JUNE 10, 2010

Eagle Scout Project Workday Volunteers – Front Billy Bob Dana, middle (l to r) Jonathan Syed, Hunter Skiles, Brandon Bishop, and Dalton Chatfield. Back row (l to r) Charlie Billups, Linden Bishop, Steven Elsbury, Ben Perkins, Sean Perkins, and John Elsbury. Unavailable for photo, Justin Kent.

Eagle Scout Project at Pierce Chinese Hanging Site

  In 1885, five Chinese men were accused of killing a Pierce merchant, D.M. Fraser. As guilt could not be determined, the men were being transported to Murray, ID for trial. Three miles outside of Pierce, vigilantes intercepted the group, and hung the accused.

    The Idaho Department of Transportation has established a historic marker along Highway 11 near the site where the hanging occurred. There is a trail that leads 365 feet up to a memorial site (though the actual site is unknown). At one time, a stone marker and interpretive sign was located at the end of this trail.

    Unfortunately, vandals stole the sign many years ago, and only the stone marker remained. In addition, the trail was overgrown, and trees had fallen over it.

    Life Scout, Jonathan Syed, of Orofino’s Troop #536 chose the improvement of the Chinese Hanging Site as his Eagle Scout project. Many months of research and planning culminated at a work day on Saturday, June 5. Jonathan directed a group of volunteers to clear the trail, and install a set of four interpretive signs along the path. The signs begin with E.D. Pierce arriving in the area on a gold-seeking expedition, discusses the ensuing gold rush, introduces the influx of the Chinese into the area, and the final sign details the Fraser murder and Chinese hanging incident.

    In addition to the volunteers that assisted on the workday (shown in photo above), many others aided Jonathan in his project. He would like to thank the following: ITD Historic Byway for providing grant funding, Bill Maki for fabricating sign backings and clamps, John Bergen for procuring sign posts, ASE for producing the signage, Wayne Thornton for providing a drum for trash collection, and Potlatch Corporation for project approval.

    As 2010 is Pierce’s Sesquicentennial, the focus of this year is celebrating the history of the area. Visitors and residents alike are encouraged to stop by the Chinese Hanging Site to view the improvements, and perhaps learn something new about our rich local history.