Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Idaho Territory Sesquicentennial ~ Two Families and the Town of Paris, Idaho

Today I am happy to present guest blogger Evan Filby. Mr. Filby is a writer and author of the blog South Fork Companion where you can read even more about Idaho history. He currently has two books for sale, Boise River Gold Country, and Before the Spud.

 Two Families and the Town of Paris, Idaho

Charles C. Rich - photo from
Illustrated History of the State of Idaho.
Fall 1863: Charles C. Rich, Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “the Mormons,” led a small band of settlers to a spot about 40 miles north-northwest of Logan, Utah. There, north of Bear Lake, they established the town of Paris. This action continued an influx that had begun over three years earlier.
In the spring of 1860, Mormon colonists founded the town of Franklin, about twenty miles north of Logan. The hamlet and its outlying areas grew slowly, partly because of continuing depredations by the Shoshone Indians. Even the discovery of gold far to the northwest in what was then Washington Territory had little effect.
Then, on January 29, 1863, Colonel Patrick Connor led U. S. Army troops in a retaliatory attack on an Indian encampment 10-12 miles north of Franklin. The Battle of Bear River – sometimes, with justification, called the “Bear River Massacre” – cost the Indians dearly. Those losses, and continued Army pressure, seriously weakened the power of the tribes in the region.
Congress and President Abraham Lincoln created Idaho Territory on March 4, 1863. Some months later, the major Shoshone bands signed a peace agreement, the Box Elder Treaty. That reduced the Indian threat and made Apostle Rich’s expedition possible.
However. because the area had not been formally surveyed, no one knew that Franklin was a mile north of the Idaho border. Paris was about sixteen miles north of that line, yet everyone assumed the Mormon colonies were in Utah.
Charles Coulson Rich was a towering figure in the early history of the LDS church, so I shall only summarize his amazing life. Born in Kentucky, in 1809, Charles converted to the Mormon faith in 1832. Throughout his life, he repeatedly answered the missionary call of the church. He was named to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, the next-to-highest governing body of the church, before he was forty years old.

Joseph Rich - photo from
Illustrated History of the State of Idaho.
More colonists followed Rich into the Bear Lake region in 1864, and several other towns were founded. Among the newcomers were many members of Rich’s extended household. Following the then-practice of the church, Charles had six wives, who eventually bore him fifty-one children. Sadly, fifteen perished as infants or young children, and one girl died at age 19. We will soon learn more about one of his sons: Joseph Coulson Rich, who was 22 years old when Paris was founded.
The Utah legislature created a new county in 1864 to include the colonies. Originally called Richland, the name was shortened to Rich County four years later. For the next eight years, Charles officially represented the county in the Utah legislature.
Meanwhile, his son Joseph, a self-taught surveyor, spent several years surveying villages and towns in western Wyoming and eastern Idaho. He also studied law on his own. At one point, Joseph accompanied his father to Salt Lake. There, he landed a temporary job as an Assistant Clerk for the House of Representatives. Joseph married in 1869, but was immediately called to a mission in Illinois and Kentucky. That kept him away until the spring of 1870.

William Budge - photo from
Illustrated History of the State of Idaho.
The second family of interest arrived that same year, when William Budge came to Paris. Brigham Young had appointed Budge as Presiding Bishop of Rich County. Born in Scotland, Budge converted to the LDS faith in 1848, when he was twenty years old. He served as a missionary in England and on the Continent and then, in 1860, brought a party of about 600 converts to the United States. More 
adherents joined the group in New York before William led them on to Salt Lake City.
The family that Budge moved to Paris included three wives and many children. (He would ultimately father 36 sons and daughters, but ten of them died in infancy and another before she was eight.) In a moment, we’ll learn more about one of his sons, Alfred (born in 1868).
On February 15, 1872, the Interior Department certified the exact location of the Utah-Idaho border, proving that Paris and the other northern Mormon communities were actually in Idaho. That little detail did not, however, stop Charles Rich from attending to his duties with the Utah legislature. He also, apparently, represented the area at a constitutional convention called in another attempt to secure statehood for Utah. (The attempt failed.)
Valley inhabitants found themselves part of Idaho’s Oneida County, a heavily non-Mormon area, but it took them a couple years to accept the situation. Fearing that newly-awakened Mormon vote, Oneida County leaders lobbied for a split. Thus, in January 1875, the legislature established Bear Lake County, with Paris as the county seat. The Idaho Statesman, in Boise, reported (January 21, 1875), “Message from the Governor … I have the honor to nominate and appoint Joseph C. Rich, Jonanathan [sic] Pugmire, and Ed. Austin, as County Commissioners of the county of Bear Lake.”
Later that year, voters elected Bishop William Budge to the Idaho Territorial Council (roughly comparable to a state Senate). He would be elected for a second term four years later. Meanwhile, in 1877, Budge was made President of the LDS Bear Lake Stake.
Two year after that, voters sent Joseph C. Rich to the first of two consecutive terms in the Territorial House of Representatives. For some years after his second term, Joseph focused more on county affairs and a growing legal practice. By then, he had earned a reputation as a skilled frontier lawyer, fluent and forceful in debate.
Despite his age, Joe’s father began organizing a new colony for nearby Wyoming in 1880. During that process, however, Charles suffered a stroke. Although he recovered enough to attend stake meetings, he never fully regained his health. Charles Coulson Rich passed away November 17, 1883.
The following year, church leaders authorized the construction of a tabernacle in Paris, with President William Budge as superintendent. The structure was built with mostly local labor and local materials, including red sandstone quarried from the ridges east of Bear Lake. Within two years, the project was “progressing finely,” according to a correspondent to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City (August 18, 1886). Officials dedicated the tabernacle three years later.
In 1892, one of Joseph’s brothers became Second Counselor to President William Budge of the Bear Lake Stake. (In such a small community, the families had interacted extensively, but here we see a direct public link.)
Two year earlier, Idaho had become a state, which, among other things, opened up the executive and judicial branches of government to popular elections. In 1891, Alfred Budge, son of William, had received his law degree from the University of Michigan. He returned to Paris and opened a practice. Three years later, voters elected him as District Attorney of Idaho’s Fifth Judicial District, which encompassed much of the eastern side of the state.
About that time, Joseph C. Rich returned to a more active role in politics. He first became a delegate to the state Democratic convention, and then attended the 1896 national convention that selected William Jennings Bryan as the party’s Presidential nominee. Bryan lost nationally, but “Joe” was elected to the Idaho Senate, where he served for a time as President pro tem
Two years later, Rich chose not to run for re-election. Instead, he was elected Judge of the Fifth Judicial District. William Budge took his place in the state Senate. Alfred Budge became Prosecuting Attorney for Bear Lake County.

Alfred Budge - photo from
H.T. French History of Idaho
An ironic twist occurred in 1902: Alfred Budge (younger at 34, and a degreed lawyer) foiled Joe Rich’s re-election bid as Judge of the Fifth Judicial District. Judge Alfred would be repeatedly re-elected to that post for over a decade.
In 1905, the Budges joined with one of Joe’s brothers to found the Bear Lake State Bank in Paris. The Idaho Statesman reported (June 26, 1905) that “The incorporators are President William Budge, Judge [Alfred] Budge, … Hon. W. L. Rich … ”
The following year, William Budge – then approaching eighty years of age – moved from his position with the Bear Lake Stake to become President of the LDS Temple in Logan, Utah.
After losing the judicial election to Alfred, Joseph essentially retired from politics. In 1908, he and his wife moved to Centerville, Utah and had a house built there. But Joe never got to enjoy the new home; he passed away there in October 1908.
Alfred Budge moved to Pocatello in the spring of 1910, mainly because much of the Judicial District activity took place there. The following year, under the provisions of a new constitutional mandate, the Judge filled in for an absent member of the state Supreme Court. Three years after that, the Governor appointed him to complete the term of a Supreme Court Justice who had died in office. Judge Budge then ran unopposed for a full term in 1918.
That same year, poor health forced his father to retire from his position as President of the Logan Temple. William Budge passed away in March 1919.
About a week after his father died, Judge Budge purchased a home in Boise and moved his family there. For the next thirty years, he ran successfully for the court position – “most of the time without opposition.” He passed away half way through his sixth term, in January 1951.
These two pioneer families bequeathed an amazing legacy on the West. The siblings of Joseph C. Rich included four lawyers (one a judge), two medical doctors, two successful ranchers (one of whom became mayor of Paris), a newspaper publisher, and a rising horse trainer and breeder (who, sadly, died young in a riding accident). The siblings of Alfred Budge included seven medical doctors, a dentist, a lawyer (who served a term as mayor of Pocatello), and a prominent businessman and banker.
Both families – including other individuals engaged in less “prestigious” occupations – played significant roles in local government, as well as in the LDS church: as missionaries, teachers, and church officials.

Main sources:
Merrill D. Beal and Merle W. Wells, History of Idaho, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc. New York (1959).
Jesse R. S. Budge, The Life of William Budge, The Deseret News Press, Salt Lake City, Utah (1915).
Hiram Taylor French, History of Idaho: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People and Its Principal Interests, Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago (1914).
James H. Hawley, History of Idaho : The Gem of the Mountains, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago (1920).
An Illustrated History of the State of Idaho, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago (1899).

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