Sunday, September 15, 2013

Before the Spud: Indians, Buckaroos, and Sheepherders in Pioneer Idaho

Say "Idaho" to most people, even Idahoans, and they think "potato." Fair enough, considering decades of relentless marketing. What many do not think of are "cowboys" and "cattle." Yet Idaho was, and is, as much a cowboy state as its more-recognized cattle-state neighbors in the Intermountain West.

My book – Before the Spud: Indians, Buckaroos, and Sheepherders in Pioneer Idaho – seeks to correct that mis-perception. Published under the "Sourdough Publishing" imprint, the book is available from a dedicated web site and also online from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Any B&N store can order you a copy, although they will not generally carry independently published books on their shelves. (Sigh.)

Before the Spud tells the story of how the Idaho stock raising industry developed. It begins with the "first stockmen of Idaho" – Shoshone and Nez Percés horse raisers – and carries forward to about 1910, followed by a brief survey of the state of affairs today.

Among the pioneer stories is that of French émigré Alexander Toponce. In the 1870's, he ran "as high as 10,000 head of cattle" on leased land at Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Toponce played many roles: freighter, stage line operator, mining investor, sheep raiser, and mayor of Corinne, Utah.
In 1888, George L. Shoup, in one routine transaction, sold a thousand cattle from his Salmon River ranches. Two years later, he became Idaho's first state governor and then one of its first two senators.
In 1897, a jury convicted hired cowboy-gunman "Diamondfield Jack" Davis of murdering two sheepmen south of Twin Falls. Although two other "respectable" cattlemen soon confessed to the killings, Davis twice came within hours of hanging and was not pardoned until 1902.

Table of Contents
Preface: Ground Rules
Chapter One: The First Stockmen of Idaho
Chapter Two: Fur Trade Era – Canadians Dominant
Chapter Three: Competition Heats Up
Chapter Four: Wagons Across Idaho
Chapter Five: Mining Makes a Territory
Chapter Six: Idaho Meat for Hungry Miners
Chapter Seven: Stock Raising Grows
Chapter Eight: Filling in the Gaps
Chapter Nine: The Last Stands
Chapter Ten: Cattle Drives Across and From Idaho
Chapter Eleven: Rails Across Idaho
Chapter Twelve: Livestock Boom
Chapter Thirteen: Nature Delivers a Lesson
Chapter Fourteen: Range Conflict Heats Up
Chapter Fifteen: A New Century
Afterword

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