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NEWS-Bradbury to present frontier history program

GRANGEVILLE – Brown Bag historical presentations continue each Wednesday through September in Grangeville. Programs are held at the Bicentennial Historical Museum, 305 N. College, Grangeville, noon to 1 p.m. All are invited to these free events and are encouraged to bring along a “brown bag” lunch.

Today, Wednesday, Sept. 7, Idaho County Sheriff Detective Lt. Jerry Johnson will present the program “Interesting Past Cases.”

Next Wednesday, Sept. 14, former Idaho County Judge John Bradbury will present “Frontier History Along Idaho’s Clearwater River.”


John Bradbury

In 2014, Bradbury penned the book “Frontier History Along Idaho’s Clearwater River.” In it he recounts a time when native tribes, explorers, trappers, preachers, miners and lumberjacks made a life along the Clearwater, establishing the area for future generations.

“The year 1860 was a perilous time in the Clearwater. It hadn’t always been so. In 1806, the Nez Perce had welcomed and helped Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their Corps of Discovery. Thirty years later, they welcomed Presbyterian missionaries Henry and Eliza Spalding to Lapwai Creek on the Clearwater River and the Cayuse and Walla Walla tribes welcomed their colleagues Marcus and Narcissa Whitman to their mission at the mouth of Mill Creek on the Walla Walla River

Two events triggered the blood that would soon flow. In the summer of 1847, the Oregon Trail sojourners brought a virulent strain of measles to the Cayuse and Walla Wallas. The Cayuse then tried to stop the deaths by killing the Whitmans and several other people at the mission. Several military encounters followed. By the time the virus had worked its way and the United States Army had waged its battles, about 80 percent of the Cayuse were dead”

“My interest was piqued when I was asked to write a story for the state bar magazine about Idaho’s first courthouse, which was at Pierce, and was built during the gold rush in 1863,” explained author Bradbury. “I then wrote a series of articles about the events that led to the creation of Clearwater County for its centennial in 2011 for the Clearwater Tribune. It took me a couple of years during a three-or four-year period to research it, edit it and round up all the photos for it.”

Bradbury was born in Orofino and reared in a logging town 12 miles north of Pierce City, now known as Pierce. He graduated from the University of Idaho and the University of Michigan Law School and then served with the Eighth Army at Inchon, Korea. After practicing maritime law for 25 years at Seattle and Anchorage, he retired back to Idaho, where he taught at Lewis-Clark State College for several years as an adjunct professor. He currently serves on the boards of the Clearwater Historical Society and its museum at Orofino and the Northwest Children’s Home at Lewiston. He divides his time between Lewiston and the family homestead at Fraser that he shares with his sister.

Additional upcoming programs include:

*Sept. 21: Idaho Aviation History by Mark Gravatt of Grangeville

*Sept. 28: Hells Canyon and the Homesteading Years by Patricia Keith of Lewiston

All programs are sponsored by the Idaho County Historical Society and the Bicentennial Historical Museum. Donations are accepted to help offset costs of opening the basement meeting room.


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