Cleo Gallegos, Mayor of Heyburn, had this photograph in her office one day earlier this year. She snagged it for a day or two for me to see it. I snapped a couple of photographs of it. I have tried researching it or determining some of the individuals and I fear they may be too far in the past for me to try and get it independently. Unless someone has a list of individuals in the photo, it is just good for conversation. I don’t have a clue of a single individual included here. But this organization was a new piece to southern Idaho history I was unaware.
The 79’ers first meeting was held 28 September 1921 in Burley, Idaho. 73 pioneers from Cassia, Twin Falls, Jerome, Minidoka, Gooding, and Lincoln Counties signed the roster as qualifying members. In order to qualify, you had to arrive in Southern Idaho before 1880.
Between 1921 and 1924, meetings were held in Burley or Twin Falls. After 1924, the annual meetings were held in Albion. Hence the photo above dated 1 September 1926, this would have been the annual meeting.
In 1941 a special reunion was held where over 200 people attended. Judge Alfred Budge and Idaho Governor Chase Clark were made honorary members.
Not much history after that is available online.
Cassia County was created in 1879 and originally I thought that was what the group was referring to. However, membership was permitted from Minidoka, Jerome, and Lincoln Counties which territories were never part of Cassia County. I am still unclear why 1879 or 1880 was a year to commemorate in southern Idaho.
I also found Hyrum Smith Lewis (1868 – 1955) served for 26 years as President of the 79’ers. He is buried in Declo.