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History on Yankee Fork Road - Page 2

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Today, 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 Bonanza from Bodie, California in the summer of 1878.


Old house in Bonanza, Idaho

This semi-intact house still stands in Bonanza, Idaho, Kathy Weiser, July, 2008. This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE!




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 husband.

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 her husband.

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 occupant.  

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.

Boothill in Bonanza, IdahoCharles 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.)


Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

Just about ½ mile on down the road from Bonanza is the Yankee Fork Dredge. Once placer mining was exhausted and the major mines ceased operations, the Yankee Fork claims owners knew that there was still "gold in them thar hills,” or river and tailings, in this case.  In the early 1930’s a number of placer miners who knew that valuable gold still existed on the Yankee Fork, joined together to see if  they could find a company who might be interested in dredging the river.


By 1938, they had interested the Silas Mason Company of Shreveport, Louisiana, whose initial tests indicated that as much as $16,000,000 worth of gold was recoverable.


Continued Next Page

Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

The Yankee Fork Gold Dredge is open for tours today,  Kathy Weiser, July, 2008. This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE!


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