Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Some Idaho history and odds & ends

Idaho gets its southern border from England and Spain. To settle a territorial dispute they divided their interests in the west along the 42nd parallel in the Nootka Convention of 1790.  Everything above the 42nd parallel was English; everything below Spanish.  Today, the 42nd parallel is a border of Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada and Utah. The northern border is the 49th parallel which is the U.S./Canada border agreed upon after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Idaho was originally part of the Oregon Territory which included the present states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, along with parts of Montana and Wyoming.
The western border is based on the Snake, Owyhee, Clearwater  Rivers and straight lines formed by their juncture, along the117th meridian. When I was researching Nebraska, I discovered that Nebraska voluntarily gave up some land to Colorado to avoid having to deal with miners.  Interestingly enough, that's why both Oregon and Washington gladly gave up land to the east of their future states.. Following the discovery of gold around the Clearwater and Salmon Rivers, tens of thousands of miners flooded in. Governing these unruly people was of no interest to the politicians or Oregon or Washington. Seems miners had quite a reputation.
The eastern border is more complex. The center part follows the Continental Divide. The southern part is at 111*.  This was done to keep the neighbor to the east, Wyoming, at the preferred 7* width  like North and South Dakota,and Colorado.
The eastern border at the top of the state, the handle,  was the result of a very influential, and wealthy, judge and former Ohio congressman, Sidney Edgerton, who "arranged" to give a part of Idaho to Montana in return for who knows what!!  The rumor says the transaction cost $2,000 in gold coin. Today we call bribery, lobbying and its perfectly legal.

Idaho was admitted as the 43rd  state on July 3, 1890.

Two local guys about my age spent the day catfishing near us.  One of the guys worked for the local water district for over 30 years. The body of water we're camped on is know locally as the Milner Reservoir. It's formed by the Milner Dam impounding the Snake River for irrigation purposes. There are actually two dams; one belonging to one water control district and one owned by another. Each district is allowed to use a certain amount of water. The water is then allocated to farmers depending on how many shares of the water district they own. The general rule is that one acre of crop land gets 3/4 of a share. These shares can be bought and sold with the permission of the board-of-directors of the district. Generally speaking, one share sells in the range of $1,000 to $1,200. The number of shares owned has a huge influence on the value of land. No shares means no water and you get basically a patch of useless desert.

I spent most of the day getting the new laptop set up. Today was a perfect weather day.  Tomorrow the weather is supposed to get cold and very windy. Should have saved the computer stuff for tomorrow.

Our early morning walk & coffee.


Russ Krecklow said...

Thanks for all the fine updates on things and the great photos. Gopher is sure enjoying herself. Hope to see you sometime before long.

Jim and Gayle said...

Gopher sure looks like a happy camper!

Jimbo said...

Enjoying your posts as I will probably pass through Idaho on my way to visit friends in Montana after I finish workamping.