long hills on the whole route.

Fourth, the whole route passes through the newly discovered quartz district known as the Ross or East District; passes the Silver Hill District; goes past the rich auriferous lodes of Atlanta Hill and Grouse Creek, in the Yuba district, and terminates at the town of Atlanta, on the Middle Boise river.

Fifth, this route is open several weeks earlier in the spring than any other, and is the only practicable route to Yuba district for heavy freight.

It is expected that the road will cost from $15,000 to $20,000; at the most. For the purpose of carrying out the terms of the Charter, it is proposed to raise a Joint Stock Company whose capital shall be fixed at a sum of $40,000 in 800 shares of $50 each, to be paid at first by a call of $10 on allotment, and afterwards in such manner as may be provided by the Trustees acting under the by-laws of the Company.

The first meeting of the Company will be held at Rocky Bar, Alturas county, I.T. on the 30th day of July, A.D. 1866, when Trustees will be appointed for the ensuing year, and a Treasurer and Secretary appointed for six months, and the first allotment made.

Applications for shares should be made immediately, and all who have paid the first call will at once take part in the proceedings of the first meeting personally or by proxy.

Apply in the annexed form to either of the undersigned.

S.B. Dilley, Rocky Bar,
H.W.). Margary, Boise City,
C.H. Stuart, Rocky Bar

Form of Application

To the Incorporation of the Yuba and Big Camas Prairie Wagon Road Company:

Having paid to ___________ the sum ________Dollars, I hereby request that you will allot me ________ shares in the Yuba and Big Camas Prairie Wagon Road Company; and I hereby agree to accept such Yuba and Big Camas Prairie Wagon Road Company Shares, or any less number that may be allotted to me, according to the terms of the Prospectus.

Address in full:

Back to Camas Prairie in the News Index