Idaho gets grant to study Bear River Massacre site

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho State Historical Society has received a $56,000 grant to study the Bear River Massacre site in southeastern Idaho where as many as 500 members of the Northwestern Shoshone were killed in a surprise attack by U.S. soldiers in 1863.

KTVB-TV reports that the money received earlier this month from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program will be used to study the site in the Cache Valley just north of the Utah-Idaho line.

State Archaeologist Ken Reid said researchers will try to determine the boundaries of the site and survey it using metal detectors and ground penetrating radar.

“What I want to find is the footprint of the 68 Shoshone winter lodges,” said Reid. “That’s where most of the fighting and most of the killing occurred.”

He also hopes to find musket balls and other metal artifacts.

On Jan. 29, 1863, Col. Patrick Edward Connor led about 200 California Volunteers in an attack on a friendly encampment of the Shoshone near the confluence of the Bear River and Beaver Creek.

“It started out as a battle, and it ended up as a massacre, essentially, is what happened,” said Reid.

Estimates of the number of dead range from 240 to 500, including many women and children. About 120 Shoshone survived.

“In terms of the documented number of people it’s the largest number in all the western Indian wars,” said Reid.

Shoshone tribal members will be a part of the project with main field work to start next summer at the site.

“It was huge for us because it basically annihilated our entire existence of our people,” said Jason Walker, Chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation.

It’s unclear what might still remain at the site after 150 years. Reid said the river channel has also meandered over the years.

“It’s been years and years of cattle grazing, horse grazing all through there,” said Walker. “So it will be interesting to see what they find.”

The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990.

More in Local News

‘Come talk to me. Don’t jump, come talk to me’

State Patrol trooper Yaroslav Holodkov just happened to be driving by when he saw a suicidal man.

Marysville educators reach out to a newly traumatized school

Several affected by shootings in 2014 offered to talk with counterparts in Eastern Washington.

Serial killer wannabe admits trying to kill man she met online

She told police she planned to rip out her victim’s heart and eat it — and would continue killing.

Hurry! Target will take your old car seat, but not for long

The seats will be taken apart and the various materials recycled.

Sheriff’s Office receives national recognition

Sheriff accepts award “notable achievements in the field of highway safety” over the past year.

Edmonds-Woodway High School briefly locked down

A student tried to stop a fight and a boy, 16, responded by threatening the student with a knife.

Study considers making it legal to grow marijuana at home

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is considering two scenarios for allowing a minimal number of plants.

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Hot weather takes toll on young Christmas trees

The effect is likely to be felt in the years to come when they would have been cut.

Most Read