Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Pauline and West Fork

Pauline school bus
Meadow Ward (West Fork)

Pauline and West Fork

The area known as Pauline is located at the northern end of Arbon Valley, with the border being the Indian reservation.  It was named “Pauline” in honor of the one of the homesteader’s mother. (Wilhelm Kowallis was a German immigrant who had immigrated to Utah with his mother when he was seven years old.) Some of the prominent first residents were the Bolingbrokes, Kowallises, and Nobles.

People started settling in the Pauline area in 1895.  It quickly became a gathering place with a store and post office, and a “passing through” place because of its location on the road to both American Falls or Pocatello; the road north was very pleasant in the summer months because Bannock Creek ran through it the whole way. Pauline also had an LDS church, a Congregational church, a school which is still used today, and the valley’s only “warehouse” where wheat was bought, stored in sacks, and sold.

The warehouse was originally just a raised platform across from the school. Ed England was in charge of purchasing the wheat, and then men other than the busy farmers hauled it to the railroad docks which were in Schilling (today, about a mile west of the Bannock Peak Truck Stop on I-86). The warehouse soon grew to a covered building for storage.  It operated between 1918 and 1928. No doubt if the valley had continued to grow, Pauline would have grown to a thriving commercial village with a tall elevator for a landmark.

The Pauline Cemetery at one time rivaled the Arbon Cemetery for population (this was not an enviable rivalry).  This is located straight west of the school, and can easily be overlooked unless one knows it is there. The wire fence surrounding it is on the hill just west of the school. Several headstones are still there, along with many unmarked graves. One notable family in the cemetery was, unfortunately, the Nobles. Mr. Noble ran the Pauline store for a while, during which time they buried at least six of their family members, including four children.

West Fork, northwest of Pauline, was also considered part of this area.  The West Fork spring bubbles up cold water from underground that feeds into Bannock Creek. As early as 1887, David Daniels acquired a water right in the West Fork subsidiary.  At least five Daniels siblings settled in this area – Dave, Henry (“Hen”), Jennette Daniels Price with her husband Thomas Price, John M. (“Donham”), and George.  .

Within West Fork was the Big Meadows, known for its good grazing and ample stock water. The Big Meadows were also somewhat milder in the wintertime than the rest of Bannock Valley, so easier on cattle.  The surnames of the earliest homesteaders in the West Fork/Big Meadows areas were Bolingbroke, Lusk, Price, and Daniels. The northern boundary was the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation, but in the 1930s the government moved the boundary about five miles south, forcing the non-native homesteaders to relocate.

The Meadow LDS Ward was created in West Fork about 1911.  The first bishop was Wilhelm Kowallis (whose mother was named Pauline), and the first Relief Society president was Anna E. Lusk. At first this ward was part of the Oneida (Malad) Stake, but later in 1913 was made part of the Pocatello Stake, which was the first stake created in Pocatello.  (The current Arbon Branch is still today part of the Pocatello Stake).  The meeting house was a log, T-shaped building. About 1917, people started moving away from this area – in 1928 church records showed that the whole bishopric had moved away!  By the next year, the remaining sixty-three members were transferred to the Arbon Ward, and the Meadow Ward was dissolved.

Today, no one lives in West Fork, since it is part of the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation. It is surprising to learn how many families lived there at one time.

Pauline today retains its original name on several maps, though it is part of Arbon Valley. It is still the crossroad to Pocatello and American Falls. Today there are several homes there, the Arbon post office, the Power County Roads sheds, and Arbon Elementary, grades K-6.


Ward, Laurie Jean, Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1982).