Mae Gilmore

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From "200 Years in the Making"
Highlighting Malheur, Payette, Washington, Owyhee and Baker County History in Idaho
Malheur Publishing Co. (Publishers of the Daily Argus Observer)
Bicentennial Edition, 1976, Page 1930

Many years in this area are recalled by 96 year old matron from Payette

When Anna Mae Gilmore celebrated her 96th birthday in December, 1975 she was surrounded with friends, loved ones and family. She took a brief while to reminisce some of her youthful adventures.

She is a woman with many wonderful, true tales of the Payette area as it grew. She has retained, through the years, the memories; one of an Indian scare when she was a preschool girl, and many other notes of historical significance.

It all began that winter of 1879 when she was born to John and May McGlinchey in Ogden, Utah. By the time she was six she was living in Payette in the same house she now resides in, the granddaughter of the first district supreme court judge in the territory, Judge Nagel.

Life in those days, she noted, was very different then it became in later years. She recalled the days following Chief Joseph's war when brave young Indian bucks would occasionally leave the reservation looking for adventure.


She told of a time when she (a young girl) and her mother were alone at their home near the present Zim's Hot Springs above Council during grazing season (her father was a cattleman). A few Indian braves began slowly circling the house. Her mother, terrified, not knowing what to expect next, sneaked out of the house, carrying the small girl, and raced to the river. She forded on foot, racing to the property of neighbors where there were many ranch hands. The man returned to the McGlinchey home to find the braves gone. The women, nonetheless, were still afraid and became guests for a few days at the neighbor's home.

The family often summered with the cattle in the high country. She learned at a tender age to manage the horses that were always present, and, she notes, she rode bareback a lot until sometime after her 65th birthday.

The deeply committed Episcopalian woman attended Sacred Heart Academy in Ogden following her graduation in 1898 from Payette High School, in its second graduating class. She studied all phases of music, vocal and instrumental, and that led her to one of her favorite pastimes to this day, music performance and appreciation.

She also studied English, history and French at the academy, becoming, she says, not-so-fluent in the French language, but very interested in history.

In the years to follow, and to this day, Mae Gilmore became one of the foremost historians in the area, cataloging pictures, articles and other pieces of information into a concisely cataloged personal library. She has been an active writer for historical and regional periodicals in the past and is still a contributor and good source of historical information.

She recalls the days when she was a young woman, the busy social life. Dances, were usually public dances, but a few private clubs held dances for the young people. These were the only type her mother, a socialite, permitted her to attend. Bobsledding was a typical form of transportation in those pre-automotive days.

Wilbert W. Gilmore, a young businessmen, captured her eye and they were married in Baker, (then Baker City), Oregon in 1902. They owned and operated the Commercial Hotel at the present Idaho First National Bank site, during the early railroad years.

Holidays, were exciting, she reminisces, with large family gatherings and parties to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and other festive occasions. Family members would travel long distances to attend and in the holiday season months, those were especially hard trips.

She and Mr. Gilmore became the parents of two children, John D. Gilmore, Ontario, and Mrs. Joe (Eileen) Henggeler of Fruitland. She is grandfather to two, and great grandmother to nine children.

Life for her now includes visits from friends as well as a weekly church session given in her home, the one she has known for so many years.

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