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Albion Idaho and DiamondField Jack

By Edited May 30, 2015 0 1

The beginnings of Albion were filled with many wild stories. The modern area of Albion Idaho began about 1864 when trappers came into the area. Following the trappers were gold prospectors seeking gold in the area.

Albion Idaho is located near Pomerelle Ski Area. Albion Idaho is about 30 miles from the City Of Rocks. According to the 2000 census the population of Albion is 262. A recent estimate of Albion shows the population of over 300. Albion Idaho is in Cassia County.

The beginnings of Albion were filled with many wild stories. The modern area of Albion Idaho began about 1864 when trappers came into the area. Following the trappers were gold prospectors seeking gold in the area.

The Albion Valley was originally called Marsh Creek Valley and he town site of Albion was original called Marsh Basin. It was 1879 when the towns name was changed to Albion.

The Albion State Normal School was opened on September 11th 1893. The Albion State Normal Schools mission was to train teachers and educators. Many of the students came from rural areas and farms in southern Idaho.

In 1947 The Albion State Normal Schools name was changed to the Southern Idaho College Of Education. In 1951 the school was closed as it could not meet State requirements for enrollment. The programs were transferred to Idaho State University in Pocatello. At the time Idaho State University was simply Idaho State College.

The Albion State Normal school and Campus still exists with the exception of Swanger Hall. Swanger Hall burned down on July 19th 1947. Swanger Hall was a magnificent looking building and after it burned down temporary buildings were shipped from the Minidoka Internment camp that housed Japanese during World War 2.

The Campus was sold and the Campus is now owned by a family who is turning it into a retreat property. You can now spend the night at the Albion Campus! The Albion Camous Grove also feature a Haunted Mansion each year for Halloween.

One of the most famous people that came out of Albion was Terrell H. Bell. Terrell H. Bell attended the Albion Normal School. Terrel H. Bell went on to serve under Ronald Reagan as the United States Secretary of Education for 4 years.

Another Famous citizen was Jack Davis who's nickname was Diamondfield Jack. Diamondfield Jack at one time had went to the mountains in search of diamonds. He never found any Diamonds but he talked about them so much he eventually got the Nick Name of "Diamonfield Jack".

Diamondfield Jack got a job "protecting cattle territory" from sheepherders. The cattlemen had areas they considered cattle only land and Diamondfield Jack was on of many guys hired to keep the sheepherders off of the cattle land. Diamondfield Jack was ordered by his company to keep the sheep back and to shoot to wound. They also advised Diamondfield Jack to use any means he thought necessary the company would "stand behind him".

Diamondfield Jack shot up a few sheep camps and then shot a sheep man named Bill Tolman. Diamondfield Jack headed into Nevada to hide out. He knew that if Bill Tolman died then he may be hung. Diamondfield Jack bragged to many people that he was a hired man who's job was to kill Idhao sheepherders

The following year Diamondfield Jack returned to Idaho to work yet again for the Sparks-Harrell cattle company. In February 1896 two sheepherders named Daniel Cummings and John Wilson were found murdered at a southern Idaho sheep camp. Immediately authorities knew that Diamondfield Jack was the main suspect. He was assumed to be the killer because he had been in the area and he was known to brag about killing Idaho sheepherders.

Diamondfield Jack headed south to the Arizona Territory but was eventually caught and brought back to Albion Idaho to face murder charges. He was found guilty and sentenced to hang.

School children use t stop off at the Jail and talk to the Diamondfield Jack thru the bars on the window on the exterior of the jail. When the gallows were built that were to be used to hang him he looked at them and declared that they were "capable of doing the job." .

While the gallows were being built two other guys confessed to the murders but were later acquitted bay jury. Their stories raised doubt as to if the killings were actually done by Diamondfield Jack or not. Because of this doubt his day of execution was delayed the day before he was to be hung.

Idaho ruled in 1899 that all executions must now take place at the Idaho State Penitentiary. Diamondfield Jack was then transferred to Boise Idaho to the Idaho State Penitentiary. Later in the year the Idaho State Supreme Court ruled that Diamondfield Jack should be returned to Albion Idaho as a county prisoner. Diamondfield Jack almost almost escaped from the jail twice.

Diamondfield Jack eventually lost all of his appeals and was again scheduled for execution. The public believed Diamondfield Jack to be innocent and some influential people (Campaign Donors?) pressured the Board Of Pardons. The Board Of Pardons extended the execution date for 16 days. 3 hours before Diamondfield Jack was to be hung by the Cassia County sheriff word arrived of the 6 day extension from the Board Of Pardons.

The day before the newest date Diamondfield Jack was to be hung the Board Of Pardons commuted Diamondfield Jacks sentence from the death penalty to life in Prison. In December 1902 the Board Of Pardons gave Diamondfield Jack a full pardon. Diamondfield Jack was now a free man. Diamondfield Jack moved to Nevada and eventually became rich in In Nevada's Tonapah Mining District. He eventually lost all of his money and in 1949 he was hit by a taxi Cab in Las Vegas Nevada and died from injuries.

The Legacy of Diamondfield Jack still exists. He was the face that people identify with when discussing the great cattle wars of the west.

Todays Albion Idaho is still a small community but I fear it will eventually turn into a resort style town similar to Aspen and Sun valley.

The ski area Pomerelle is located on the mountain near Albion In the Sawtooth National Forest. Pomerelle has a triple chair lift and a double chair lift. During the summer you can mountain bike and hike the Pomerelle and Lake Clevaland area. Pomerelle opened up in 1940 making it one of Idahos oldest ski areas.

DL Evans Bank opened up in 1904 in Albion Idaho. This was the first bank in Cassia county. L Evans survived through the Great Depression and DL Evans has continued to expand branches throught Idaho. DL Evans still has a branch of it's bank in Albion.

The county seat of Cassia county remained Albion until 1918 when it was moved to Burley Idaho.

Look to Albion Idaho if you want to invest in some inexpensive property. Within 20 years , if not sooner, Albion Idaho will drastically grow into a mountain resort town. Albion Idaho is what Sun Valley Idaho and Aspen Colorado use to be like before the big boom.

Albion Idaho, A fun place to visit, a funner place to live.

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Comments

Aug 22, 2012 11:53am
Marlando
Hi--enjoyed the article and...the advice. Many years ago I had opportunity to buy a home in Park City, Utah for $2,300.00-------need I say more? Anway great articl and two big thumbs up from me/
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