THE DAILY BULLETIN
BLACKFOOT, BINGHAM COUNTY, IDAHO
MONDAY, MARCH 29, 1943
"GROVELAND GREW FROM DESERT PLAIN"
History of Fertile Area Compiled For Anniversary
Compiled by BERTHA YANCEY JENSEN
Assisted by Sarah J. Chapman and husband Joseph F. Jensen
[More information about Groveland, Idaho]
Groveland is situated three and one-half miles northwest of Blackfoot on the western side of Snake River. The early settlers came in search of fertile soil and abundant water for irrigation.
About the year 1880 the country is best described by our home writer Thomas G. Bond, "It was a vast stretch of sage-brush plain, broken here and there by clumps of willows and stunted cottonwood trees, with nothing of houses, fences, ditches or grass. Nothing in sight on all the plain but a hope, a vision down deep in the pioneer heart, a vision of a home to be."
The territory comprising Groveland at that time was mostly homesteaded, and included what is known as Porterville, (nor Rose) and North Groveland or McDonaldville. Some of the original homesteaders were the Trego, York, Bumgarner, Warden, Porter, Johnston, Plant and McDonald Brother, L. Zeigler, John Tombs, D. H. Beithan, Jack Riggs, James Duncan, William H. Horton, James Chapman, John Clendenning, John S. Bowker, Kate S. Steele and Rosana Forbes.
John Porter settled in the eastern part of this area in 1885 and later the settlement was named "Porterville". The Porter home was situated one-half mile south of what is now the Rose schoolhouse, and it was he who started the building of the Riverside Ditch, receiving the Decree in 1886. The McDonald Brothers from Minnesota homesteaded most of the land in North Groveland, and it was called McDonaldville.
Byrd Trego and D. H. Dean came into the country from Iowa, on April, 1885 prospecting for gold and after viewing the big flats north of the river bridge, determined to acquire as much of the flat as they could for farm houses. Later Mr. Trego's sister, Medora, and brother, W. D. Trego, came filed on land as did the Bumgarner Brothers and the other homesteaders in the eighties and nineties.
In the Daily Bulletin of April, 11, 1935, Medora Trego Greene tells of the early days here and we quote, "When my brother Byrd came to Idaho in April 1885, he wrote such wonderful letters about the country that we all got the fever and my brother Willet and I came out to get some of that good land he told us about, where badgers got his attention by digging holes to show how deep and rich the soil was.
I was twenty-one years old and filed on a desert claim for 640 acres, a pre-emption of 160 on which I was to raise ten acres of trees to obtain the title, my kid brothers doing the planting.
I had a job teaching school in Blackfoot and spent my weekends at our little brick mansion, which now forms the kitchen of the O. F. Smith farm in Groveland. In the winter of 1886 we had endless snows alternated with rains and a couple of times when I started for town on Monday morning the road was mostly ponds and open ditches were full."
The first deed from the Government was issued to Kate S. Steele, January 18, 1890, now the Fay Yost and Van Aiken farms.
Those of the early settlers who are still living on their original homesteads are James G. Johnston, John S. Bowker, Mrs. William Plant and Mrs. James Chapman.
The first settler family in the Groveland area was that of Mart Forbes who in 1882 built a house and a blacksmith shop just west of the north end of the Snake River Bridge.
Some of the other earlier pioneers who came into the country, helped grub the sage-brush and clear the land were Mr. and Mrs. O. F. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Sample, Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Molden, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Moore, Mr. and Mrs. E. N. Bingham, the Bond Brothers, Dave Wessner and a Davis family.
Some may wonder at the expression "grubbing sage brush"; there were several different ways of clearing the land of the brush, at first there was the grubbing hoe, which men and women both would grub with by hand, some used a railroad rail to break the brush down with, others a V shaped contraption with a blade on one side, but the most successful implement was the sage brush puller, with double jaws, controlled by a lever, so arranged that it could be released when full by tripping a lever, with a little practice this machine was quite easily handled, but just miss the release by a second and over the horses heads one would go, this would happen often if the puller got to full.
Two and often three teams were used on this machine covering five or six acres a day, and pulling about 85 percent of the brush if operated carefully.
The settlers would mostly grub sage brush all day, then pile it into large piles and at night make huge bonfires which could be seen in every direction, creating quite a picture.
One regrets at times that the primitiveness of the country has to give way to civilization.
NEED FOR CANALS
With the clearing of the land came the need of more ditches or canals for irrigation.
The Skein Brothers of Ogden, Utah, started what is known as the Danskin Ditch, during the period of construction, 1886-1888, the Skeen Brothers failed financially and it was re-financed by Isaac Erickson and construction completed under his direction and for some time it was called the Erickson Ditch. The Trego brothers founded what is known as the Trego Ditch. These and the Riverside Ditch have been in operation now for over fifty years.
The Peoples Canal which provided water for the northwestern part of Groveland was started under the direction of John V. England who came from Utah in 1893, and settled in Moreland and the canal was finished about 1897.
The American Falls Canal was started by Moroni Skeen of Ogden, Utah, but it was later taken over and finished by other companies, about 1917-18.
In 1885 the Trego's made brick on their homestead, built a house of them and sold some in Blackfoot. The Trego Brothers also dug the first well in 1886-1888, blasting deep into solid lava. This well is still in use on the O. F. Smith farm.
O. F. Smith operated one of the first nurseries in this part of the country and people came for miles around to get plants and trees for beautifying their homes.
John B. Davis also owned a brickyard on what is now the Horace Hale farm.
The pioneers of the early days had many hardships to contend with, there was no shade, and water was hauled in barrels to get trees to grow. John S. Bowker hauled water from the river in barrels to wet the trees which still stand around his home.
Mr. Bowker relates the following incident of pioneer days. It was on the 4th of January, the thermometer registered eight below zero, Mr. Bowker and Thomas Blackburn were helping each other get ice out of the river for storage for themselves, tools such as shovels, picks, etc., were very scarce and Mr. Bowker borrowed a shovel from his neighbor to help get the ice out. Through some mishap the shovel fell through the hole in the ice, sinking to the bottom of the river, he immediately stripped off his clothes, tied a rope around his waist and asked Mr. Blackburn to hold on to the rope and in case he didn't come back up to pull him up. This done he dove into the icy water, but the shovel was not found the first time and he had to dive again, this time he brought the shovel up with him. Although he had a very cold bath he was able to take the shovel back to the owner.
In 1893, construction of a small one room school house was started on the property where Dan Benner now lives, directly across from the A. A. Bingham residence, and they called it the Rose District No. 20.
The building was completed for school in 1884 and the board of trustees included Isaac Erickson, Eugene Rose and Joseph Hobbs hired Miss Kay Scott as the teacher. The benches were factory made and books and pencils were furnished.
Miss Edna Gillespie, our present librarian, also has the honor of being listed among the early educators in this country, as she taught school in District No. 20. She would ride the stagecoach which went to Mackay on Monday mornings. She had a room and boarded at the Isaac Erickson home, going back to Blackfoot for the weekend with her family.
In 1897 another change was made in the school district. The settlers decided they wanted a school more centrally located. It was decided to build another school house, this cost $345.25. Jake Quillan did the carpenter work under the direction of the new board of trustees who were : O. G. Smith, chairman; J. L. Bumgarner and W. A. Sample, clerk. Miss Margaret Morgan was the first teacher hired in the new school.
A special meeting was held soon after this for selecting a name for the community. O. F. Smith acted chairman of the meeting. He suggested the name of "Groveland" and promised that if the name he suggested was chosen he would donate trees to plant around the grounds. This name was selected, and Miss Margaret Morgan wrote the names of all the patrons present. These were placed in a bottle and the bottle was then placed under the tree next to the gate in front of the school house.
The names in the bottle were Mr. and Mrs. O. F. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Molden, Mr. and Mrs. E. N. Bingham, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Sample, Miss Margaret Morgan, Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Bumgarner, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Moore, Mrs. John Porter, Dave Wessner, and Mrs. Davis.
One of the first social organizations was known as the Literary Society. It was somewhat after the order of our Parent and Teacher organization. Byrd Trego was named president, with W. A. Sample as assistant. Programs of music, readings and debating were used for entertainment. Dances were held in the homes of the different settlers, music was furnished by an accordion played by Dave Wessner.
Another group of pioneer settlers coming in the later nineties and around 1900 were the Callister, Blood, and Keele Brothers, the Robert Edwards, Chris Nygard Sorenson, Andrew C. Jensen Sr., James Ockerman, Heck Taylor and John Oborn families.
In 1900 in Groveland proper, there were about 18 homes, 200 acres under cultivation and the rest sagebrush land.
In the spring of 1901, John Oborn opened a grocery store near his home just a few rods north of the Snake River Bridge. This little country store served the people for miles around until after his death in 1933 when his sons took over the business.
To Thomas G. Bond we are indebted for the poem:
John Oborn the storekeeper is gone,
The little old store beside the road,
Seems vacant without rattling John,
Did you ever know John Oborn?
Ever spend an hour just talkin' to John?
No? "Twas a pity you neglected that,
"Twas an opportunity you missed my lad,
Yes I traded there once in a while,
Little things I'd forget while trading in' town,
Always heard John rattling up and down,
Mixin' up religion and politics and fun,
Didn't pay much attention to John,
Curious cuss, John Oborn was,
Always a buzzing up and down
Handin' out tobacco along with advice,
Didn't pay much attention to John.
Year after year time jogged on,
Didn't miss John. He was always there,
To furnish the things I'd forget in town,
John always had them in course,
Paid for them sure, but didn't figure in
The things John was throwing in,
A little sound logic, a sermon on strife,
New thought on religion, applied it to life,
Politics old as the hills, John made it plain,
Said little things, at times riled your goat,
Stirred up your dander then smoothed you out fine,
Set you to thinking, stirred up your brains.
Little we think as we journey through life,
The worth of a sermon, a nod or a song,
It's only when death closes the books for the day,
We miss the faces who aren't here today.
Other small grocery stores have been operated on the Groveland townsite, by Mrs. Sarah Wilkinsen, Daniel Condlin, Raymond Hale, Eugene C. Hale, Edward B. Johnson, George Panopolas, and Reynolds Hill. Mr. Hill built a cinder block grocery store and house combined about one quarter mile northwest of the Groveland church and Mr. and Mrs. Rulon Callister are operating it at the present time.
Blacksmith shops have been operated by Mart Forbes, Joseph Peterson, J. H. Bond, James Nunly and Thomas White.
Joseph F. Jensen and family lived on their land in a tent during the winter of 1898, and he says, "The country was full of wild horses and until we built a good fence around our hay we would be obliged to get up and drive them away during the night."
"There were jack rabbits by the thousands, it was not unusual to see large hay stacks half eaten by them, and the coyotes were very plentiful, too."
The rabbits being so numerous the settlers had to find a way to exterminate them to save their crops, so they had rabbit drives. They would make a large enclosure of net wire open on one side, then on foot and horseback the men would drive them into these places by the hundreds. One of the largest rabbit drives held in Groveland was held about where the northwest corn of the C. A. Burton place is now located, and about 5,000 rabbits were killed.
In 1900 the leaves were very thickly covered with red cedar wood, and Orson P. Callister tells how he and his brother, Walter, would drive out to the Lava's north of McDonaldville and get a big load of wood in three hours where now one has to drive 20 miles or more and camp overnight to get a good load.
RAIL LINE BUILT
In 1901 the Oregon Short Line built a railroad that runs through the southwestern part of Groveland to the copper mines at Mackay.
Andrew C. Jensen Sr., and the Callisters built an adobe yard just across the street from the Fred Hammond home and made adobes to help build their homes. George Rupp and the Palmer brothers also operated an adobe yard on the George Rupp property, now owned by John George and many of the adobes went into the houses being built at that time.
Joe Peterson once owned the Hickenlooper place and made the adobes and built the house which still stand there. He was also the first person to own and operate an automobile in Groveland, and Fred Bergeson says it could be heard a mile away whenever they started it, and if it should go by the church when in session the preacher had to take a back seat while the people gazed at it.
During the summer of 1901, Nels Sorensen, Fred Bergeson and Adam Yancey, of Chesterfield, Bannock County, Idaho, came into this region to buy hay as they had quite a herd of dairy cows and owing to drought and frost had been unable to raise enough hay for feed.
Nels Sorensen bought a place near the river two miles east of the Groveland townsite. Fred Bergeson bought the 80 acres which now comprises the Elmer Blood, Ivan Morgan, Fred Hammond, and Hickenlooper farms.
Adam Yancey bought 320 acres from George Bumgarner, about 100 acres under cultivation the rest, sagebrush land. The Bumgarner home has been remodeled by the Wilford Seamons family who live there, this was the first house built on what is now the Groveland townsite.
The Yancey family moved onto the place in October 1901, built an addition to the house and lived there until 1904 when Mr. Yancey built the two story brick house just east of the L.D.S. Church, where Mrs. Yancey lived until her death in October 1942. Her husband died in September 1920.
Others who came into Groveland about the years 1901-1902 were the families of John Dean, Peter and Joseph Williams, Elec Hoffine, Dan Jensen, William Lindsay, Grant Roush, William Keith, Frank Brown, Lamoni and Wallace Tolman, Lars Peter Nelson, and Isreal Butts.
By this time there were quite a number of L.D.S. people living in the Groveland district. They belonged to the Moreland Ward and attended church there when possible. But owing to the long distance and the fact that the main mode of travel was with team and wagon, or white top buggy. (A few had single buggies with shafts for one horse and they thought life was wonderful because they could go so much faster than with team and wagon). There were no improved roads and in the spring it was not unusual to go from one place to another with mud up to the hubs of the wagon.
With few Wards there were throughout the country had been organized into what is known as the"Bingham Stake," which comprised all the territory including big and little Lost River from Tilden on the west to Rexburg on the north and Pocatello on the south, with headquarters in Iona, which is situated seven miles northeast of Idaho Falls, and those in this part of the country had to drive there to attend their Stake meetings and conferences.
James E. Steele of Iona was president of the Stake, with A. E. Stanger and R. L. Bybee as counselors. These Stake officers were consulted about organizing a branch of the L.D.S. church in the Groveland community. A meeting was held at the Groveland school house on April 27, 1902 with President James E. Steele presiding; Bishop Warren P. Lindsay of Moreland conducting.
President James E. Steele suggested that as the school district was named Groveland, the branch organization should be known by the same name, and Adam Yancey was chosen to act as Presiding Elder over this Groveland branch. The boundary lines were to be east as far as Basalt, south to the river, west to the east borderlines of the Moreland and Riverside Wards, which is one and one-half miles west of the Groveland townsite and north to the lavas.
At another meeting held May 4, 1902, Benjamin D. Jensen was sustained as clerk of the Groveland branch of the L.D.S. Church, James Chapman as chorister and Orval Yancey as organist. The same day under the direction of Stake Superintendent of Sunday Schools, A. Crabtree, the Sunday School was organized with Peter J. Williams as Superintendent, Lamoni Tolman and Jens L. Sorensen as assistants; Agnes Tolman, secretary; Bertha L. Yancey, organist; James Chapman, chorister. As teachers, B. D. Jensen, Elijah N. Bingham, Joseph C. Williams, Israel Butts, Samuel H. Chapman, Everett Green, William Lindsay, James Chapman, Orval Yancey, Mary Bingham, Louisa Butts and Mathilda Sorensen.
Others who have acted as Sunday School Superintendents are: Jens L. Sorensen, November 1902; Orval Yancey, October 1904; Joseph F. Jensen, October 1905; Samuel G. Seamons, April 1906; Orson P. Callister, May 1908; Charles A. Packham, April 1917 and December 1925; George R. Bailey, March 1918; Edward B. Johnson, December 1921; Samuel S. Hammond, July 1923; Alvin Bergeson, August 1932; Edgar Mason, November 1933; Amos B. Jacklin, December 1935; Lathare Hale, October 1940; George M. Webster, May 1941, to the present time.
The activities of the Sunday School consist mainly of an Easter and Mother's Day program and in connection with the Primary a Christmas party for the children each year. To commemorate their fortieth anniversary, they held a program May 4, 1942, reviewing the history of the ward and Sunday School, and quite a number were present who were present at the first organization of the Sunday School.
Under the direction of Stake Relief Society President, Emma Bennett of Shelley, the Relief Society of the Groveland branch was organized May 3, 1902, with the following officers: Alice T. Yancey, President; Millicent Chapman, 1st Counselor; Agnes E. Tolman, 2nd Counselor; Sarah A. Bergeson, Secretary; Annie Nygard, Treasurer; Mary Sorensen, Clara Jensen, Louisa Butts and Christena Williams as teachers.
Mrs. Yancey served as president for seventeen years or until June 1919, and with Annie M. Jensen, Ida P. Barrus, Elizabeth Christensen, Phoebe Gummersal, Grace Merril and Margaret Elison assisting as counselors at different times. They bought a lot on the townsite which is still held by the Relief Society, had a large granary built and gathered $1,400 worth of wheat, which was stored until World War I when it was sold to the Government; the money being held at Headquarters to buy more wheat.
In recent years the main activities of the Relief Society have been canning, sewing and quilting for the Welfare project.
Others who have served as President are: Ida P. Barrus, June 1919; Bertha Y. Jensen, January 1921; Elsie P. Johnson, December 1926; Nettie Belnap, November 1936; Elizabeth Olsen, December 1941, to the present time.
The Groveland Primary was organized June 14, 1902, with Clara E. Jensen as President; Louisa Butts as 1st Counselor, (no 2nd Counselor chosen); Bertha Yancey, Secretary; Sarah J. Chapman, Treasurer; Rose Lindsay as a teacher.
Those acting as President since that time are: Louisa Butts, November 1902; Ida M. Nelson, July 1905; Mary A. Hale, September 1907; Emmogene Manwaring, October 1909; Margaret Elison, January 1911; Birdie Chapman, December 1915; May Bergeson, September 1917; Sarah J. Chapman, September 1919; Tressa Manwaring, January 1921; Leone Elison, January 1925; Mabel Herbst, May 1927; Lavell J. Bingham, December 1933, down to the present time.
We also have on the roll of honor in Primary work Mrs. Katie Elison, who started in Primary work as a Secretary in 1915, holding different positions for a few years, but now for about twenty years has labored faithfully as a counselor. The special activities of the Primary in recent years has been a Home Coming program and a Spring Festival presented each year by the children.
Soon after the Groveland Branch was organized the Rose School District No. 20 was dissolved and consolidated with the Groveland School District No. 34. The Rose school house was moved up and placed beside the school house built in 1897, of what is now known as the Relief Society Building. Joe Petersen and Fred Bergeson moved the building by putting skids under it and pulling it with their teams. Later when more room was needed an addition was built on to the back of the Relief Society building with folding doors so it could be opened into one large room and was used by both church and school.
One of the high lights of that day was the public marriages. The first in Groveland of Will Callister and Ina Blood which took place in this school house with Bishop Adam Yancey reading the ceremony. This was followed by a dance lasting into the wee small hours of the night.
Quilting bees, carpet bees, dances and dramatics furnished the amusements for the settlers. After the school house was built on the townsite the addition that was built was taken away and added to the main church building as a stage. The Rose school building was sold to Fred Hammond and is now a part of this house.
Fred Bergeson and Will Hammond built a dance hall on the Bergeson place just across the street from where the Alvin Bergeson home now stands, which was later torn down and part of the lumber was used in building the Alvin Bergeson home.
On February 1, 1903, under the direction of Stake officers A. E. Stanger and R. L. Bybee the Groveland Branch was organized into a ward with Adam Yancey as Bishop. February 15th the organization was completed with Andrew C. Jensen as 1st Counselor and James Chapman as 2nd Counselor, Benjamin D. Jensen as Clerk. G. W. Hammond, Chorister, was asked to organize a choir.
In the next few years fifty or more families came into the Groveland Ward or community. Some among them who more or less helped in the development of the ward were the Manwaring, Palmer, Seamons, Gummersal, Hale, Merrill, Rupp, Barrus, and S. S. Hammond families.
Under the direction of Andrew Nixon of the Stake board the Groveland Y.M.M.I.A. was organized August 2, 1903, with Orson P. Callister President, Orval Yancey and Samuel H. Chapman Assistants, Walter Callister Secretary, Asa Bagley Treasurer, Joseph F. Jensen Missionary and G. W. Hammond, Music Director.
Some others who have served as presidents are Arthur W. Hale, Joseph F. Jensen, Samuel G. Seamons, Franklin G. Hale, Levi Manwaring, Melvin Barrus, Thomas White, Amos B. Jacklin, Stanley Elison, Herchal Coles, Horace Elison, Boyd Denney, Owen Aiken and Michael Johnson, Jr.
The Boy Scout organization has also been an active part of the M.I.A. throughout the years since it was organized, with Eugene C. Hale as the first scout master.
The first organization of the Y.M.M.I.A. was under the direction of Stake Counselor Elizabeth Ossman, November 15, 1903, Matilda Sorenson was sustained as president, Mary Bingham and Augusta Jensen as counselors. Lenora Jensen as secretary, Bertha Yancey as assistant secretary and organist, Ada Nygard as treasurer, Mary Brown as librarian and Sarah Bagley as journal agent.
Since that time those who have acted as presidents are Mary Bingham September 1904; Alice E. Hale May 1905; Lenora Jensen January 1906; Julia Hale December 1907; Alice E. Hale April 1909; Tressa Manwaring August 1911; Bertha Y. Jensen September 1913; Viola Bowker March 1919; Mary Lloyd September 1919; Julia Hale April 1920; Rachel D. Hale June 1921; Amanda Seamons January 1923; Alma Mason February 1925; Phyllis Packham September 1929; Hannah Howard December 1929; Zina Barrus May 1937; Luella Halverson October 1938; Elsie P. Johnson June 1939; Ada Coles May 1942; Edna Callister January 1943.
The work of the M.I.A. of later years has been to provide amusements for the ward in the way of dances, music, festivals and dramatics. About April 1937 the operetta "Martha" was presented under the direction of Mary A. Packham, Hannah Howard and Dan Thomas.
On July 24, 1941, under the direction of Leila Chapman, the outdoor pageant, "Brigham Young" was staged on the school grounds and presented to an audience of 500 or more. There were about 100 people in the cast with Rosel Barrus as Brigham Young, very ably taking the part.
Another pageant "Our Heritage" was presented during the summer of 1942 under the direction of Grace Hale and Winifred Webster.
About August 1903, a committee of five men were appointed to decide on a suitable church building and cost of same. Members of the committee were Bishop Adam Yancey, James G. Johnston, Isreal Butts, A. C. Jensen, Jr., and James Chapman.
This frame church building still stands and was built at a cost of $2,200 without the stage part at the back. William Lindsay hauled the shingles by team from Idaho Falls.
On this same date Andrew C. Jensen, Sr., and James G. Johnston were appointed to selected a suitable site for a cemetery. About five acres on a hill just north of the Fred Hammond place was selected. It is one half mile north and one quarter mile east of the street that runs past the Groveland church, the land was cleared of sage brush and fenced. Matilda Dean Sorenson was the first person to be buried there in August 1904.
Through the untiring efforts of George R. Bailey, a cemetery district was created with the church relinquishing ownership rights to the cemetery district in November 1936. George R. Bailey, Joseph Worthen, and J. I. Wixom were selected as a cemetery committee and under their direction lawn, trees and flowers were planted, a water system installed, driveway made and a house built for a sexton, Elwood Keele and his family.
Later R. B. Higgins, Brigham Worthen and George Webster were selected as committee. At this date, February 1943, there have been 223 persons buried in the cemetery.
On December 13, 1903 the Religion Class (a church auxiliary) was organized with G. W. Hammond as superintendent and Clara John and Sarah Bergeson as teachers.
The first play put on in the church building in 1904 was entitled "The Factory Girl" and was directed by Samuel G. Seamons, with the following cast, Samuel G. Seamons, Joseph F. Jensen, Joseph H. Merrill, Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Hammond, Peter J. Williams, Lenora and Sylvia Jensen, Bertha Yancey and Mattie Jefferies.
Later on "The Groveland Dramatic Company" was formed with G. W. Hammond as president, Roy Palmer as stage director, Samuel G. Seamons as secretary, George Rupp as business director. Many fine plays were staged during the following years in Groveland and near by wards. Some of the plays were "Kathleen," "Maurveen," "Crawfords Claim," "Old Glory," and "Down the Rio Grande."
Roy Palmer painted the stage curtain and all necessary scenery for the different plays which were used until the late twenties when it was replaced by grey hanging drapes under the direction of Melvin Barrus and Wallace Lindsay.
As to the sugar beet industry in this part of the country we quote from the Idaho Farmer, June 1936, "To the Groveland area and community in Bingham County belongs the "honor and reproach" of starting the sugar beet industry in the Snake River Valley, declares Byrd Trego, Blackfoot editor and historian, and owner of the first farm in the region to experiment with the new crop.
About 1895, the University of Idaho began to conduct farmers Institutes, in an effort to find new crops that could be marketed without paying the long freight haul to the Missouri River or the Pacific Coast.
Professor French advised having the soils analyzed and the Trego ranch sent a sample. A report on it was made in 1897 which showed that it was capable of producing sugar beets and suggested some simple experimental tracts be planted. Judge W. A. Sample planted a quarter acre just about where Mrs. Minnie Bloods house stands in Groveland. Byrd Trego planted the same amount about where the Grant Roush house stands. At the 1898 Institute, reports were made on the beets. Some time after this experiment Byrd Trego joined the gold stampede to the Arctic regions and for five years took no part in promoting the sugar industry, but his brother W. D. Trego carried on in company with D. H. Beithan, W. B. Eldredge, H. B. Neilsen and others and formed the Idaho Sugar Co.
A factory was launched in 1903 with 500 acres signed to beets. That is how the Snake River Valley started growing sugar beets.
As Groveland was one of the best beet producing districts a spur of the Mackay Branch railroad was built about 1918 by the O.S.L. running through Groveland and on up to Rose with the Collins beet dump in the southern part of Groveland and the Peterson dump in the northern part thus distributing the distance for hauling beets.
The first Rural Free Delivery mail route west of the Rockies (later proved to be the second as one had been started in Northern Idaho) was promoted and finally established by Peter J. Williams now living in Wapello. He was then a resident of Groveland and when he read about the new Government experiment in mail service he prepared a petition for a route out of Blackfoot. It was the year 1902 and he spent considerable time calling on people on the west side of Snake River, but was unable to get a hundred of them to sign up, agreeing to put up a mail box and accept free service. The boxes cost $1.25 each and beside that a good many people asked what anyone wanted with daily mail anyhow as they usually went to town every Saturday and that was enough.
Mr. Williams left the petition with L. J. Porter and moved to Swan Valley, when he moved back in 1904 he found that nothing had been done about it. He took the petition around again and there were six men who were willing to try the service only on condition that they would not have to pay for the mail boxes if not satisfied with the service.
The inspector came a long distance and when he approved the route he told Mr. Williams this would be the first as far as he knew in the whole western country. Mr. Williams paid for the remainder of the hundred boxes himself and by the time they arrived he had moved to a place on the south side of the Danskin Canal where at the present time the Elmo J. Bergeson family live.
When he unpacked the boxes he erected a post and set one for himself the first free delivery box west of the Rocky Mountains and perhaps the first one west of the Missouri River.
All of this activity started from a six line news item in a farm paper at the Williams home when he was living in a cottage near the John Oborn home and store. The service started April 15, 1905. Jesse Weigel of Riverside was the carrier and those who have served as carriers since are Paul Allred, Thomas Lindsay, Ed Bensley, Grant Hoit, E. B. Ross and Bill Riopelle.
In 1904 the Bingham Stake was divided and this western section was called the Blackfoot Stake with Elias S. Kimbal as President, Don C. Walker and L. R. Thomas Counselors. February 10, 1915, they, with Bishop Adam Yancey, laid out the Groveland townsite as it now is, which cover 80 acres of land Charles Hansen received the first deed to property on the townsite.
The street in front of the L.D.S. Church was called "Yancey Street," the one running east and west between Barrus's and the school grounds, "Church Street," so named expecting a new church to be built on the lot next to the school grounds which is owned by the church. The street running in front of the Horace Elison residence was called "North Street."
The streets running north and south were called, "First," Second," "Third," "Fourth" and "Fifth" streets and the main highway west of the church "State" street.
February 28, 1904, Andrew C. Jensen Jr., was released as counselor to Bishop Adam Yancey, he being called to a Stake office December 11, 1904, Jens L. Sorensen was released as Ward Clerk and Nels Sorensen, Sr. was sustained.
November 19, 1905, under the direction of President L. R. Thomas, James Chapman and William Lindsay were sustained as 1st and 2nd Counselors to Bishop Adam Yancey. Owing to ill health Bishop Adam Yancey was released May 24, 1914, having served as Bishop 12 years. On this date John S. Bowker was sustained as Bishop, with Jonathan H. Hale, 1st Counselor and James H. Yancey as 2nd Counselor and Joseph F. Jensen, Clerk.
Bishop John S. Bowker was released May 4, 1930, having served as Bishop 16 years. Orsen Manwaring, Emron Yancey and Joseph F. Jensen serving as counselors at different times. Wintle A. Bingham was also clerk for a short time, being sustained March 23, 1930.
On this date, May 4, 1930, Joseph F. Jensen was sustained as Bishop with Orson P. Callister, 1st Counselor and Elmo J. Bergeson, 2nd Counselor, and Wintle A. Bingham as Clerk. These four men served as Bishopric and Clerk for 10 1/2 years, being released on September 29, 1940, when Michael Johnson, Jr., was sustained as Bishop with Amos Jacklin as 1st Counselor and A. Barnard Olsen as 2nd Counselor and retaining Wintle A. Bingham as Clerk.
On December 31, 1930, the Groveland Ward had 450 members including 107 children, and the total population of the Groveland district was 803. About 1920 these figures were somewhat higher, but at this date, February 1943, they are about the same.
Serving under these different Bishoprics as Ward Choristers were James Chapman, G. W. Hammond, Samuel G. Seamons, Arthur Manwaring, Hyrum Vance, Michael Johnson, Jr., Mary A. Packham, Francella Callister and Lavell J. Bingham.
May 24, 1942, Amos B. Jacklin was released as 1st Counselor to Bishop Michael Johnson, Jr. A. Barnard Olsen was sustained as 1st Counselor and Willard Wray as 2nd Counselor.
In 1937 the stage of the church was remodeled for classrooms, the interior painted and a new $100 stage curtain installed.
In the early spring of 1942 the church was re-painted inside and out, roof re-shingled, new window curtains provided and new heatrolas installed. A Ward auction sale was held in March, 1942, and the proceeds, $500, is being held as a reserve fund to help build a new church. At another Ward auction sale held in November this amount was raised to about $2,700.
In the earlier days of Groveland the men, young and old, went out for sports and had a fine baseball team and under the direction of G. W. Hammond a large grandstand was built (about 1910) on the square by the school grounds and many a fine game was witnessed from same.
This grandstand was used for about twenty years when it was torn down and the lumber sold.
During the summer of 1905 the first Old Folks Party held in the Blackfoot Stake was held at Groveland with about 150 in attendance. The Riverside Band furnished the music for the day.
In November 1940-41, under the direction of the Ward Old Folks Committee, R. B. Higgins, Minnie Trego, and Mr and Mrs. Doris Herbst, a ward old folks party was given and included all who had moved from the ward.
The telephone line was built through Groveland and was operating in 1906. Those having it installed in their homes were O. F. Smith, E. N. Bingham, Everett Green, Heck Taylor, Adam Yancey and I. N. Beesley. After a few years it was taken to other parts of Groveland and McDonaldville, where today there are about sixty phones.
In 1908 a four room two-story white pressed brick school house was built, costing $5,000, which was used until 1919, when the building was condemned, as the large bell which hung in the top of the building was so heavy it had caused the walls to crack.
About 1921 a new two story six room school house with gymnasium was built of yellow pressed brick by contractor James H. Yancey, costing $23,000. Ninth grade work was given in this school for two or three years. In 1927, and for a few years after, school wagons were used to bring the children to school, then later school buses were started and ar still in operation, both for grade school and for high school in Blackfoot. In school activities Groveland has been more or less outstanding in basketball.
In the early morning hours of November 21, 1941, this school house was burned to the ground, including all equipment, the cause unknown. During the weekend of the fire, the school board, George Yost, Alvin Bergeson and Joseph F. Jensen, investigated the possibility of holding school in Blackfoot, and with the help of the Blackfoot school board were able to get school rooms, desks and books for the school to be continued the following Monday in Blackfoot. The grade school pupils going in with the high school students on the buses.
Elmo J. Bergeson, Orley Yancey and Durward Mangum have been the main bus drivers and owners, some winters having sleighs bring the pupils to the main roads when unable to get through on account of snow drifts.
Other than those mentioned who have served on the school boards are P. J. Williams, G. W. Hammond, William H. Horton, Isaac Butts, Nels Sorensen, Garfield Bond, Orson Manwaring, Everett Green, I. N. Beesley, John S. Bowker, S. G. Seamons, Melvin Barrus, George Rupp, Harry Trego, Rasmus Christensen, Jonathan H. Hale, L. E. Howard, Addie Tressl, Michael Johnson, Jr. and George E. Pope.
There was a small school in what was then the Porterville district before 1900 and as more people settled there they wanted a church organization, as it was quite a distance to drive to Groveland, so on April 16, 1991, a Sunday School was organized there, and a short time later a Relief Society. As the population grew a Ward was organized on May 16, 1915, with J. S. Gardner as Bishop and it was called the "Rose Ward."
The school house at McDonaldville or North Groveland was built November 1915, V. R. Robison being the first teacher, Jens L. Sorensen, James Harper and Tom Findley were the first school board. In 1941 this school was discontinued and made temporary consolida-tion with Groveland and the pupils were brought to Groveland by bus.
July 1918, a Relief Society was organized in North Groveland with Rose Lindsay as President; Maud Farnworth and Sarah Herbst as counselors; Elizabeth Olsen as Secretary. This Relief Society was small but made quite a record in Relief Society work. Later there were not enough members to keep going and meetings were discontinued March 1923.
North Groveland Sunday School was organized May 16,1920, under the direction of Bishop John S. Bowker, with S. S. Hammond as superintendent; Orson Nelson and Charles Farnworth as assistants; Elnora Lindsay as secretary. After about three years it was discontinued. In 1928 it was reorganized with John Jolley as superintendent. In 1929 George M. Webster was sustained as superintendent and in October 1932 it was again discontinued for lack of members.
The North Groveland Primary was organized in 1928, with Mrs. Etta Harris as President; Mrs. John Jolley and Mrs. Arvella Jolley as counselors; Anne Findley as Secretary. Mrs. Verda Jensen is now President but they are not holding meetings at this time.
The Packing Plant north of the river bridge was built by Al Miller and G. L. Stone of Blackfoot about 1914, and has mostly been operated by members of the B. W. Hopkins family.
James Pendlebury and sons of Blackfoot built a warehouse for potatoes by the Collins beet dump about 1922 and operated it for a number of years. It is now combined with the Blackfoot Starch Factory which was built during the summer and fall of 1941, and the first carload of starch manufactured in Idaho was shipped to a Chicago market about the 15th of November 1941.
It may be of interest to state that there are only 31 starch factories in the United States, of which 29 are in the state of Maine, and 2 west of the Rockies, Blackfoot and Twin Falls. (Daily Bulletin, February 1941).
Groveland has always been in evidence at the southeastern Idaho Fair where the Groveland Community Exhibit for four years in succession, 1936-1939, won first prize, under the capable direction of C. W. Bird, R. B. Higgins, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Trego, Alvin Bergeson and Leila Chapman.
Mrs. Mary A. Packham was an enthusiastic 4-H Club worker, and through her efforts Groveland has always been to the front in 4-H Club work winning local, state and national honors. Many Groveland girls have her to thank for their knowledge of canning, sewing and homemaking. She began her 4-H Club work in 1916, two years after the 4-H Clubs were organized under the Smith-Lever Act.
In October 1937, she won national honors when she was awarded a service certificate by the University Of Iowa for 21 years of active service in 4-H Clubs.
The Groveland 4-h Club held the honor of having the oldest Charter in Idaho and for having more years of 100 percent completed projects of any single Club in the state.
For excelling in their Club work Marie Bailey and Olive Bergeson each won a trip to Portland. Leola Barrus, Dorothy Packham and Rosalie Barrus each won a trip to Chicago and several others won scholarships.
Electricity was brought to the central part of Groveland and on up to Rose, during the fall of 1920, through the combined efforts of Orson Manwaring and Charles A. Packham. Those having it installed having to agree to pay $100 each year for five years. It was several years later before it was taken to other parts of Groveland.
The Groveland Grange was organized February 11, 1931, with Lawrence Halverson as Grange Master, G. V. Hampton as Secretary, Alvin Bergeson as overseer. November 21, 1932, it was reorganized with Harry Trego, Michael Johnson and Alvin Bergeson as officers, and on December 3, 1934, another change was made with R. B. Higgins, George Yost and Amos B. Jacklin as officers. Meetings were held until November 22, 1937, when they were discontinued.
The D.U.P. was organized in Groveland October 1935, with Mary Bingham as captain, Nellie Reynolds and Lulu Higgins as vice captains, Phyllis P. Bergeson as secretary. The Charter members were Mary A. Packham, Lavell J. Bingham, Zina Barrus, Grace Hale and Marie B. Hale.
Those acting as Captains up to the present time are Elizabeth Hickenlooper, Lavell J. Bingham and Virginia Smith.
The Genealogical work has been carried on in the ward through ward committees since about 1920, and with the help of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan H. Hale quite a number of people have took part in Temple Excursions.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas G. Bond, who live in the western part of Groveland, have at their home one of the largest collections of pioneer relics and historic antiques there are to be found in the country. They have spent a lot of time and study in the collecting and upkeep of this interesting hobby, and are able to tell the history of each article in their collection.
(There is a handwritten note on this newspaper article that says, "Wrote and his book published in 1954."
A number of Groveland farmers have good sized dairy herds with milking machines and two milk trucks go through the community daily. At this date the tractor has almost replaced the horse in doing farm work in this district.
Those from the Groveland Ward who have spent from two to three years as missionaries throughout the United States and in foreign countries are Jens L. Sorensen, Orson P. Callister, Sr., Joseph F. Jensen, James H. Yancey, James E. Chapman, Varian Hale, Grant Hale, Rosel Barrus, Alvin Bergeson, Ephraim Sorenson, Wallace Lindsay, John Sorenson, Marvin Elison, Elmer Hale, Gordon Hale, Elmo J. Bergeson, Ross Hale, Cyrus Yancey, Horace Hale, Alice Yancey, Leland Merrill, Owen Hale, Joseph F. Jensen (second mission), Orley Yancey, Orson P. Callister, Jr., Joseph Hale, Michael Johnson, Jr., John Bailey, Nathan Hale, Homer Johnson, Golden Elison, Louis Johnson, Frank Bailey, Pearl Hale, Berthell Bergeson, Lee Bailey, Marion Callister, Wintle A. Bingham, Austin M. Hammond, Orrin G. Wilde, William Yancey, Arvin E. Wilde, Frank Hale and Henry Hammond.
WORLD WAR I VETS
The Groveland boys who served in the World War I were Marion Sorenson, Cyrus Yancey, Marvin Elison, John Larsen, David Herbst, Theodore Warren, Arden Hale, Ivan Farnworth, Rudolph Tressl, Frank McKinney, Daniel Yancey, Charles Farnworth and Joseph Tressl.
IN UNIFORM NOW
The boys who are now in the World War II and are overseas are Clarence A. Worthen, Clyde E. Worthen, Glen G. Belnap, Lyle E. Belnap, Martell A. Belnap, Hugh Hammond, Vardell E. Hansen, Theodore E. Johnson, Marshall Helm, Frank Moody, Earl Madsen and Charles Moody.
Those in different parts of the United States are John Oborn, Benjamin F. Barrus, Albert V. Barney, Wayne B. Belnap, Delbert B. Jacklin, Louis E. Johnson, Blair C. Scofield, Harold W. Sorenson, Lloyd Lindsay, Morris F. Para, Zenneth Hale, Cecil Harris, Stanley Jensen, Irvin Scott, Harry Killion, LaVerl George, Lewis B. Murdock, F. Ross Jensen, Edward Barrus, Ernest Hale, Glen Jorgensen, LeWayne Chapman, Bill Bergeson, LaMar Chapman, Stuart Johnson, Lovell J. Callister, Hubert Mecham, Charles O. Packham. Those working in Defense are Whitney O. Johnson, Hyrum Callister, Neil Lewis, Verl Larsen, Elsdon Howard, Dale Bailey and Max Seamons.
This history has been compiled in commemoration of the Fortieth Anniversary of the organization of the Groveland Branch and Ward. In closing we submit the poem, written by Mrs. Winifred Webster and Mrs. Grace Hale for the pageant, "Our Heritage," in July 1942.
And so it our Snake River valley
The trails of these pioneer lead
Even to our own Groveland
Some of the best of the Pioneer seed.
John S. Bowker we claim with pride,
Who still on his homestead does now reside,
A pioneer was he, My Land a Whiz,
He'll long be remembered the way that he is.
Then there's E. N. Bingham a sturdy old chap
Says luxuries don't fall in your lap.
He grubbed the sage from his land
To make his money by the toil of his hand.
Fred Bergeson the blood of old Sweden
A pioneer still living here
He came with Aunt Sarah the loved one
When the town was most desolate and drear.
Adam Yancey, Groveland's first Bishop
His work and descendants we trace
With Aunt Alice the angel of mercy
Still living in the same old place.
Andrew C. Jensen with flowing gray hair
With toil hardened hands and eye of a seer.
In many matters for the community he worked hard
And later was first Stake Patriarch of this Ward.
The first well was dug on the Trego land
Which later O. F. Smith took in hand
And from his nursery he donated the trees,
That named the town Groveland, him to please.
Brother and Sister Lindsay so faithfully worked
Many tasks they were asked and none they shirked
Let's remember Sister Chapman, Barrus and Jens Sorensen too
They showed their worth in the things they undertook to do.
It was not all sweat and toil in those days of old
For happiness was counted fore than gold.
Some fine singing by James Chapman was led
Sammy Seamons directed the first play 'tis said.
Then there was a good dance hall too
Fred Bergeson and G. W. Hammond showed what they could do.
They built the hall on the Bergeson place
Where men swung their ladies in their silks and lace.
There were families who came in later, too,
P. J. Williams, Callisters, Hales and others
So in fancy we will them view
List them with our pioneers true.
EARLY DAYS OF BLACKFOOT
One of the chief reasons for the beginning of Blackfoot was because of the trading and freighting from the Custer Mines. In 1878 Blackfoot really began. The Narrow Gauge railroad came as far as Blackfoot in 1881. In 1884 it was laid as far as the Montana line.
In 1883 there were 100 people in Blackfoot. There were two large stores and five saloons. The Post Office was where the Corner Cafe is now located. It was a log building. T. T. Danielson was the first Post Master. The two stores were owned by C. Bunting and Company and by T. T. Danielson and Stevens. Stevens' and Danielson's store was a long, long building located between the present sites of the Post Office and the Depot.
The first Vigilance Committee was organized in 1884. There had been no law nor order in Blackfoot before then. A Mr. Hopkins was the leader of the committee. They rounded up all the cowboys that had been shooting and drinking and fined them $125. each.
Across the Snake River on the west side of town was a toll bridge. The old Porterville Bridge which now stands a few miles north of Blackfoot was once a part of the original toll bridge. A team and wagon crossing the bridge was charged one dollar and fifty cents, and a man on horseback was charged fifty cents. There was no charge for pedestrians. For this reason many people coming to market would leave their teams and wagons on the other side of the river and walk to town. On returning they would have to carry all their merchandise and walk three miles back to their wagons. Many of the farmers swam their stock through the river to save paying toll.
Blackfoot was formerly in Oneida County. Then it was changed to Bingham County. It then contained fourteen thousand square miles and was so large still that the Fremont, Jefferson and Power Counties had to be taken out. Blackfoot was made a county seat in 1885.
In 1888 there were two banks. In those days people would not change less than a quarter. Pennies were almost unheard of.
Mr. and Mrs. D. H. Beithan were the first people in town to plant trees. They chose the Lombardy poplars because they were so hardy.
If a fire broke out in town, everyone grabbed their water buckets and rushed to it.
In the early days the cowboys almost took entire possession of the town. Mrs. Strahorn, in her book "Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage" tells us a little about them:
"That night in Blackfoot was a terror. As soon as the town sprang into existence it became evident that the cowboys of the locality considered it their special property, and they took possession of the town, too frequently, for the peace of mind of other people."
"On this particular night we had just arrived when a fusillade of shots and yells filled the air as if a band of Indians had been turned loose to destroy the town. No one knew what might happen when such a levee was once started, and at such times it was generally the innocent who suffered. They began by first riding into a saloon and shooting out the lights, then they ran their ponies up and down the streets like the wind, firing at every light they could see, regardless of what they might hit. They rode their ponies right into the stores and saloons yelling like maniacs, and no one dared to check them lest he would get the next bullet. It was more than an hour before the sheriff and a posse of men got out and chased them for miles out on the high roads. But they did not capture the fleet footed cowboys who had left tow men shot to death, and a cyclonic wreckage that would be hard to describe."
"Major T. T. Danielson, who was Postmaster and one of the leading merchants of Blackfoot, was so familiar with cowboys ways that he built a double ended store with doors at each end so the cowboys could ride right through and do away with the confusion and wreckage naturally resulting from a band of bucking broncos turning around in the middle of a country store."
"Major Danielson was one of the real founders of Blackfoot. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1945. At sixteen he enlisted in the Civil War. After the war was over he went back to Brooklyn and married. His brother was Indian Agent at Fort Hall, so together with his wife he came out there as a mechanic in 1875. At that time there was nothing in Pocatello except a few tepees. Danielson said, (to use his own words) "My job was learning those redskins to work. The rootin, tooten, shootin cowboys were numerous. They had the habit of drinking red liquor." After a while he had enough of the Indians, so he opened a trading post ten miles below the reservation. This was the beginning of Blackfoot."
There were many Indian scares in the early days. One time they got drunk on lemon extract and gave the town a bad scare. A fort in which the white people could protect themselves stood where the Court House now stands. There were many Indian wars near Fort Hall.
The first school teacher was Miss Martha Parson, who is now Mrs. Killian. School was held in a small store building between the present location of the Depot and the Cigar store. It would now be in the middle of the street. It was owned by Mr. Montgomery. Later when the school moved into another building, the town tried to sue him in order to make him move the building. Mrs. Killian still has the little brass bell she called the school to order with. Some of the first pupils were Henry Simmons, John and Will Montgomery, Will Danielson and Johnny Downing, and Tom and Ella Johnson.
The first frame building was built near the present site of the Central School. Mr. Mac Tucker was an old bachelor and the best school director they ever had. He received no money although he built fires and served as a janitor. He served until his death.
In 1884 the Episcopal Mission was the only church in Blackfoot. George Farris was the temporary preacher.
The Baptist and Methodist Churches were started in 1885. The Methodist Church was dedicated on Christmas Eve in 1887.
The first railway came to Blackfoot in December 1884. It consisted of a mail car, a baggage car, two passenger coaches and the engine which was a funny looking affair with a large smoke stack and a kerosene lamp for a headlight. But the more common way of traveling was by stage coach or covered wagon.
If a circus came to town the people came from miles around and camped overnight to see it.
In 1886 there were 44 patients in the insane asylum. Patients were brought from as far as Portland, Oregon to this asylum.
Colonel Jones was the first mayor of Blackfoot, also the first Superintendent of the Indian School.
Joe Warren was justice of the Peace. He said that a couple would come in on horseback to get married.
W. S. Wheeler had the first newspaper in Blackfoot.
Mr. and Mrs. Sill came to Blackfoot in 1880. They had crossed the country in a covered wagon. Mr. Sill hauled water from the Snake River in a wagon and delivered it, charging 25 cents a barrel. When the people began to dig wells his business broke down and he then began hauling cedar wood and delivering mail.
One of the first hotels came to Blackfoot in 1884. It was called the "Lewis Hotel." It stood where the present site of the Stanrod Bank now is located.
D. H. Beithan had the first harness shop in Blackfoot.
A saloon had the first piano.
The chief amusements outside the saloons were spelling bees.
Food in those days was scarce. Oranges and ginger snaps were considered a luxury.
Dick Hillard bought the first automobile.
(Donetta Jensen Madsen copied this from Bertha Y. Jensen's history when Bertha was 91 years old in 1979. Bertha did not recall how or where she obtained this history.)