Two Victims in River Mystery
Martin R. Hibbs and Also Unknown Man Found Dead on River
The body of Martin R. Hibbs, Snake river rancher, was laid to rest Monday afternoon in the Enterprise cemetery. He was a victim in a mysterious Snake River tragedy believed to have been enacted a week before in which two men lost their lives. The identity of the other victim is not known but is believed he was Joe Anderson, a prospector who had been staying on the Hibbs ranch a couple of weeks or more.
The ranch is on Granite creek about a mile up the Snake river, on the Idaho side. On Monday, June 18, Mr. Hibbs and his son, Earl, left the ranch to ride the range and brand calves. They rode to the Salmon river country and attended a forest meeting at Riggins. Mr. Anderson the prospector, stayed at the ranch to feed the chickens and dog and look after things in their absence, and they were to take back home some supplies to him.
The father and son parted on top of one of the ridges between the Salmon and Snake rivers, Monday, June 25 a week after they had left home on their ride. The son continued to ride the range a couple of days and then went to Pullman, Wash. Mr. Hibbs turned his horse toward home. Monday noon he had dinner with Fred McGaffey on a ranch 6 miles from his place. That was the last time he was seen alive, so far as it has been possible to trace his movements. That he rode down the trail to his home is certain but their the curtain falls.
Five days later, last Saturday, his daughter, Mrs. Leonora Barton, of upper Imnaha, widow of the later Ralph A. Barton, concluded to ride over the divide to see how her father was getting along. She has more than an ordinary share of pluck and familiar with the mountains and canyons, makes nothing of a ride of 20 miles over lonely trails. She passed Pete Wilson’s home on Saddle creek and Allen Wilson went with her to Snake river and ferried her across, swimming her horse. She mounted again
House was made and the partly burned body of a man was found. There was nothing by which he could be identified.
The investigators decided that Mr. Hibbs had been shot three times, once in the head and twice in the body. A pistol was found in the ashes near the body of the unknown man in the house., and it held two empty shells. Half a dozen rifles and shot guns were found in the ruins, apparently all of them having belonged to Mr. Hibbs. These disclosures threw no light on the mystery and all the jury could do was to return a verdict of murder at the hands of unknown persons, in the case of Mr. Hibbs, while the cause of death of the other man could not be stated.
The jury did not finish its investigation until Monday morning, and immediately afterward friends of the Hibbs family started with the body for the upper Imnaha. Pete Wilson, Charles Marks, Cleve Loyd, Dick Fiske and Casey Denny were in the party and their burden was brought over the trail on a packhorse. At Freezeout on the Imnaha, C. A. Collinsworth and A,. P. Wilson were waiting with a light truck in which the body was brought to Joseph. Funeral services were held late in the afternoon at the grave in the Enterprise cemetery with Rev. G. R. archer of Joseph Methodist church officiating.
One theory of the mystery is that an old partner of Anderson the prospector called at the Hibbs ranch while the owner was away and that the two men quarreled and the visitor killed Anderson. Then, it is suggested, Mr. Hibbs rode up unexpectedly and unsaddled his horse before the house when the murderer came out of the door and shot him, to prevent discovery. Mr. Hibbs horse was found with its bridle on, indicating the man was shot before he finished caring for the animal. Other theories of the murder also are heard.
Martin Riggs Hibbs was born in Springfield, Ill., April 9, 1863, and passed away, Monday June 25, 1934. He was reared in Missouri and came west in 1883. He was married to Ella Frances Smith in 1881 at Joseph. To this union were born six children: Mrs. Leonora Barton, Imnaha; Glenn, deceased; Mrs. Ralph Stickney, Joseph; Martin Hibbs, Dent, Idaho; Earl Hibbs, Lewiston, Idaho; Mrs. Edna Butler, Joseph.
Mr. Hibbs was a very intelligent and alert man, an honest and upright citizen and a good friend to all who MISSING TEXT
Wallowa Record Chieftain, Thursday July 5, 1934
Contributed by Sue Wells
Transcribed by Dixie Ricker