BLACKFOOT – Many traveled out in the nice weather to step inside the Bingham Historical Museum on Shilling Avenue to be greeted by figures of history's past. Stepping foot in the museum immediately sends one back in time, and the feeling of rustic, classic Bingham County is apparent.
Once inside, people are introduced to Sacajawea. A young lady plays the role and tells the tale of the life of Sacajawea. From her beginnings, she led an interesting life. From being captured near the Missouri River to being part of the Lewis and Clark expedition, one could immerse themselves into history as if it were still unfolding. "Sacajawea" spoke of her life, including the birth of her son Jean Baptiste. Baptiste was later offered to be under the care of Clark, who provided him with an education and a good life. She rounded out her piece with describing the Sacajawea dollar, which Randy'L Teton modeled for. Teton is quoted in saying, "The image doesn't represent me, it represents all Native American women. All the women have the dignity of the golden dollar's image."
Taking a left into the study, people were introduced to Thomas Williams. Williams was a small dairy farmer who grew up on the Snake River. Williams is an established author with literary works that are still around today. Williams was portrayed by his great-grandson at the wax museum. He spent a majority of his time working on his book, which he mortgaged his home to afford publishing.
Entering into the parlor of the museum, the next historical figure to meet is Agnes Just Reid who was born at her parents' ranch on the Blackfoot River. Reid is known for her numerous writings; from books, to poetry, to writing for the newspaper in Blackfoot. Reid's mother, Emma, read and corrected each page of her manuscript as they came hot off the typewriter. Reid was a member of the Idaho Writers League, and spent time as a teacher. There is now a memorial scholarship at Idaho State University in her name.
Sharing the parlor with Reid was Sarah Pearl Corbridge. Corbridge and her husband set claim to land in Bingham County, but lost the land to someone jumping claim on the land. Charles Corbridge, her husband, received land from his father for the two of them to build their home upon. Charles dug canals in Aberdeen and Springfield, and they now lay to rest in the Aberdeen Cemetery.
The dining room was brightened by Eunice Cammack. Cammack was born in Sterling in 1909. Mom, homemaker, and self-taught musician, she spent most of her life helping others. She helped at the senior citizens center, and became the Bingham County Historical Museum director, and served in the position for 19 years. Cammack made plans to restore the museum to its original design. The museum was closed for nearly a year as the restoration took place. Cammack was the first woman to receive the Best Foot Forward award, and was presented the award in 1978 by the Chamber of Commerce.
Heading toward the kitchen, visitors prepared to meet Jack Kesler. Kesler, who's family moved to Blackfoot from Utah. Kesler is a Blackfoot High graduate and served in the navy. He married his high school sweetheart and after serving, moved back to Blackfoot. The Kesler brothers took over management of Kesler's Market, which was established in 1934.
Traveling through the kitchen and into the servant quarters, one is introduced to Tom Bond. "Old" Tom Bond as he is more famously known. He moved to the Augustine Ranch where there were no irrigation ditches built. Bond had to find different ways to make money for his family and explored his options. He is known for hauling and selling firewood for three-dollars a load. Later in life, Bond established a museum for schools to travel to for field trips. The museum, located in his home, displayed numerous firearms, trade tools, saws, and tack for people to see and learn about. Bond made numerous donations to the Bingham County Historical Museum, where they continue to display his arms collection.
William Daniels shared the servant quarters with Bond, and describes his experiences with helping settle the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Daniels helped develop and build the first bridge over the Snake River in and the original Courthouse on Shilling Avenue.
Around the corner from Daniels and Bond, one would meet Richard Leighs, more famously known as Beaver Dick. Beaver Dick was a traditional bearded trapper who fathered five children. He joined the army during the end of the Mexican-American War, and moved to the Snake River Valley after his service years ended. Beaver married a Shoshoni girl that he called Jenny but later lost all of his family to small pox. When he was 48 years old, Beaver Dick married Susan Tadpole. Susan was the daughter of Bannock John and Tadpole.
Making the the full circle back to the entryway, museum goers met Stewart Hoover. A Blackfoot High School graduate and Valedictorian, Hoover joined the military as a cadet at Westpoint. He became a Lieutenant, and died in the line of duty during World War I and was the first officer from Westpoint to die in battle. Hoover is buried in France in the French Military Cemetery.
This snapshot if Bingham County history highlights the amazing people of its history, and presented information to the community that some may have not known.