BLACKFOOT — Stories of Bingham County’s history have been compiled into a book entitled “Bingham County Memories Volume II.” Local historian Lois Bates compiled it.
Her passion is history.
“I remember climbing into my grandmother’s lap and begging her to tell me stories about our family,” Bates said.
Her grandmother came from Switzerland.
“There is so much history that has got to be preserved,” she said. “Stories will go away if they are not preserved.”
“I’m excited about this book,” said Bates.
Bingham County Memories Vol. II preserves some interesting stories of Bingham County.
Would you like to meet Big Foot Wilkinson? He died in 1878.
Bates found a booklet written in 1884 about Big Foot who stood 6-foot-8 1/2 and weighed 300 pounds. His chest measured 59 inches around. His foot was 17 1/2 inches long and his hand was 18 inches around.
Big Foot’s father, Archer Wilkinson, was hanged for murder in the Cherokee Nation when his son was young.
Big Foot’s given name was Star, “but I’ve been called Big Foot my entire life.”
Big Foot and his little band roamed mainly between Boise and Silver City, killing people, before he himself was shot and died.
“He was the original Big Foot,” said Bates.
Included in this volume are vignettes of early Bingham County settlers as well as a copy of the incorporation of the “village” of Blackfoot on Jan. 16, 1901.
Blackfoot was incorporated as a city in 1907.
Two poems of Dell Mangum, former vice president of the Bingham County Historical Society, are published. One poem is about the village of Blackfoot and the other is about the centennial.
Born in Blackfoot, Bates has spent her entire life here. She was married to her husband, Joe, for 43 years before he died. The couple have three children—Laurie Bates (Mark) Beebee, Bruce (Becky) Bates and Jaeme (Bill) Freeman. She has four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Both Bates and her husband were active in scouting.
“I was in Girl Scouting for 50 years,” she said.
“I’ve seen wonderful growth in the Historical Society,” said Bates as she pointed out photographs around the gallery.
Bingham County Memories Vol II can be purchased from 12-5 p.m. each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Bingham County Historical Society Gallery, 3 NW Main, Blackfoot.
Volume II costs $15. To purchase both Volumes I and II, the cost is $25.
All proceeds will go into the Bingham County Historical Society.