The McAuley Cutoff - Dingle, ID
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Chasing Blue Sky
N 42° 14.158 W 111° 13.990
12T E 480761 N 4676002
Quick Description: The McAuley Cutoff, south of Montpelier, Idaho, created a more passable road around Big Hill, considered to be the "greatest impediment" along the Oregon Trail.
Location: Idaho, United States
Date Posted: 1/19/2012 9:18:57 AM
Waymark Code: WMDHTR
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member muddawber
Views: 3

Long Description:
The McAuley Cutoff marker stands at a highway rest area between two State of Idaho historical markers that interpret "Big Hill" and "McAuley's Road". The Oregon-California Trails Association marker is a predecessor to the McAuley state sign. For a time the OCTA marker was mounted in the town museum in Montpelier, but in 1993 it was retrieved and installed at its originally-intended location where it now stands. It is located about 10 miles south of Montpelier, Idaho on the east side of Highway 30, close to the town of Dingle. This marker reads:

THE McAULEY CUTOFF

On April 7, 1852, 17-year-old Eliza Ann McAuley, with her older brother, Thomas, and sister, Margaret, left Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, to travel overland to California. For a time, they were accompanied by the "Eddyville Company," led by William Buck and Ezra Meeker.

Eliza Ann left a notable diary account of the journey west and here on July 15 she wrote:

Traveled ten miles today and camped on Bear River. Just before coming to the river we had the hardest mountain to cross on the whole route. It was very steep and difficult to climb, and we had to double teams going up and at the summit we had to unhitch the teams and let the wagons down over a steep, smooth sliding rock by ropes wound around trees by the side of the road. Some trees are nearly cut through by ropes. The boys fished awhile then took a ramble around the country and discovered a pass, by which the mountain can be avoided by doing a little road building.

On July 17 the Meekers went on toward Oregon, but William Buck remained behind with the McAuleys. Here they stayed for fourteen days building a road around Big Hill.

On July 24, Eliza wrote: "We have 8 or 9 hands today to work on the road. The boys want to get it finished to save people from having to cross that dreadful mountain."

One hired hand, William H. Hampton of Galesburg, Illinois, wrote on July 24: "Still laying over and working we get $2 per day. Hot and sultry working at the foot of the mountain."

The road was completed by July 29 and the McAuleys continued west, leaving Thomas McAuley and William Buck to "remain on the road a week or two to collect Toll and pay the expenses of making it."

On present-day maps, the cutoff begins on private ranch land on Sheep Creek about five miles east. From that point, Highway 30 follows the approximate route of the cutoff around the south base of Big Hill, some seven and a half miles to this point.

On August 7, 1852, John McAllister took the cutoff and wrote, "by going it you avoid a long ascent, a long steep & rough & dangerous descent."

On August 13 Cecelia Adams wrote, "the new road is two miles farther but saves some very high mountains."

No references can be found of use of the cutoff in subsequent years. Rising waters of the Bear River may have washed the road away or perhaps nature, unchecked, took control again with a new growth of thickets and brush.

The McAuley or "Eliza Ann" Cutoff will never rank among the great cutoffs of the Oregon-California Trail, but it does reflect the initiative and thought of a group of young Americans in the year 1852.

The McAuleys reached California on September 18. Two years later, Eliza Ann married Robert Seeley Egbert. She died in Berkeley, California, November 16, 1919, at the age of eighty-three.

Research, Funding, and Signing by the
OREGON-CALIFORNIA TRAILS ASSOCIATION
1992

This is a part of your American Heritage. Honor it, protect it, preserve it for your children.
Marker Name: The McAuley Cutoff

Marker Type: Roadside

Marker Text:
THE McAULEY CUTOFF On April 7, 1852, 17-year-old Eliza Ann McAuley, with her older brother, Thomas, and sister, Margaret, left Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, to travel overland to California. For a time, they were accompanied by the "Eddyville Company," led by William Buck and Ezra Meeker. Eliza Ann left a notable diary account of the journey west and here on July 15 she wrote: Traveled ten miles today and camped on Bear River. Just before coming to the river we had the hardest mountain to cross on the whole route. It was very steep and difficult to climb, and we had to double teams going up and at the summit we had to unhitch the teams and let the wagons down over a steep, smooth sliding rock by ropes wound around trees by the side of the road. Some trees are nearly cut through by ropes. The boys fished awhile then took a ramble around the country and discovered a pass, by which the mountain can be avoided by doing a little road building. On July 17 the Meekers went on toward Oregon, but William Buck remained behind with the McAuleys. Here they stayed for fourteen days building a road around Big Hill. On July 24, Eliza wrote: "We have 8 or 9 hands today to work on the road. The boys want to get it finished to save people from having to cross that dreadful mountain." One hired hand, William H. Hampton of Galesburg, Illinois, wrote on July 24: "Still laying over and working we get $2 per day. Hot and sultry working at the foot of the mountain." The road was completed by July 29 and the McAuleys continued west, leaving Thomas McAuley and William Buck to "remain on the road a week or two to collect Toll and pay the expenses of making it." On present-day maps, the cutoff begins on private ranch land on Sheep Creek about five miles east. From that point, Highway 30 follows the approximate route of the cutoff around the south base of Big Hill, some seven and a half miles to this point. On August 7, 1852, John McAllister took the cutoff and wrote, "by going it you avoid a long ascent, a long steep & rough & dangerous descent." On August 13 Cecelia Adams wrote, "the new road is two miles farther but saves some very high mountains." No references can be found of use of the cutoff in subsequent years. Rising waters of the Bear River may have washed the road away or perhaps nature, unchecked, took control again with a new growth of thickets and brush. The McAuley or "Eliza Ann" Cutoff will never rank among the great cutoffs of the Oregon-California Trail, but it does reflect the initiative and thought of a group of young Americans in the year 1852. The McAuleys reached California on September 18. Two years later, Eliza Ann married Robert Seeley Egbert. She died in Berkeley, California, November 16, 1919, at the age of eighty-three. Research, Funding, and Signing by the OREGON-CALIFORNIA TRAILS ASSOCIATION 1992 This is a part of your American Heritage. Honor it, protect it, preserve it for your children.


County: Bear Lake

City: Dingle

Date Dedicated: 1992

Group Responsible for Placement: Oregon-California Trails Association

Web link(s) for additional information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_of_the_Oregon_Trail


Marker Number: Not listed

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Chasing Blue Sky visited The McAuley Cutoff - Dingle, ID 6/10/2011 Chasing Blue Sky visited it
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