Jesus Urquides

Photo courtesy of The Idaho State Historical Society

Born January 18, 1833, San Francisco (then a part of Mexico) California
Died April 26, 1928, Boise, Idaho

Born to Basque immigrant parents in what is now San Francisco, Jesus Urquides became a naturalized American Citizen in 1860.  California had been ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican War.  In 1850, at age 17, he began a pack-train operation in California, gradually expanding to a six-state area.  He carried food, clothing, and other supplies to large and many small mining operations in the western United States.

Urquides was the first packer to carry supplies to the newly discovered Thunder Mountain Mine in the Owyhee Mountains.   He was also the first to take the hazardous trip through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Carson City and Virginia City, Nevada mines, and one of the first to pack into what is now Montana.

One of Urquides's most challenging ventures was packing 10,000 pounds of copper wire into the Yellow Jacket Mine for construction of the tramway out of Challis.  It was necessary to get this wire to the mine without a break for a splice would have been too dangerous for use on the tram.   He wrapped the wire around the middles of 35 mules for the 70-mile trip up and down steep mountain terrain.  Several times a mule would slip and tumble down the mountain side, taking the entire train along.  This meant righting the mules and repacking, but he was ultimately successful in making the delivery.

In 1877, Urquides was contracted to bring supplies and ammunition to General Oliver O. Howard's federal troops during the Nez Perce Native American War.  On one of these trips, several of his mules were killed and he narrowly escaped with his life.

Urquides settled in Boise in the late 1860's.  He returned to California in 1877 to marry Adeida Camern.  He built her a home at 115 Main St, and later constructed a corral on the same property for his dozens of pack mules.  He built a storehouse for merchandise to be transported to isolated areas of Idaho.

Urquides built approximately 30 small one-room buildings for use by his drivers.  This became known as Urquides' Spanish Village.

After retirement, many of these men remained in the houses until the death of Urquides’ daughter Lola Binnard in 1956.  They were then condemned by the city and torn down.

Of the seven Urquides children, only three lived to adulthood.

Message Sent Successfully!

Message Failed To Send.

Send a Message to Parks and Rec