I’m sure a lot of people know that Idaho was supposed to have gotten its name from a hoax. It seems that George Willing said that Idaho means “gem of the mountains.” I never knew that until yesterday.
However, while at the local Historical society in Frederick, MD I came across some interesting letters and tale. A woman named Ida said that she’s the inspiration for the name Idaho. While I didn’t fully read everything, and I wish now I had, Ida said that Willing used to say to her “Ida, ho come here” and then one day told her that Idaho meant gem of the mountains.
I skimmed the small booklet that she had made and rolled my eyes. But then I figured that I would see how Idaho was named and she had the same basic information that wiki does, minus the fact about her. Further on in the booklet were letters that Ida had written to other people about the state being named after her. All the letters were dated in the late 1870s-1890s. When I noticed how old the letters were I turned them over to the curator.
I’ve been looking for any other information on this woman, but haven’t seen any just yet. Now I wonder if there’s some small piece of history sitting in the Frederick historical society. I hope they look at what they are archiving and not just put it away.
I should have made copies of everything so I could go over them further, but I didn’t think of it at the time. Now I think I’m going to contact the Idaho state historical society and see if they want to pursue it any further.