The Nezperce Story
A History of the Nezperce National Forest


A review of available material on the early history of the area makes it evident that a large number of topographic features were named for people. Peter King, for whom Pete King Creek was named, was born in Germany, February 22, 1832. Peter H. Ready, a freighter into Florence, was born in Detroit, Michigan, in November 1849. A campground and creek carry his name. Riggins was named for Richard L. Riggins, born near Grangeville on May 21, 1876. He was a postmaster and hotelkeeper in the town bearing his name.

Some features, like Coolwater, Iron Mountain, Bearwallow, Pilot Knob, Burnt Knob, Quartzite, Buffalo Hump, and Cold Springs, come by their names naturally. The reason why some features bear the names of animals is quite obvious.

Now and then something was named for an odd reason. Bill McPherson gives this version for Limber Luke Creek: A party on a camping and cattle-salting trip included a school teacher. Her saddle horse, a long limber-legged animal was always getting tangled in the brush and falling over logs, causing the schoolmarm much embarrassment. The horse soon acquired the name of Limber Luke, and the creek name followed.

The map which accompanied J. B. Leiberg's report on the Bitterroot Forest Reserve area in 1900 shows the present Bargaman Creek (Bargaman was an early trapper and prospector) as Little Salmon River, Hell Creek just above Moose Creek as Big Creek, and the present Sheep Creek, a tributary to Salmon River, as Elk Creek. The Selway Meadow Creek was called Selway Creek. The Leiberg map also shows a Smart Cabin near Elbow Bend, a Nolan Cabin on East Moose near Moose Creek Ranch, and a Gilroy Cabin on Selway at the mouth of Meeker Creek. There are also several old maps and some signs which show the present Slate Creek as "Freedom."

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Last Updated: 11-Nov-2008