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Historical Museum

Learning Eagle History 

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Dec 28

John Carpenter - City Founder

Posted on December 28, 2018 at 4:16 PM by Tammy Gordon

Greetings from the Eagle Historical Museum!  We have recently acquired a large collection of ephemera and artifacts from John Carpenter’s relatives.  John Carpenter was one of the city’s founders and a very interesting fellow. The collection includes a scrapbook from 1901 with an Idaho Statesman article retelling a few stories straight from John Carpenter himself.  One entertaining tale talks about 2 red ants, a “greyback”(also known as a rollie-pollie or pill bug), $300 dollars, and men’s unending need to gamble.

“…Men had the gambling spirit strong.  They would gamble on anything—how far it was to the next tree, who would reach the creek first, and always on a game of cards.  But fights were most interesting, and on this occasion, I was driving the third wagon of the first three ox teams that entered Idaho City after the report had reached Auburn, Oregon of Grimes’ discovery of gold. We were camped one night where there both big red ants and ‘graybacks’ a-plenty, and someone suggested seeing what an ant could do with a grayback, and they finally decided it would be a little more fair to give the ant a handicap, so put two in the saucer.  Before the fight began there was $300 up in stakes and the men watched the contest for some time.  The ants finally won.”—John Carpenter

Tales like this from the Old West are plentiful.  The museum is fortunate to receive this collection as it brings the past to life.  If you are interested in seeing this collection first hand, feel free to stop by the museum any time, and we would be happy to show them to you!