Idaho State Journal from Pocatello, Idaho on November 1, 1963 · Page 15
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

Idaho State Journal from Pocatello, Idaho · Page 15

Pocatello, Idaho
Issue Date:
Friday, November 1, 1963
Page 15
Start Free Trial

IDAHO STATE JOURNAL Friday, Nov. 1, 1943-3 Bigfoof's Career Started Over Insult EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the Second in u series of articles on outlaws of the old west, prepared by members of the Ban- noclc County Historical Society as par! oj the Territorial Centennial observance. This feature is on Bigf oat, perhaps Idaho's most famous outlaw of 1H years ago. By NORA ANN HARRIMAN In the fall of 18G5 began the notorious career of the man whose nickname "Bigfoot" sent shivers lip the spines of thousands of emigrants passing through the narrow canyons between Silver Cily and Fort Boise. For three ye=irs Starr Wilkinson, called Chief Nam (big) pull (foot) by the members of hib renegade band, and Bigfoot by the white people, committed depredations in this section of the country. Ranging as far west as the Grande Ronde Valley in Oregon and as far east as the head- Waters of the Owyhee and Weiser rivers in Idaho. Bigfoot haunted the wagon trails, stealing horaes, murdering, and plundering, HLs name became legend; hi. description was on every lip; "six foot eight and one-half inches tall, three hundred pounds; feet, seventeen and one-half inches long, six incites wide; accompanied by a small band of mounted renegade Shoshoncs; always on foot; can run faster than a horse and coyer 50 to 80 miles a day; the citizens of Fort Boise will pay one thousand dollars for his scalp and feet." After murders on the Sntike River, Bigfoot made his way to the Boise Valley where he met theFrench trader and trapper, Joe Lewis, and his renegade band of Indians. Joe had been with the party of redmen who had massacred Doctor Whitman and many others near Fort Walla .Walla in 1847. The renegade Indians welcomed Bigfoot, and with the ' first movements along the trail in the springtime the plundering began. One night while attacking an emigrant train, Bigfoot recognized cattle belonging to the parents of a woman he loved, but who had rejected him, known only as Mary. He gave the signal and the attack ceased. The next day Bigfoot rode down to the wagon trail to get his girl. Mary hacked away in horror. That niglit Bigfoot told Joe: "She Iiates mu! I fought for her, stole, murdered, and she hates me. She colled, me a bigfooted nigger!' That night horror visited the Wagon train. Guns barked, shrieks ended in moans, scalps were taken ... among them Mary's. Leading the blood-crazed band into the Burnt River country, Bigfoot attacked and murdered the Scott family. One attack followed another. Miners were murdered on the road between Silver City, and Fort Boise, stagecoaches Were robbed and passengers killed. Bigfoot's lust could not be sated. He took an Indian bride, but he did not give up his hatred. In the summer of 1867 he killed an Army officer and his child, taking the hysterical mother and wife captive. A few days later, realizing that she was a burden, he turned her over to the squaws, Who killed her. Posses were organized and the citizens at Fort Boise increased the reward for Bigfoot's scalp and feet. One night a posse found the renegade's encampment and a furious battle was fought. Bigfoot escaped, but later learned that his Wife had been killed and his small wn. isfccn captive. Ihsane for revenge, he planned his moves with military genius striking an emigrant train in the Burnt River country one day, am the next day butchering travelers 75 miles eastward, killing a miner on the outskirts of Silver Cilj the following day, then sweeping southward to rob the Salt Lake City to Fort Boise stagecoach anc kill the passengers. Lawmen, emigrants, miners freighters, stagecoach drivers ant highwaymen set out to rid the country of this demon and coltcci the reward on his scalp and feet One day a party of horsemen caught Bigfoot alone on an open prairie and tried to run him down The chase went on for 20 miles with Bigfoot well ahead of his pursuers. Then, seeming to tire ol the game, the giant escaped by swimming a river. The end came in July, 1868. John W. Wheeler, a notorious highwayman, had been following Bigfoot's trail all day and now as the sun sank in the West, he approached Massacre Meadows, a narrow defile halfway between Silver City and Fort Boise that was ona of Bigfoot's favorite haunts, and realized that Bigfoot meant to attack a stagecoach as it passed through the canyon. Hiding in tlie rocky craigs, Wheeler was horrified to see a Irae emigrant hurrying down the road in pursuit of a runaway team ol horses, and across the canyon three feathered, painted Indians racing to intercept the approach ing stagecoach. Two of the In dians were of medium Etature, hut the leader, was a giant . . Bigfoot! As Wheeler watched, the emigrant,' named Anderson, suddenly aware of his predicament, dived under a rock ledge. Wlieeler opened fire, killing one of the Indians. The second Indian whirled and ran back the way he had come. Bigfoot secreted himself in a thicket. The stagecoach passed, and Bigfoot sought escape by camouflaging himself with sagebrush and crawling away. Wheeler began shouting insults, ending with: "You cowardly nig- ger, you'H take ho more women's scalps!" Infuriated. Bigfoot leaped to his Feet. Wheeler rose. Both men fired. Bigfoot staggered, and fired again. Wheeler's second bullet sent the giant reeling. Bigfoot dropped his gun, drew his knife, and started running toward the highwayman. Wheeler kept shooting. At last Bigfoot fell, his powerful body riddled by sixteen bullets. Wheeler approached, and Bigfoot cried out, "Don't shoot me again. You have killed me." Afraid of trickery, Wheeler maintained a safe distance. Bigfoot raised his head. "Give me water." Wheeler hesitated. The Indian's eft arm had been shattered, but :he right arm was u n h u r t . "Wait'll I break 3'our other arm." "Do it quick," Bigfoot urged. "I am going blind." Wheeler fired and the job was done. "Now give me water and let me die," Bigfoot said. Wheeler called to the emigrant, and then brought a bottle of wins- cey from his saddle bags. Bigfoot drank eagerly, and then ay back. "Do I look like a nig- Rer?" lie asked. "Just your kinky hair," Wheet- cr answered. Big'onr',,;!. "j am Cherokee. n't scalp me, or take my feet o Fort Boise. When I go to the lappy Hunting Grounds . , . 5rag my body to the river, imong the willows, put my gun y my side, pile rocks over me so'my txMy won't be found. Do this/and'! Mil'die satisfied."! ' Bigfoot lay back. He s a i d , ''When I was a you.'ig boy, my white father was hanged by the Cherokee Nation for murder. They never forgot. I was too big to play with the other children. They made fun of me and called me "Bigfoot.". I hated that name. I hurt them when (hey taunted me. My mother was ashamed of me. She said I would be hanged, too. People feared me. When I was IS, I joined a \vagoii train and came West. Mary loved me. I loved her. I have never loved another woman. Then he came, He was an artist. He made Mary hate me. He said I was a nigger." . Wheeler sJiook his head. "It is not the color of the skin that count?. It's a man's thoughts." Bigfoot said, "It is getting dark." He jerked spasmotically, and his eyes opened wide. "Look! Look!" he cried. "The soldiers are after me! I must go, quick!" He struggled, fell back, and lay Wheeler rose and looked down at the lifeless body. "He was a courageous man. Life was bad for him." Then he turned to Anderson. "Shall we bury him?" They used their horses and lar- iels to drag the body to the river. Scooping a shallow grave in a willow thicket, they lowered the body. Wheeler said, "I will break liis rifle so it can do no more harm." They lay the broken gun beside tlie still figure and covered the magnificent body with rocks. Anderson remembered a prayer. Whe«lcr said; "I will never tell." "I have forgotten everything," Anderson said. "Everything, but the story." Over-Educated Profs Ribbed In Crews Book THE POOH PERPLEX, By Frederick C. Crews. Dutton $2.95. Crews flings gleefully a whole stack of gooey pies into the foolish faces of the literary scholars. His little opus pretends to be Here's a Test: Can You Keep Mind Off Self? THE McLANDRESS D1MEN SION. By Mark E p e r n a y. Houghton Mifflin. $3.5. The uses of this small book are two-fold: you can get some chuckles out of it in the reading, and then you can make smart conversation about it in the next cocktail hour. The author pretends to be a journalist describing the learned investigation;! of a Dr. Herschel McLandress. But "Epernay" has been identified as the Harvard economist John Kenneth Salbraith, who has held a num- aer of important assignments in the Kennedy administration. The imaginary Dr. McLan- dress has invented an index to measure the average length of lime a subject's attention can be diverted from his own personality. If he is self-centered, he has a low coefficient of a few minutes. There is a lot of fun in reading off the coefficients of many celebrities in dozens of fields of endeavor (the Rev. M a r t i n Luther King, 4 hours; Richard M. Dixon, 3 seconds; and Prof. Galbraith himself sets a low among government people at 1 minute, 15 seconds). Equally amusing is McLan- dress' formula for measuring status in what he calls the Am- can Sociometric Peerage. With mock academic jargon, he sets ip Maximum Prestige Horizons or various occupations and then rates some well-known individuals within these classifications. For good measure the learned doctor sets up a consulting center to provide pat, double-talk answers on international ques- ions, for the use of big business executives participating-for prestige purposes -- in cam)us seminars on deep-dish prob- ems. These and other gambits provide the author with broad- ;auge opportunities for satire. Jut he also has a deft way of slipping in some more subtle, sly digs. And don't overlook the fact that in using this mock-academic format he has concocted a pretty devastating burlesque of the so-palled behavioral sciences?. ! I - i Mites'iA'J a freshman casebook for s t u dents in English Lit. It is presented in the form of a collection of critical essays--and in one case, a verbatim report of a classroom lecture--solemnly examining the "real" meaning cf A. A. Milne's Pooh stories. Each of the supposed scholars is a specialist of some sort--and therein lies the spoof. One arrogant psycho - critic finds esoteric personality symbols. A left wing scholar declares the whole affair is bourgeois fiction neatly concealing a series of proletarian fables. Anobher is an effete esthete, confused by it all. One eggdome complexes, and a befuddled German Freudian psychoanalyzes the author and hauls up a bucketful of slop, while a pious old character puts religious labels on all the characters and classifies the stories as a document in the Christian-Humanist tradition. The one who gives the lecture is a slangy, palsy- walsy, rah-rah academic type --and at the other end of the scale is a word-juggler so immersed in terminology that he forgets what he is writing about. And so on. While this ivy-covered circus is in action, Crews manages to slip in some not-so-sly, broad digs at scholarly envy, backbiting and narcissism. It is an amazing performance, for Crews convincingly apes a wide range of academic nuts in devastatingly exact de^ tail. An English prof himself, tlie author sees his colleagues in the round and as squares, of sketching them in a brilliant bit of minicry and nonsense. Miles A. Smith Paid Warrior Hero of Book THE MERCENARY. By Cimrl- es Durbin. Houghton Mifllin. $5. The Jicro of this novel was an actual figure of history--a very turbulent .period of history. In the early years of the Kith Century the land now called Italy was a jungle of feuding little city-states. Beside these bloody battles there were constant intramural figjils for power, with brothers, cousins a n d u n c l e s slaughtering each other. Gianpaolo Baglioni was a mem- !er of the ruling house of ths hill town of Perugia, and as such sxpcrienced his own share of 'amily butchery and double-crossing. But he also was one of the condottieri -- the hired captains wJ.o, with their retainers, fought other people's battles for pay, in the midst of shifting alliances, cynical betrayals and crude tor- iure. Durbin presents such historical figures as Roderigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI) and his unlucky son Cesaru; Guiliano della Roverc (Pope Julius II), Giovanni di Medici (Pope Leo X) and a slip* pery little politician named Mach- iayelli. 1 ' · ; · Miles'A, Smifhl Best Sellers THE GROUP, McCarthy THE SHOES OF THF. FISHERMAN, West CARAVANS, Michener CITY OF NIGHT, Rechy ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, Fleming NONFICTION JFK -- THE MAN AND THE MYTH, Lasky THE AMERICAN WAY OF DEATH, Mitford THE FIRE NEXT TIME, Bald% I OWE RUSSIA $1,200, Hope MY DARUNG CLEMENTINE, Fisherman Handmade by Collectors with an eye for tho best always choose authentic hand made glassware by Fcnton. They get such a limitless choice of styles, colors, and shspej-- ' and each one is delightfully unique 1 Sec them for yourself at Bannock Hotel Arcade

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 22,600+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free