Pioneer family shares history

Lois Bates

Lois Bates is the assistant historian for the Bingham County Historical Society.

If you missed Bingham County Historical Society’s June meeting, it was very interesting. Wallace Wride Driscoll was introduced by BCHS Historian Trudy Kirkpatrick, who was in charge of the meeting.
Wallace Wride Driscoll, called “Wally,” was the guest speaker for the Bingham County Historical Society for the month of June. He told of the family histories and pioneer histories of four generations of the Driscoll family and told the audience, “The Driscoll’s have a special heritage in this great land.”
Wally’s great-grandfather, Richard Driscoll, was a cattleman at Promotory Point in Utah when he heard how lush and green the Fort Hall river bottoms were in Idaho. It was a place where you could “winter-out” the cattle because of the shelter from the many cottonwood trees and the brush along the Snake River.
Richard Driscoll, along with his wife Margaret Rose and their children Martin, Marion and Richard, put their belongings into a wagon and headed for Idaho trailing their livestock in 1879. They settled on what was called “Horse Island” at the mouth of the Portneuf River. They were the first to establish the cattle business there. They enjoyed many years on Horse Island until the Fort Hall river bottoms were covered with water from the American Reservoir in 1926.
Richard and Margaret’s boys were very close and became partners for life. Martin was called “Mart” and Richard became “Dick.” They married sisters Clara and Agnes Teichert. Wally’s grandparents were Mart and Agnes Driscoll. Brothers marrying sisters proved double relations then as well as for those that followed. Mart and Agnes were married in May of 1900.
The Teichert family was from Germany; however, his grandmother Agnes could speak German and perfect English. The cabin of Mart and Agnes had a sod roof and dirt floors.
“One evening about sundown, there was a knock on the door and an Indian wanted food and shelter. They obliged him and about one hour later, another knock on the door and it was the same Indian; he shot grandpa Mart in the chest. Grandmother Agnes poured turpentine in the wound and they took him to Pocatello to the doctor. The doctor told her it probably saved his life,” Wally said.
Four years after they married, they moved to the west side of the river to live by Agnes’ family, the Teicherts. Showing respect for his grandmother, Wally said, “She was a good woman, a good example and loved the land, the soil and the dirt. Mart passed away at the Soda Springs hospital following a surgery in 1936. Grandmother was a widow for 37 years.”
When the railroad built the Aberdeen branch and a depot at Sterling, Idaho, the brothers Mart and Dick established a cafe, pool hall, confectionary, butcher shop, garage and drug store.
Wally was born in 1933 at Pingree, the son of Martin A. Driscoll and Fay Wride Driscoll. Everyone knew Wally’s father as “Bus.”
“The depression was tough, I don’t know how my parents got through it. I never heard my mother complain even though she had no electricity or a furnace.”
Wally shared some of his dad’s philosophies: “Work is play and play is work and don’t forget it, so you might as well enjoy it. Get real estate, renting is like paying for a dead horse.”
Once when Wally had a problem he confided in his father. Bus asked him if they were eating three meals a day and the answer was “yes.” Then he invited Wally out to the road by the mailbox. Bus told him, “If you were in a ring and boxing, and you quit, you would be a quitter and end up with nothing.” Bus then left him in the road saying, “Look down the road of opportunities” as he walked away.
“Pard” was his father’s horse. They were partners and Bus had raised him from a colt. He was almost like a dog. He loaded up in back of the pickup without any help and rode without any stock rack. Then he knew when to get off.
Wallace Wride Driscoll is a successful businessman. He married Maurine Duffin of Aberdeen and they had eight children. They began farming in the Sterling area. In 1956, he bought land south and west of Aberdeen. He drilled one of the first wells for sprinkler irrigation. In 1952 he purchased a potato warehouse in American Falls. He and his five sons now operate the warehouse, Driscoll Potato Farms, Inc. besides 2,300 acres of irrigated land. He also finds time to serve on the Bingham Memorial Hospital Board and is a grandpa and a great-grandpa.
Wallace and Maurine live in the Springfield area, but their mailing address is Aberdeen. They own land in Sterling and a business in American Falls. This is a man that is proud of his heritage, and he likes the good people of Bingham County as well as the fertile soil.