Category Archives: 2004-04, April 2004 (Mountain Home)

April 2004 (Mountain Home)

Rosalie Sorrels

Mellifluous. The word could have been coined especially to describe Rosalie Sorrels’ voice. Whether singing, or storytelling, the word fits. For days I’ve sought other, simpler words, but the search for vocabulary always dissolves to images. For Rosalie, speaking and singing are one. It’s how she communicates.

In her voice is the sound of Grimes Creek dancing over rocks and nudging flecks of gold along the course of its laughing waters. Then sometimes you’ll hear the gravel that lines the creek bed. You hear the trilling songs of birds that sail bright skies in her mountain sanctuary, and the shusshing sway of pine branches fluffed by breezes that sing to the cabin her father built by hand early in the last century. Sometimes you’ll catch a momentary glimpse of the sharp edges of rocks lining the canyon walls.

She came by it naturally as part of a well-read family of people who also loved to sing. As she talks, she switches from conversation to poetry to song in a smooth flow. In 1999 Idaho’s songbird also was chosen for a Circle of Excellence award from the National Storytelling Network.

For more than a half-century, Rosalie Sorrels has taken the sounds and stories of Idaho across the continent and beyond the seas. Jim Page, a folksinger from Whidby Island, Washington, once described Rosalie as “the most real person in folk music that I’ve ever met.” Now past her seventieth birthday, her outlook on life is both broader and narrower than it was when she was a younger woman. She has traveled extensively and has seen the world, yet the greatest treasures of her life are her family and her little handmade Grimes Creek cabin.

Her mother named the cabin Guerencia, which means “the place that holds your heart.” It’s a snug cabin with posters of her heroes on the ceiling so she can look up at them when she is in bed. The cabin’s walls are lined with books stacked layers deep on shelves, all of them read and all remembered.

As a youngster, Rosalie’s father gave her a dollar for each “chunk” of poetry she learned. She earned three dollars for learning Sir Walter Scott’s “Lady of the Lake.” When other youngsters were learning nursery rhymes, Rosalie learned to quote Shakespeare. Continue reading

Posted on by Kitty Delorey Fleischman / 1 Comment

Mountain Home – Spotlight

After the discovery of gold in the early 1860s, the end of the Civil War in 1865, and the coming of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, the little station on Rattlesnake Creek became quite famous. It was here that the famous Overland Stages came up the trail from the East carrying passengers bound for the fabulous gold strikes on the South Boise River.

Rattlesnake Station was founded in August 1864 when Ben Holladay put through his Overland Stage Line between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Walla Walla, Washington. Commodore William Jackson, an early employee of Holladay, acquired the property in 1872.

In 1875 an Owyhee Avalanche correspondent wrote, “I leave this morning by buckboard train for Rocky Bar. I have changed the name of this station, where I have been sojourning since noon yesterday, from ‘Rattlesnake Station’ to ‘Bedbug Station.’ There are no rattlesnakes here but an abundance of the other animals.”

On Feb. 13, 1877, The Idaho Statesman reported, “The station formerly kept at this point was called Rattle Snake and was and is yet the property of Mr. William Jackson. Jackson had a difference of opinion with the owners of the stage line, which resulted in the removal of the stage station to a point higher up the creek to the left of the old road. A post office has been established here with the name of “The Mountain Home,” but as yet there is no service, as no one is willing to serve the county in the capacity of post-master.”

In the summer of 1883 an enterprising drummer by the name of Tutwiler set up a walled tent and some whiskey barrels on sawhorses alongside the survey stakes for the new railroad being built. When the grading and track laying crews, known for having a horrible and almost unquenchable thirst, saw Tutwiler they said, “Hooray for Tut!” and named the camp Tutville in his honor. The first train steamed into Tutville in early July 1883.
Jule Hager, the new postmaster and stage agent at “The Mountain Home,” decided that since the trains brought the mail, the post office should be there to meet it. Without government authorization, he packed up the post office into a fifty-pound soapbox and brought it down the hill to the railroad. With it he brought the new name for the town, Mountain Home. Continue reading

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