Family belongings take us back to 1976 history

Submitted by David Jones, Bull Lake

When parents pass away we inherit all their stuff. We pack up all that they held dear to them. Their stuff then goes to a sister or brother or into a storage unit until finally someone gets tired of storing it. I recently was tasked by my sister into taking a few boxes home and do something with them. Going through mountains of my parent’s papers and pictures, I found pictures of relatives and friends that most, I think are passed away but some I recognize. I also found tons of papers, letters and documents getting to the reason I am writing this. I came across a pile of old articles from the Western News and a document that my Grandfather wrote. I thought perhaps some reader would get enjoyment from them.
The following is one article from 1976.
Victor Sather came to Troy in 1909 as a telegraph operator for the Great Northern Railroad and in 1913 was also the first secretary-treasurer of the volunteer fire department and in 1915 became Troy’s first city clerk. In 1976 he was interviewed about his take on the history of Troy.
During the depression years he secured the city park for Troy. Back in the early 30’s it was just a jungle and reverting back to the county for unpaid taxes. He believed that every township should dedicate some of its land for parks and as the city wasn’t doing it he decided to do something. He first tried to interest the city then the school district in securing the land. When these efforts failed, he went to the county commissioners, and offered to buy the land himself.
There were 4 tracts A, B, C, and D. He purchased A, B and C for $150, with tract A deeded to himself, B to Troy’s mayor F.R. Baggs and tract C to Troy’s Alderman L.R. Witney, as both these men had favored a city park when others had opposed it.
Victor held the deeds for a period until the dissention within the counsel died down, then he deeded tract A to the city and likewise tracts B and C from Baggs and Whitney respectively to the city. These tracts became what is now the city park. This transaction caused him to be deposed from his $15-a-month city clerk’s job as some suspected him of profiting from the land deal. (Records of the land transaction exist at the courthouse).
In the meanwhile, with hard times affecting everyone, he developed a plan for clearing the future park by having people with delinquent water bills workout their balance due. As this work progressed other people began to help also.
Turning to another part of Troy’s past, Victor was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department for over 40 years. For its first six years beginning in 1913 he was it’s secretary-treasurer. Most officials of the department were railroad men, including M.F. Goswiller, one of the first fire chiefs and later a mayor of Troy. In the beginning, the firefighters had only a two-wheel cart pulled by hand and a four-wheel ladder truck with three or four ladders pulled by a horse team and later in 1916 by a truck. The truck and cart were stored in an enclosed shed next to the depot and in the winter an oil lamp kept it all from freezing.
In 1909 there were no bridges across the Kootenai River. There was a ferry on the west side of Troy just about where the old St. Regis mill is now. The ferryman had a cottage on the town side of the river with service available 24 hours a day. Someone on the west side wanting to cross the river would clang a bell to summon the ferry to that side. There were ferries at Rexford, Ural, Warland, Libby, Leonia and Bonners. The bridges were built in 1912.
1917 to 1928 Victor was the District Clerk for Troy schools and recalled that grade school teachers received $90 a month and the school Superintendent’s salary was $2200 per year. In those days there were two rural bus routes to pick up students. One was on Iron Creek and the other was across the river. Lake Creek was part of the district going to Schoolhouse Lake and Bull Lake had its own log Schoolhouse. The bus route was by a two-horse wagon. Harry Ford, later a school board member held the contract on Iron Creek Road and E.C. Tibbetts the one across the river.