In the Desert

Tracing Family Origins

Story and Photos by Clay Almquist

My love of Owyhee County started when I was barely two years old. Back then, I frequently stayed with my aunt and uncle in Guffey, where my aunt told me stories of Owyhee County, including tales of Big Foot, the Lost Dutchman Mine, and the ruins of Spanish conquistadors.

Of course, I had no idea at the time of how rich my own family’s history was in the region. Now, at age sixty-seven, I’m deeply engaged in genealogy research our family is conducting in the county. My role is to repair old photographs. I also have explored all the county lands owned by my ancestors, and have traversed the area in all directions from corner to corner, on foot and in my jeep. I have taken hundreds of photographs in communities, and of land formations and wildlife.

My sister, Sharon Job, became interested in genealogy research when she was thirteen years old. This prompted our mother, Virginia Almquist, to ask relatives for information about the history of her family. For decades, they collected wedding invitations, birth announcements, pictures, obituaries, and other materials. Sharon has entered much of this information into a computer program and plans to coauthor a book with relatives in Canada and Pennsylvania.

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Clay Almquist

About Clay Almquist

Clay Almquist retired six years ago from Wire Management, which he owned for twenty-five years. Born in Boise, he grew up in Caldwell, and spent summers and other free time with his aunt and uncle in Owyhee County. He trapped gophers, killed rattlesnakes, dug agates out of rock walls, ran the milk separator, harvested honey from the wall of the house, and made butter in a mason jar. Nowadays, he pursues his lifelong love of discovering and photographing the history of Owyhee County. You can contact Clay at [email protected].

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