Bonanza has only
about seven tumbling structures, in various states of decay. A Forest
Service Guard Station, built by the Work Progress Administration in the
1930’s, is located on a hill above the old town site, which is responsible
for the care and maintenance of all the recreation facilities in the area.
Traveling westward up the
hill and beyond the guard station are two cemeteries, the first of which
served both the people of Bonanza and
Custer, and the other, a bit further
down the road and referred to as Boothill, holds only three marked graves.
The story of these three
unmarked graves remains a bit of a mystery, but what is known is that a
couple by the name of Richard and Agnes Elizabeth "Lizzie” King, both
natives of London, England, moved into
the summer of 1878.
This semi-intact house still stands in
Kathy Weiser, July, 2008.
This image available for
photo prints & commercial downloads
The pair soon set up
businesses, with Richard selling real estate and Lizzie, who was described
as a "golden haired beauty” opening the Arcade Billiard Saloon and the
Yankee Fork Dance Hall. The couple became good friends
Bonanza's founder, Charles Franklin, who owned The Franklin House. However, it was Lizzie
that tended to spend the most time with Franklin, most often without her
In the meantime, Richard
and his real estate partner, by the name of William Dillon, weren’t
getting along and dissolved the partnership. A short time later, when
Dillon allegedly sold some land that belonged to King, an argument erupted
and Dillon shot and killed him on July 14, 1879. Dillon wound up being
sent to prison for 10 years, and Lizzie was picking out a burial plot for
Charles Franklin, who, by
this time had become infatuated with Lizzie, was right at her side,
helping her to pick out a site on the hillside that had been recently been
designated as Bonanza's new cemetery. Richard King was to be it’s first
Franklin, who had hopes
of winning Lizzie for himself, also bought two more plots, one for
himself, and one for Lizzie. Almost immediately after her husband was
buried, Franklin began to openly court Lizzie and rumors abounded that
they would soon marry. However, Franklin’s plans were foiled when another
man by the name of Robert Hawthorne came to town and went to work for
Lizzie as a dealer in her saloon. Evidently, he swept the beautiful blonde
off her feet, because the two married on August 11, 1880. Just six days
later, Robert Hawthorne and Agnes Elizabeth "Lizzie” King Hawthorne were
found dead in their home.
Charles Franklin buried
the newlyweds next to Richard King, and interestingly, did not include her
married name on her marker, and instead of putting the date she died on
the marker, put on both her’s and Hawthorne’s grave markers, the date of their marriage.
Though suspensions were high that Franklin had killed the pair, he was
never arrested. A short time later, Franklin packed up his belongings and
moved to a placer claim near Stanley. A few years later, he was found dead
in his lonely cabin, clutching Lizzie's photo in a gold locket. His body
was buried next to his cabin, miles away from the tiny cemetery where his
love, Lizzie, lay between her two husbands.
Bonanza is located about
8 miles north of Sunbeam on
Idaho State Road 75 (Yankee Fork Road.)