Articles on Camas Prairie, Camas, Idaho Pioneers

Submitted   by: Chris Storey

"The body of Mr. Spencer was found in his cabin on Willow Creek on the last day of March. He had not been seen since the 7th of February. His death appeared to have resulted from an accidental gunshot wound. The remains were in a very advanced state of decomposition but were carefully and decently buried on the 14th of April. A brother of the deceased is supposed to be living in the vicinity of Walla Walla. W.H. Spencer was an old settler of Alturas County, Having resided here most of the time since 1863.He was a blacksmith by trade but in the earlier times worked at placer mining. A few years ago, he served as Assessor of the county, and one time, acted as Deputy Sheriff. He was a member of Alturas Lodge No.12, A.F & A.M. and was a very industrious man, a good neighbor, and a faithful friend. He was an upright and honorable Mason and his loss will be deeply deplored by his many friends in the county."



Note: Tri-Weekly Statesman April 22, 1880(William H. Spencer)



About ten o'clock yesterday morning William Fox sought the sheriff and gave himself up, saying that he had killed Charles Fleck, of Soldier on Skeleton creek, a tributary of the South Boise River in Alturas County.

The killing occurred last Friday, the day immediately preceding Fleck went to Skeleton creek, where Fox kept his flock of sheep, assisted by a herder. Fleck said he should bring his sheep there the next day. Fox replied that being there with his sheep, Fleck should go elsewhere with his. The next day, Friday, Fleck brought his sheep to Skeleton creek and drove them in among Fox's. The latter remonstrated, when Fleck began driving the two bands of sheep, indiscriminately Fox objected, tried to pick his sheep out from the Fleck herd, and the latter shot at him with a rifle, but missed him. Fox there upon discharged a rifle shot killing Fleck. Leaving his herder in charge Fox rode to Soldier, where he left word to have Flecks brother informed of what he had done. He then came to Hailey to give himself up. Fox is a native of Illinois, about 56 years old. He came to this coast 45 years ago, in 1848, has followed mining camps ever since, lived in California, Utah, in Boise and elsewhere in Idaho, worked at the Ram shorn Mine, and so forth, and only quit mining and bought a band of sheep with his savings, when getting to old to work. He has never had any trouble of any kind before. The case seems one of self defense and clear, and he ought to be turned out at once. Coroner Brown and Sheriff Jackson went out to Smokey yesterday to view the remains. They have not returned.

Note: Sept 6 1893

Charles Fleck was Killed by William Fox about two miles from Soldier. The Trouble was over sheep range

which both of them claimed.

Note: Wood River Times Sept 16 1893

A couple of bachelors named Owens and Adams lived up Soldier Creek about 8 miles. They quarreled and Adams locked Owens out of the cabin while he was away. When he returned and asked Adams for the Key, Adams refused and drew his rifle. Owens shot him five times with a revolver.

Note: Wood River Times Sept 5 1894.The men’s full names were: W.W. Owens and S.S. Adams. John Minear, the justice of the peace quitted Owens as being justified in the killing of Adams

Joseph Reedy of Smokey and Lena McCann of Soldier were married yesterday.

Note: Wod River Times July 20 1897



Mrs. McGowan, wife of James McGowan, who formerly worked in the mines at Broadford, died at her home ranch near corral night before last.

Note: Wood River Times Sept 1 1897


A man by the name of Carter was killed by falling off a load of lumber on the west end of Camas Prairie.

Note: Wood River Times Nov 1897



A man by the name of Kessler of Soldier killed a sheep herder by the name of McDevit by hitting him with his fists. McDevit was drunk and abusive.

Note: Wood River Times Aug 12 1898


Captain Bledsoe arrived today from Boise. He came by way of Corral where his son Relf, was married yesterday to miss Mary Edna, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. H. Abbot. Rev. I. T. Osborn performed the ceremony.

Note: Wood River Times June 12 1900


Mrs. Lulah Turnbull had to come home from Albion Normal School before the end of the term on account of the dangerous illness of her father, the Hon. Ira A. Waring.

Note: Wood River Times Jan 5 1900



Mr. D. P. Higgs of Soldier took the examination for a teacher’s certificate.


Note: Wood River Times Nov 22 1900


Mrs. Bert Phillips' funeral last Wednesday was according to the ritual of the Mormon Church. It was the first Mormon funeral that took place on Camas Prairie. The corpse was interred in the Soldier cemetery.(Her Maiden name was Sarah Severe)


Note: Wood River Times Dec 10 1900


Ben Higgs of Soldier was arrested Nov 11, 1911 for the killing of Joe Jones of the same place. He was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to not less then four and not more than 10 years. He served a year.



A Camas Prairie rancher instantly killed within sight of home. About dark last evening Con Ryan, about 40 years was murdered by some one concealed in the willows of John Ryan's ranch on Spring Creek, about ten miles southeast of Soldier and within 1.5 miles of his home. He was coming from the mountains with a load of cord wood, and death must have been instantaneous as the team arrived with the corpse on the load of wood. No one saw the deed, but suspicion points to a neighbor with whom the deceased had some trouble. John Ryan, brother of the deceased, died about six weeks ago, and was buried in the Hailey cemetery. It is not believed that the murder was the result of family troubles. The murdered man was married and the father of seven children, all living, and the eldest 12 years old. He had lived on the prairie for 12 or 13 years.

Note: Oct 30 1907

County Attorney Harry Ensign, Coroner H.D. Jones and Deputy Sheriff William Drake arrived from Camas prairie, about eight o'clock last evening. Thomas Marron, the man suspected of the murder of Cornelius Ryan came with them, he being in the custody of the sheriff and he was lodged in jail. No charge is made against him and none will be until after the inquest. Coroner Jones began his inquisition yesterday and examined Mrs. Cornelius Ryan. She did not know anything about the crime. Further proceedings were then postponed until Friday of next week; the 8th, when 14 or 15 witnesses are to be examined before the coroner’s jury. Again the evidence is said to be altogether circumstantial. No one say Marron do the killing, yet the belief

that he did it is very general

Note: Nov 1 1907



The feeling on the prairie is very bitter against Thomas Marron, not only because he is believed to have deliberately murdered Cornelius Ryan, but because he has been accused of stealing or shooting the livestock of his neighbors, and of being a bad neighbor.

The coroner's jury consists of H.L. Childs, Lester Stott, L.W. Johnson, Phillip Ballard, Arthur Montrose, William McCann, Lewis D. Johnson, E. Wheeler and W.T. Harness and after hearing some 15 witnesses it returned a verdict that Ryan died from a gunshot wound inflicted by a weapon in the hands of Thomas Marron. An attendant at the inquest says that had Marron been there, he would have been lynched. That furthermore, it will be best for him never to be seen on the prairie.