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Early History of Franklin County

(Taken in part from The Trailblazer)

The subject of this sketch, as the title suggests, is to be a part history of Franklin County, that includes of course, the beginnings and developments of the various communities. However, in order that the reader may more fully understand and appreciate what is all about and the foundation thereof, it will not be amiss to give here a brief sketch concerning the earliest history of the territory that is now known as Cache Valley, and an account of the Battle Creek Massacre, the results of which afforded the settlers much relief from Indian troubles and made it possible for home seekers to locate in the more remote parts of this section of the county.

It is not very often that historians can get a definite account of the very earliest history of some particular regions, however, we are quite sure that the historians are right when they tell us that it was not until 1824 that the solitudes of Cache Valley were broken by the coming of the first white men. But long before this, the valley had been a favorite hunting ground for the indians. Among them were members of the Shoshone, Blackfoot and Ute Indian tribes. The streams were the homes of all kinds of valuable elk, deer, mountain sheep, bear, wolf, mountain lion, coyote and lynx roamed freely about in the hills and mountains. The streams were well supplied with a variety of fish. This place was first called "Willow Valley" and it was to this rich hunting ground that, in 1824, trappers working, doubtlessly, for the Rock Mountain Fur Company, which later proved to be a powerful rival to the Hudson Bay Fur Company in the Oregon country. According to the records of some historians, James ("Jim") Bridger was the leader or captain of this early fur company. Kit Carson, the famous frontiersman and William F. Dranan were also members of the party.

The stories of these good hunting grounds soon reached other trappers and Willow Valley became the meeting place for those who trapped for furs. The name "Cache Valley" of course came naturally, due to the habit of the trappers caching their furs here.

James P. Beckwith, who came to this valley in 1825, later helped to explore and survey a prospective route for a transcontinental railroad.

In 1860, Idaho was still a vast wilderness known only to the few trappers, the hunter, the prospector and the Catholic missionary. The extent of its wealth and resources were unthought of as savage Indians and others made their trails along the streams, across the plains and through the mountain passes.

Just at this time, that is early in the spring of 1860, a small band of pioneers and trail blazers wended their way into the Northern part of Cache Valley. They came because of their having heard of the rich fertility of this soil and thought it a good place to build homes. They selected a spot on the banks of the Cub River and began immediately to build homes and plan for a permanent settlement. That was the beginning of the first permanent white settlement in Idaho, now known as Franklin.






The names of the heads of the first families who came to this area are: Alfred Alder, Geo. Alder, Enoch Broadbent, Wm. Corbridge, Wm. Cowan, Jr., G. W. Crocheron, Joseph Chadwick, Robert Dowdle, John Doney, Wm.Fluitt, John Frew, Geo. Foster, Wm. Garner, Samuel Handy, T. C. D. Howell, James Hutchins, Thomas Hull, E. W. Hanson, James Harris, W. Harris, Leroy Holt, W. H. Head, Edward Kingsford, Peter Lowe, James Lofthouse, Thomas McCann, Thomas Mendenhall, Sr., Joshua Messervy, John Morrison, Andrew Morrison, James May, Thomas Mayberry, Wm. G. Nelson, J. S. Nelson, James Oliverson, Joseph Perkins, S. R. Parkinson, Shem Purnell, Peter Preece, Peter J. Pool, James Packer, Sr., Wm. Patten, John Reed, D. Reed, Thomas Smart, James Sanderson, Thomas Slater, George Shields, John Smith, Alexander Stalker, Alma Taylor, E. C. VanOrden, isaac N. Vail, Wm. T. Wright, Wm. Woodward, Mr Woodhead, Henry Wadman.