Fred Sillge

    When Warren Cook left Campbell's Ferry in 1906 to work for the Forest Service a land speculator named Oscar Eakin bought the property. Eakin soon left to pursue gold in Alaska and sold the homestead to Fred Sillge, a German immigrant.

    Fred was a talented pianist, which prompted his friends in Dixie, Idaho (13 miles by trail from the homestead), to take up a collection to buy a piano. When Fred came to town, a party began. He was known to have a fondness for drink.

    Sillge's work at the property included  adding another diversion ditch from Trout Creek and improving the buildings and garden. In 1917 he filed his own homestead application. The Homestead Act required a person to live on and improve a claim for a five-year period. Sillge fell one year short.

    A June 16, 1921 article in the Idaho County Free Press describes what happened when Sillge and a friend tried to cross the Salmon River in high water.

WILLIAM SORROW AND FRED SILGE PERISH IN TREACHEROUS STREAM

 

William Sorrow, 22 of Grangeville and Fred Sillge, 58 of Dixie were drowned at Sillge’s Ferry 15 miles south of Dixie on Wednesday of last week. The men were crossing Salmon River in a basket suspended from a cable. A log, which was floating down the river hit the basket and the men were upset in the water. Silge sank immediately and was seen no more. Sorrow came to the surface once and attempted to swim ashore, but is believed to have been caught by the undertow and sucked into the whirlpool. The river at the time the men were drowned is said to have been the highest in years.

Allen Stonebraker, who resides in Chamberlain Basin, south of the Salmon, a Mr. Flower and a Mr. Butler of Mabton, Washington were in the party. The drowning occurred more than 75 miles from Grangeville and is in a veritable wilderness. Silge was unmarried.  He is believed to have a brother in Baker, Oregon…While the bodies may be found near where the drownings occurred, it is pointed out that they also may wash many miles downstream before the river gives up its dead.

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