The old Indian horse trail

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

In the good old days, the Indians had a well-defined horse trail through here. I am told it originally came down off Kelly Hill near the south end of Toulou Mountain, crossed Kettle River at a shallows which still exists, and climbed the steep hillside at the south end of the Sandcuts and just north of ‘Mayor’ Schmidt’s field, circling above the sand slide and crossing portions of the Charlie Anderson place and portions of the Hollenbeck Place, thence taking a course along the back (the sunny) side of the mountain on which my place is located. At the upper end, the trail crosses the west end of my place and drops almost straight down the steep hill to Boulder Creek where it crosses the main stream at what was called ‘The Ford’ before taking its course up North Boulder on its way to Curlew. Portions of this trail can still be located if you know where to look.

A very large and tall fir tree once stood on my side of The Ford. A dead man, believed to have been a murdered prospector was found at the foot of this tree at sometime during the early history of the locality. The tree later fell directly across Boulder Creek and I used it as a foot bridge many times during my growing years.

During my lifetime, the Old Indian Trail took off from the public road a little ways south of the old schoolhouse, and I have seen pack trains of Indians ascend the schoolhouse pipeline to take the route around the Hill — one writer says that Indians called it ‘The Little Mountain Trail.’

My sister Elva and I heard horses traveling along it when we were herding sheep. We did not see them, however, as we preferred to hide out.

The trail saw a lot of service during the old days — Indians, prospectors, frontiersman and, according to Lawyer Thomas Oakshott, its most famous traveler was General William Tecumseh Sherman who went through here in the 1870’s on a diplomatic mission to Canada and to parley with local Indian chiefs. He was accompanied by Lieutenant George W. Goethalls, who later superintended the construction of the Panama Canal.


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