Gunfight on Boise Ridge

A Great-Nephew Asks, Who Shot the Marshal?

Story and Photos by Jim Fazio

In the early morning of July 31, 1940, the stillness of the hills above Boise was shattered by gunfire. Moments earlier, at 6 a.m. near a place called Mile High, there had been a knock at the cabin door of Pearl Royal Hendrickson. A brief conversation ended suddenly with two blasts from Hendrickson’s rifle. Deputy U. S. Marshal John Glenn staggered backwards and collapsed dead fifty feet from the cabin door. His partner, Captain George Haskin of the Boise Police Department, was standing around the corner of the cabin.

“First thing I knew—blewie! Right out of a clear sky, John was shot,” Haskin later told a reporter.

He fired two shots at the assailant and missed, and then fled up the hill through the brush and stumps. He ran back to the road where Nathan Smith was waiting in a taxi that had taken them up the winding dirt road at the end of North 8th Street. The two men raced back down the mountain to Boise and within hours, one of the largest posses in the history of Idaho began to assemble. As luck would have it, peace officers were holding a regional meeting in town, so lawmen from as far away as Moscow and Montana joined prison guards and a passel of volunteers, all armed to the teeth.

First to arrive back on the scene was my great uncle, U. S. Marshal George Meffan. From my earliest childhood in Pennsylvania, I had heard of Uncle George, but all I knew was that he lived in Nampa, was a U.S. Marshal, and was “killed by a squatter.”

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Jim Fazio

About Jim Fazio

Jim Fazio is professor emeritus in the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources and a freelance writer who has lived in Moscow for four decades. He is past president of the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation and author of Across the Snowy Ranges: The Lewis & Clark Expedition in Idaho and Western Montana.

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