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

Hariet Reece, Cavendish & Lewiston is the winner!

Dr. John Givens is the answer for Week 401 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country. Watch each day for another clue.

When you think you know the answer, drop us an email at: Please, let us know where you are from, if it is out of the area.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: Crossed the plains twice as a child

Tuesday: Born in California

Wednesday: Got his interest in medicine from working in a pharmacy

Thursday: His name lives on in Orofino.

Friday: Was also a builder and architect for his time

Saturday: He brought 20 men and 5 women to Orofino with horses and wagons

Dr. John W. Givens was licensed to be Idaho's first psychiatrist, or alienist as they were then called. His was the 73rd doctor's license issued in the state and his talents went beyond the medical field.

According to John Bradbury's Clearwater County history series Givens was born in Placerville, CA in 1854 to Mary and Thomas Jefferson Givens. The couple had come there from Illinois during the gold rush of 1849. When his father died soon after his birth, his mother moved back to Illinois where she remarried. When John was eight, the family crossed the plains and settle in Oregon where he grew up.

His interest in medicine started when he worked in a local drugstore. He studied medicine at Willamette University and got his degree in 1875. He then married Ellen Luelling and worked as a physician for the U.S. Indian Service int he Puget Sound region. In 1882, he quit to study medicine at New York's Bellevue Medical College where he earned a second medical degree. After four years at the Oregon Insane Asylum at Salem, and nine years at the asylum in Blackfoot, he completed a post gradute proram in nerve and mental disease at Johns Hopkins Medical College in Baltimore. He went into private practice in Los Angeles before returningt to Blackfoot in 1898 and serving as medical director.

Bradbury says he was not only a gifted healer, but also a remarkable architect and builder. When the hospital at Blackfoot burned down, he oversaw it reconstruction by the patients, which included making their own bricks.

Historian Hawley described Givens 1905 move from Blackfoot to Orofino, "Taking iwht him twenty men and five women patients whose insanity was of mild type, with horses, wagons and the necessary implements, tents for shelter, etc. he commenced clearing ground and planting fruit trees. Within a year of when the location was selete the institution was ready for the reception of patients." Again it was Givens who designed the buildings and it was the patients who made the bricks and erected the buildings.

Givens settled in Orofino and ran the asylum for 20 years.

Photo: Dr. John W. Givens (Photo courtesy of Clearwater Historical Museum-Allee Givens)

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
Orofino 476 0733
Lewiston 208-503-7107
Toll Free 1-866-376-9810
Fax: Toll Free 1-866-376-9810