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Looking back: Actor dies on stage, boy hit by bus survives and Salmon woman launches career as country singer

Looking Back

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

This week is Oct. 25 to Oct. 31.


ST. ANTHONY — An American Falls man who was visiting St. Anthony was struck by a rock then robbed on Main Street, according to The Teton Peak’s Oct. 29, 1903, newspaper.

On the night of Oct. 28, E.D. Pitkin reported to Marshal Buchenan what happened. The paper noted he showed a “severe cut on the back of the head which was evidence of the truth.” Pitkin accused Fred Jones of Moody Creek for taking $15 in cash from him, plus a watch which was valued at $20.

Pitkin’s was headed to St. Anthony on a train to explore the area and visit a brother who lived in Rexburg. Once he left Blackfoot on the train, he met Jones, who said he was coming home from Twin Falls.

“He appeared to be a congenial sort of fellow and we became pretty well acquainted, but when we came to Rexburg, Jones did not get off the train but came on to St. Anthony with me,” Pitkins mentioned.

The two of them walked around town until evening when they grabbed a few drinks together. Pitkins said a few minutes before 9 p.m., they were coming up Main Street toward the business part of town when he was suddenly attacked and went unconscious. He woke up to the man swearing at him and telling him to “get out … or I’ll kill you on the spot.”

By the time Pitkin’s told Buchenan about the incident, Jones had left town. The Teton Peak said Jones was well known around Rexburg.

“His reputation is not the best, if reports are true. The officers should use every possible effort to bring him to justice before he kills someone,” the article reads. “It is the opinion of some that Jones is crazy.”


RIRIE — An actor died while on stage at the Ririe Theatre on Oct. 26, 1926, The Rigby Star announced.

Leonard C. Johnson, a member of the Lanham Players, died suddenly during the last act of the play. The paper said the 21-year-old man died from acute heart trouble. In the final days leading up to his death, he was not “as well as usual,” and he complained of pain around the heart area.

One of the Lanham members said Johnson was an “honest and upright young man and a valuable member of their company.” Along with acting, the paper said Johnson was also a member of the orchestra, being an accomplished pianist.

Johnson lived in Bozeman, Montana, until he joined the Lanham Players three months prior to his death. His body was shipped to his parents in Montana on Oct. 27.


POCATELLO — A six-year-old boy who was struck by a school bus and rushed to a hospital in Salt Lake City survived, the Idaho State Journal reported.

On Oct. 28, 1957, Hawthorne School first-grader Owen Herbert was on his way home from school when he was hit around 3:45 p.m. The 24-year-old bus driver Ronald J. Smith told police the boy ran into the path of his southbound bus without warning.

Officers W.R. Van Leuven and E. A. Hebdon said the boy rolled about 25 feet after he was hit. He was taken to Bannock Memorial Hospital where the attending physician said the boy suffered a skull fracture and there was a possibility of bleeding inside his skull. The doctor thought Herbert “might need the services of a neurosurgeon” so he recommended he be flown to the airport in SLC and transported via ambulance to the Holy Cross Hospital.

His parents were attending a funeral in Preston at the time. They were contacted and went directly to Utah. His father, a maintenance foreman at Westvaco Mineral Products Division, said tests indicated surgery would not be needed. He said his son had “improved considerably” and was most likely going to be home within two days.


SALMON — A Salmon woman recorded her first album as a country singer, The Salmon Recorder Herald reported on Oct. 27, 1977.

Kathy Mifflin, who is Mrs. Tom Mifflin, was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, but moved to Salmon where she lived at the time of her album release announcement. Her album consisted of 10 songs with seven of them being her own, and it was due out around Christmas on Ripcord Records. Mifflin told the paper most of her songs were based on personal experiences.

“My main goal is to put feeling in the songs I sing,” she said. “I write music that can convey a message to other people from my own experiences.”

Mifflin was described as a “very outgoing, friendly and warm person” and mother of seven. Her interest in music began at the age of 12. She spent about 12 years singing in different parts of the country, and she wrote her first song “Price of Love” in 1972.

The Salmon Recorder Herald said Mifflin looked at her first recording as “just a beginning.”

“I will be doing two more albums of my songs in January and will put out a total gospel album and one of mixed pop, country and latin.”

Kathy Mifflin of Salmon
Kathy Mifflin | Courtesy The Salmon Recorder Herald