5 of us camped 8 miles north and 3 miles west of Grasmere, Idaho for four days. This being day one we went to Wickahoney Stage stop, Buncel, Holman, & Harvey homesteads.
The Buncel place had the most to view with the cabin intact and a old rock corral, Holman was just the foundation and the Harvey place had a very small cabin.
Here is a story on Wickahoney as told by Vivian Gottsch:
Dow Dunning had an eight room house built in the early 1890’s with rocks quarried from First Gulch near where the house stood. The walls were two feet thick with mud packed in between the double walls. The lumber for the house probably came from Mountain Home. Lath and plaster was used to cover the rocks on the inside walls with wallpaper over the plaster.
The pipe that carried the water to the house, a distance of ½ mile from the spring, was from Duck Valley Indian Reservation. Dow had four more rooms built after the turn of the century. George Bertschy and Joe Ratliff and a stone mason built the additional rooms.
Wickahoney means “good water” in Shoshoni and was the name of the water source which awas a large spring big enough to irrigate about 100 acres of cropland dn water 350 head of cattle and
over 100 horses.
By the time the last of the houses was built, Wickahoney had become a post office and stage station. Wickahoney was the only stop between Riddle and Bruneau. The Dunnings took care of all travelers, never refusing accommodations to anyone whether or not they could pay.
Jack Hutcheson, who was ranching at Cottonwood Springs, and Dow built a school house between their places which was about two miles apart. There were several teachers throughout the years, but the most memorable was an old gambler and card shark from Missouri.
There was a large orchard up behind the house and a vegetable garden to supply the fresh goods. At that time the creeks were full of trout and sage hens were abundant. They would haul their winter wood supply of quaking aspen and mahogany by team and wagon from Crap Creek Basin, about six miles from Wickahoney.
Wickahoney and the surrounding territory was quite a camping and hunting place for the Indians. At times, 100 or more would camp for the night on the creek. They would weave baskets out of the green willows and make buckskin gloves and moccasins from deer hides.
Dow sold Wickahoney in 1913 to Arthur and Ada Tindall and moved to south Mountain. Dow spent three terms in the Idaho legislature ending his career in 1935. Dow died March 6, 1936.
Story told by Vivian M. Gottsch. For the full story of the area read Owyhee Outpost #16 May 1985, which can be purchased from the Owyhee County Historical Society in Murphy, Idaho.
Interestingly on Thursday afternoon when coming in for a ride as we were within about a 1/4 miles from camp we came across a couple and an older lady hiking down to the stage stop.
Well low and behold the old gal was Dow Dunnings great grandaugher, Shirley Moon. We got a first hand history lesson, what a gracious and loving lady, we were blessed to of made her aquaintance. She also wrote an article for the Idaho Magazine in the October 2011 edition.
Today was a short ride as we arrived at camp around noon, got set up and hit the trail. From where we camped we had to travel about a mile and a half to get to the starting point of any of the trails which was right at Wickahoney Stage Stop.
Keep on ATVing!
The road to the camp area by the Air Force facility was excellent, from then on it was mostly rocky, did I mention rocky? lol this area is wide open expanses and then you come upon breathtaking views.
ATV, Grasmere, Bruneau desert, Owyhees