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Looking back: Principal and teacher elope, hunters separated during blizzard and high-speed chase in Chubbuck

Looking Back

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

This week is Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.


RIGBY — A principal and school teacher, who both worked for schools in Ashton, eloped, The Rigby Star announced on Dec. 3, 1908.

J.A. Nelson and Miss. Girtie took a southbound train from Ashton to Rigby where they stopped at the Finn Hotel. Once they arrived, they told people “they desired to get married and the quicker the ceremony could be performed the better it would suit them.”

The couple had no license, and they were told the document was necessary to have before anything could be done.

“We have gone this far with it, and I now propose to see it through,” Nelson explained. “We will drive to Market Lake, take the southbound train, and when we reach Ogden, we will get married and from Ogden, we will go to Colorado.”

Nelson previously oversaw the Lewisville school but was the principal of a school in Ashton during this time. Girtie was a beautiful young lady, according to the paper. It said she was a teacher in the Ashton schools and was also an accomplished daughter of Capt. Whittington of St. Anthony.

“She thus ran away with a dead beat to become his wife, leaving a home of elegance and refinement and heartbroken parents to mourn her escapade,” the article reads.

Nelson and Girtie “evidently reached Salt Lake” because Mr. Long of the Rigby school received a message from Nelson.

“Please wire me (a) draft for forty dollars at Wilson Hotel, Salt Lake. Write you later,” the message said.

The Rigby Star added, “Nelson will be a long time on the road before he gets a wire from Mr. Long that will bring him the $40. The Star also mourns, as Nelson owes this office seven dollars.”


REXBURG — Three hunters went elk hunting but “spent most of the day hunting for each other,” The Rexburg Standard said in its Dec. 1, 1942, newspaper.

On Nov. 29, 1942, Claud Christensen, Ted Ellis and Hugh Drennen were caught in a blizzard and separated.

“Feeling the urge to hunt this weekend, the three stout-hearted nimrods (hunters) went into the Warm River section to get an elk,” the paper explained. “They took their car in the Fall River Road, and after going as far as they could by car, they got out and started on foot. This was their undoing.”

The Rexburg Standard said they hadn’t gone far when they were separated. They eventually found each other and their car and “felt as though their hunt was a success although they did not get the game they went after.”

“All returned safe and sound and no ill effects have resulted from their experience,” the article states.


CHUBBUCK — A Fort Hall man was arraigned on charges of resisting arrest, following a 100-mile-per-hour chase through Chubbuck on Dec. 2, 1975, according to the Idaho State Journal.

Rodney March, 19, was arrested after Chubbuck police said they “clocked a car driven in excess of 90 mph in a 35 mph zone along 4500 Yellowstone.”

Police pursued the vehicle and Bannock County sheriff’s deputies joined in the chase. The car lost control and skidded into a ditch where two suspects fled from the area. After two hours of searching, Bannock County authorities apprehended March — who police believed was a passenger in the suspect’s vehicle — along Highway 91. He fought with officers during his arrest, according to police.

March was arraigned before Sixth Magistrate Judge Robert W. Bennett and bond was set at $1,000. That afternoon, Chubbuck police reported a Fort Hall juvenile turned himself in to authorities. He claimed to be the driver of the car. He was ticketed for reckless driving and leaving the scene of an injury accident.


MONTPELIER — A 33-year-old convicted killer escaped from the Montpelier Jail on Nov. 30, 1977, the Idaho State Journal said.

There were reports that Lee Twyford, who had served 10 years of a life term for murder before he escaped from a Colorado prison, had been seen in different parts of the county, including Lava Hot Springs. But authorities said the reports “never panned out” and there was “little evidence indicating that … (he) was in the Pocatello area.”

Montpelier police arrested Twyford after they found him inside a local drugstore at 2 a.m. An investigation showed the suspected burglar, who had given a different name and a Salt Lake City address, had escaped from a Colorado correctional institution at Fort Logan, near Denver, the paper said.

“Twyford knocked a hole in the ceiling of the Montpelier Jail and jumped out of a restroom window to make his get-away early Wednesday, while awaiting extradition to Colorado,” the Idaho State Journal mentioned.

A sheriff’s spokesman said Twyford might have gone to Utah.