Newspaper Archive of
The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
January 12, 2012     The Adams County Record
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January 12, 2012

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.The Adams County Record History Corner Dalbey Fisk Wednesdav, Januarv 11, 2012 Palmer--- "I PaKe 5 t99 No history of Montour ,would be complete with- *~out the inspiring story iof Esther Palmer, the ~own's postmaster and, ~!s I mentioned last ~,veek, the wife of railroad ~nan Dean Palmer. The 'story here is lifted from the book Don Dopf and ~I wrote about the Idaho iNorthern Railway that ,ran through Montour. By 'the way, I have copies of ~all of our/my books for i sale at the Record office ,now. This part of the ',book (below) was written ~entirely by Don. Esther Palmer, a feisty ;little 77-year-old woman, i gained national acclaim fin the early-70s when :she stood up to the fed- ' eral government--and ' won. ' The Palmers had moved into their neat lit- ' tle white framed home on ,fifteen acres across the , street from the Montour Depot in 1921. The loca- , tion in Montour was per- : fect for the young couple. ',Dean had easy access '~to his railroad job, and [Esther could raise corn. i sheep, and chickens in I their huge back yard. ~, The first sign of trou- ~,ble came in the late '60s when floodwaters from ~the adjacent Payette ,River began encroaching ,on the community every ,spring during runoff. i Black Canyon Dam, ,built by the Bureau of , Reclamation ten miles : downstream from ', Montour in 1924. was the ,source of the problem. i Over the vears, sediment l had filled much of the :reservoir and the upper :reaches near the town- i site, The river's capacity ', to carry the heavy spring ~ runoff was challenged by federal government for the damage caused by the flooding, to the tune of four million dollars. The following win- ter, an ice jam on the river caused a sudden flood that poured over four farms and drowned livestock, prompting the Bureau of Reclamation to offer a buyout to the landowners. In the long run this would be less expensive than continual dredging. Many of the landown- ers-wary of the futil- ity of fighting the gov- ernment, and fearing the feds might simply condemn their proper- ty--settled quickly and moved out. Esther Palmer. howev- er, was not intimidated by the bureau's strong- arm tactics. Her hus- band Dean, had passed away in 1971. leaving Esther and a daughter. Frances, to stand their ground, Esther rejected the bureau's offer of $63,450 and was soon slapped with a condemnation order. When an official from the bureau stopped by to try and persuade her to change her mind. she threw him out. She told a news reporter, "I'm not afraid of floods or much of any- thing else. I've meandered around San Francisco after dark and if you can do that, you can do any- thing. I'm going to fight to the end." News of the passion- ately determined little old lady spread like wild- fire. Her story was pub- lished in major newspa- pers across the country and even found its way into People Magazine in 1979. Ensuing letters of prison in ~'~'son. West Virginia. from one Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme Manson. who had read about Palmer's stand against the feds in the magazine. (Fromme was a disciple of Charles Manson, and attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975.) The envelope was addressed: Mrs. Esther Palmer, Sole Occupant/ Farm. 40 Miles North of Boise. Montour. Idaho. Esther's celebrity spread far and wide. but she apparently wasn't too amused over all the com- motion and turned down an invitation to appear on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. Her strategy was to hire a good lawyer and to just sit tight, hoping the feds would just go away and leave her alone until a peaceful solution could be worked out. The property was indeed condemned in 1979. but no one was willing to accept the challenge of evicting Mrs. The ensuing legal standoff was resolved in 1981, when the govern- ment capitulated, bought the property for $85,000, and granted a "lifetime easement" to Palmer, allowing her to stay put as long she wanted. U.S. Attorney for Idaho, M. Karl Shurtliff, who worked out the agree- ment. said the govern- ment couldn't bring itself to evict Mrs. Palmer. I the sludge, and its banks support soon began fill- , next to Montour were ing the Palmer mailbox [ Council Valley Free Library_ Book Shelf ' soon breached nearly on a daily basis. ~ ,, ~] t.+ .... L, ~,' ir ..... ~ ~ ' II J J~ '~everYIn 1973,year" 36 landown- One such letter of~t~-'_', ~ r4vew- Ks-a tne :ers decided to sue the port came from the fed~: Clounci- Vaeyll AND (11[ER IAI ION PR()ltl IlITI{I) Esther Palmer stood up to the federal government and won. _ _ = F..y II M..y Cattle Sale ] [ Butcher Cattle Sale [ I O: O O A~.I " I I I O:OO AIX/I I - ~u, 1901 E. ('hit.ago, ('ahhveil, I~lahn L II [ '205459-7475 Toll F'l~'(' 1-800-,~-4429 A Peppermint Patty in January also available low fat, low carb & no sugar Big City Selection All At One Location 53-4309 7:30AM-1PM MON-FRI 8AM - 2PM SAT Library Adult Fiction Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier Prince of Ravenscar by Catherine Coulter Sojourner of Warren's Camp by Joseph Dorris The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan Freedom by Jonathan Frazen. North of Nowhere by Steve Hamilton The Hypnotist by I_ars Kepler by Karen Kingsbury Home For the Holidays by Johanna Lindsey Testimony by Anita Shreve. Shadow Riders of the Yellowstone by Les Savage Good Faith by Jane Smiley, Adult Non fiction Department of Yams by Tim Woodward Juvinile Who is the Beast by Keith Baker. Winter Eyes by Douglas Florian Laugh of the Week A Darwin Award Winner When his .38 caliber ger again. This time it revolver failed to fire at worked. his intended victim dur- ing a hold-up in Long If you are not aware, Beach. California. would- the Darwin Awards annu- be robber James Elliot ally honor those who did something that can" assist in the evolution of only inspire wonder. He our species, by removing pe, ered down the bar- themselves from the gene rel and tried the trig- ooL . Parts and Service Open On Saturday We service all makes and models Quality Service Award Winning Factory Trained Technician S3"EWE'S Phone (208) 549-3310 - Toll Free (800) 658-5080 602 Highway 95 Weiser, Idaho 83672 www. h o m etown motors .corn "Peop_e nee to-ave : roots and we really didn't umns want to take her roots I men away," said Shurtliff. McCal Palmer remained on Tom IV her property until some-of the time in the 1990s when taughl she could no longer take Monto~ care of herself. She lived ily liv her final days in a retire- found ment home before pass- that rr ing away in 1998. taught Her homesite was 1895! never flooded. In one about Montour ~ioned that Flora ,, daughter of icCall the founder town of McCall. school near lr when the fam- ed there. I just a newspaper item entioned that she in Council in U_llL St Luke's 7r'FMccall ..... Center for Health Promotion Classes, Health Screenings, Forums, Workshops, and Special Events N Healthy Choices Childbirth Educatior Six-part series Wednesdays, beginning January 11 7-9:30pm Hospital Conference Rooms Fee: $25 Discovering Yoga -three-part series Wednesdays, beginning January 11 4:30-5:30pm Donnelly Elementary School, Community Room Fee: $15 First Aid and CPR Wednesday, January 18 5-10pm Star Garnet Conference Room Fee: $60 Nordic for Ladies A day of Nordic skiing or snowshoeing Sunday, January 29 9am-3pm Jug Mountain Ranch Fee: $55 if you register by January 24 Men in the Kitchen Learn how to prepare easy healthy meals Monday, January 30 6:30-7:30pm Donnelly Fire and EMS Station, 2nd Floor Fee: $5 Cardio-Core Circuits Three-part series Mondays, beginning January 30 4-4:30pm Star Garnet Conference Room Fee: $15 Register online at or call 634-4061, ext. 180.