Bannock County, Idaho Genealogy and History

Welcome to Bannock County, Idaho a part of the American History and Genealogy Project (AHGP). It is our goal to provide you with the best information possible when searching for your Bannock ancestors. We are Judy White and Dennis Partridge and we will be your host for Bannock County, Idaho.

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In February 1864, the territory of Idaho was divided into Shoshone, Nez Perce, Idaho, Boise, Owyhee, Alturas and Oneida Counties, the last of which included the present county of Bannock. Soda Springs was the first county seat, which was afterward moved to Malad City.

Online Idaho Books

Bannock County was created by Legislative enactment of 1893, with Pocatello as the county seat.  It was created out of the southeastern third of Bingham County, itself a fragment of old Oneida County, which originally comprised the major portion of southeastern Idaho.

The northwestern corner of Bannock County is taken up by the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, which covers nearly one-fourth of its total area.  About one-half of the said reservation will, however, soon be opened up to public settlement, the final Presidential proclamation being delayed only by the new nearly completed surveys.

The population of Bannock County comprises over 14,000 souls, something over one-third of which are located in Pocatello.  This does not include the Indians, of whom there are some 1400 scattered over the Reservation.

The county abounds in rich agriculture valleys, the two principal ones of which lie along the east and west side of the Portneuf range of mountains….Gentile Valley, which lies on the east between Portneuf and Bear River ranges, is one of the richest agricultural valleys in the state.  It was settled in the early seventies and is now occupied by a very prosperous community of farmers and stock raiders.  The valley on the west, between the Portneuf and Bannock ranges is also rich and prosperous, but being less fortunate in the number and volume of mountain streams and springs than the valley on the east, its growth is somewhat checked awaiting the arrival of capitol to spread the life-quickening waters of the larger streams over numerous and now unproductive acres.  Through the center of this valley runs the Oregon Short Line on its way from Salt Lake City to Butte, and along it many small towns are growing up, from Oxford on the South to McCammon on the north, at which place the Short Line’s main line from Granger to Huntington, joins it, and the two run over the same track into Pocatello.

The principal towns of the county are Pocatello, Soda Springs, Bancroft, McCammon, Oneida, Downey, and Oxford, all of which are located along the Oregon Short Line system.  The largest of these, outside of Pocatello is Soda Springs, which has grown into an important sheep and wool shipping point.  Shearing corrals and dipping vats are located in the hills surrounding this place.  Steam shearing corrals with as many as twenty-five clippers are found here.

At McCammon are located the famous H.O. Harkness roller mills, with a capacity of 175 barrels of flour per day.

Large modern creameries are operated at Oxford, Chesterfield, and Gentile Valley, and dairies are operated in various places during the summer months.

The county has 125 miles of railroad.  It is divided into 42 school districts, with 65 teachers, and 4600 school children.

While Pocatello has labored during all the years of its existence under the most serious disadvantages it has improved those advantages it possessed to the utmost.

Bannock County Today

The Bannock County of today is substantially different from that described in the Polk Directory in 1902.  The boundaries have changed considerably over time. Bannock County lost some land and communities in its eastern area to Caribou County in 1919 and again in the 1940s.  Reservation land in the county was transformed when tracts were opened for white settlement in 1902 and 1904.  In 1927, additional reservation land was ceded to the city for an airport.

Bannock County comprises over 1,100 square miles of land.  The population in 2004 was 75,672.

AHGP Affiliation

This site is a member of The American History and Genealogy Project (AHGP), an unincorporated not-for-profit network of independent sites devoted to History & Genealogy, and covering North American Countries and Territories. For more information about our group, including how you can join us, please see our About page.

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