John Scully

The Spokesman-Review
Friday Morning, July 26, 1929

Idaho Pioneer Once Vigilante

John Scully, 90, Postmaster at Slickpoo, Freighted West From St. Joe in '61

Saw Indians Battle

Took Part in Hanging of Many Notorious Outlaws - Died Within Week of Birthday

The death of John Scully on Mission Creek near Culdesac, Idaho, on July 12, recalls some of the experiences of the pioneers of the northwest. Mr. Scully was born in St. Martha, Quebec, in 1839. In 1861 he started west, joining a party of freighters that left St. Joe, Mo., which at that time was the point of departure for many of the westerners.

A few days out of St. Joe he had his first introduction to the wild west, meeting an Indian scout of the Sioux tribe, decorated with paint and feathers, his only raiment consisting of a strip of blue cotton which was fastened around his body and flew as a streamer behind him. He was on the lookout for the enemy, which fact he made known by signs.

Indians' Running Fight.

In a short while he sighted the party he was expecting and rode away at full speed. Yet it was some time before any of the whites could see the approaching Indians, this showing the remarkable vision of the Indian scout. After a few hours travel Mr. Scully had the remarkable experience of witnessing an Indian battle.

The two tribes, decorated with war paint and feathers, riding bareback, rode in two circles in opposite directions and as they approached each other shot their arrows, recharging their bows as they went around the circle. After about an hour of fighting one tribe departed, the casualties being six dead and a number wounded.

After proceeding on his journey Mr. Scully mined in Colorado. Continuing west, he crossed the Bear river and went north crossing the Snake river at the present site of Rexburg. He finally reached Alder Gulch, Mont., where gold had been discovered. There he mined for over a year.

Knew Virginia City.

He joined the vigilantes at Virginia City who restored law and order in that famous mining camp. He took part in the arrest and execution of Helm, Gallagher, Parish, Lyons, Lane and Slade and served as guard at the execution of George Ives by the civil authorities before the organization of the vigilantes.

Mr. Scully returned to his home in Quebec, where he married Catherine Wylie and in 1897 he again came west to Lewiston, Idaho, and homesteaded on the Nez Perce reservation. He was postmaster of Slickpoo for 23 years. Thirteen years ago the Scullys celebrated their golden wedding anniversary by a reunion of relatives from all parts of the country. On July 6 Mr. Scully celebrated his 90th birthday, being in good health until a few days before his death at Slickpoo.

Contributed by Natalie Huntley

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