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Welcome to Latah County!

According to the Idaho Almanac of 1977, settlers began taking up the rich land of the Palouse country over one hundred years earlier. Prospectors roamed the hills and breaks north of the Clearwater and Snake rivers. Farmers and homesteaders relished the rich Palouse soil and ridge country. By 1872 a mail route was established between Moscow and Lewiston. The Northern Pacific Railroad reached Moscow in 1885. The thick whitepine forests supplied the resources for the small lumber mills and a logging industry that culminated with the Weyerhauser company building a lumber mill and company town at Potlatch in the early 1900s. Yet another town, Bovill, was founded on the natural resources of clays found in the area.

Latah County is the only county in Idaho created by an act of the US Congress. In order to establish a land grant college, Congress created Latah County from Nez Pierce County in May 1888. Moscow was established as the county seat and the land grant University of Idaho came into being in 1889.

Latah is derived from two Nez Pierce words: "Lah" meaning the place of pine trees "Toh" the sestle or stones used to pulverize the camas roots. The meadows of the Palouse were a cool refreshing place in the summer for the Nez Pierce Indians gather camas roots, sit in the shade and work.

What is new in Latah County?

In September 2016, the Latah County Historical Preservation Committee meeting was called to order by the clang of the old time red bell. This summer the bell tower was rebuilt on the building that dates back to the 1890s. The one room schoolhouse is being refurbished by the Elwood School Historical Association, a cheerful group of area residents that are working a miracle.

When Latah County was settled in the late 1880s, the school bells signaled the end of harvest around the one room school houses on the ridges. This year the melodious clang of the Elwood School bell on Texas Ridge welcomed a group of students of the past - although they were not elementary school children.

The Elwood Community is near Deary on the northern end of Texas Ridge, a ridge that runs north from Moscow Mountain south to Kendrick. It is open with views of Tamarack Butte to the east and blue sky all the way to Moscow.

It is recorded that in 1920 there were 44 students, aged 6 to 21, crowded into the single room eager to learn from a single teacher. That number slowly melted away until the school was closed in 1946. And the Elwood School was not the only one on Texas Ridge. Within three miles were two other schools.

The Association acquired the building in the Spring of 2013 and began refurbishing work. By the fall of that year, once boarded up windows were replaced and new doors were hung. By 2015, a new roof adorned a sparkling white freshly painted building. The only difference from pictures taken when the building was the center of the farm community, was the absence of the bell tower and the children.

The joy of the sound of the bell was only exceeded by the Elwood School Historical Association members pride who pull the rope. Their smiles were contagious and we all applauded their work and dedication.

About the County Coordinators

David & Karen Purtee are the County Coordinators and live in Latah County just outside of Moscow. They are avid genealogists and are looking forward to building a site with genealogical and historical information of the area. They are adding additional volunteers to be available to help you with your questions and inquiries about Latah County. At this time, please direct questions, suggestions, or complains to

About Latah County and the Neighboring Counties

Latah County is located in the panhandle of Idaho along the Washington border. Cities include: Bovill, Deary, Genesee, Juliaetta, Kendrick, Moscow, Onaway, Potlatch, Princeton, Troy and other unincorporated communities. The County Seat is Moscow.

Benewah county is located north side of Latah county.

Shoshone and Clearwater counties are located on the east side.

Nez Perce county is located on the south side.

On the west side is the state of Washington with Asotin, Garfield, and Whitman counties at the border.

Here's a resourceful information about Latah County at Idaho State University (ISU) website: Latah County Map & Info

Latah County Links

Guided or Self Guided Community Tours
History Index
Lookup Volunteers
Mailing List

New in Latah County Archives
Photos & Postcards
References & Sources
Resources - Local
Resources - On-Line

Search Latah County, Idaho By FreeFind.

About the GenWeb Projects

The IDGenWeb ProjectOne of the newer states, Idaho has a short but interesting history that includes mountain men, many American Indian tribes, mining, cattlemen and sheepherders, outlaws and law abiding pioneers, and a broad spectrum of immigrants from all over the world. Idaho, also, has about the most diverse topography of all the states, including high mountain ranges, forests, probably more running water than any other state, lakes, lava fields, deserts, and lush farmlands.

It was originally a part of the Oregon Territory. Idaho became a territory in 1863 (which included at the time most of Montana and Wyoming) and then became a state in 1890. There are currently 44 counties, in which it includes portions of four different Indian reservations.

Each county have a volunteer coordinator or host or hostess, with an associated website. We would love to hear from you if you find our resources useful, if you would like to volunteer to become a county coordinator, if you have problems to report or suggestions to make, and especially if you have some information you would like to contribute to our effort.

The USGenWeb ProjectThe USGenWeb Project, a group of volunteers working together to provide Internet websites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. The Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free access for everyone. To learn more about the GenWeb Project

The WorldGenWeb ProjectThe WorldGenWeb Project was created in an effort to answer the growing needs of genealogists world-wide who were trying to research their ancestors online. Their goal is to have every country in the world represented by an online website.

Last Updated:  Saturday, 27 August 2016
Created & Designed by David & Karen Purtee ©

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