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The Curse of Idaho

The Curse of Idaho

Posted: 2 Apr 2011 10:44PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Crooks
*Crossposted from "Unknown" "Ada County" and "Blain County" forums*

OK, it's probably not Idaho's fault, but in actuality, I have two people in my tree (brothers, to be exact) who both left Kentucky and moved to Idaho and I don't know why. One died within a year of moving out there. Almost exactly 30 years later, the other one did, too. And I don't know why. And, on top of all that, it would seem their father went out there first prior to 1910 and, guess what? I don't know why! :)

So, I'm wondering a few things about Idaho and what happened to my family out there. First, let me give a little information.

In 1900, my gggf, a widower named James Gibson Crooks, was living in a boarding house in Kentucky with his older son (Richard Earl Crooks - 17 at the time) and working as a team driver. His younger son (Charles Gibson Crooks) was living with his maternal grandfather and his two sisters. Both boys were born in Colorado when their father moved out there to try to make his fortune in the Colorado Silver Boom. He had an adventurous spirit, I suppose.

Some time between 1900 and 1910, James moved to Casey, Blaine County, Idaho. Richard was still living in Kentucky with his wife, Jennie, and three daughters, Margaret, Georgia, and Dorothy, working as a blacksmith at a steel mill. I don't know why, but at some point between mid 1910, when the census was taken, and January, 1912, Richard moved to Idaho and was working as a teamster. I'm not certain yet if his family was with him. On Feb. 1, 1912, Richard died in Boise, Ada County, Idaho.

After Richard's death, James moved back to Kentucky, where, by 1920, he lived with his son, Charles (still unmarried) in the house of his daughter's father-in-law. In 1927, James died. Some time between then and 1941, Charles moved out to Idaho where he died as well on Jan 3, 1941, in Wendell, Gooding County, Idaho. Richard and Charles were both buried back in Kentucky.

So, my questions are as follows:

1) What was going on in Idaho in the early 20th Century that could have drawn a teamster/miner/adventurous spirit such as my grandfather and one of his sons out there, and why again in the late 1920s/1930s for the other son?

2) When did he go out there?

3) When (specifically) and why did Richard go to Idaho and was he alone or with his family.

4) How did Richard die?

5) When and why did Charles go to Idaho?

6) How did he die?

The first question is what I'm really bringing to this forum. Given that, I could probably start piecing together the rest. However, if anyone has any insight on the rest, I would appreciate it, as well.

Thanks in advance,

Mark Songer

Re: The Curse of Idaho

Posted: 8 May 2011 5:56AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Crooks
Hi Mark,
The why question is the hardest to answer and often is not answered by any and all research. Oh, don't we wish they'd written it down!

I found the following articles that explain some points on why settlers moved to Gooding County, Idaho.

Land was cheaper. Idaho History and Genealogy,

Blaine County Idaho,

It looks like people originally came for the silver mining and after that bust, sheep raising became the next big "industry".

You should be able to find books in your local library that explain the history of Idaho counties or do a Google search.

2. Won't know unless he bought land there or his obituary. Do you have a copy?

3. I believe that Richard went to Idaho because of what his father said about the State. Richard was living in Oakview, Boyd Co., KY in 1910 and died 1 Feb 1912 in Boise, Ada Co.
To answer this question, you'll need to find him in the Boise City or Ada County Directories.

There is an Idaho Historical Library volunteer at Random Acts Genealogical Kindness. Go to
Choose Idaho
Click on A thru E
Scroll down to Ada Co. and choose Bonnie.

Do you have a copy of his obituary? Bonnie can look that up too.

4. The how Richard died might be in his obituary.

Richard Crooks
Born: 6 Feb 1883
Died: 1 Feb 1912, Boise, Ada Co. per death cert #001411.
Source: Idaho Death Index 1911-51.

If it isn't you'll need to order a copy of his death certificate.

5. Won't know why Charles moved to Idaho unless it's in his obituary. Won't know when unless he's listed in a Wendell City or Gooding Co. Directory.

A Charles Gibson Crooks
Born: 17 May 1888
Died: 3 Jan 1942, Wendell, Gooding Co. per death cert #127544.
Source: Idaho Death Index 1911-51.

There is an obituary volunteer at
Choose Idaho
Click on F thru Z
Scroll down to Gooding Co. and choose Coy. Ask him/her about directories in the County.

Also the Gooding County Historical, goes research and might have the directories.

6. Charles's cause of death might be in his obituary or you might need to order a copy of his death certificate.
Successful Searching!

Re: The Curse of Idaho

Posted: 8 May 2011 8:31AM GMT
Classification: Query
Yes, crossed posted...

Many people answered on the other post:

Ron Bestrom
Tacoma, WA

Re: The Curse of Idaho

Posted: 11 May 2011 7:30PM GMT
Classification: Query
The Gooding county Historical Society and Research Center would be happy to help with finding an obituary. If you would like to contact me I can give you a list of our services. My personal email address is am the co-director of the museum.
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