Looking back: Prehistoric animal remains found, former Rigby boy held prisoner and juveniles instigate high-speed chase

IDAHO FALLS — EastIdahoNews.com is looking back at what life was like during the week of April 4 to April 10 in east Idaho history.

1900-1925

REXBURG — A prehistoric “giant … animal’s” remains were uncovered in Rexburg, The Rigby Star wrote on April 10, 1924.

“Considerable excitement was caused” by the “unearthing” of a tooth and bone fragments of a giant Mastodon.

“This animal much like our present-day elephant in form, existed on this earth previous to the ice age, thousands of years ago,” the local paper said. “They measured 30 feet in length, stood 15 feet high and were covered with long hair. Their tusks were several times longer than the elephants of today.”

The animal was discovered by workers digging the basement beneath the new pea picking addition to the John H. Allan Seed Company Plant. A “clay pocket” was discovered where numerous bone fragments were removed. The tooth was found 12 feet deep in the ground and weighed about nine pounds and was a foot long by a half foot wide.

“Much of the structure had been petrified but the form and enamel were in good shape,” the paper noted.

1926-1950

RIGBY — A former Rigby boy was being held as a prisoner in Japan, according to The Rigby Star’s April 9, 1942, newspaper.

Francis M. Gilbert, 29, “dropped from sight” when Guam fell to the Japanese advance through the South Pacific, the paper explained. Gilbert sent a message to his parents, Ethel and Frank Gilbert, and his sister, Barbara Gilbert.

“I am well at Kobe, Japan, and being treated well. Please don’t worry any more than can be helped. Am anxious for exchange of prisoners to be worked out,” the message said.

The Gilbert family lived in Rigby for “several years” before moving to California. Mrs. Lewie Johnson, of Rigby, was a cousin of the prisoner.

1951-1975

SODA SPRINGS — A well-known candy maker was coming to Soda Springs to host a free demonstration on how to make candy.

The Caribou County Sun reported on April 6, 1961, E. Remington Davenport was going to make three kinds of basic candies in front of those attending the class.

“By learning how to make these types of candy, the audience will have insight into 10 related goodies — fudge; Mexican penoche, cream caramels, coconut slices, horehound lumps, popcorn crisp, after dinner mints, English toffee, glazed nuts and marshmallow — enough to fill any sweet tooth,” The Caribou County Sun said.

Davenport, who ran Davenport School of Candies in Oregon, was the author of two candy-making books.

“He has studied in Europe and discussed candy-making with the world’s leading authorities,” the article states. “Davenport has a national reputation accompanied with wide acclaim.”

1976-2000

CHUBBUCK — A high-speed chase led to three juveniles being thrown from the vehicle, the Idaho State Journal reported on April 7, 1976.

A police officer patrolling near Pearl and Yellowstone said he observed a Jeep at the Circle K store. A suspect was using the gas pump while crouched behind the Jeep, “apparently to avoid detection of store clerks.”

“When the Jeep left the station, police said they attempted to stop it and a chase ensued,” the article explained. “Police noted the vehicle ran at high rates of speed, ignoring stop signs.”

The Jeep reached speeds approaching 100 miles per hour before the accident, according to police. The Jeep eventually “went out of control” and flipped over twice.

One of the youths, a 17-year-old male was listed in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Bannock Memorial Hospital. A 15-year-old was treated and released, and a 16-year-old was listed in good condition.

“Police arrested the youths for alleged petty larceny and later learned the Jeep had been stolen,” the paper said. “Charges of grand larceny were also lodged.”

The 15-year-old driver of the stolen and totaled Jeep was also cited for driving while under the influence.

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