Good Old Days of Custer County

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Estaban Roybal

Kelly Franks

Kristie Bragg

Shay Doll


February 13, 1992

All three candidates who petitioned for a seat on the North Custer Hospital District Board were elected February 11. Voter turnout was low, with 54 voting in Challis, nine in Clayton and three in the Pahsimeroi.

Ken Rodgers, vying for a six-year opening, received 62 votes. Pat Axline, another six-year candidate received 55 votes, and J.R. “Jack” Challis, candidate for the two-year spot, received 39.

Joyce Stark led the write-in candidates with 20 votes for the two-year position. Roland Rovetto garnered two votes while John Winegarner got one…

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House fires are everyone’s nightmare, and the Vern Pucketts had one Wednesday, February 5. Their home, 24 miles north of Challis, caught fire before noon and burned to the ground.

A neighbor of Puckett’s, Bruce Fuller, saw flames coming from the house and called the Custer County Sheriff’s department at 11:45 a.m., and by 12:40 p.m. the Challis Volunteer Fire Department with nine firefighters arrived at the Puckett home to salvage what they could.

According to Doyle Lamb, Challis Fire Chief, the Pahsimeroi Volunteer Fire Department was called first, but no one could be reached.

Vic Hengst, Fire Chief of the volunteer department in Elk Bend, said they did not get a call…

Vern Puckett works at Cyprus Thompson Creek and Sandy at Village Inn. When reports of the fire came in, they were both at work, and their 16 year old daughter Delania was at school in Salmon…

…Puckett speculated it was an electrical fire…

One of the greatest tragedies for Sandy was to lose five house dogs and her beloved guard dog. Evidence suggests her guard dog went into the house to retrieve the dogs inside. Subsequently, he was trapped in the fire and died.

Vern, Sandy and Robert (their eldest child living in Idaho Falls, who came up to help his folks re-group) expressed admiration for the volunteer fire fighters who fought the flames to the bitter end and saved the livestock. Sheep were turned loose to escape a pen near the house, and rabbits were extracted from burning hutches behind the house…

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Valley Voices

“What would be the ideal Valentine?”

Kelly Franks

To be with my family.

Esteban Roybal


Kristie Bragg

To go to Oregon and see my family.

Shay Doll

To have my family win the lottery and take a long vacation.

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A delegation of six members from the Salmon, Idaho, and Darby, Montana, chapters of the Grassroots for Multiple Use came to the Village Inn in Challis on February 7. Their purpose: to help organize a Grassroots chapter in Challis…


February 16, 1967

Two directors were elected last Wednesday to the board of the Salmon River Electric Cooperative, Inc., at the annual membership meeting…

Roy Coates, Challis District, was elected to fill the expired term of W.W. Schwarting. Woodrow Conklin, Ellis District, was re-elected to the board…

A special effort was made this year to keep the meeting as short as possible, and following its adjournment at 10:15 p.m., a reoganizational meeting of the board of directors was held, with Frank Maraffio elected president and Garth Chivers, vice president. Woodrow Conklin was re-elected secretary-treasurer.

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Ed Cresto has been appointed chairman of the 1967 Heart Fund Campaign in Custer County. The campaign is conducted each year during February.

Cresto stated that volunteer workers will soon organize to solicit funds. He also urged people to give generously to this worthy cause, as heart and blood vessel disease is the number one health enemy, causing about 54 percent of all deaths…

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Time is running out for people who live on invalid mining claims in Idaho and other western states, but they can apply to lease or purchase the land from the Federal Government…

The Mining Claim Occupancy Act passed in 1962 provides a deadline of October 23, 1967, for filing applications. The purpose of the act was to help clarify the rights of those with long-standing residence on unpatentable mining claims. It may provide relief for persons who are technically in trespass on Federal land and have no way to acquire a recognized right to remain on the land…

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The Challis High School wrestling squad won second place in the 6th District Class B Wrestling Tournament at Sugar Salem February 9 and 10.

Teton High School again copped first place… giving them their ninth District Championship...


February 18, 1942

Roy Maughan, Scoutmaster of the Challis Troop of Boy Scouts, reported to a Messenger representative yesterday afternoon that the local Boy Scouts had made their first shipment of waste paper, which they had gathered in this section, since the defense measure was inaugurated. The shipment contained about 1100 pounds of newspapers and magazines which they had collected…

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The World War number two was brought more forcefully to Challis yesterday morning when Mrs. Beatrice Fox received a telegram from the War Department at Washington stating that Darrell Sharp has been seriously wounded in action in the Philippines on February 9.

Darrell enlisted from Challis early last summer in the army aviation and was a machinist in that branch of the service at the time of being wounded in the faraway island…

Insofar as is known, Darrell is the first Challis lad to receive wounds in the present war.

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Word comes from Willard Rood that he bagged one of the largest cougars on record in his district, one day last week, on Clear creek, a tributary of Panther creek. The animal was killed after a hard and long chase. It measured nine feet two inches from tip to tip. Willard believes this is just about the last cougar in that section at the present time.

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The Messenger is in receipt of a new paper which is published by the Boy Scouts, Antelope Troop at Patterson, under the sponsorship of the Civilian Defense Council of that section. The paper “Pahsamaroi Prospector” contains news of the Pahsamaroi Valley and surrounding territory and deals generally with Civilian Defense and topics of the day. The paper will be published each Friday… [E]diting, printing and distribution is done by the young folks at the Patterson school. W.P. Barton, Verne Coiner and H.O. Hammond compose the Civilian Defense Council of Pahsamaroi.

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Old Man Winter is still in evidence in this section, even though spring is “just around the corner.” This fact was proven last night when the thermometer at the forest office dropped to 23 degrees below zero. This was the third coldest night of the winter and but two degrees above the record of 25 below the first day of 1942.

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It is reported that while Elmer Stephens was driving his truck down the old highway, at a point near the George Leeper ranch, the car in some manner skidded and before it could be brought under control had gone into the barrow pit and tipped over. It is understood that no one was injured and damage to the car was slight…


February 14, 1917


It having been definitely established that certain dogs and coyotes in this vicinity are infected with rabies, the County Board of Health hereby orders all the dogs in Challis Precinct muzzled or tied until such disease has been stamped out. Dogs running loose without muzzles will be shot.


Chairman, County Board of Health

Challis, Idaho, Feb. 10, 1917

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As most of our readers are aware, a bill has been introduced in the legislature to divide the State of Idaho.

The bill defines as the boundary line between the old and new states: “commencing at the southwestern boundary line of Washington county, running due east to the eastern boundary line of Custer county, thence following the Lemhi range of mountains in a northwesterly direction to the Montana state line.”

If this bill is passed by the legislature, signed by the governor and approved by congress, we will have in the territory now embraced in our great and prosperous state two states with double the burden of maintenance as the one now carries with the same combined population and property values as the one state now enjoys, increasing our taxes and inconveniences and, therefore, decreasing our prosperity.

Such a measure at this time is ridiculous and absurd and would show utter disregard of the increased cost to the one who pays the bills, the taxpayer.

We people of Custer county should register an emphatic protest against such legislation, as our county would be cut in two, the boundary line of the state running in the vicinity of the Willow creek summit…

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