City of Rocks
Historic Resources Study
Alexander, Thomas G., ed. Essays on the American
West, 1972-1973. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press
(Charles Redd Monographs in Western History No. 3), 1974.
Of this series of seven essays, only Eugene E.
Campbell's "Brigham Young's Outer Cordon A Reappraisal" is
germane to a discussion of Raft River/Cassia County settlement. This
essay questions the validity of the standard thesis that Brigham Young
protected Zion through expansion of Mormon settlement. Campbell writes:
"the so-called 'outer cordon' colonies were established for a variety
of reasons other than the encirclement concept."
Alexander, Thomas G., ed. The Mormon People; Their
Character and Traditions. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University
Press (Charles Redd Monographs in Western History No. 10), 1980.
Includes Lowell C. Bennion's essay "Mormon Country a
Century Ago: A Geographer's View." This essay expands on Meinig's
description of a Mormon Cultural Region, and includes census analysis
and a discussion of the impact of federal land laws (versus Mormon
cultural traditions) on the pattern of Mormon settlement. Several
important graphics, including: Nativity of Utah's Population; Brigham
Young's Stakes, 1877; Distribution of Mormon Population by Settlement,
Arrington, Leonard J. and Davis Bitton. The Mormon
Experience; A History of the Latter-day Saints. New York: Alfred A.
General church history with maps showing the extent
of the "Mormon Kingdom in the West, 1847-1900" (boundaries markedly
similar to Meinig's "Mormon Culture Region"). This map includes
Almo/Onkley as areas of concentrated Mormon settlement at the northern
extreme of the Mormon kingdom. Chapter 6, "The Challenge of Building the
Kingdom," contains useful discussion of characteristics of Mormon land,
church incentives for immigration, colonization, and settlement. Only
brief discussion of displacement of Native American inhabitants. The
"Bibliographical Essay" includes detailed description of archival
Barnes, Will C. Western Grazing Grounds and Forest
Ranges. Chicago: Breeders Gazette, 1913.
Subtitled (and effectively
annotated): A History of the Livestock Industry as Conducted in the
Open Ranges of the Arid West with Particular Reference to the Use Now
Being Made of the Ranges in the National Forests.
Billington, Ray Allen. The Far Western Frontier,
1830-1860. New York, Hagerstown, San Francisco, London: Harper &
Classic exploration of Turner's thesis of a closed
frontier. Includes chapters on the Era of the Mountain Man
including the search for a beaver-laden river road to the Pacific the
legendary Buenaventura; on the Overland Trails; and on Mormons' Move
________. Westward Expansion. A History of the
American Frontier. New York: The Macmillan Company, second edition,
General text book study of the Colonial Frontier, the
Trans-Appalachian Frontier, and the Trans Mississippi Frontier. Includes
discussion of Great Basin settlement, the Indian Barrier, and the
Cattlemen s and Farmer's frontier.
Carter, Thomas and Carl Fleischhauer. The Grouse
Creek Cultural Survey. Washington D.C.: Library of Congress,
Although primarily a methodological analysis, the
chapter on findings is a good overview of Grouse Creek folklife (an area
similar to CIRO in its settlement history and subsistence patterns). 
Chittenden, Hiram Martin. History of the American
Fur Trade of the Far West. Stanford: Academic Press, 1954. (First
General source on the political/economic importance
of the fur trade, including the importance of the Snake River/Bear
River/Cache Valley trade and the general boundaries to that trade
Chine, Gloria Griffen. Peter Skene Ogden and the
Hudson's Bay Company. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,
Chapters III and IV ("John Bull Meets Uncle Sam" and
"Our Man in the Snake Country") concentrate on 1818-1830 explorations of
the Snake River country, including the Raft River Valley, and Ogden's
1825 discovery of the Humboldt River (and subsequent impacts of the
route of the California Trail). Three detailed maps of Hudson Bay
Company's Snake River Expeditions: 1824-1826; 1826-1828; 1828-1830 show
excursions to or near the project area. This source includes only brief
references to American fur expeditions, including those of Jedediah
Smith in 1824 and 1827-1828 and of Sublette in 1825.
Dale, Edward Everett. The Range Cattle Industry.
Ranching on the Great Plains from 1865 to 1925. Norman: University
of Oklahoma Press, 1930, second edition 1960.
A general history of the growth and decline of the
ranch industry on the Great Plains. Includes a discussion of the
"Northern Drive"; the winter of 1886-87; and the transition to winter
Dillon, Richard H., editor. California Trail Herd;
The 1850 Missouri-to-California Journal of Cyrus C. Loveland. Los
Gatos, California: The Talisman Press, 1961.
Loveland, trailing herds to California mining camps,
describes the Raft River Valley as containing "Grass in abundance and
plenty of wood." Goose Creek is similarly described. Descriptions of
City of Rocks, Echo Gap, "Recorder's Rock," Novelty Pass. Loveland
reports that the road just south of the confluence with the Salt Lake
Road was "first-rate and tolerable [sic] level but bounded on both
sides with a dreadful, rough and ragged country" (see Zimmerman for
Dillon's introduction describes cattle drives into
California (most along the southern San Antonio-Los Angeles-Sacramento
route) as frequent by 1854. By the 1870s, Dillon reports, drives from
California to Nevada and Idaho [through City of Rocks?] were
Fradkin, Philip. Sagebrush Country. New York:
A.A. Knopf, 1989.
Sociologist's account of past and current, and public
and personal, emotional responses to the western landscape. Includes an
interesting, if undocumented, account of the search for the Buenaventura
Francaviglia, Richard. The Mormon Landscape:
Existence, Creation, and Perception of a Unique Image in the American
West. New York: ATM Press, 1978.
Oakley, Idaho is one of 44 Mormon communities
detailed in this study of ethnographic landscapes. Includes a discussion
of those physical features identifying a community as Mormon and a
discussion of the historical/cultural catalysts to this unique physical
Frazer, Robert W. Forts of the West; Presidios and
Military Forts West of the Mississippi up to 1898. Norman, Oklahoma:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1972.
Includes discussion of Fort Hall's use as a military
fort during the peak years of overland migration (particularly in
reference to conflicts between Shoshoni and Bannack Indians and
emigrants along the California Trail south of Fort Hall).
Gates, Paul W. with a chapter by Robert W.
Swenson. History of Public Land Law Development. Written for the
Public Land Law Review Commission. Washington D.C.: Zenger Publishing
Co., Inc., 1968.
General reference book to Public Land Law, including
federal intent and requirements for filing and for patent. Descriptions
of the "Advent of Dry Farming"; Desert Land Act; Enlarged Homestead Act;
and Stockraising Homestead Act are especially relevant to the project
area. Includes statistics related to patent rate under various land
legislation throughout the semi-arid West (exclusive of California).
Goetzmann, William H. Exploration and Empire; The
Explorer and the Scientist in the Winning of the West. New York:
Vintage Books, 1966.
Includes a discussion of the importance of early
fur-trade and scientific exploration on the development of overland
migration routes particularly Peter Ogden's 1924-1930 exploration
of the Snake River country, the Great Basin, and the Bear River,
including the 1928 discovery of the "Unknown" [Humboldt] River that
provided the critical link in the immigrant road to the Pacific.
Grover, David H. Diamondfield Jack. A Study in
Frontier Justice. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press,
Grover writes "a number of writers have made fleeting
references to the more spectacular events . . . but misconceptions and
prejudices about the case still exist. This book is an attempt to set
the record straight" (p. 4). The book includes a discussion of the
extent to which the case divided the Mormon and non-Mormon
Guthrie, A.B. Jr., The Way West. New York and
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, copyright 1949, renewed 1976.
Winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The
Way West continues the saga of The Big Sky, with retired fur
trapper Dick Summers leading a train of settlers west to Oregon, along
the Overland Trail. Includes fictitious accounts, based on historical
research in emigrant diaries, of the push and pull factors associated
with the migration, of men and women's different roles in and responses
to the journey, of the dangers of overland travel, and of the sojourn at
Fort Hall, when part of the party opted for California.
Hanson, Sam et al. Hard Times in Idaho Between the
Great Wars. Idaho State University Press, 1985.
Includes an essay by Martha Opedahl Soniville,
daughter of a Burley rancher, on farm life during the agricultural
depression of the 1920s and the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Description of local barter system, shared labor, alternative fuel
sources, entertainment. Also includes Sam Hanson's description of the
southern Idaho sheep industry during the 1930s.
Idaho (The) Encyclopedia. Federal Writers'
Project of the Works Progress Administration, compiler. Caldwell, Idaho:
The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1938.
Accounts of Idaho history, folklore, scenery,
cultural backgrounds, social and economic trends, and racial factors,
organized by County. The Encyclopedia includes a chapter on the
"Physical State" with description of the City of Rocks and of the Albion
and Goose Creek mountains; a general chapter on agriculture that
includes a discussion of reclamation of the Goose Creek and Raft River
valleys; of Mining (void of any reference to Cassia County mica mining:
"deposits of commercial importance occur in Lahah, Adams, and Idaho
[counties)"; Lumbering, with physical description of the Minidoka NF;
Manufacturing, with reference to Burley industries; Transportation (very
general); Communications (very general); and County histories.
Idaho Historical Society. "City of Rocks and Granite
Pass." Boise, Idaho: Idaho Historical Society (Reference Series No.
136), 1993 (revised).
Includes discussion of general boundaries of Northern
Shoshoni territory, of the 1862 attack at Massacre Rocks and near City
of Rocks, and of federal response to these attacks. Also discussion of
first use of Raft River/City of Rocks/Granite Pass as overland trail
route and 1849 descriptions of City of Rocks by Geiger and Bryarly,
August Burbank, J. Goldsborough Bruff, and James Wilkins.
Idaho Historical Society. "Almo Massacre." Boise,
Idaho: Idaho Historical Society (Reference Series No. 232), 1971
Collection of newspaper and journal accounts of
battles between emigrant parties and local Indians near Almo/City of
Rocks. Although primarily a compendium of primary documents, this
document also includes a discussion of inconsistencies between accounts
and of the general exaggeration of the degree of danger and
Ingersoll, Chester. Overland to California in
1847. Letters Written En Route to California, West from Independence,
Missouri, to the Editor of the Joliet Signal. Fairfield, Washington:
Ye Galleon Press, 1970.
Descriptions of need to jettison private effects
a process begun as early as Fort Laramie and completed on the
final approach to the 40-mile Desert of the Humboldt (Raft River/Goose
Creek region). Detailed description (p.35) of the road from Fort Hall to
Raft River "hilly, rocky and sandy the water is good, but
grass is scarce" and of the Raft River Valley where grass was
"plenty" and of Goose Creek "with a rich coat of grass along its banks."
These descriptions contrast sharply with overall impressions of land
west of South Pass as "one entire volcanic region, all burnt to a
cinder. The rock and stone look like cinders from a furnace." Ingersoll
reports (1847) that, at Fort Hall, "only about 60 or 70 wagons, out of
750, except the Mormons, are taking the road to California. The Mormons
stop at the great Salt Lake."
Jackson, W. Turrentine. Wagons Roads West.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964.
Evaluation of the role of the federal government in
the location, survey, and improvement of wagon routes in the
trans-Mississippi territory before the railroad era.
Johansen Dorothy O. and Charles M. Gates. Empire
of the Columbia. A History of the Pacific Northwest. New York,
Evanston, and London: Harper & Row, 1957, p. 381.
General reference, primarily re: development of
southern Idaho markets. Also northwest transportation routes.
Madsen, Brigham D. The Bannock of Idaho.
Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1958.
An important work on Bannock ethnography, with a
primary emphasis on the period of contact, the Bannock's evolving
response to the emigrant trains, the treaty process, and the Bannock
Madsen, Brigham D. The Shoshoni Frontier and the
Bear River Massacre (Utah Centennial Series, Volume 1). Salt Lake
City: University of Utah Press, 1985.
Includes good description (Chapter 3) of Indian
Agent/emigrant reports of clashes with Shoshoni and Bannack Indians in
the region surrounding Fort Hall. Also details federal response.
Meinig, D.W. "The Mormon Culture Region: Strategies
and Patterns in the Geography of the American West, 1847-1964,"
Annals of the Association ofAmerican Geographers 55 (June 1965):
Seminal geographic study of an identifiable Mormon
Culture Region, distinguished by architecture and land use. Identifies
Mormonism as a subculture that has "long established its mark upon the
life and landscape of a particular area" and attempts to define the
limits to this area or cultural landscape. Includes discussion of
farm-village pattern of development relevant to agricultural
development of City of Rocks region, particularly relationship of
historic homesteads with the communities of Albion, Elba, and Almo
and a discussion of the three tiers (temporal and geographic) of
Mormon "colonization." See also Francaviglia (The Mormon
Merrill, Irving R., editor. Bound For Idaho. The
1864 Trail Journal of Julius Merrill. Moscow, Idaho: University of
Idaho Press, 1988.
Merrill traveled west to the Idaho gold fields in
1864. Relevant to the City of Rocks primarily for Merrill's response to
and description of the Snake River plain and Fort Hall.
Mintz, Lannon W. The Trail; A Bibliography of the
Travelers on the Overland Trail to California, Oregon, Salt Lake City,
and Montana during the Years 1841-1864. Albuquerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 1987.
General Bibliography, listing over 700 diaries of
travel on the California Trail.
Morgan, Dale L. Jedediah Smith and the Opening of
the West. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1953.
General source re: exploration associated with the
fur trade. Includes specific discussion of Smith's reconnaissance of the
Bear River/Chalk Creek route from Fort Hall to California.
Myres, Sandra L., ed. Ho for California! Women's
Overland Diaries from the Huntington Library. San Marino,
California: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 1980.
Of the five women's diaries included in this volume,
only those of Helen Carpenter (1957) and of Mary Stuart Bailey (1952)
reference the City of Rocks. Of the two diaries, Carpenter's is the most
complete and the most descriptive. Carpenter describes Mormon blacksmith
shops along the Raft River, describes emigrant fears of Indian
depredation, reports passing the grave of a man "killed by Indians," and
describes an Indian visit to their encampment along Goose Creek: "they
did not appear unfriendly." Her description of City of Rocks includes a
discussion of churches, dog houses, courthouses, large and small houses,
and concludes with general satisfaction at the interruption of the
normally monotonous journey. Like other emigrants, Carpenter describes
the area as heavily willowed.
Parkman, Francis, The Oregon Trail, edited by
F.N. Feltzkog. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969.
Of only limited use. Unruh (The Plains Across)
reports that "the title is not very germane to its contents." No
descriptions of the project area (Raft River Valley/City of Rocks) and
only limited description of life on the trail. Feltzkog's introduction
(pp. 18a-23a) contains a narrative description of the various routes
and alternative "cut-offs."
Potter, David Morris, editor. Trail to California;
the Overland Journal of Vincent Geiger and Wakeman Bryarly. New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1945.
Extensively quoted in the National Register of
Historic Places Nomination for the City of Rocks, this journal includes
poetic descriptions of the "City Rocks." It also includes more prosaic
descriptions of the Raft River Valley, of emigrant response to Indian
threat between Fort Hall and the Humboldt, and of the exhausted state of
teams and of immigrants as they approached the last leg of their journey
Powell, J.W. and G.W. Ingalls. "Report, December 18,
1873" in the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Annual Report, 1873.
House Executive Document No. 1, Pt. 5, 43d Cong., 1st sess., 1873,
Powell and Ingalls' 1873 report to the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs (pp. 410-412) includes a description of Western
Shoshone, Pai-Utes, and white settlement in the area south of Fort Hall.
Powell reports that "there is no district of country with sufficient
water and other natural facilities for a reservation, not already
occupied by white men . . . . The lands along the streams and almost
every important spring has either been entered or claimed." This report
suggests that project-area settlement predates formal survey and legal
claim (ca. 1878) to cultivable lands along Goose and Circle creeks and
Read, Georgia Willis and Ruth Gaines, eds. Gold
Rush: The Journals, Drawings and Other Papers of J. Goldsborough
Bruff New York: Columbia University Press, 1944.
Only Volume 1 of this two volume series contains
reference to the City of Rocks region. Within volume 1, the project area
forms the geographic and psychological demarcation between phases of
Bruff's journey: Part 1 describes "Washington City to Raft River," Part
2 describes "Raft River to Bruff's Camp" in northern California. Bruff's
diary includes important descriptions of Indian encounters within the
project area; of loss of livestock as trains approached the Humboldt;
and of the frequent jettison of personal effects. Also includes a pencil
sketch of the "source of Goose Creek and Val. Rock" and an oft-quoted
description of the City of Rocks. Description of Mormon traders in the
region predates Helen Carpenter's similar description by almost five
years (see Myers, Ho For California!).
Reid, John Phillip. Law for the Elephant. San
Marino, California: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery,
Account of role of private property in overland
migration (an inherently cooperative venture). Includes powerful
descriptions of starvation along the trail; abandonment of private
property (and process by which migrants traded their own belongings for
superior goods of similar function found along the trail); and
description of the alternative routes available to travelers: including
Lassen's Cut-off or the longer, safer route through City of Rocks.
(Suggests that after ca. 1850 many emigrants detoured through Salt Lake
City to acquire needed supplies, joining the main stream of travel just
south of City of Rocks.)
Robbins, Roy M. Our Landed Heritage. The Public
Domain 1776-1936. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press,
General source for information re: federal land
legislation as it pertained to the West.
Steen, Harold K. The U.S. Forest Service; A
History. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1976.
General source for information on western response to
creation of the U.S. Forest Reserves (1897) and the U.S. Forest Service
(1906). Includes discussion of evolution of America's conservation ethic
and the administrative responsibilities of those charged with
conservation of grazing (versus timber) land.
Stegner, Wallace. Beyond the Hundredth
Meridian. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1954.
Description of federal attempts to encourage
settlement and development of the semi-arid American West
includes critical discussion of the Desert Land Act, the 160-acre
Homestead Act, the Enlarged Homestead Act, and impacts of this
legislation on western settlement patterns and the western cultural
________. Mormon Country. New York: ??, Sloan,
and Pearce, 1942.
The first comprehensive discussion of the impact of
Mormonism on the cultural landscape, including a discussion of physical
characteristics of Mormon communities (irrigation networks, the City of
Zion plat, the prevalent lombardy poplar), the role of the social
network of wards and stakes, and trade networks defined by Salt Lake
City rather than state lines.
________. Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade
Springs; Living and Writing in the West. New York: Penguin Books,
Series of essays describing the American West
"aridity and aridity alone makes the various Wests one"
Americans' cultural and physical response to that aridity
including attempts to irrigate and to cultivate western lands.
Sudweeks, Leslie L. "The Raft River in Idaho
History," Pacific Northwest Quarterly (June 1941), pp.
Mr. Sudweeks examines use of the Raft River and its
tributaries "for three surging streams of travel": fur traders; emigrant
wagons; and the pony express, stagecoach and freight wagon. Includes a
description of the Almo Massacre and of the Pony Express route through
Unruh, John. The Plains Across. The Overland
Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-1860. Urbana Chicago
London: University of Illinois Press, 1979.
This seminal work on overland migration contains few
references to the project area specifically yet provides essential
background information on changing public perception and attitudes
toward the semi-arid West, the Mormon migration, and the day-to-day
experience of migrants, including a critical analysis of the degree of
contact and of conflict with Native Americans. Includes an important
discussion of the different phases of migration, from those who intended
to settle the best land, to Mormons in search of marginal unsettled
land, to the '49ers who planned primarily to make their fortune and
return east (thus creating a surge of eastward travel).
Utley, Robert M. The Indian Frontier of the
American West 1846-1890. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico
Includes description of the "Foundation of a New
Indian Policy" that guided the federal response to conflict in southern
Idaho between the Shoshoni and Bannack and white settlers (focus on Fort
Hall). Special emphasis on the impact of the '49ers on federal Indian
Zimmermann, Margaret Hoff and Erich W. Zimmermann,
translators. Scharmann's Overland Journey to California; From the
Pages of a Pioneer's Diary. (Translated from the German of H.B.
Scharmann). Freeport, New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1918,
Excellent account of travel beyond South Pass,
especially response to the general aridity of land west of Fort Bridger:
Peak Basement (near Green River) "is the only region during this part of
the voyage that seems worthy of a farmer's notice. The land for the rest
of the way from Fort Laramie to California is not worth a cent, I think.
It consists of nothing but desert-land and bare mountains covered with
boulders and red soil which makes them resemble volcanoes. The best
thing the traveller can do is to hurry on as fast as possible from one
river to the other." See Stegner and Unruh re: cultural/emotional
responses to arid West.
Thesis and Reports
Boothe, Wayne R. "A History of the Latter-Day Saint
Settlement of Oakley, Idaho." M.S. thesis, Brigham Young University,
This thesis appears to be based upon a thorough
search of newspapers and LDS church records and upon interviews with
local residents. It covers the period 1860 through the 1920s,
discussing initial settlement, school and church development, commercial
development, transportation systems, and cultural life. The final
chapter offers four examples of local folk legend, including the City of
Rocks lost mine story. 
Chance, David H. and Jennifer V. Chance. "The
Archaeological Reconnaissance of the City of Rocks Reserve." Submitted
to the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Park Service, 1990.
Includes a good description of the project area
environment, including discussion of changes in the natural landscape
associated with decimation of the beaver population, use of the numerous
streams for irrigation, and cattle grazing. Detailed accounts of rock
inscriptions, trail vestiges, and prehistoric sites discovered in the
course of the survey.
The survey concentrated on: the Applegate/California
Trail and the Salt Lake Alternate corridors; six randomly selected
forty-acre tracts; areas targeted as likely to contain archaeological
sites; areas encountered as opportunity presented itself, e.g. while
traveling to the randomly selected tracts. Ultimately, of the 65 sites
encountered, 25 were included in an amendment to the existing City of
Rocks National Register Nomination.
Although historic sites were recorded, little
historical information is presented. Relevant pages of F. W. Lander's
"Report of the Fort Kearney, South Pass, and Honey Lake Wagon Road,"
(1859-1860), are included as Appendix D. (See also the site forms
associated with this report, available through the Idaho State Historic
Preservation Office, Boise, Idaho.)
Haines, Aubrey L. "An Historical Report on the City
of Rocks in Southern Idaho." Prepared for the National Park Service,
Denver Service Center, October, 1972. Copies on file at the Idaho State
Historical Society, Boise, and Cassia County Historical Society, Burley,
This report deals mainly with the trails period,
giving an extended discussion of the supposed Almo massacre and other
conflicts between Native Americans and whites. There is a brief
discussion of the first homesteads and ranches in the City of Rocks area
and a brief reference to Charles Brown's campaign to obtain monument
status for the area.
Hutchison, Daniel J. and Larry R. Jones, editors.
"Emigrant Trails of Southern Idaho." Boise: Bureau of Land Management
and Idaho State Historical Society, January 1993.
This report provides a detailed discussion of the
original route of the California Trail and the Salt Lake Alternate in
and near the project area, as well as a discussion of extant trail
Little, William J., Range Consultant. "A Historical
Overview of Livestock Use in the Area of City of Rocks National Reserve
From Introduction to 1907," 1994. (Copy of report provided by the NPS,
Pacific Northwest Region, Seattle, Washington.)
This is a "brief overview of early livestock-related
events in and around the City of Rocks National Reserve with emphasis on
the three country area of present Cassia County, Idaho, Elko County,
Nevada, and Box Elder County, Utah. The period begins with the
introduction of livestock and concludes in 1907."
Wells, Merle W. "History of the City of Rocks," with
four Appendices. Report prepared for David and Jennifer Chance and
Associates, Moscow, Idaho, 1990. On file at the Pacific Northwest Region
of the National Park Service, Seattle, Washington.
Appendices are 1) City of Rocks and Granite Pass, 2)
Diary References to City of Rocks, 3) Almo Massacre Documentation, and
4) Annotated Bibliography
Thompson, Wm. H. "Cassia County, Idaho, 1849-1949,"
7/27/1949. File: "Contacts and other Historical Data. Records of
Minidoka National Forest (1924 through 1938)." Supervisor's Office,
Sawtooth National Forest, Twin Falls, Idaho.
United States Government Reports and Bulletins
Bulletin #713. Geography, Geology and Mineral
Resources of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Washington D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1920.
Applicable to City of Rocks National Reserve only for
identification of periods of drought and above-average rainfall.
Bulletin #1055H: Tertiary Geology of the Goose
Creek district [sic lower case], Cassia County, Idaho, Box Elder County,
Utah, and Elko County, Nevada. Washington D.C.: Government Printing
Information relevant to the City of Rocks National
Reserve is limited to figures re: mean annual precipitation rates (10.5
inches) and mean temperatures.
Bulletin #B530i: Mica in Idaho, New Mexico, and
Colorado. Washington D.C. Government Printing Office, 1913.
Cassia County is not identified as significant
producer of sheet or scrap mica. The bulletin includes a discussion of
mica mining processes and of mica use.
Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology. Bulletin #14:
Geology and Mineral Resources of Eastern Cassia County, Idaho.
Moscow, Idaho: University of Idaho, September 1931.
________. Bulletin #6: Geology and Water Resources
of the Goose Creek Basin, Cassia County, Idaho. Moscow, Idaho:
University of Idaho, 1923.
Technical analysis of potential for artesian wall
development in the Goose Creek drainages. Includes valuable
climatological data for the larger region, much of it provided by the
USFS (Bostetter and Hereford ranger districts).
Publication #229: Mica and Beryl Pegmatites in
Idaho and Montana. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office,
Idaho's Avon Mining District, Latah County,
identified as the state's most significant mica producer. No active or
abandoned mines identified in Cassia County. Discussion of government
incentives to mica mining during the World War II years. Includes
discussion of mica mining processes and of mica use.
United States Department of the Interior, National
Park Service. Eligibility/Feasibility Study and Environmental
Assessment for National Historic Trail Authorization, 1985.
Includes brief discussion of historic use and
significance of the trail systems, as well as a series of useful
United States Geological Society. Water Supply
Paper #1460C: Ground Water Possibilities South of the Snake River
Between Twin Falls and Pocatello, Idaho. Washington D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1962.
Identifies arable land south of the Snake River.
Provides annual precipitation records.
Land Status Records and Census
United States Geological Survey (USGS) survey plats
and survey notes, 1878-1954 (available from the Bureau of Land
Management (BLM), Boise Idaho.
The first USGS surveys show only limited development
within the immediate project area. In his 1878 survey of the east half
of township 15S 24E, Allen Thompson noted only an unnamed road along the
general route of the California Trail. The land is described generally
as "gently rolling" with "second-rate [soil], good grass and scattered
sage." The north half of the township is described more specifically as
"agricultural land." Subsequent project-area surveys dated 1884, 1886,
and 1892 note the "old California Road" in apparent continued use
roads "to Oakley," "from Canyon road to Junction Valley," and "to
timber," as well as scattered corrals and scattered buildings, their
placement dictated by the presence of water. Survey notes associated
with these maps, also available through the BLM, provide greater detail
re: physical improvements and the character of the land.
General Land Office, Tract Book Indexes, Township 15S
23E; 15S 24E; 16S 23E; 16S 24E (available from the Bureau of Land
Management, Boise, Idaho (microfilm) and the National Archives,
Suitland, Maryland (original).
Tract book entries for the immediate project area
reveal concentrated settlement by the 1880s (most often under the terms
of the Homestead Act) and expansion of these claims under the terms of
the Enlarged Homestead Act (1909; 1911) and the Stockraising Homestead
Act (1916). Tract book indexes also show extended-family settlement
within the project area.
General Land Office, Patent Files (various), Township
15S 23E; 15S 24E; 16S 23E; 16S 24E (available from the National
Archives, Suitland, Maryland).
These files indicates that barley and wheat were
frequent area crops (vulnerable both to drought and rodents), stock
herds were of limited size and often grazed on public lands,
agricultural and domestic infrastructure was often limited to a house, a
corral system, carrels(?), spring development, and minor secondary
structures (such as chicken houses). Land was generally fenced with
jack-leg fences. Most homesteaders vacated their claims between November
and May, retreating to Almo, Oakley, or Burley where their children
could attend school and they could secure wage labor.
United States Census Office. Manuscript Census,
Cassia County, Idaho (Territory)." Available on microfilm from the
National Archives Records Division, Atlanta, Georgia, 1880, 1900, 1910,
The census includes information on area settlers'
age, occupation, literacy and home ownership. Information on place of
birth provides a means of identifying the presence of ethnic communities
and also (by tracing the birth place of area children) of tracing
resident's emigration patterns.
United States Forest Service Documents
These records include but are not limited to mineral
and homestead surveys, administrative site withdrawals, special-use
permits (mining and grazing), correspondence files, a Minidoka National
Forest history, and site-specific documentation (available at the
Sawtooth National Forest Supervisor's Office (Twin Falls), the Burley
Ranger District archives (Burley), and/or the Regional Office in Ogden,
Archival Collections and Oral Histories
Sawtooth National Forest, Twin Falls, Idaho
Stokes, J. W. Interviewed by A. R. Standing, Ogden,
Utah, 4/19/1965, re: Mr. Stokes Forest Service Career.
File: "Contacts and other Historical Data. Records of Minidoka
National Forest (1938)." Supervisor's Office, Sawtooth National Forest,
Twin Falls, Idaho.
Limited discussion of the Minidoka National Forest,
primarily re: special permits for small-scale timber harvests.
Historical Department, LDS Church, Salt Lake City, Utah
Adams, John. Diaries, 1912-1934. MS8101.
Detailed diary written by an LDS farmer in the Oakley
vicinity. Adams chronicles farm chores, types of crops grown, church
activities and official actions, weather, local deaths, construction of
farm buildings, and his interaction with neighbors. This is a good
source for information about daily life and farm management (equipment
used, harvest figures, irrigation systems, banking, managing stock,
maintaining a kitchen garden).
Jenson, Andrew. "Almo Ward, Idaho." LR10590. Typed
and handwritten manuscripts, partly on church survey forms, all on
Jenson describes the geographic extent of the ward
and compiles the history of Almo Ward in annual reports beginning with
its organization as a branch in 1882. The events chronicled include
erection of buildings, changes in leadership, missions, and deaths.
Journal of History of the LDS Church. Newspaper
clippings, handwritten and typed manuscripts, index.
The Journal of History is a multi-volume scrapbook
compiling church president's actions, events affecting the church and
church members, and members' activities. Occasional entries include
information of more general interest, such as reports on weather and
crops, local celebrations, and new construction. The Oakley
correspondent to the Deseret News, for example, contributed
several general-interest reports beginning in 1883 and continuing
through 1899. There are a number of similarly valuable reports from Almo
in July and August 1900. The index to the journal includes town and
personal names. For Oakley, Almo, and personal names associated with
those places, forty-six items are indexed covering the years 1883
King, Henry Edgar (Ted). Personal interview by
Delbert Adams, 1961 (MS 6230 16. Microfilm of 18-page typed
This interview was produced as part of the Oral
History Program of the LDS Church. Materials about Almo include
conditions of ranching and a story about a humorous misunderstanding
between whites and Native Americans. Much of the interview deals with
establishment of Cardston, Alberta.
Cassia County Historical Society, Burley,
Coltrin, Ocea. Circle Ranch, oil painting.
This impressionist-style painting depicts structures
at Circle Ranch and the surrounding landscape.
Mooso, Walter. Family History File.
This file includes an undated manuscript by Alta
Mooso Weldon entitled "Homesteader's [sic] at the City of Rocks," a
manuscript entitled "Life Sketch of Walter M. Mooso," By Burdell Curtis,
1981; and an undated autobiography by Alta Mooso Weldon. See also, Oral
Newspaper clippings pertaining to Almo history. "Almo"
vertical file (13 clippings).
Clippings dating from 1971-1991 reflect the
heightened interest in local history that resulted from American
Bicentennial and Idaho Centennial activities. Many of these articles and
columns were written by A. W. Dawson, editor of the Burley South
Idaho Press, on the basis of interviews that he and his wife Lillian
conducted with people knowledgeable about local events. The subjects
covered give one a good sense of what local people consider to be of
significance in their own history.
King, Henry Edgar (Ted). Personal interview by A. W.
and Lillian Dawson, 16 May 1971 (T 73-74). Not transcribed.
King discusses his father's role in settling the Almo
Lind, Philbert. Personal interview by A. W. and
Lillian Dawson, October 1972 (T 73-75). Not transcribed.
The Lind family were early settlers at Lynn
(Moulton), Utah and maintained ties with communities in and around City
Mooso, Walter. Personal interview by A. W. and
Lillian Dawson, 29 March 1973 (T 73-62). Not transcribed.
This interview is extremely useful for documenting
the homesteading period in City of Rocks. Mooso was among the first
homesteaders within the City of Rocks area and he was among the last to
leave when the springs there began drying up. Contents of the tape
include Mooso's family history, names of other settlers at City of
Rocks, locating his homestead, crops raised, trapping, building his
house and other detailed accounts of everyday life. See also "Moose
Family History File."
Special Collections, Utah State University, Logan,
Lewis, Lenore. "History of Oakley, Idaho," no
This local history relies upon personal interviews
and diaries in private collections. Topics include social clubs,
schools, the Mormon Church, transportation and communication systems,
local families and their backgrounds, economic development, and means of
Ward, Bernus. "History of Almo, Idaho." ca. 1945.
This paper relies on personal interview with eleven
members of the region's first white families. Includes a hand-drawn map
that identifies buildings and farms by owner and locates the legendary
Almo Massacre. Topics include social clubs, schools, the Mormon Church,
transportation and communication systems, local families and their
backgrounds, economic development, and means of subsistence.
Ward, Dwayne. "History of Almo, Idaho," .
This paper relies on personal interviews with members
of the region's first white families. Topics include social clubs,
schools, the Mormon Church, transportation and communication systems,
local families and their backgrounds, economic development, and means of
subsistence. Bernus Ward (see above) draws heavily from this paper.
Whiteley, Robyn. "Pioneer Architecture of Oakley,
This is a folklore collection compiled for an
upper-division Brigham Young University class based upon
interview with local residents. Contextual information focusses mainly
on builders and early owners. [May provide information relevant to a
local/regional context for evaluating area architectural significance.
Also for use in defining area vernacular architecture.]
Grouse Creek Collection. Fife Folklore Archives. 21
transcripts of taped interviews. Archivist's permission required for
Interviews recorded with participants in the Grouse
Creek study (see Carter, Grouse Creek Cultural Survey) make
occasional reference to the City of Rocks and surrounding communities as
a place to visit for recreation or subsistence activities. Grouse Creek,
in northern Utah, is near City of Rocks and very similar to the area in
settlement history and subsistence patterns.
Eli M. Oboler Library, Idaho State University,
"100 Years of Progress." (Burley) South Idaho
Press. Special Centennial Supplement, August 1970.
A compilation of articles pertaining to county
history, most from past issues of the SIP. Among the articles are
items related to the first irrigation pump tried in the Raft River area
(1912), a summary of Almo history, the Almo store, a description of the
Matt Durfee log cabin in City of Rocks, and an account from Anna Bruesch
Durfee of a wagon trip to Almo in 1901.
Cranney, Ariel. "History of the Early Settlement of
Oakley, Idaho." January 1935. MC 13/1/6.
This is a college paper based upon an interview with
Mrs. A. J. Tolman, a woman of 85. Contents include a general description
of establishment of ranches, stage road, and post office;
house-building; subsistence; violence between cattle and sheep ranchers;
water shortages in the Oakley [Carey Lands] project; and the effect of
the Vipont, Utah, silver mine on the Oakley economy.
Dawson, Also William. Western Saga Guide Book.
n.p. Dawson: 1974.
This is a compilation of anecdotes about Cassia
County history produced during the national Bicentennial with some
guidance from the Idaho State Historical Society. Most of the materials
pertain to the trails era. Those that do not include sketches about
Diamondfield Jack, cattle ranching in the 1890s, the Raft River lost
mine, story, the Vipont Mine (Utah) of the 1920s, prohibition, and a
stage robbery of 1922. The anecdotes seem to be based upon personal
interviews, but interviewees are not identified.
Estes, Virginia, ed. A Pause for Reflection.
Provo, Utah: J. Grant Stevenson, 1977.
Biographic, autobiographic, and anecdotal sketches
compiled by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Cassia County Company. Some
of the sketches include valuable details about everyday life. Includes a
brief passage from Emma Lucy Mikesell in which she refers to locating a
homestead in City of Rocks in 1910. There are community sections devoted
to Moulton, Albion, Oakley, Almo, Elba, and Goose Creek.
Collections, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
Idaho State Department of Agriculture. Idaho
Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletins and Circulars, from ca.
This collection contains bulletins addressing the
irrigated areas of southeastern Idaho and written at the Kimberly
Experiment Station. Relevant data includes county-specific information
on the dry-land wheat movement, the impact of drought and depression,
changing tenancy and mobility rates, the evolution of area agriculture,
the role of women on area farms, etc.
Idaho State Historical Society, Boise, Idaho
Brown, Charles. "Eternal City of Rocks," The
Mountain States Monitor March 1926: 26-27.
Brown's essay describing the geology of the area
mentions recent completion of the Oakley-Elba road by the U.S. Forest
Service. The article includes a four-stanza poem by Milo M. Thompson and
black and white photographs altered with pen to emphasize the
animal-like appearance of the formations. This effort may mark the
beginnings of Brown's campaign to promote the City of Rocks as a
"City of Rocks" vertical file:
Contains an eclectic mix of materials, including
poetry inspired by the region's geological formations (1920s); newspaper
clippings from the Idaho Daily Statesman and Oakley Herald
(including 1933 article documenting completion of road from Almo to
CIRO); articles and editorials re: 1930s attempts to achieve National
Monument status for the City of Rocks; general reference sheets, written
in the 1930s and arranged by theme, including the fur trade and trails
period (WPA records?).
Idaho Gazetteer and Business Directory,
1891-1892. n.p.: R.L. Polk, .
Brief entries for Almo, Basin, Elba, Oakley, and
Thatcher (Goose Creek) provide a description of businesses, churches,
services, and population. Entries give a good impression of the
commercial, transportation, and communication networks that these
communities belong to.
Lind, John. History of John, Emma, and Alex Lind's
settlement south of Almo. No title. Manuscript 2/463. Idaho Historical
Society, Boise, Idaho, no date, (post 1954).
Additional Vertical Files
Cattle Association: primarily post-1970 pamphlets of
Idaho; Cattle; Cowboys: miscellaneous clipping file, ca. 1920s and 1930s
accounts of the vanishing cowboy; also modern "human interest" stories
on cowboys throughout southern Idaho; Cattle History: contains "History
of Idaho's Range Industry," ca. 1948.
Bruesch, Jake and Ida. Personal interview by A. W.
Dawson, 16 May 1974 (OH 180). Typed Transcript.
Includes information about settlement of the Almo
area and establishment of a dairy farm.
Dayley, Newell. Personal interview by A. W. and
Lillian Dawson, 18 January 1968 (OH 182). Typed Transcript.
Contents include information about cattle ranches and
grazing lands in the Raft River and Dry Creek areas, range wars, and the
Almo Massacre and the City of Rocks stage robbery legends.
Eames, J. Roy. Personal interview by A. W. and
Lillian Dawson, n.d. Two tapes, untranscribed.
Eames discusses his father Henry's role in settling
Johnson, W.E. Jr. Personal interview by Mr. Robert
Alexander and Mrs. Erwin Dobberpfuhl, 5 February 1970 (OH52). Typed
transcript with restrictions on reproduction.
Johnson spent his childhood in Almo; the interview
contains brief information about farming and early houses in Almo
Private Collections of Merle W. Wells, Boise,
Idaho and Jennifer Eastman Attebery, Pocatello, Idaho
Horne, John Theo. "Autobiography." n.d. 34-page typed
This autobiographical account of Horne's life includes
information about homesteading near Almo in 1915. Horne's account is
valuable for details of everyday life, including descriptions of
housing, water supply, outbuildings, farm chores, harvesting, spiritual
life, buildings and facilities in Almo, and transportation. Information
is imparted through anecdotes that are nearly all first hand.
Last Updated: 12-Jul-2004