"Jake" Groseclose & The Long Valley
Ambush of 1878


The distinction of being the first Groseclose family to settle in Idaho does not belong to the family of James AT and Eliza Jane Groseclose. A quarter century earlier, during the mid-to-late 1870s, descendants of Jacob Groseclose, the third son of Peter Sr. and Mary Magdalena, settled in Central Idaho.

During the early-1800s, Jacob Groseclose and his family were the first Groseclose family to emigrate from the home place in SW Virginia -- to Indiana. Later, descendants of Jacob, namely, his grandson, also named Jacob, his wife Elizabeth, and their several children, moved further west, finding their way first to Colorado and, then, to the Adams County and Valley County areas of Idaho, all by oxen-pulled wagon.

As commemorated by an Idaho historical marker outside of Cascade, Idaho, the best known Idaho descendant of Jacob Groseclose is his great grandson, "Jake" Groseclose (1855-1878) -- the eldest son of Jacob and Elizabeth Groseclose. An Army Indian scout, Jake Groseclose was killed by Indians, along with two companions, near Payette Falls, Idaho.

The story of this incident -- known as the Long Valley Ambush or the Billy Monday Massacre -- is recounted in, among other sources, B. Clark Groseclose, Grosecloses and Descendants in America, as follows. Jake Groseclose was living with his parents in Indian Valley (also known as Long Valley), Idaho in the summer of 1878. He had served with Captain Galloway's Army as an Indian scout. A settler, Billy Monday, left some horses tied to a wagon in Indian Valley, and Indians stole the horses. Volunteers were requested to retrieve them. Five scouts, including Jake Groseclose volunteered. Abner Hall was sent as a messenger to the soldiers at Boise, Idaho. Jake, along with Billy Monday, Tom Healy, and Sylvester "Three Finger" Smith trailed the Indians over the mountains to Payette Falls. The scouts overtook the Indians but were ambushed. The Indians killed three of the men almost at once, and Jake was among the first killed. Three Finger Smith was badly injured. However, he escaped and made his way back 40 miles to a mail station. Soldiers stationed nearby immediately set out for the scene. When they reached the ambush site, they found the bodies of the three slain men. The soldiers buried the three bodies in a common grave and erected a marker. A permanent marker later was attached to a nearby stone.

More Information

The Council Valley Museum and the Idaho GenWeb Project for Adams County and Valley County provide more information about the Long Valley Ambush and about Jake Groseclose's parents, Jacob and Elizabeth Groseclose.

Finally, in Valley County: The Way It Was (D & D Books, Idaho 2002), Duane Petersen provides the following account of the Long Valley Ambush and the grave site of Jake Groseclose and his companions:

Cascade Falls Indian Battle & Grave

There are graves near Cascade Dam of pioneers that were chasing some Indians from Indian Valley that had stolen some horses. Those horses belonged to a rancher named Billy Monday. Three friends volunteered to help Monday recover these horses - they were Sylvester (Three Finger) Smith, Tom Healy and Jake Groseclose. They followed the trail of the Indians and the horses to the Payette River by Cascade Falls. There they were ambushed by the Indians on August 20, 1878. All the men were killed except Smith who after being wounded hid in a beaver dam until the Indians moved on. He stayed hidden for a couple of days before hiking toward Payette Lakes which was 26 miles away. He met up with the mail carrier who took him on to Meadows Valley where he could get some medical help. Word was sent to a U.S. cavalry unit under the command of Major Drum who were camped abt. 13 miles down the Little Weiser River from Meadows. When the soldiers arrived at Cascade Falls they buried the bodies of the men and marked the graves. They followed the trail to the east & found two miners killed at the Pearsol diggings and also buried them. They then followed the trail into what is now call Scott Valley and turned south following the creek. They found a lone Indian boy guarding the horses. When the boy saw they soldiers he took off on his horse to warn the Indian camp near by. The Indians scattered and the soldiers recovered the horses plus others the Indians had. This is where we get the name Horse Thief Basin. The area today is the site of the Idaho Fish and Game Horse Thief Reservoir, a very popular fishing and camping area.

The graves at Cascade were along the river. When the first railroad tracks were built up the valley the graves were just above the tracks. Later on when Cascade Dam was built the railroad's new grade came close to covering up the site so a rock retaining wall was built to protect it. The old railroad grade has been changed into a road by Valley County and grave site is below the road. Above the road is a flag pole and plaque telling the history and names of the pioneers buried here. You have to hike up the hill just a little ways to see the flag pole and plaque mounted on a big boulder.

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