Idaho Territory ~ 150 years

Posted March 19, 2013 by Geni | No Comment

We’re happy to present a guest post written by blogger Leslie Ann of Ancestors Live Here. Today she shares some interesting facts about the Idaho Territory and how you can honor your Idaho ancestors by sharing their memories in the Idaho Pioneers Project on Geni.

It has been 150 years this March since Idaho Territory was created. President Lincoln signed the bill creating Idaho Territory March 4, 1863 from  Dakota Territory, Nebraska Territory, and Washington Territory. Originally,  the territory included all of modern-day Idaho and Montana, and most of Wyoming.

Idaho was home to Native people thousands of years before it became a Territory. You may know of one in particular who was born in 1787 named Sacajawea.

The area was also busy with explorers, trappers and traders. Kullyspell House was the first non-native establishment in the Northwest and was built in 1809 near Lake Pend Oreille.

In 1836 Henry Spalding and his wife Eliza Hart Spalding established a mission for the Nez Perce near Lapwai. and opened Idaho’s first school, created the first irrigation system, printed the first book in the Northwest and grew the first Idaho potato.

In 1860, Idaho’s first town Franklin, was established near the Utah border, and as gold and silver were discovered, mining towns sprung up between 1860 and 1863 at Pierce, Idaho City, and Silver City.

Idaho communities are celebrating its sesquicentennial birthday with speeches, exhibits, performances and more. Since I can’t be in Idaho, my favorite form of celebration is reading the histories of the Pioneers, miners and other settlers of Idaho.

The Idaho State Journal is doing a sesquicentennial series in their Sunday edition.  One such article is about one of my distant relatives Henry Hyrum Henderson.

The Idaho Statesman is also doing some articles about Idaho history.

Some fun facts about Idaho:

  • Idaho is the 13th largest state in the U.S.
  • Idaho produces 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones. Some of these stones can be found nowhere else in the world, which is why it is known as The Gem State.
  • No. 1 National producer of potatoes, trout, lentil, and Austrian winter peas.

If you have Idaho ancestors, this is the perfect time to honor their memory by sharing their stories and adding them to the Idaho Pioneers Project.

Image credit: Leslie Ann