The Old Idaho Penitentiary was a functional prison from 1872 to 1973. The first building, also known as the Territorial Prison, was constructed in the Territory of Idaho in 1870.
There is a catalog that provides a comprehensive list of Idaho territorial and state penitentiary prisoners including men, women, and children between the years 1864 and 1947.
You can access the list through the following links
- Catalog: All inmates 1864-1947
- Sub Catalog: Women 1864-1947
- Sub Catalog: Miners 1865-1910
- Index to inmates 1948-1975
As I was thumbing through these catalogs I couldn't help noticing the inmates with Bear Lake County connections. One in particular that happens to be my second great aunt's uncle.
Hyrum Adolph Neibaur, who is listed as Hirum A. Neibaur in the sub catalog miners, was convicted of assault with intent to rape and was convicted in 1901.
Strangely enough, his wife spent her own time in the pen for adultery. They were living in Madison County at the time 50 year old Alice Neibaur aka Alice Neighbor was convicted in 1922.
I tracked this couple in census records. In 1900 they were living in Lehi, Utah and had been married for six years. In 1910 they were living in Dayton, Idaho. I don't know how long Hyrum stayed in the pokey but it wasn't more than two years because he had a child born in 1902 and one in 1904.
They were living in Salem, Madison County, Idaho by 1920 just two years before Alice strayed.
I queried the Idaho State Archives about the fees for the files on these two. If you are in the Boise area, you can go in and make copies for twenty cents a page. But for those of us who are not in the Boise area, they charge $38 per file plus fifty cents a page for any copies they send. Since they are not my direct descendants, I will sit this one out.
There's actually quite a few inmates listed from the Bear Lake jurisdiction. One of them used to pal around with Butch Cassidy. Henry Wilbur "Bob” Meeks was with Cassidy when they robbed the bank in Montpelier, Idaho.
I know we don't like to think of our ancestors as being jailbirds, but inmate records can be a good source of information so don't forget to check them.