Butte County, Idaho, GenWeb Project


Little Lost River Valley

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Anna Sermon started this work some thirty years ago. She gathered photographs and information from many sources. There have been many contributors. One of the very attractive techniques she used was to interview many of the older residents of the Little Lost River Valley and record the interview. Harleen the transcribed the recordings into the text herein contained. As much of the grammar and speech of the recordings was preserved as possible. This has contributed greatly to the flavor and ambiance of the valley and adds much to the antidotes and history.

Many people have touched the Valley in the hundred and thirty years since the Hawleys first settle there. Much of the history has been lost and many people have been left out of the book. It is with deep regret that all is not included but one has to stop accumulating and do the writing at some point. It was decide that thirty years was that time. A concerted effort was made to include as many of the early residents as was possible.

Organization of the material presented somewhat of a dilemma. There are several geographical areas, Howe, Clyde, and the Flat (Bernice Area). as well as several influxes of people. The to keep the history in some sort of chronological order has been merged into the areas. The first families that settled the valley up to 1900's are presented first. Then those that settled the Clyde area are included. The settlers for North back to the flat area are next included and finally, those that were more recent inhabitants of Howe are included.


This book tells of the settling of the Little Lost River Valley, as recorded in trappers' journals and as told by families who lived there and by those who can still remember the earliest days.

The first whites in the Little Lost River Valley were trappers. the Northwest Fur Company operated from the mouth of the Columbia River by sailing vessels around South America. They operated from Fort Aastoria on the Columbia River. In 1816 one of their trappers, Donald Mackenzie, organized annual Snake River expeditions. Mackenzie was a red headed Scotch immigrant who weighed over three hundred pounds. He was an able administrator and good Indian negotiator. Attempts to headquarter near Boise failed due to Indian conflicts and thefts. He wintered in the Little Lost River Valley in the winter of 1819-1820 with a party of 70 trappers consisting of whites., Indians and Hawaiians. A grand council of the Shoshonis was held and he was able to secure their cooperation with his trapping activities by convincing them that the trading he could provide for their fur would benefit them. The Shoshonis allowed trapping with little friction for years after.

One of the Mackenzies men was names Thyery (Henry) Godin. He was actually an Iroquois Indian. The Little Lost River was named after him and for a time was known as Godin's River.

Another of Mackinzie's men, John Day, died in the winter encampment and the valley was called John Day's Hole, after him. It rises in Sawmill Canyon over 40 miles north of Howe and ends up sinking in what is now Bob May's ranch (between his and James Mays' ranch.)

Captain Bonneville, sometime during his exploration campaign of 1832-34, wrote of his trip through Pass Creek and down Clyde side and into Howe that there were thousands of antelope, deer and buffalo in the valleys.

Howe has been included in Alturas and Blaine counties before Butte County was formed. It was while in Blaine County that it was named.

Grandpa said the people wanted to name the new settlement "Hawley" and when his Dad and some other presented it to the territory government they refused because Hailey was the County seat and they said it would be confusing because the two names were too similar. They suggested Howe as it was close to Hawley and the men accepted that.

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