The first houses were built mostly of adobe, logs or boards, the doors of which opened on the street with the proverbial latch string hanging down. Dry goods boxes were at a premium, as most of the furniture in the way of cupboards, dressers and wardrobes were made of them. The Statesman printing company was publishing a tri-weekly paper of four pages, that was 18 inches long and 12 inches wide. Doctors of fine skill and ability were [in town]. Also as brilliant legal talent as you would find anywhere in the world.
Few Churches in the Vicinity
Evidently the people thought they were not yet in spiritual things for there were no churches and no ministers. The next year the Baptists erected a little church at the lower end of Main Street. A year later the Episcopalians held their first services in a little adobe cabin on the corner of Eighth and Idaho. I was one of the four ladies who made up the congregation. The next year the Methodists came and other denominations followed. In 1863 the [Army] post had been moved from Old Fort Boise farther down the river and placed one mile north of town. There was a Catholic church there, presided over by a jovial roly-poly little priest.
Days of the Stagecoach
The nearest railroad was at Atchison, Kansas, and all goods had to be freighted in from there or from The Dalles, Oregon. This was done by pack trains of mules or in freight wagons. We had four daily mails coming from different directions. That from the east came in on the long to be remembered overland Concord coach. This coach carried from 8 to 10 passengers and had a front and a back boot. It was an interesting sight to see this equipage rolling into town, the driver in his seat over the front boot holding the lines of six spirited horses, while a Wells-Fargo man with a revolver on each hip and a shotgun in his arms rode by the side of the driver. All the wealth was carried in and out of the country in this way. It was not an unusual occurrence for highwaymen to hold up a coach and relieve the passengers of their money and valuables as well as seizing the express box. I remember that at one time the highwaymen got a prize of over $100,000 worth of gold from this box.
Good and Bad Mixed
Lack of conventionalities was everywhere and one could see vice and wickedness if they wished to find them, but truth and morality were there also and a good woman’s honor would have been defended even to death’s door. No call for assistance for the sick or needy ever failed to receive a generous response.
Fun Loving Cowboys
The cowboy was a character that only in exceptional cases was a desperado, although always fun loving with a dash of wildness in it. More than once we have been awakened at night by the rush of horses’ feet, the shouts of men and the firing of pistols, only to find out when our fear and trembling had subsided that it was only some cowboys having a little fun at the expense of the sleeping town. No harm ever resulted from these escapades. In his fantastic makeup of high-heel boots, spurs with large rowels, chaparejos, sombrero, and gaily colored bandanas, he was a familiar feature of the streets of Boise.
Mrs. James (Francis) Agnew