Welcome to Owyhee County IDGenWeb Project




Welcome to Owyhee County!

The county seat is located in Murphy. The other communities in the county includes Bruneau, Givens Hot Springs, Grand View, Grasmere, Homedale, Marsing, Murphy, Oreana, Reynolds, Riddle, Silver City, and the Duck Valley Indian Reservation.


Today’s Owyhee County, Idaho are surrounded by two states< Nevada and Oregon; and four counties within the State of Idaho. Those counties are---from the north, down to the northeast side, and to the east side---Canyon, Ada, Elmore and Twin Falls counties. Owyhee County is also the second largest county in the state.

The original formation of Owyhee County commenced on December 31, 1863. It was the first county to be announced from Idaho’s first territorial legislature. The boundaries, at that time, were originally within the borders of three counties: Owyhee (original), Cassia (1879) and Twin Falls (1907). The county was one of the ten original counties that was a part of the “Gold Rush” era of the 1860s. The first discovery of gold occurred at Jordan Creek in 1863, and then millions of dollars came through to Silver City until its declining years into the early 1900s.

The first county seat started in Ruby City, and after a few years of enriching their economic status. The county seat was moved to Silver City in the year of 1867 where the mining industry boom. Eventually, the county seat changed once more, and this time more permanent at Murphy, Idaho. It remained in that location to this day. Also, another significant importance came out of that changed Murphy got a unique art deco style county courthouse, to which is registered on the National Historical Registry.

Owyhee County’s main economic resources has been from the flourishing mining industry that produces millions of dollars from the precious ore from the county. After time, its economic shifted to the agriculture industry where many men had become ranchers to either cattle or sheep.

The origin of the county’s name came from the early trapping days of the 1820s. Several Hawaiian fur trappers came to the pacific northwest and ended up in the area known as today’s Owyhee County. As it been told that these men got lost and never been found. Nevertheless, the name Hawaii and Owyhee sounded the same phonetically but are written differently. That’s how Owyhee got it names. Luck guys.

The major economic industry had been the gold and silver mining, though this industry done well since the Civil War era until the turn of the next century. It didn’t stop others to bring in other industries that became the leading industry and still hold strong even today. The early ranchers brought their cattle and sheep and prosper in this county. This became the leading industry when the mining depleted out.

The county’s courthouse is a single-story brick and concrete art deco structure that is rectangular in shape and set laterally to the street. It has exceptional architecture significance as the single most important institutional building in a very sparely populated region as a very appearing small-scale version of the art deco style. The building is also a fine local example of the WPA-financed buildings of the Depression Era, who also produced a large number of functional and stylistically progressive public buildings in the small towns of Idaho. For a sparsely settled county, the courthouse makes an effective contrast in scale with the Ada County Courthouse, and the most grandiose county building in the state. The Thematic Group finds the Owyhee County Courthouse with individual charm and outstanding local significance.


Matt Friend (2014)

I am your county coordinator for Owyhee County. I do not live in the county, but willing to do some research if it readily available to me, otherwise, I'll direct you in the right direction. I've had some ancestors who once walked the grounds of Owyhee County in the recovery era of the early 20th century. I hope to add more to the county website but you're welcome to contribute to our county's as well. To contact me either use the "Contact Us" in the navbar above or CLCK HERE. Thank you for your patrond on the Owyhee County IDGenWeb Project.

To learn more about Owyhee County's available information, click on the "Quick Links" that located on the top navigation bar on the right. You'll find most everything listed there. Also, there's is some information about the GenWeb projects and who we are. Its fascinating reading if you like a bit of historical reading. Then take the time to read through our copyright and statement information about the use of our information for your own personal gain, not for books or other publication. Enjoy your visit, and come back to watch for more stuff to be add.

Not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but also clouds their view of their descendants and isolates them from their contemporaries. Each man is for ever thrown back on himself alone, and there is danger that he may be shut up in the solitude of his own heart.

-- Alexis de Tocqueville


This Page Created By Matthew D. Friend -- Owyhee County Coordinator
Last Modified: Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 05:02:55 pm MDT File Size: 18K
Accessed: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 02:11:00 pm MST