Cottonwood to celebrate 150th year in 2012, area history included
(History continued from last week)
This, like so many things in life, is an effort to keep alive some of our stories and traditions. I remember one day at the store when Ben Sonnen came in and wanted to talk about “that new refrigerator” he had just bought a week or so ago. “What’s the problem Ben?” Ben kind of shook a finger and said “It don’t keep good.” I waited then, “I put a bottle of whiskey in there the day I bought the fridge-this morning I checked and it was plum gone!” I told him I would file a claim with the company to see it if could be replaced.
Our whole area is filled with people who added a little spark to many otherwise gloomy days. Another of which was Henry F. Nuxoll. He always had a glint in his eye as he told a story or two and he was an inventor and kind of a jack-of-all-trades. His quick wit and ability to look on the bright side will always be remembered by those who knew him. A trip with him out to his shop revealed a group of projects he was always working on. When electricity came to the area he was the man of the hour and did the wiring of many area homes. What a guy! His sons Andy and Clarence were also great guys to have around and we all enjoyed their sense of humor.
There were always those fellows that stayed around home and took care of mom in late life. In the social world they found many friends both young and old to swap stories with. One of this group was Ray Frei. He was truly everyone’s friend. Always there for Aunt Minnie as well as his brother and sister. He did marry late in life and we wish him health and happiness in exchange for all the support he gave others, both young and old! Like so many others who grew up here, Ray was true to his family and friends and very true to his faith.
I think it’s right about here I would like to jump this memory over the fence to Keuterville to pull up some thoughts about one of the leading citizens there. Anyone who ever met the special man named Charlie Poxleitner will not soon forget him. Old Charlie was a man’s man who worked hard and could keep up with any man in the crew when it came to all the sweat and tears in the logging business. Back shortly after WWI Charlie helped build Soldiers Meadow and served as ramrod for that group when you had to prove yourself not only to the head engineer, but also to the men who worked under you. Charlie loved this area and was a good man to keep. Much of who he met and what he had learned he passed on to his sons and other story tellers. He wrote quite a few articles for this paper about 50 to 60 years ago and has been the subject of many other tales of this area and his ability to cope with most any situation. Charlie earned the respect of most everyone who knew him and when he had something to say, it held its value. A man who proved himself!
Now comes a man who chose this area to raise his own family and practice his medical skills here as well. Doctor W.F. Orr was the backbone of our medical world for about 50 years. The nights of sleep he gave his patients were countless and at given times he was the only doctor in this area. He set up his practice here in the early 1900’s taking over when Dr. Turner decided to move to California. He and his family also took over the two story house on King Street about 1914. Early on, after WWI, Rena Seubert was one of his special nurses and her brother Herman often was used as his driver. Our first hospital came in under his guidance a few years hence. The years before the hospital came in, surgery, births and the like were conducted in a few private homes and his son Richard was born in the council chambers in the old community hall on Broadway Street.
Doctor Orr was an excellent country doctor whose reputation soon spread across the area. He traveled all hours of the day and night, catching a little shut-eye in the car as one of his drivers kept him on the road to the next house call. He was an amazing man, both with his skills and stamina. Although men like Dr. Orr set the pattern, we here in this area have been blessed with good medical care including the people who staff our clinic and hospital today! Hey, it’s hard to be humble when we live in an area that boasts of so many “top of the line” features like these.
Talk about bragging, our girls took the State Softball Championship again this past week! How good it is! Congrats to all involved – We are proud of you! And while at it, our thanks to the school system at large, especially all the good teachers past and present!
Back to other people who have been part of this area through these many year. Another self-made man who stands out is Burt Lute and his part in our history. Among other things Burt was a neighbor and a farmer who decided to work with sick and injured animals. Burt was called time and again to deliver animals who having trouble in the birthing process. He would glow like a candle when his customers called him Doc Lute. He kept learning new ways to treat animals and was called time and again by his faithful customers. One time after performing a difficult operation on a sick cow which had been quite lengthy, he rose to his feed and said, “There, that wasn’t too bad. Now if the ole gal will just do her part and live!” And you know what, she did, and had a calf the next spring! Burt lived on the Lute place about ½ mile north of the substation near where Seubert Excavators built their shop. Burt married Sadona Konen and later bought the Lawrence and Rose Riener house when it came up for sale, where they raised their family. Thanks for all the memories Burt! There was a need in the area for a vet and you filled the job at that time. The area was lucky to have such a determined self-made man.
Let’s go astray here and talk about a few things that have had a great bearing on the development of this area. For instance, some of us lived here all our lives and still know very little of the markers by which the land was divided. Here, in Cottonwood we have Cottonwood Creek running mostly east and west starting in the draw northwest of the St. Michael’s Monastery. Back in Cottonwood the creek forks right by Riener’s Grocery and the north fork of Cottonwood Creek lies mostly buried under King Street until it emerges in the area of the trailer park where it turns northwest to drain the area now farmed by Rod Arnzen, Felix Nuxoll and the old George Seubert Farm. If you drive out this way you can readily see the area drained by the North Fork of Cottonwood Creek. While we’re at it let’s not forget “She-Bang Creek” which started near the old monastery site by Ed Rad’s place and runs by the Kaschmitter Rock Pit and down through the old Coop Ross ranch and out across the Prairie. The other most important marker runs north and south across the convent area, out Moughmer Point down the divide between the Salmon and Snake Rivers all the way to Boise. This is called the Boise Meridian Line from which most all surveys are taken. If you travel across this paved road in front of the convent and look out across the Prairie you can spot the area that drains S-SW into the Salmon and the area E-NE that drains into the Clearwater. About 2 miles north of Cottonwood is the Reservation Like. It comes over the hill from Icicle Flat down out on the Prairie running east all the way to the Clearwater River. This was the jump off for settling the Greencreek and Ferdinand areas.
Back to this story being connected to the current events. In remembrance of those who opened this area we visited all of our cemeteries and as usual we are proud to report that those who are buried there once again have been well remembered. With many people still to visit, the graves are well decorated and the flags are flying. There isn’t a better way to show our honor and respect and once again I’m proud to be from an area where friends and family are not soon forgotten. I have had several people remark about the way our cemeteries are kept and I would like to thank those who serve on these boards and do such a good job of keeping up the grounds. For this reason we have had people who only lived here a short time choose to be returned here for their final resting place. That, once again makes one feel good about “the green, green grass of home.”
Thanks for all your favorable comments concerning these articles. We are glad for the support most all have shown. We hope the pride you have all displayed never falters!

Shown are local community cemeteries. From top down are Ferdinand, Greencreek, Cottonwood Catholic and Ferdinand. Photos by Don Hoene.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
Fax 208-962-7131
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