Window on the Clearwater
Traditional news Today's technology
triviahead.JPG - 10433 Bytes

No one got the correct answer

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: info@windowontheclearwater.com. 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

Monday: Peck

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.

Trivia Archives

Sponsored by:

Want accurate, daily news for Orofino and Clearwater County?

Subscribe to:

Window on the Clearwater
Traditional news Today's technology

It's a bargain at $3 per month, $18 for 6 months or $30 per year. (Idaho residents, please add 6% sales tax)

Subscribing is easy:

  • Drop us a check with your email address and we will sign you up. (See the mailing address at left)
  • Pay online: Click this Registration link and follow the Pay Pal instructions.

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
208-476-0733
Fax: 208-476-3407
Email