The First Furrow Was Turned in the Valley
               
[printed in the Arco Advertiser new paper]
 
 
    In the preceding chapter mention was made of some of the earliest permanent settlers in the Lost River country, Since its publication pioneer residents have searched their memories and names of others have been remembered:
Dave Latham, '82;  Joe Pitser, '82; Allen Lawson, '80;  Frank Lamb, '83;  Wiley Jones, '85;  Tom Lemon, '84;
Geo. Hooper, '85; Dan Nichols, '85; Jack Kent, '85; J.H. Scott, '84; Arthur Kline, '85; B.F. Morrison, '85; Clarence Kinney, '83; Jack Hood, '79;  Bill Cummings, '83; Herb Whitecomb, '85; Francis Long, '84;  Wm. Darnley, '85; John Hooper, '85; Marshall Lemon, '85; Geo. Grover, '84;  James Gillispie, '84; Nicholas Swanson, '84;  Steve Navarr, '79;  Tom McGuire, '85; Geo Simmons, '85; John Meagre, '85; Chas. Merritt, '84; Harvey Johnson, '80; Daniel Puckett, '83;  Joe Skelton, '80; James Hanrahan, '83;  Wade Stickney, '85;  Perry Smith, '82;  William Gamett, '85;  James Marker, '85; Mart Houston, '84;  Bill Pine, '82; Pete Anderson, '80;  Alex McKim, '84; W.W. Watkins, '84;  Jack Williams, '85;  Mark Hurst, '85;  Mose Cotter, '84;  John A. Johnson, '85; P.P. Lawson, '85; Geo. Loftus, '85;  Joe Fleming, '85;  John Kelley, '85;  W.O. Arnold, '84;  Ben Hooper, '85;  Wm. Boone, '84;  and Sam Thompson, '79; Another one of the old timers in the Little Lost River country was Flectcher Ireland, who located near what is now Howe in the early '80s.

    Lost Rivers greatest early-day boom occurred during the years '84 and '85. Later mining booms in the mineral belts surrounding the valley brought in quite a floating or temporary population, but the earliest permanent settlers came during those years.

    Farming was started on a small scale about '84. Much of the land along the river from Mackay to Old Arco, irrigated with decreed water rights., was taken up under the homestead laws held a few years earlier under "squatters' rights" until it was surveyed and finally thrown open for entry.

    Very little farming done. Most of the early setters went into the livestock business. Horse cattle, and sheep engaged their attention and much of the land was put into hay. Several farms along the river are still owned by original homesteaders.

    Settlers were few and far between. The scope of country in which the early day resident lived, extended from the Elkhorn ranch 18 miles north of Mackay to the Big Butte south of the present town of Arco. It consisted of a wide expanse of sage brush land 73 miles in length and its width  was the contour from the mouth of Antelope  tl Bog Lost River.

    Lost River continued to engage in its primitive farming methods for many years due largely to the inaccessibility  to markets. Mining created a boom for the Era. Alder Creek, Cliff City, Carbonate and Houston [Custer County] districts later, and all of these towns, with the exception of Era, were superseded by a later strike and a new town when Mackay came into being.

    Commerce with outside points was conducted entirely by stage. The railroad did not enter the valley until several years later, as the first train operated on the Mackay spur from Blackfoot, steamed up through this new west in 1901.

    Everything used by the early day settlers came in from Blackfoot. A year's supplies were purchased at a time and instead of making the trip across the desert in a couple of hours in an automobile or by train as the present day native often does, several days were required to make the round trip overland by slow freight team. This partly accounts for the slow progress made in agricultural pursuits during the early days.

    Telephone, telegraph and other means of communication came with the railroad. Fast mail and express riders were the means of communication.

    Early day mining booms tragedies etc., must be given a chapter of their own to decribe the stirring events that made history between ' 80 and '85. Some of these events well read more like fiction than fact, and will be difficult to visualize by the people who at present call the Lost River country "home."

    A good job has been done in shaping an empire from the barren wildness and sage that confronted the men whose vision pictured this as a future homeland, and succeeding chapters will describe the incidents that had  bearing on a
Lost River in '1926.
 
 

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