Category Archives: Grangeville

Still Dancing

I grew up in a non-dancing family. Our church didn’t allow it back then, and after I moved to Grangeville, I was a little afraid to sign up my oldest daughter, Avery, for dance class.

Probably only a few non-dancers would know the strange reaction I had upon entering a dance class for the first time. It was like walking into a hall where my hearing was muted and even my vision of the students was blurry.

By the time my daughter Hailey was old enough to take dance, I felt more familiar with the experience. Now a high school freshman, Hailey began dancing in preschool, which was the first time I met Shirley Wilson Sears. Right away, I knew she meant business. Continue reading

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Posted on by Lorie Palmer / Leave a comment

The Freighter

Early last spring, my youngest grandson, Jesse Shreve, and his girlfriend, Tracy Buchanan, rented a place north-northeast of Grangeville, off Lukes Gulch Road.

Looking at my Idaho Atlas and Gazetteer, I noticed another road going north from Grangeville, named “Old Stites Stage Road.” A light went on in my head—this must be the route my maternal grandfather, William Ellis McGaffee, followed when he was hauling freight to White Bird and Slate Creek for the Salmon River Stores Company of Thomas Pogue. I don’t know just when he started freighting for Pogue, but in 1908 he already had been there for a while.

William E. “Billy” McGaffee was born near Ione, in Amador County, Calif., on November 17, 1879. He came with his parents and siblings to Grangeville in the summer of 1883, before he turned four. His father, John Sybile McGaffee, is reputed to have operated the first steam-driven thresher on the Camas Prairie. John Sybile bought a house on the north edge of Grangeville. Sometime in the late 1980s, before my mother, Murrielle McGaffee Wilson, lost her sight, she typed up for my brothers and me many of the stories she’d heard from her father. Here’s her account of how Billy got his early training to be a teamster:

When Billy was ten and Fred [his next older brother] was twelve, their father had just returned from a trip, and at breakfast the next morning he told them,‘There’s a team of black mares in the barn lot. They are yours if you can break them to work.’ The boys rushed out to the barn lot as soon as breakfast was eaten, and sure enough two young black work mares stood with halters on. They started working with the mares, currying, brushing, talking and, of course, giving them a little feed of oats. Continue reading

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Posted on by Billy Jim Wilson / Leave a comment

Warbird Weekend

I made my way across the tie-down, easily moving past the sparse, small groups—a few dozen people actually—clustered around the vintage aircraft and the tables from the morning breakfast.

As I headed off to a last-minute preparation errand, I thought this was shaping up to be a passable attendance for Idaho County Airport’s first Warbird Weekend event in Grangeville last year, scrambled together within a few months and hurriedly promoted.

What a difference thirty minutes made.

As I headed back to the airport a half-hour after the event’s scheduled start, a tangle of cars filled the set-aside parking area and spilled onto and along Airport Road. The main runway roared with traffic, as small aircraft taxied on and took off carrying eager kids, many experiencing their first airplane flight. The crowd was packed hundreds thick around aircraft, where people visited with pilots, took a peek inside, or—for a lucky few—felt the horsepower of radial engines during their own vintage plane ride. Firefighting aircraft, working early season incidents, kept the drama moving, as did helicopters from the Idaho National Guard and LifeFlight.

All totaled, nearly two thousand people crammed onto the airport that hot July day for an experience that frankly took everyone off guard, from organizers to participants. And now the pressure’s on for this year’s event in July . . . for just how do you top a blockbuster?

All this started with the simple question, “Why not an air fair in Grangeville?” Continue reading

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Posted on by David Rauzi / Leave a comment