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Looking back: Body of three-year-old found, woman killing flies starts fire and arctic air hits Pocatello

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. 18 to Oct. 24.


BLACKFOOT — On Oct. 21, 1917, a three-year-old Blackfoot girl went missing, The Idaho Republican reported.

Dorothy Norton, the daughter of “well-known residents of the city” Mr. and Mrs. Tom Norton, went outside to play around 8 a.m. An hour later, the mother couldn’t find Dorothy but “no thought was given the matter” because the child had frequently gone next door to her aunt’s home for several hours. It was presumed she was there or at another neighbor’s house.

By noon, “the parents began to feel uneasy” and eventually, the whole community joined in on a search, the paper said.

“Bands of gypsies were seen passing through Blackfoot Sunday afternoon and the theory held to is that she has been taken by one of these,” The Idaho Republican said.

However, the following day, her body was found about 3 p.m. in the slough west of the sugar factory. W.S. McKeller, an employee of the factory who had been searching all day for the child, discovered her. The paper said she had evidently fallen into the ditch and drowned.

“The body was caught on some brush in the stream, in a place where the water was three-and-a-half feet deep,” the paper mentioned.


REXBURG — Community members started raising funds to help a family rebuild their home after it was destroyed in a fire.

The Rexburg Standard said the fire broke out on Oct. 18, 1940. The homeowner, Mrs. Bush, was attempting to exterminate flies on the rear porch with a fire torch when paper on the ceiling and outside of the home caught fire, Chief Ray McEntire told the paper. There were family members inside eating breakfast when the fire started, but they escaped without injury.

“The entire home and all furnishings and belongings were burned,” The Rexburg Standard reported.

The following week, a movement was launched to raise money to finance the construction of a new home. The organizers were the American Legion and the LDS Third Ward.

The basement was already being worked on at the time of the paper’s publication. The Rexburg Standard said the home would be made of logs, and carpenters and other people in the city were donating their time.

The legion planned to sponsor a dance to provide funds to help pay the costs of construction and material.


HIBBARD — A local man was being held in the Madison County Jail on charges of assault, kidnapping and attempted murder of a 10-year-old Hibbard girl, according to The Rigby Star.

Robert Chapman pleaded not guilty to all counts by reason of insanity. He was arraigned Oct. 18, 1965, in district court in Rexburg.

Judge Willard Burton ordered Chapman be committed to the State Hospital South at Blackfoot for “extensive examinations.” Burton said the Blackfoot hospital may take as much time as necessary to complete the evaluation report, the newspaper explained.

It was reported that Chapman was also tested by an Idaho Falls psychologist.


POCATELLO — A “frigid, arctic air mass” caused temperatures to drop to a record 19 degrees in Pocatello on the morning of Oct. 19, 1976.

The previous recorded low for Oct. 19 had been in 1905 when it was 20 degrees, weather service specialist John Fleming told the Idaho State Journal.

“We’re on the western edge of a cold air mass over the plains area right now. It’ll be in the area for the rest of the week,” Fleming explained.

The paper said temperatures were expected to reach the middle 50s during the day and the low 20s during the night for several days.