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Peck's founder, Thomas Kirby is the answer for Week 163 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country. Each day we will give you a clue.
When you think you know the answer, send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please, let us know if you are from out of the area.
Join in the discovery!
Monday: Traveled by rail to Moscow
Tuesday: Born in Canada
Wednesday: Lived in Kendrick for a time
Thursday: Instrumental in founding a town
Friday: Promoted community growth
Saturday: Saw opportunity in reservation land opening up
Tuesday: Enterprising, but lost in the crash of 1893
Wednesday: Stories passed down say there was a land dispute over the property he originally wanted to homestead and shots were fired. One man was slightly wounded.
Thomas Kirby was born in Canada Jan. 23, 1847. According to History of North Idaho, he learned the tannerís art there. When he became an adult, he moved to Ottawa, KS and then two years later came west by rail to Moscow. He lived in Juliaetta where he did business for a couple of years.
Then he moved to Kendrick. Marion Kayler in his book, Early Days in Big Canyon Country, says Kirby was ambitious and visionary in assisting Kendrick boosters to get the Northern Pacific Railroad to lay track from Moscow through Troy and down steep Bear Creek Canyon to Kendrick and Juliaetta with the first train arriving in 1891.
History of North Idaho says he continued active in Kendrick business and made $20,000 before the panic of 1893, during which he lost heavily. He then operated in grain.
In 1895 with the opening of the Nez Perce Indian Reservation for homesteading, Kirby saw the opportunity he was looking for to found a town. Kayler recounts how Kirby drove a team from Kendrick, up Wancher Gulch Rd., across Potlatch Ridge onto the reservation and down Sunnyside slope. After crossing the Clearwater River by ferry at Big Canyon Creek, he began his search for a homestead and future town site. A site upstream a short distance from the ferry became his first choice. Stories passed down suggest that there was some kind of property dispute and shots were exchange leaving one man slightly wounded.
After consultation with another homesteader, Freeman, who operated a sort of "Post Office", Kirby drove up Big Canyon and crossed Bear Creek to the homestead of Marion Ratcliff. That homestead was situated on a bar covered with pine trees and had two small springs, as Kayler describes it. The bar extended up stream one-half mile between Bear Creek and the confluence of Big Canyon and Little Canyon creeks. Kirby found it a most pleasant spot to found a canyon town. Kirby and Ratliff collaborate to begin the layout and construction of the town.