In our travels to forgotten and forlorn places across the west, my wife and I encounter many cemeteries. Some of these contain the graves of early pioneers with a history that helped settle the western frontier.
Most names of these souls are lost in history. There’s no mention of them in history books, nor are they online where some distant family doing geneology research may find them. Often, the only reminder of them is a fading headstone.
Such is the case in the former settlement of Hahn, Idaho. Several weeks ago I wrote a blog entry about our time camping in the Spring Mountain mining district in Idaho. One day while sitting in camp looking out over our surroundings, I noticed two small areas encircled by barbed wire fences. So, as the suspecting the fences were protecting pioneer graves, I jumped on the ATV and headed toward the area to confirm my suspicions. After locating the faint path of a seldom used road I was at the enclosures and graves of early settlers of the Spring Mountain mining district.
Discover Interesting History
One gravestone I discovered belonged to Horace Austin. History tells us he was shot to death by his drunk partner on March 12th, 1909. They were in a mining cabin arguing about the interior temperature.
During the incident, Horace was using a large hunting knife to shave kindling for the wood stove. His partner thought the cabin was warm enough. With the quarrel building up, the partner shot Horace in the chest, killing him. In the end, the partner claims he shot the knife-wielding Horace in self defense.
Additionally, the history continues as others buried at Hahn include Eliza Vezina and her toddler son, David. On December 23, 1883, they both perished after an avalanche hit their home. Another grave belongs to John Wallenstein who committed suicide during the big silver strike.
So, the next time you find yourself crossing a forgotten corner of the west in your RV and stumble across a lonely cemetery, pay honor to those that came before you. So, the odds are you have them to thank for the road you are traveling on or the ruins that you are exploring. Adventuring across the west and discovering history is just another adventure in RVing!