Friday, May 7, 2010

The Beginning - - or is it the End????

Mary Winnie Dexter was born 13 March 1877 in Toulon, Stark Co, Illinois to Walter Marshall and Alida Jane (Bennett) Dexter.  The picture at left shows Mary "Winnie" - in front - with her parents, brother Lotan and sisters Phalla, Kezzia, and Marcia.

Marcia, the oldest daughter, married James Wright in 1887 and chose to remain in Illinois when the family decided to move to Idaho and homestead.  Lotan, the oldest in the family, was married also in 1887 to Viola Pratt, but they decided to venture to the Idaho Territory (on November 5, 1889, the citizens of Idaho Territory ratified the constitution by a vote of 12,398 to 1,773 and it became a state on 3 July, 1890) and try their luck at homesteading also.  The Dexters came to Idaho in 1889, to what is now Valley County.  But tragedy was to soon strike the family - on 27 July 1890, just days after the state was formed, the family was camped beside the Payette River and 13 year old Kezzia decided to go down to the river to get a bucket of water.  As she put the bucket in, the force of the stream pulled her and she was swept away down the river.  Lotan, her brother, jumped in to save her but was unsuccessful.  Both drowned that day and were buried in a cemetery that now overlooks the Cascade Reservoir - Crown Point Cemetery. 

In 1902, Walter M and Mary W Dexter filed homestead claims with the Bureau of Land Management. 

This was written by Wesley W. Craig      January 1999
There is a fascinating story of how our Logues from Pennsylvania got to Valley County, Idaho. To show how historical events could have unforeseen circumstances for the Logue family, I need to mention the discovery of gold in the Yukon Territory of northwestern Canada in 1896. News of this event didn’t reach the United States until 1897. This brought a stampede of prospectors from around the world in 1897-98. Among those who were excited by this event was Ezra E. Logue (b. 1874 at First Fork, Cameron County, Pennsylvania), a second-cousin to my great grand-father, George Alexander Logue. Ezra is reported to have made two trips to the Klondike in search of gold along with his cousin, Irivin Logue of Huntley, Cameron County. Enroute to the gold field he went over the Chilkoot Pass where several hours earlier an avalanche had occurred, burying many of prospectors. He helped dig out survivors (many had died) from the ice and snow, then proceeded on to the Klondike. (For a fascinating description of the events surrounding this gold-strike read James Michner’s book, Alaska).

Following his second trip to the Klondike gold fields Ezra rafted and boated down the Yukon River in Alaska to a new gold-strike at Nome, Alaska. He then decided to return to Pennsylvania through the newly discovered gold mining area in central Idaho (Idaho County). He is reported to have taken up a timber and homestead claim near Garden Valley, Idaho (close to Long Valley, Idaho). His health not being good he returned to Cameron County, Pa. to spend the winter, with the intention of returning to Idaho in the spring. Unfortunately, he became seriously ill and died at home in Pennsylvania several months later of spinal meningitis and typhoid fever. He died on July 24,1903 and was buried in the Gilmore Cemetery, Cameron, Pa.

The likelihood that George Alexander Logue (my great-grandfather)and his sons had spent time talking to his second cousin, Ezra, is quite high, given the fact that they lived just a few miles from each other. Ezra Logue’s description of the merits of central Idaho apparently captivated the interest of George’s three sons (John, Thomas and Frederick).

The elder son, John Logue, came out to Idaho in 1902 to see for himself "...when he returned to to Pennsylvania he had a lot of glowing tales to tell about that big new country."

This apparently convinced his younger brother Thomas Elbridge Logue, another son of George Alexander, who also went to Idaho and in 1902 took out a stone and timber claim on the Middle Fork, above Garden Valley, Idaho, his first year in the West. In 1904 Thomas married Marie Winifred Dexter at Crawford, Idaho and in 1906 filed for a a homestead, east of Cascade on what is now part of the Tom Davis ranch. They lived there until 1937 when they retired to Cascade.

At about the same time Frederick (the third son) moved out to Thunder City, Valley County, and established a mercantile store to supply the miners of the booming Thunder Mountain gold-strike area.

From Valley County, Idaho - Prehistory to 1910 (Valley County History Project) pg. 236 - Another brother, Tom, came west and homesteaded between Crawford and Thunder City;  pg 249 - Among these settlers were a family from far-away Pennsylvania, well known in their strict honesty and good business principles. They saw the possibilities of this region and decided to make it their home. The son who accompanied them, soon after his arrival married in the family of one of our oldest and most respected families in Long Valley [Walter Dexter]. (The Long Valley Advocate, published in Lardo, Oct. 27, 1904)

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