The first part of Idaho we saw, like that we had been passing ever since [our wagon train had left] the Rockies, was  barren and monotonous. Sage brush, alkali dust, all sorts of creeping things and millions of crickets. These crickets were very unlike the old hearthstone cricket. They were much larger, the general size being nearly as large as a half grown mouse, with legs fully an inch and a half long. The Indians were said to be fond of eating them. If so, food was certainly plentiful. When the tents were pitched at night, it was necessary to drive out these intruders before the beds could be spread. When morning came it would reveal them on every article. We learned to not fear them and for many days ate and slept with them.
First View of Boise
The party, numbering about 250 people, with 150 wagons, arrived at the top of the bluff overlooking Boise valley, seven miles from the city, late in September of 1864. Spontaneous shouts of joy went up from every throat as we looked down upon the first signs of civilization we had seen since leaving the little towns on the Kansas border, and prayers of thankfulness were breathed that the long six months’ journey with its many dangers and privations was over at last, and into my mind came a vision of Moses, from Nebo’s lonely mountain, looking down into the Promised Land.
The picture was most beautiful and peaceful. The river flowed on and on until it lost itself in the distance. Here and there were little farm cabins with small fields of grain harvested and in the shock, and gardens of vegetables and melons. We could hear the crowing of fowls and the barking of the dogs, all reminding us of the homes we had left miles beyond the Rockies.
We crossed the river on rafts and proceeded toward Boise. As we passed down the valley the farmers loaded our wagons with farm produce. One thing that we saw at this time was a Bannock Indian village. Little children were wallowing in the dust outside the tepees. Older children clad in paint and feathers were at play. It was the first time that we had an opportunity of seeing Indians without experiencing fear. About three miles from Boise we passed the celebrated hot springs that now supply the water for the magnificent Natatorium and give Boise the unique privilege of heating her homes with natural hot water.
City of One Street
The first house or cabin was built in 1863 and Boise boasted of but one street when we arrived.  The permanent population did not number more than 300 people, but as it was a shipping point for all the surrounding mines, it was a very lively and rushing little town, with people coming and going constantly.
The business interests consisted mostly of the liquor traffic. It seemed to me that over the front entrance of every other building one could read the word, “saloon.” The eating houses and restaurants came next in number, and even these usually had a bar near the door.
There were feed stables with corrals at the back, blacksmith shops, a few dry goods stores, two drug stores and one hotel, called “The Stage House” on account of its having a stage station in 1862 and 1863. The Overland, that famous hostelry, was being built. There was also a sawmill and a flour mill.
Francis Agnew

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