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Looking back: Fire destroys taxidermy building, couple killed in murder-suicide and teen sent to prison

Looking Back

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EAST IDAHO — Every week, East Idaho News is looking back in time at what life was like during this week in history.

This week is Sept. 20 to Sept. 26.

1900-1925

ST. ANTHONY — The Teton Peak reported on Sept. 22, 1904, that a fire destroyed a taxidermy building on the south side of town.

“The volunteer fire department responded promptly, but the fire was almost beyond control before it was discovered,” the paper said.

The building belonged to Fred W. Rising, but it was occupied by Mr. H. H. Mowray, who conducted a second-hand store. Rising had $500 worth of insurance on his building.

“He (Rising) is in Jackson Hole with a hunting party and probably does not yet know of his loss, which will be about $600 as the insurance is a little less than half the value of the building,” The Teton Peak explained.

The rear of the building was occupied by Jas. Elliott and his family. The paper said they escaped the fire “with only the clothing upon their backs.”

There was an adjoining building — a frame livery stable — Elliott owned, which firefighters saved.

“The fire is supposed to have originated through some careless person throwing down a match or cigarette while amusing themselves watching a tame bear, which was chained by the side of the building,” The Teton Peak stated.

1926-1950

ISLAND PARK — A well-known husband and wife were found dead in their car, according to The Rexburg Standard’s Sept. 20, 1934, issue.

Justin McGinn and his wife, Georgia McGinn, 48, of Last Chance in Island Park, were the owners of the McGinn ranch. The resort was 14 miles south of West Yellowstone on the Yellowstone Highway.

Their bodies were found inside their vehicle at the Henry’s Lake Dam “in a state of partial decomposition” on Sept. 16, 1934. The deaths were ruled a murder-suicide by Fremont County acting coroner James Fredrickson.

According to reports, the car had been at the dam since Sept. 13 when the McGinns left for Pocatello. Mrs. McGinn was going to catch a train to California where she had been employed the past two winters, and her husband was going to Salt Lake City to spend the winter.

“The bodies were discovered by L.G. Rowley, a sheepherder, working nearby,” the paper said. “Mr. McGinn’s body was found sitting upright in the seat and Mrs. McGinn was leaning against him.”

The Rexburg Standard said Mrs. McGinn was shot through the left temple and Mr. McGinn through his mouth. A revolver was found in his hand.

Mr. McGinn was described by residents as “failing in health” and “mentally deranged.” The paper noted he was well known in the area and his resort was a popular vacation for locals.

The bodies were identified by their son, Keith McGinn, who was left in charge of the resort.

The couple was buried in Bozeman, Montana.

1951-1975

RIGBY — The Idaho Press Association chose Rigby local Charles Doud as the state’s most promising high school journalist, The Rigby Star reported in its Sept. 25, 1958, newspaper.

Doud was among four finalists who were interviewed for the journalist award. The selection of the state winner was based on news writing ability, interest in journalism, extracurricular activities, academic record and the reason for an interest in journalism, the paper explained.

The Ford Motor-Idaho Press Association contest was part of a nationwide selection of the No. 1 high school journalist.

The paper said Doud would be accompanied by Frank Burke, Burley newspaper editor and president of the Idaho Newspaper Advertising Service, to Dearborn, Michigan, where he’d compete in the national meet. He was set to leave for the all-expense paid trip on Oct. 1 with the meet starting on Oct. 2.

“We are sure all friends of Charles will be rooting for him to win in the national contest which offers five Ford Motor financed scholarships, largest of which will be a fully paid four-year scholarship,” the paper mentioned.

The contest would be based on interviews with contestants and on written work, according to the newspaper.

Doud was the student body president at Rigby High School when he received the state award. He also worked during vacations and after school at The Rigby Star.

1976-2000

POCATELLO — A Pocatello teenager violated probation and was sent to the Idaho State Penitentiary.

The Idaho State Journal said during an appearance in Sixth District Court on Sept. 22, 1976, 19-year-old Robert Jeff Caverhill admitted he violated the provisions of a five-year probationary sentence.

He was specifically charged with quitting his job in Pocatello and leaving the city, contrary to his probation, the paper said. Caverhill was originally charged and pleaded guilty to two counts of issuing a check without funds.

“He is being given credit for time already served in jail and the court will retain jurisdiction over his case for 120 days during which a complete social, psychological, educational and vocational evaluation will be completed,” the paper said.

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