The Families of Adam Keith

“Once upon a time ...”, family facts and tales


Indian scare


Elizabeth Wiggins Parke [1877-1954]


Ancestry: Adam Keith1>Johann Michael Keith2>Phillip Keith3>Nancy [Keith] m. [Garret] Wiggins4>William H. Wiggins5>Elizabeth [Wiggins] m. [James E.] Parke6

My parents, William and Elizabeth Wiggins, and five children, Laura, Erasmus, Ann, Edward, and Bertha, in the spring of 1877, came to Kelton, Utah on the train and were met there by my mother's brother-in-law, John McRoberts.  His family had come to Idaho about three years before accompanied by my mother's mother, Mrs. Mary Ann Mackey and her son, William Mackey.


They were living in Middle Valley, about 25 miles up the Weiser River in Washington County, Idaho.  They traveled from Kelton, Utah through Boise Valley to Middle Valley, by team and arrived June 1, 1877.  I was born October 19, 1877. I was the third white child born in Middle Valley, Charles Reed being the first white family to settle there, then the Keithleys and McRoberts families being next, then my family.


My father, William Wiggins, took a squatter's right on what was later the Bob Jackson place.  Our house stood on the river bank close to the Roy Jackson home now.  (In 1983 new house occupied by David and June Craig.) Uncle John McRoberts' house stood close to where the Golden Rule store at Midvale now stands. My folks lived on the Jackson place during the Indian wars of 1877 and 1878.  When the wars first broke out we went to the fort at the mouth of Mann Creek on the old Jeffreys place.  We stayed about four days and went back to Middle Valley.  We stayed at Uncle John's all that summer and slipped out after dark and slept in the brush. The next year they built the fort at Salubria.  Uncle John took his family there but my family did not go.  Instead, we stayed with Truman Surdam and slept on an island in the Weiser River close by.  There was a big hole on this island about the size of a house and was as good as a fort.  It was here on this island I learned to walk by holding on to the brush.


My family moved to the hot springs on Keithley Creek in February 1881, having sold their rights to Bob Jackson to the place on the Weiser River.  My grandmother, Mrs. Mary Ann Mackey, made her home with the McRoberts family until her death.  She was the first grown person to be buried in the Keithley Creek cemetery, a small baby being buried there first.


I was a small child at the time Mr. Jackson and Mr.Towell had the fight with the grizzly bear in Reed's grove and remember the event clearly.  I was about 15 years old at the time; we had the crickets so bad and remember it very well. My sister, Laura, married Truman Surdan who was later killed in a team run away accident, leaving two small sons.  My sister, Ann, married John Tinsley and lived many years in the valley.  My sister, Bertha, married John Pierce and moved to Boise Valley.  My brother, Ed, married Clara Brittan and my oldest brother, Ras [William Erastus], remained a bachelor.  I married James Parke, April 2, 1896, who came to Idaho in 1888 from Kansas.


After my husband and I were married, we kept the old stage station at the foot of Middle Valley hill (on Dymoke place) on the Midvale side.  My husband drove stage at various times.  I have six daughters all born in Idaho and all still living."

Indian Scare in Middle Valley by Elizabeth Wiggins Parke


"Elizabeth Wiggins Parke, third white child born in Middle Valley, has entered a historical and genealogy record blank for the William Wiggins family who arrived in Middle Valley on June 1, 1877.  Mrs. Parke, who now makes her home in Medford, Oregon was born there on October 19, 1877.


The record will be copied in triplicate and filed in historical libraries at Washington, D.C., Boise, and Olympia, Washington.  This is a project of the Daughters of the American Revolution and any person who was born or arrived in the Northwest before 1890 is urged to record his families genealogy as no birth or death records were kept before that date.  Blanks may be secured without charge at the Signal-American office.  The following account of the arrival of the Wiggins family in Middle Valley and the pioneer life of Mrs. Parke was taken from the record: