It’s a wrap! The 2022 Galloway family reunion, on the shores of beautiful Payette Lake in McCall, just concluded a week-long gathering that has been happening there since 1888. A tradition that started when Thomas Cyrus Galloway, his wife Mary and 9 children traveled by wagon each Summer.
Thomas brought the first sawmill to the Boise basin in 1863, built the first permanent shelter across from the Weiser River in 1864, added The Pony Express and a Post Office. He filled many roles as school district director, bank trustee and city councilman and was a member of the Idaho Territorial Council in 1881. After Idaho achieved statehood on July 3, 1890, Thomas was both a Representative and Senator in the State Legislature. One of his greatest accomplishments was the development of The Galloway Canal, which brought irrigation to the Weiser Flat, originally known as Poverty Flat, bringing prosperity to the region. In memorial to him and his wife Mary Saunders Flournoy Galloway, he is known as; “The Founding Father of Weiser”.
The annual Galloway reunions were continued, for more generations to enjoy, by the love and generosity of Thomas Cyrus’s son, Dr. Thomas C. Galloway, affectionately known to the family as “Uncle Tom”. During those years, the family stayed in cabins at Lakeview Village for 10 days, sharing meals, having scavenger hunts, swimming in the lake, water skiing, golfing, and sharing stories.
Dr. Tom was a renowned physician, winning many awards, but most importantly in 1943 applied the use of a tracheotomy, for the first time in the 2,000 year history of tracheostomy to relieve upper respiratory obstruction, which saved countless lives of those stricken by polio.
Anna Galloway Dickerson, daughter of Thomas Cyrus Galloway, great grandmother to many here in Weiser, shared a wonderful story in 1953 of traveling to this reunion by wagon.
“The first time it took three full days: the first day, in our hack, wagon, and rig, and with our saddle horses we reached Midvale; the second day we reached a place near Council; and the third day we made camp on the sandy shores of this same Brundage Hot Springs.” says Anna. When Anna first went on this journey to McCall in 1888, there was only one other family there at that time. “A Sumner family were camping. We brought all of our own equipment and supplies. There was no settlement further up than Salmon Meadows and Long Valley… we cooked over the campfire and slept in blankets under the stars.” Anna returned to the same reunion 64 years later but by car, only a three hour drive, compared to her three day journey in a wagon and rigs.
Attending this year’s reunion was the 7th generation, representing the lineage of Thomas Cyrus Galloway and Mary Galloway, who still gather on the shores of Payette Lake and share the history and legacy, ensuring that the generations to come are just as excited to get together with 60 to 90 of their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, as have the generations before.