Guest Lynn Cahoon at the Junction!

The First Settlers?

Growing up in Idaho, the history of Lewis and Clark and the opening of the west to settlers was a large part of the history I learned as a child.  As part of the Pacific Northwest, the land that became our state was wild and unsettled.  A perfect place to put down roots, raise a family, and build a homestead.  Unfortunately, the land that easterners thought of as uninhabited, the Nez Perce Indian tribe called home.

Definitely a disaster waiting to happen.

One story out of the history books that always stuck with me was about Henry and Eliza Spaulding, the first white settlers in what’s now the state of Idaho. Now, there’s some debate on that claim, and I’ve found a couple mentions of a fur trading business set up as early as 1805

so I don’t know if that part of the story is true.  But the Presbyterian missionary couple was one of the first waves of westward expansion to inhabit Idaho.  Henry and his wife built a homestead in a beautiful area now known as Lewiston. Nestled in the middle of the state, even now, the area is more rural than the capital Boise, which lies south of the area. The current residents depend on forestry, agriculture and mining for jobs and commerce.

In 1836, Rev. Henry and Eliza Spaulding travelled across the country with their friends, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.  But when the Whitman’s decided to set up a mission in nearby Walla, Walla Washington, Henry and Eliza pushed on farther into the wilderness into what is now Idaho and the Clearwater River site.  The couple stopped at a site near Lapwai Creek and Eliza wrote about the clear springs and natural beauty of the spot. After building at one site, which was little more than a swamp, they moved a few years later to the mouth of the creek and the pair settled there in 1838.

The couple started teaching and preaching to the Nez Perce Indians who lived in the area.  Before they left in 1844, they’d built a school, printing house, and additional living quarters for some of the Nez Perce who helped run the mission.  Henry felled trees and built a log home for his lovely bride.

In 1844, fearing for their lives, they abandon their mission and school.  Word had just arrived that their friends, the Whitman’s, were massacred in their home in Walla, Walla, in an Indian uprising.  Thirty years later, the Nez Perce were headed to a reservation, and the west had been changed forever.

As a child, the idea of starting over, in a land where you didn’t know anyone, seemed inconceivable.  I wondered about the woman who taught the children to read as she tried to make a life in the wilderness.  Why had she agreed to leave her home in the east for an uncertain future?  Had she been excited about the possibilities, or frightened at the dangers?

As an adult, I’ve taken a different route, moving east from Idaho to the edge of Illinois, where Lewis and Clark started their journey.  And I find myself in Eliza’s shoes, trying to navigate my way through a land where things are different than home.  People are different.  But Eliza taught me one important lesson as I studied her life so many years ago.  You make your place in the world.  And you decide if you’re happy or not.

Today, I’m giving away another Idaho story for your e-reader to one lucky commenter.  The Bull Rider’s Brother is set in a fictional little mountain town nestled on the road between Boise and the Spaulding site.

Shawnee, Idaho is known for two things.  Amazing salmon fishing and the first local rodeo of the summer.  For four friends, growing up in Shawnee, meant one thing, making plans to get out. Five years later, that wish has been granted for all but one.  What happens when they all get together again changes five lives.

When James Sullivan visits his hometown’s rodeo weekend and learns that his high school sweetheart had his child – six years ago – Lizzie Hudson’s world is thrown into turmoil. In THE BULL RIDER”S BROTHER, James struggles with family and Lizzie questions the risk of love.

Click on the cover to purchase on Amazon.


Lynn Cahoon is a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her

alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters to modern cowboys. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want.  She blogs at her website, A Fairy Tale Life.

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12 thoughts on “Guest Lynn Cahoon at the Junction!”

  1. Lynn, Thanks for you little history lesson on Idaho. I am in the process of planning our summer vacation and making reservations, and Idaho is on the route. I especially want to go to the Nez Perce National Historic Park near Lapwai among other sites. We are looking forward to attending a pow-wow on the Flathead Reservation in Montana. The history of that tribe has always made me rather sad. They were for the most part a peaceful people and went out of their way to avoid confrontation. All they got for it was near extinction.

    I too came from a small town and spent my youth planning to get away. I managed quite well, but now wouldn’t mind moving back. We are a retired military family and have had to start over many times. We retired to a place half-way between our families (still at least 12 hours in opposite directions) where friends had retired. They were older and have since passed away. Unfortunately, we are suffering another small town quirk – we are outsiders and even after 20 years we still don’t really belong. It isn’t for a lack of trying.

    I look forward to finding out how your characters’ reunions go in THE BULL RIDER’S BROTHER. One never knows how reunions will go.

  2. Patricia- I so get the small town draw. The first town we lived in here in Illinois wasn’t a good fit for us, even though the town looked like it came right out of a book.

    One of the books I’m getting ready to shop has a newcomer to a small town main character. Set near Sun Valley – which if you have time on your trip is another MUST see in Idaho.

    Thanks for stopping by…

  3. Hi, Lynn. A few years ago I drove through Idaho for the first time on our way home to Texas from Oregon. I was so taken by the gentle beauty of the land. The people were warm and friendly. Everything just left me with a wonderful feeling. I found myself thinking if I ever left Texas, I wouldn’t mind moving to Idaho. I don’t find myself thinking like that very often, so that tells you how strong of an impression it made on me. Thanks for sharing with us today!

  4. Hi Lynn! Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols! I’d love to visit Idaho someday, same with Montana. The pictures alone are breathtaking. Moving from one state to another is a bigger change than people sometimes realize. I’ve gone from California to Washington DC to Kentucky, kind of like a pioneer in reverse. Congrats on your books!

  5. Thanks for sharing. I love history and have always loved the stories of Louis and Clark. As I passed through Idaho many years ago, I saw something on the Spauldings but wish I had investigated more.

    Looking forward to your reading your book.

  6. I love small town stories! I grew up in a small community where everyone new what everyone else was doing. We never locked our doors or anything. I love the small town life myself, although things are different then what they use to be.

  7. Home again, home again. Sorry gang, had to go to the day job.

    Hi RT! Hi Rue! Glad you stopped in.

    Karen, I have to say I miss home. A lot. I went back last year this time and just drove around all my old haunts.

    Hi Victoria, thanks for having me here. Idaho is a wonderful place to raise kids or just hang out. Lots of activities.

    Hi Colleen, Hi Anon1001! Glad you liked the post.

    Connie, the Spaulding story is one I’m going to play with for my middle grade time travel series. I’m so looking forward to writing that book.

    Quilt lady, don’t tell anyone but we had a party line. Yes, a land line. LOL

    I’ll stop back in later. Thanks for making me feel so welcome.

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