Vigilante Days and Ways.  Author Nathaniel Pitt Langford earlier introduced us to Lewiston, the first significant mining camp in what is today Idaho but was then part of Washington Territory, and what life was like there at the beginning of the 1860-1866 gold rush. He described the roles of saloons and gamblers in those societies, as well as the opportunists who robbed the minors and became a law unto themselves, terrorizing the honest citizens of mining camps and towns alike. Outlaws such as Henry Plummer, Charley Harper and Cherokee Bob. Mining camps closer to the gold strikes came into being and quickly grew: Florence, Oro Fino and Elk City to name a few, filling with “maniacs” drawn by the lure of gold and untold riches, becoming easy targets for the “banditti” riding out of their “shebangs.”

Old Florence, 1890s. J.A. Hanson Collection, Idaho State Historical Society.

Chapter IX: Florence   Florence was now the established headquarters of the robbers. Its isolated location, its distance from the seat of government, its mountain surroundings, and, more than all, its utter destitution of power to enforce law and order, gave it peculiar fitness as a base to the criminal and bloody operations of the desperate gang which infested it. At all hours of the day and night some of them were to be seen at the two saloons kept by Cherokee Bob and Cyrus Skinner. When one company disappeared another took its place, and at no time were there less than twenty or thirty of these desperadoes at one or both of their haunts, plotting and contriving deeds of plunder and robbery which involved the hard earnings, possibly the lives, of many of the fortunate miners of the vicinity.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

About the author

Rebecca Wallick

Rebecca is a freelance writer and publisher living near McCall, Idaho. A Seattle native and recovering attorney, she much prefers the quiet, slow pace, and distinct seasons of the West Central Mountains, enjoying the skiing, hiking and running opportunities provided by the nearby Payette National Forest. Rebecca is a Contributing Editor with Bark magazine, and the author of Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot’s Daughter (Feb 2014).

Leave a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This