Moore, Cunningham, and Bettis Family Papers, 1873-1974  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Moore, Cunningham, and Bettis Family Papers
1873-1974 (inclusive)
10.75 linear feet, (17 boxes)
9 linear feet (16 boxes)
Collection Number
MSS 100
Correspondence, personal papers, business and financial records, photos, and other papers of four generations of a family prominent in business, civic, and social life of Boise, Idaho.
Boise State University Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
1910 University Drive
Boise ID
Telephone: 208-426-3958
Access Restrictions

Collection is available for research, with the exception of select material. Contact Special Collections for additional information.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Moore-Cunningham-Bettis collection documents the activities of a family prominent in the business, social, and civic life of Boise, Idaho, since the 1860s. The papers came from the Moore-Cunningham mansion on Warm Springs Avenue, the family home since 1891. The collection includes letters, personal papers, business records, memorabilia, and photos from four generations, beginning with C.W. Moore (1835-1916), founder of Idaho's first chartered national bank. The earliest papers in the collection date from the 1850s; the latest from the 1970s. Together, the collection fills 16 boxes and occupies approximately 9 feet of shelf space.

The collection is divided into series formed around individual members of the family. The largest of these series, comprising the bulk of the collection, pertain to four individuals: C.W. Moore, the family patriarch; his daughter, Laura Moore Cunningham (1869-1963); Dr. Harry S. Bettis (1864-1934), a dentist who married another of C.W. Moore's daughters; and Laurence Moore Bettis (1895-1976), C.W. Moore's eldest grandson. Other family members - children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of C.W. Moore (and their spouses) - are represented by smaller groups of papers. The collection also contains some records of the C.W. Moore and Company banking agency in Silver City (1870s) and letters to Richard Z. Johnson relating to Boise school matters (1880s).

The personal, ranching, and banking interests of the family figure prominently in the collection. C.W. Moore was one of the founders of the First National Bank of Idaho, later known as Idaho First and now as West One. Succeeding generations maintained the family interest as shareholders, officers, and directors. Several family members also engaged in ranching. The collection also includes many personal letters exchanged by family members as well as correspondence with friends and associates. The largest body of personal letters belongs to Laura Moore Cunningham, one of the leaders of the Boise civic and social life during the first half of the twentieth century. Her papers shed light on her civic and philanthropic activities, education, travel, and personal and literary interests.

The name of the bank founded by C.W. Moore in 1867 (First National Bank) was changed to Idaho First National Bank during the 1930s. Both names are used in this finding aid.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright to this collection remains with the heirs.

Preferred Citation

[item description], Moore, Cunningham, and Bettis Family Papers, Box [number] Folder [number], Boise State University Special Collections and Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

1:  C.W. MooreReturn to Top

Christopher Wilkinson Moore was one of Idaho's leading citizens, a key figure in Boise's rapid growth from the 1860s for fifty years. He came to southern Idaho from Oregon to participate in the gold rush in 1862 and became a merchant for miners in the Boise Basin and Silver City areas. Although he is best remembered today in Boise as a founder of the Idaho First National Bank and for building the Moore-Cunningham mansion, in the autobiography he wrote at age 74, he adds these accomplishments almost as footnotes to the dominant theme of the wagon trip which brought him with his family westward from the Territory of Wisconsin in 1852.

C.W. Moore was born in Toronto, Canada, on November 30, 1835. At the end of the journey West, during which his strength, optimism, and self-reliance were tested and proven in a number of fascinating and dangerous episodes, he was only 17. For the next ten years, he tried his hand at several jobs. He was buying and selling livestock to customers from the California coast north to Victoria when he sold out in 1862 to try his luck in the gold fields. His confidence in striking it rich as a miner soon waned. After making only wages on the Powder River near Baker, Oregon, and again at the Red River near Elk City in northern Idaho, he quickly sold out and decided to direct his destiny elsewhere. He went into partnership with Benjamin M. DuRell, purchased forty-two mules, and began shipping supplies to miners. This business proved to be much more lucrative. It brought them soon to the Boise Basin, supplying miners who were working in Silver City, Booneville, and DeLamar. New supplies were shipped from The Dalles and Umatilla (on the Columbia River) overland by mule. In 1864, the partners started a store at Ruby, and in 1865, one at Silver City nearby. Trading mainly in gold dust, the miners' merchants performed banking functions, keeping valuable for miners, selling supplies on credit, and often taking gold dust and nuggets for payment.

In the summer of 1864, C.W. Moore met Catherine Minear from West Virginia, who was visiting her brother's family at the quartz mill in Ruby City. They were married on July 3, 1865, and traveled on their honeymoon to San Francisco while a small home was erected and furnished for them at Ruby City. They had seven children, one of whom died as a young child and three who produced five grandchildren.

In 1867 the family moved to Boise. Moore, DuRell, Governor Ballard, William Roberts, and Joel Fithian filed for a bank charter, the second national bank charter west of the Rockies, the first going to the First National Bank of Portland. The certificate to charter the First National Bank of Idaho was issued on March 11, 1867. C.W. Moore was the first cashier of the new bank. In 1872 he bought out the interest of B.M. DuRell, its first president. C.W. Moore served as the bank's president from 1889 until his death in 1916.

In 1879 the Moores built a stately mansion with a mansard roof at 8th and Grove Streets in Boise. It was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle of the day. This home was sold in about 1891 to the Silver King, Captain J.R. DeLamar, who never fulfilled his intention to live there. It was leased to the Arid Club a year after he bought it. At that time the Moore family moved to what is now known as the Moore-Cunningham mansion at Walnut and Warm Springs Avenue.

In 1891 C.W. Moore was one of the founders of the Artesian Hot and Cold Water Company, a water company which would pipe geothermal water from a spot under Table Rock east of Boise to heat homes in town. The first home to be served was his own, at 1109 Warm Springs Avenue. Like Seward's, his idea was scoffed at as folly by many, but the system endures a century later. The Moore-Cunningham mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the first home to use geothermal heat in the United States. The new home had both gas and electric lights. C.W. Moore was also a Director of the Capital Electric Light, Motor and Gas Company.

C.W. Moore was a stern patriarchal figure in the family with unquestioned authority over his children, even after their marriages. Laurence Moore Bettis ("Docky"), the eldest of his five grandchildren, said on tape that his own father, Dr. Harry S. Bettis (who married the Moores' oldest child, Alice) appealed to C.W. Moore to allow Docky to stay in Idaho and not return to the University of Virginia for his junior year of college. "I saw my father in there talking to him and I could see the old man in there pounding his deskà and I knew the answer. My father came out and said, æSon, get ready to pack your bag and go.' Grandfather died the end of September and I came home in December when the quarter was over." Docky said that Mr. Moore ruled in all subjects but religion at home.

One of the founding fathers of the Children's Home on Warm Springs Avenue, C.W. Moore was well known for his generosity to his community. He and his wife were charter members of the First Methodist Church. He was president of the Pioneer Society and a prominent Republican. In 1876 C.W. Moore was awarded the position of Commissioner Alternate for Idaho by the U.S. Centennial Commission for the International Exhibition at Philadelphia.

Laurence Bettis remembers his grandfather holding forth by the fire smoking a pipe in the back parlor with the gentlemen, while the ladies chatted in the front parlor. C.W. Moore loved to travel with his wife several times a year. They enjoyed San Francisco and Portland, where they had clothes made, purchased furniture, and had their portraits taken. They also visited the Oregon coast in the summers. He was a fine horseman and wrote on the back of an equestrian portrait, "This was taken two days before my 77th birthday." His wife and a son, Arthur, preceded him in death. His daughter Laura and her husband J.W. Cunningham moved back from New York, where they were doing very well financially, in order to provide good company for C.W. Moore after Catherine's death in 1911. He died at home September 20, 1916, at nearly 81 years of age.

--by Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Anderson, Eloise H. Frontier Bankers: A History of the Idaho First National Bank. Boise: The Idaho First National Bank, 1981.

Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape recorded interview with the author, April 1975.

First Talk, Magazine of the Idaho First National Bank. Vol. VI, No. 2 (February 1976) p.1 (Copy in the collection, Box 10, Folder 1)

Hart, Arthur A. The Boiseans at Home. Boise: Historic Boise, 1984.

McFadden, Thomas G. "Banking in the Boise Region: The Origins of the First National Bank of Idaho." Idaho Yesterdays 11 (Spring 1967) pp. 2-19.

Moore, C.W. Autobiography in the collection, 1909.

The principal item among the papers of C.W. Moore is the autobiographical memoir he wrote in 1909, which addresses primarily his emigration to the West on the Oregon Trail and his early days in the Pacific Northwest. This box contains a photocopy of the original handwritten manuscript, a typewritten transcript, and an edited typewritten transcript prepared by Carol L. MacGregor. The memoir was also published, with annotations, in the summer 1991 issue of Idaho Yesterdays, quarterly journal of the Idaho State Historical Society. Because the original manuscript is in such fragile condition, researchers are asked to consult either the photocopied, typewritten, or published versions. The original is stored elsewhere for safekeeping.

Also included within the C.W. Moore papers are letters he wrote to his daughter, Laura Moore Cunningham, while she was away at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1889-1890), chiefly about family matters and her finances; and letters to Laura and her husband, J.W. Cunningham, from Hot Lake, Oregon, and other resorts (1912-1915). In one undated letter from the period 1889-90 (Box 1, Folder 6), he writes of giving up coffee, tea, and cigars: "I don't miss them [tea or coffee] much but I do miss my cigars every minute of the day." He quit them in the hope that doing so would help his eyes (January 14, 1890). Letters exchanged between C.W. Moore and his son Marion during 1913 and letters by Moore to others about Marion's difficulties are located in the Marion Moore file (Box 13, Folder 15).

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Biographical Material
1 2
Ancestry and Descendants
1 3
Autobiography (1909): Photocopy
1 4
Autobiography (1909): Typewritten transcript
1 5
Autobiography (1909)
1 6
Letters To Laura Moore Cunningham
1 7
Letters To Laura Moore Cunningham
1 8
Letters To J.W. and Laura Moore Cunningham
1 9
Wedding Invitations (Daughters)
1898 1910

2:  Catherine Minear MooreReturn to Top

Mary Catherine Minear Moore was a pioneer to Boise City, the wife of C.W. Moore, mother of seven children, and a pillar in Boise society from 1865 until her death in 1911. Born at St. George, Tucker County, West Virginia, on July 9, 1839, she came west around 1864 to visit her brother near Silver City at the first quartz mill which the Minear brothers had there. In his memoirs, C.W. Moore wrote that the Minear brothers produced the first silver bullion in what is now the State of Idaho.

Catherine (sometimes her name was spelled Catharine) met Christopher W. Moore at the mining camp at Ruby City in the summer of 1864. (Unfortunately their grandson gave the love letters to Anna Parsons and no one knows where they are now.) They were married on July 3, 1865, at her brother's residence in Ruby City at 6:00 a.m. They drove to Boise City that day to stay at his business partner's new hotel on Main Street, The Overland. Then they went to San Francisco where their wedding portraits were taken. While they were gone, a small house was built and furnished for their return.

Their first child, Alice Mae (later married to Dr. Harry S. Bettis), was born on May 20, 1866, the first white child born in the area. The couple moved to Boise City in 1867 when Mr. Moore and others filed for the charter for the First National Bank.

Six more children were born in Boise: Laura Belle, August 4, 1869; Crawford, October 22, 1871; Anna Louise, August 9, 1874; Marion Percy, October 21, 1877; Arthur Clarke, May 4, 1881 (died August 22, 1882, near Kilbourne, Iowa on a trip to visit Catherine's family); and Raymond Howard, February 28, 1886.

In 1879 the Moores built a fabulous home in the French style with a mansard roof at 8th and Grove Streets. Arthur Hart has written that it "was long considered the grandest house in Idaho territory." At New Year's 1891 Catherine Moore entertained for the last time on Grove Street before moving to her new home on Warm Springs Avenue:

At her pleasant home on Grove Street, Mrs. C.W. Moore received from 4 until 7. She was assisted by the Misses Moore, Miss Hasbrouck, Miss Horrie, Miss Newman, and Mrs. Calvin Cobb. During the afternoon over one hundred people called among them being his excellency the Governor and many other prominent citizens of Boise and neighboring towns. Mrs. Moore is a charming hostess and the ladies who assisted vied with each other in extending warm greetings of the New Year. In the large dining room a dainty collation was spread, the board being gracefully presided over by Mrs. Moore and her daughters. Although the reception hours were announced to be from 4 until 7, the callers were loath to depart, and it was not until late in the evening that the spacious parlors of the residence were deserted. (Arthur Hart, The Boiseans at Home, page 28.)

The Moores enjoyed traveling together several times a year. Catherine's grandson, Laurence Moore Bettis, said that Mrs. Moore pre-empted Mr. Moore only on the subject of religion. She was of the founding members of the First Methodist Church in Boise. Bettis believed it was probably cancer from which she died on March 26, 1911, although an autopsy was not performed. She was laid out at home, according to the family custom, this time in the guest bedroom on the bed next to the wall. Her funeral was downstairs in the front parlor, which was laden with flowers.

--by Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interview and conversations with the author.

Hart, Arthur A. The Boiseans at Home. Boise: Historic Boise, 1984.

Moore, C.W. Autobiography in the collection.

Moore family Bible, in possession of the family.

Among the papers of Catherine M. Moore are letters she wrote to her daughter, Laura Moore Cunningham, who was away at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1889-1890), and her own school papers (signed Catharine Minear) probably dating from the 1850s. The latter include essays on the solar system, volcanoes, and other topics.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 10
Biographical Material
1 11
Minear Genealogy
1 12
1 13
Letters Received
1 14
School Paper
1 15
Social Clippings

3:  J.W. CunninghamReturn to Top

J.W. Cunningham, son-in-law of C.W. Moore, was a prominent banker, businessman, and outstanding citizen of Boise. He was instrumental in the development of the electric power industry in southwestern Idaho and was associated with Boise's electric power companies in a managerial capacity for two decades. Then, at an age when many retire, he became a banker, serving as vice president of the Idaho First National Bank for more than thirty years.

J.W. Cunningham was born in Harrisburg, Oregon, on June 30, 1857. The area was mainly a farming country. Cunningham saw a better future as a merchant in Boise, so he asked David Falk, one of the city's leading merchants, for a job with Falk's mercantile firm. Cunningham moved to Boise to work at D. Falk & Bros. in about 1880. He was one of six young men who came from Oregon around the same time. They were called the "Webfoot Six" and included Will Northrop, his brother, Cunningham, and others. After working at Falk's for several years, Will went in to get his annual pay and the bookkeeper gave him $1200.00. He was supposed to get $900.00, so he said that was a mistake. He went to see Mr. Falk, who said he had told the bookkeeper to give Cunningham a $25.00 a month raise retroactively for the excellence of his work. A 25% raise was fine testimony to management's satisfaction.

After leaving Falk's, J.W. Cunningham worked as a telegrapher. While on duty at Kuna on July 3, 1890, he received the message from Washington D.C., that Idaho had been admitted to the Union. An undated newspaper clipping, probably from the 1880s, noted his appointment as superintendent of Boise's telephone and telegraph lines.

In 1887 Cunningham joined with William Ridenbaugh and others to form the Capital Electric Light, Power, and Gas Company, the first company to provide Boise with electricity. Cunningham was one of the twenty original stockholders and was elected secretary of the corporation. He was responsible for the construction of the power plant and installation of the dynamo in the spring of 1887. Located below the Bench, that first electric plant was powered by water falling from a reservoir fed by the Ridenbaugh canal. Cunningham served as secretary and manager of the company and its successor, Boise-Payette River Electric Power Company, until about 1908. During that time, additional power plants were built at Horseshoe Bend and at Barber, east of Boise. The plant at Horseshoe Bend was powered by water from a canal coming from the Payette River, while the plant at Barber was powered by water from the lumber company dam on the Boise River.

In 1891, J.W. Cunningham married Helen Nelson of Boise. Helen Nelson Cunningham died in childbirth in 1893; her stone is in the Pioneer Cemetery on Warm Springs Avenue.

On October 26, 1898, Cunningham married Laura Belle Moore, second daughter of C.W. Moore, at her parents' home. After the death of his first wife, Cunningham had a deathly fear of childbirth and did not want to have children. He was well matched with Laura, who had many other sociable, artistic, and philanthropic interests.

During the 1890s and the first few years of the 1900s, J.W. Cunningham was appointed superintendent and assayer in charge of the U.S. Assay Office in Boise. He held these offices concurrently with his position at the power company. The Assay Office on Main Street, where he worked after he and Laura were married, was near the Cobb family house on Idaho Street. A long friendship with the Cobb family began during this period. Laura used to make ice cream and take it to Mr. Cobb, owner of The Statesman, who had a stomach that was half silver, limiting his diet.

J.W. Cunningham was named a director of the First National Bank of Idaho in 1906. He continued to work in the position of manager of the power company until about 1908, when the company was acquired by the Idaho-Oregon Light and Power Company, a predecessor of Idaho Power. After leaving the power company, the Cunninghams moved to New York about 1910. Their friends Lyman and Nelda Ballentine Kendall had been doing very well trading in stocks in New York. The two couples had enjoyed a three month tour of Europe in Kendall's new roadster in 1907.

The Cunninghams spent one or two years in New York where J.W. made quite a bit of money in the market (about $300,000). After Catherine Minear Moore died in 1911, Laura wanted to move back to Boise to take care of her father, C.W. Moore. Mr. Cunningham graciously conceded, and the couple moved to 1109 Warm Springs. Mr. Moore died in 1916, and the Cunninghams stayed at the family home the rest of their lives. When they returned to Idaho, Cunningham became active as an officer in the First National Bank and invested his fortune in the family holding the company, the Western Loan and Investment Company. He was named vice president of the bank in 1915. In 1928, he and Laura took another extended tour of Europe, meeting Dr. Harry S. Bettis and his son Laurence in Italy for part of the itinerary.

"Uncle Will was the smartest fellow I ever knew," stated his nephew Laurence Moore Bettis, who added that Cunningham was "the bank's economist." J.W.'s modesty, self control, and analytical mindùcombined with a faith in the bankùled him to leave all his money in the bank when it was closed in 1932. This act solidified the faith of many others, so that the bank could emerge again as a viable institution. The frenzy of those times was mitigated by his steadfastness. He served as vice president of the bank until his death on March 30, 1946. Eulogies offered by Harry Morrison, C.C. Anderson, Karl Paine, and Edwin Snow noted that Cunningham's sense of dignity and obligation at this time of instability served as a rudder for the community.

Cunningham was appointed president of the Western Loan and Investment Company in the 1930s and also served in that capacity until his death. Notations in books read by him in his family home indicate he was blessed with intellectual curiosity and a wry sense of humor.

--by Carol L. MacGregor and Alan Virta (1991)


Anderson, Eloise H. Frontier Bankers: A History of the Idaho First National Bank. Boise: The Idaho First National Bank, 1981.

Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interview and conversations with Carol L. MacGregor.

Boise City directories, 1891-1917.

A History of the Development of the Electric Industry in Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon, 1887-1943, With Reference to Idaho Power Company and its Predecessors. Boise: Idaho Power Company,1943.

Idaho Statesman. March 17, 1887; April 28, 1887; and March 31, 1946.

J.W. Cunningham's papers are of a scattered and miscellaneous nature. They include a number of personal letters he wrote to his wife, Laura Moore Cunningham, while she was in San Francisco for medical treatment (spring 1937), and letters (1908-1917) he received from his friend Lyman B. Kendall, discussing the stock market, particular stocks, and the impact of World War I on investments. Also contained in these papers is a typewritten document dated 1937 (3 pages) summarizing the conditions that led to the closure of Idaho First National Bank in 1932, describing the plan that allowed its reopening, outlining its progress in the intervening years, and requesting permission (apparently from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation) to release its stock.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 16
Biographical Material
1 17
Letters to Laurence Moore Bettis
1 18
Letters to Laura Moore Cunningham
1 19
Letters from Fanny Cobb
1 20
Letters from Lyman B. Kendall
1 21
Medical Papers
1 22
Financial Notes
1 23
First National Bank of Idaho
1 24

4:  Laura Moore CunninghamReturn to Top

Laura Belle Moore was the second child of C.W. and Catherine Minear Moore. The first of their children to be born in Boise City, Laura began her long, prosperous, and interesting life on August 4, 1869. Educated in public schools in Boise, she continued her education in Massachusetts at Bradford Junior College and then at Northwestern University in Illinois, where she received a diploma in elocution in 1890.

As a girl, she assisted her mother in entertaining at their Grove Street home. It was the beginning of decades of gracious living and elegant hospitality for which she was known all her life: dinner parties, bridge parties, New Year's soirees, and her famous afternoon high teas. Although she was sheltered from life's crudities by her father, and later by her husband, Laura stretched beyond her roots to read, travel and become acquainted with people and subjects far beyond her Boise home.

On October 26, 1898, Laura married John William Cunningham at her parents' home on Warm Springs Avenue. They enjoyed forty-eight years together, sharing mutual tastes and exhibiting gentility toward each other until the end. In 1907 they toured Europe for three months with Lyman and Nellie Kendall in the Kendalls' new motor car, along with a chauffeur who went along to make repairs. They moved to New York shortly thereafter where Laura continued to develop fine tastes in furniture, clothing, and objets d'art. She especially was fond of Chinese antiques.

After her mother's death in 1911, Laura urged Will to return to her father's Boise home to look after him. Will graciously conceded, and they established residency at 1109 Warm Springs which continued the rest of their lives. Will became a vice president of the Idaho First National Bank, established by Laura's father C.W. Moore and others. J.W. Cunningham was a stabilizing force during the bank closure in 1932 when he left all their personal funds in the bank during its closure.

The Cunninghams enjoyed traveling to California, Hawaii, the Oregon coast, and the East coast. In 1928 they took another extensive tour of Europe, this time meeting Dr. Harry S. Bettis and his son Laurence Moore Bettis there. Laura purchased a chandelier, dishes, clothes, and other items. She took extensive notes on history, culture, language, and sites during her tour. They traveled first cabin aboard the SS Roma, a fabulous luxury liner.

In 1930 Laura added a large sunroom on the southeast corner of her Warm Springs house and painted it jade green, a dark forest green color. She consulted with Cornelia Conger, Fanny Cobb, Nellie Kendall, and later, in the 1940s, with Cornelia Hart Farrer, on issues of decoration and the purchase of furnishings, draperies, vases, and other accoutrements.

Gardening was one of her passions. She personally oversaw the planting and care of her extensive garden behind the family home on Warm Springs Avenue. Three gardeners worked for her keeping the lawn and gardens.

Maude M. Karker (1875-1964) was Laura Cunningham's cook for years. Karker is buried at the Moore family plot at Morris Hill Cemetery. "Aunt Laura couldn't build a sandwich by herself," her grand nephew Harry Bettis said, "but she could tell someone else how to do an elegant chafing dish entrée." She and Mr. Cunningham were accustomed to dressing formally each evening and being served in the dining room.

Laura's favorite color was pink. She had beautiful linens, all monogrammed, "LMC", hand towels, bath towels, small rugs, bedspreads, handkerchiefs, and pillows. Most of her silver was also monogrammed.

Her public legacy, however, focuses on her great generosity with time and money for her favorite causes: the Red Cross, the Children's Home, and Boise Junior College.

During World War II there was a huge hospital at Gowen Field, south of Boise. Mrs. Cunningham sponsored and led a group of women called "The Grey Ladies" under the auspices of the Red Cross. Much like today's hospital auxiliaries, The Grey Ladies made wounded servicemen comfortable during their rehabilitation stay before they were sent to Europe to fight. Accidents were incurred during local training.

Laura Cunningham served as a member of the board of the Children's Home Society of Idaho for over thirty years, continuing the friendship of one of its founding fathers, her own father, C.W. Moore. Laura gave ample donations of time and money, and kept close track of the administrative details, the welfare of individual children, and the activities of the Home. She was an honorary member of the board at the time of her death.

Boise Junior College was one of her favorite institutions. When she died on August 16, 1963, the president of the college, Eugene B. Chaffee, said:

In the passing of Mrs. J.W. Cunningham, Boise has lost her first lady. She had been a resident of the city for her entire life which covered a span of years roughly that of the city of Boise from the time it was a village of 500 to the present. She grew up with this city, and has given generously to it all her life. Every major cultural and civic organization has felt the support that her hand has provided. Mrs. Cunningham was not only a lovely lady, she was also a gracious and self-effacing in everything she did. She was young in spirit, flexible in her ideas, and one of the greatest friends of Boise Junior College and the city ever had. She started the movement toward superior pipe organs in Idaho when she gave the J.W. Cunningham Memorial Organ, a decade ago to Boise Junior College. She has given many scholarships to students attending this college during that same period. The city and the college have lost a great friend and humanitarian. I personally have lost the never failing support she has given to every activity of Boise Junior College. Laura Moore Cunningham had the attributes of a truly great lady. She lived for others. (Quoted in the Idaho Statesman, August 17, 1963.)

Her will set up the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation which continues to give scholarships annually at the College of Idaho and Boise State University and award grants to numerous other causes deemed worthy by its trustees (a niece, a grand-niece, and a grand-nephew). Upon her death, the City of Boise received acreage south of her home where the Laura Moore Cunningham Arboretum was established to grow trees for the city's parks.

--Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Bettis, Harry L. Conversations with the author.

Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interviews and conversations with the author.

Cunningham, Laura Moore. Personal memorabilia in the collection and in the possession of the family.

The Laura Moore Cunningham papers constitute the largest portion of the Moore-Cunningham-Bettis collection, filling six boxes. They are divided into eight subseries outlined below. The papers include letters from friends and relatives, letters she wrote home during her European trips (1907 and 1928), notes and diaries from those trips, literary compositions, other school papers, cooking and gardening notes, receipts for furnishings for the Moore-Cunningham mansion, and materials relating to Mrs. Cunningham's philanthropic and civic activities. Some notable individual items include the prophecy of the Boise High School Class of 1887, letters of introduction (1928) by Senator William E. Borah (to take along to Europe), souvenir booklets from trans-Atlantic cruise ships, case studies (anonymous samples) from the Idaho Children's Home, and reports Mrs. Cunningham wrote for the Red Cross and Columbian Club.

Laura Moore Cunningham's correspondents, mainly women, include out-of-town friends and many of the leaders of Boise business and society in the first half of the twentieth century. Most of the correspondence consists of letters to Mrs. Cunningham; there are few letters by her except in the European trip files (Boxes 5 and 6). A good number of the letters to her were written on hotel and steamship stationery; there are also examples of black-bordered mourning stationery (Mary Borah and Fanny Cobb files). Family members represented include grand nephew Harry L. Bettis and niece Margaret Moore Howell. The correspondence series also contains Mrs. Cunningham's own letters to her husband written in 1913. Letters to Laura Moore Cunningham from her father (C.W Moore), mother (Catherine Minear Moore), and husband (J.W. Cunningham) are filed with their own papers (Box 1).

The file of Ann Morrison correspondence contains a typescript of Karl Paine's eulogy of Mrs. Morrison. Other correspondents include Nellie B. Kendall, whose husband is represented in J.W. Cunningham's papers, and Francis Guzak, a U.S. Army officer in post-World War II Germany who wrote often of political conditions in that occupied country. He was in Boise during World War II and remembered Jimmy Stewart, who served in the same squadron at Gowen Field: "He really used to get mad when the boys called him Slim" (19 June 1949).

Mrs. Cunningham's file of travel memorabilia from her 1928 European trip (Box 6) reflect travel in the grand style in the interwar period, while her literary papers and committee/philanthropic files (Boxes 4 and 5) document the activities of a clubwoman and civic activist. One of the committee reports by Mrs. Cunningham preserved in the collection is that of the Columbian Club's Town and Village Improvement Committee, which she chaired, 1903-1904 (Box 5, Folder 10).

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1
Biographical material
2 2
(This folder not used)
Family correspondence
Box Folder
2 3
Harry L. Bettis
2 4
Bettis Family
2 5
J.W. Cunningham
2 6
Margaret Moore Howell
2 7
Bowes Family
2 8
Other Family Members
Box Folder
2 9
Ailshie, Margaret Cobb
2 10
Alward, Elizabeth Hailey
2 11
Borah, Mary
2 12
Brady, Rene
2 13
Cobb, Carolyn
2 14
Cobb, Fanny
2 15
Conger, Cornelia
2 16
Cowles, Florence Ridenbaugh
2 17
Cumnock, Robert L. (Northwestern University)
2 18
Davidson, Carrie
2 19
Dewey, Geraldine
2 20
Farrer, Cornelia Hart
2 21
Guzak, Francis
2 22
Halifax, Lady
2 23
Hood, Alline Caskey
3 -51
Jackson, Mrs. C.H.
3 6
Kane, Mrs. John R.
3 7-9
Kendall, Nellie B.
3 10
MacJannet, Charlotte and Donald B.
3 11
Morrison, Ann
3 12
Paine, Karl and Adele
3 13
Peterson, Mary (Mrs. Avery)
3 14
Shrady, Bess Hasbrouck
3 15
Smalley, Anne Sonna
3 16
Teller, W.R., Jr.
3 17
"C.C." in New York
circa 1919
3 18
"Nina" 1949-1957
3 19-21
3 22
Wedding Wishes
Personal papers
Box Folder
4 1
Diaries and Address Books: Listing
4 2
Will and Financial Papers
4 3
Receipts, Personal Expenses
4 4
Receipts, Home Furnishings
4 5-7
Receipts, Home Furnishings
4 8
Social Notes
4 9
Gardening Notes
4 10
Gardening Scrapbook
4 11
Cooking Notes
4 12
Political Notes
4 13
Boise History Notes
Education and study
Box Folder
4 14
Early Education (Julia Capwell)
4 15
Boise High School, Class of 1887: Prophecy and Memorabilia
4 16
Library Receipt, Boise Public Library
4 17
Composition Books (2v.)
4 18
Reading Diaries
4 19
Study Notebook
5 1
Literary Papers
5 2
Literary Papers: Drafts and Fragments
5 3
Speech Notes: On Reading
5 4
Speech Notes: To Graduates
5 5
Miscellaneous Notes
5 6
Poem: "Remonstrance"
5 7
Miscellaneous Clippings
Clubs and philanthropies
Box Folder
5 8
Boise Junior College: Pipe Organ
5 9
Bradford Junior College Alumnae
5 10
Columbian Club
5 11
Idaho Children's Home: Reports, Clippings, and Correspondence
5 12
Idaho Children's Home: Case Histories
5 13
Idaho Children's Home: Financial Statements
5 14
Idaho Children's Home: Audits
5 15
Idaho Children's Home: Newsletters
1916 1939-1956
5 16
Idaho Children's Home: Proposed Adoption Laws
5 17
Red Cross: Correspondence and Certificates
5 18
Red Cross: Grey Ladies
5 19
Red Cross: Volunteer Committee Reports
5 20
Red Cross: Miscellaneous
5 21
Other Philanthropies
5 22
Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation
5 23
Laura Moore Cunningham Trust
Travel notes and memorabilia
Box Folder
5 24
Letters to Parents
5 25
Letters to Anna Moore Parsons
5 26
5 27
5 28
6 1
Correspondence: Travel Advice: Bon Voyage
6 2
Letters of Introduction, William E. Borah
6 3
Letters to Anna Moore Parsons
6 4
Memorabilia: New York
6 5
Memorabilia: S.S. Roma
6 6
Memorabilia: S.S. France
6 7
Memorabilia: Florence
6 8
Memorabilia: Perugia
6 9
Memorabilia: Ravello
6 10
Memorabilia: Rome
6 11
Memorabilia: Siena
6 12
Memorabilia: Venice
6 13
Memorabilia: Other Italian Cities
6 14
Memorabilia: France
6 15
Memorabilia: Miscellaneous
Other travel
Box Folder
6 17
various dates
6 18
6 19
Books and diaries
European Travel Diary
European Travel Diary
Notebook of Travel Advice
Address Book
Desk Diary/Address Book
Desk Diary
Europe by Automobile
circa 1927
The Emerald Coast of Brittany
A Diagrammatic Road Map of Central Europe, by Wood McMurtry
circa 1907
The U.C.T. Transportation Guide

5:  Harry S. BettisReturn to Top

Dr. Bettis was the first dentist to practice in Boise City, at the turn of the century. His family had gone to California during the gold rush of 1849, and at Gemtown in the Mother Lode in California, Harry Sylvester Bettis was born on February 11, 1864. (The tombstone at Morris Hill Cemetery which says 1863 is incorrect). He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Bettis was not well-to-do when he moved to Boise by the 1890s, but he was affable and honest. In Boise he attended to many people's dental needs for decades, and he engaged in other business ventures. His dental office was on Main Street just past 8th Street on the second floor next to Doctor Piggin's office, and next door to Carlson's Hardware store. His son Laurence remembers watching the night parade for the troops going to the Spanish American War from his father's upstairs window on Main Street.

Dr. Bettis invested in several business ventures. He was partner in a sheep company with Domingo Odiaga, a Basque, from about 1912 through 1916. He put a great deal of his own money into stock in the Merchants Security Company of San Francisco, California, which became worthless during the Depression. He also invested in an oil station. Some of the financial backing for his business ventures apparently came from his sister, Mary Louise Bettis.

"Doc" Bettis married Alice Mae Moore on August 30, 1894, at Boise, probably in the Moore home on Warm Springs Avenue. They had one child, Laurence Moore Bettis, born on his grandmother Moore's birthday, July 9, 1895.

Roxy Johnson relates how her father, Tom McMillan, became friends with "Doc" Bettis through McMillan's need for a dentist. She described early dental methods, saying, "Doc Bettis was a great dentist. If he put in a gold filling, it was there for life. HURT! He hammered in the leaves of gold. You would sit there two or three hours while he hammered. Mary Stewart had a mouth full of these gold fillings. Doc Bettis took her to Portland to show his marvelous work at a dental convention."

Then Roxy explained how Doc Bettis extracted a tooth without pain killer from her mouth at about age 18 with forceps. The top was rotten and came off. Her jawbone broke, but she always adored Doc Bettis. "Doc" hunted sagehen on her father's ranch at Mayfield. Dr. Bettis took Roxy to lunch at Berkeley while she was in college about 1924.

Alice Moore Bettis died on February 15, 1919, and Doctor Bettis moved back to California in 1920. He married again in California. That marriage ended in divorce. Doc Bettis and his son took a trip around the world in 1928. He returned to Idaho, where he stayed with the Cunninghams and engaged in the Weiser Sheep Company the last four years of his life. He also owned land near Cambridge. Dr. Bettis died near Council, Idaho, on October 9, 1934, less than two weeks before the birth of his only grandchild, named Harry Sylvester Bettis (later changed to Harry Little Bettis).

--Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Bettis, Mary Louise. Letter to Laurence Moore Bettis, 22 Oct 1934 (Box 8, Folder 21).

Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interview with the author, April 1975.

First Talk, Magazine of the Idaho First National Bank. Vol. VI, No.2 (February 1976) (Copy in the collection, Box 10, Folder 1).

Johnson, Roxy. Tape-recorded interview with the author, August 1976.

Moore family Bible in possession of the family.

The papers of Dr. Harry S. Bettis relate chiefly to his sheep business with Domingo Odiaga, a Basque, 1915-1916. They include articles of co-partnership, which named Odiaga as business manager and described the capital (initially more than 30,000 sheep), together with grazing permits, business receipts, accounts of sheep sales, ledgers, and tax records, as well as some unrelated business and personal papers of both Bettis and Odiaga. Some specific items of Odiaga's include receipts for education of Paula and Marie Odiaga at St. Teresa's Academy, Boise, and supply lists written in Spanish (Box 8, Folder 4). Together the records provide a detailed glimpse at a sheep business over a two-year period. Odiaga's home ranch was in Owyhee County, Idaho, but permits indicate that the partnership also grazed in the Sawtooth National Forest (Idaho) and Humboldt National Forest (Nevada). A letter from Domingo Odiaga to Laurence Moore Bettis expressing sympathy at the death of Harry S. Bettis (in the Laurence Moore Bettis papers, Box 10 Folder 6) indicates that Odiaga eventually returned to the Basque country in Spain.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
8 1
8 2
Sheep ranching: Partnership Agreement
8 3
Sheep ranching: Land Records and Grazing Permits
8 4
Sheep ranching: Domingo Odiaga Business Papers
8 5
Sheep ranching: Domingo Odiaga Stock Certificates
8 6
Sheep ranching: Valentin Barinaga Business Papers
8 7
Sheep ranching: Ray Corbus Business Papers
8 8
Sheep ranching: Accounts of sheep sales, William R. Smith and Son
8 9
Sheep ranching: Business Receipts, A-L
8 10
Sheep ranching: Business Receipts, M-Z
8 11
Sheep ranching: Business Receipts, Morris Roberts Company
8 12
Sheep ranching: Tax Papers
8 13
Sheep ranching: Banking Papers
8 14
Sheep ranching
8 15
Weiser Sheep Company checks
8 16
Merchants Security Company (San Francisco) papers
8 17
Estate Papers
Ledgers, Bettis-Odiaga 1914-1916

6:  Alice M. BettisReturn to Top

The first white child born in Ruby City, Idaho, near Silver City, and the first child born to C.W. and Catherine Moore, Alice Mae entered the world on May 20, 1866. When she was a year and a half old, she caught a bad cold which resulted in a serious loss of hearing. This malady plagued Alice all her life. Her parents took her to New York and other places to seek rectification of her hearing without success. She apparently heard a "ringing in her ears." As an adult she used a trumpet and could listen well to one person.

On August 30, 1894, Alice married Doctor Harry S. Bettis, Boise's first dentist. Their only child, Laurence Moore Bettis ("Docky"), was born on July 9, 1895, on his grandmother Moore's birthday. Docky said his mother was a good woman who showed her love through cooking. Although his father was very outgoing, his mother was retiring, especially in comparison to her dominant sister, Laura. Docky thought people tried to bilk his mother out of money through her vulnerability to get help for her hearing problem. She apparently paid one man $2500 to help her. A friend (the mother of Jamie Ailshie; Jamie was the husband of Margaret Cobb Ailshie) hallucinated with her to cure it. Each time her hopes were dashed, she felt worse, her son said. Because of his concern about her financial vulnerability due to her handicap, her father, C.W. Moore, left her inheritance to the discretion of the trustees. They opted to give her son Alice's full share after her death, which was only three years after C.W. Moore's death.

Alice was a good oil painter, with a sensitive application of color and shading, balance in composition, and realistic detail. Unfortunately only four of her paintings remain in the family. The subjects are Mount Hood, yellow roses, chickens, and dead fowl. Many of her works were taken from the carriage house at the Moore-Cunningham mansion during a break-in many years ago.

She died in February 1919. No picture exists of her after her childhood.

--by Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interview and conversations with the author.

Moore family Bible in possession of the family.

The papers of Alice Moore Bettis include just two items: a eulogy by Willsie Martin (1919) and a letter Alice wrote to her sister Laura, who was away at college (1890). Alice, the oldest child in the family, acknowledged Laura's leading role in the family: "You have always seemed to me the oldest of us children."

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
8 18
8 19
Letter to Laura Moore Cunningham

7:  Bettis FamilyReturn to Top

Mary Louise Bettis (1863-1965) was the sister of Dr. Harry S. Bettis. She was a teacher in a school in Hawaii. Fanny Cheshire Bettis was the mother of Harry S. and Mary Louise Bettis.

This series includes a genealogical chart of the Bettis family, a European travel diary (1910) of Fanny Cheshire Bettis, and letters from Mary Louise Bettis to her nephew, Laurence Moore Bettis, and to Laura Moore Cunningham.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
8 20
Mary Louise Bettis: Biographical and Genealogical
8 21
Mary Louise Bettis: Letters
1934-1935 1948
8 22
Mary Louise Bettis: Financial Papers
8 23
Fanny Cheshire Bettis: Miscellaneous
Fanny Cheshire Bettis: Diary

8:  Laurence M. BettisReturn to Top

Named after his aunt, Laura Belle Moore (later Cunningham), Laurence was born on his grandmother Catherine Minear Moore's birthday, July 9, 1895. He was the first grandchild of C.W. Moore, founder of the Idaho First National Bank, and the only child of Alice Moore Bettis and Dr. Harry S. Bettis.

Laurence's first memories were of two events in 1898: the marriage of his aunt Laura with William Cunningham in the southeast corner of the drawing room at the family home at 1109 Warm Springs Avenue on October 26th; and the night parade of the Spanish American War troops which he viewed from his father's upstairs office on Main Street in Boise City. Since everyone called his father "Doc," Laurence was dubbed "Docky" at an early age.

Docky's parents had a home on Warm Springs Avenue where he grew up knowing the Northrop, Clinton, and Davidson families among others. Frank Davidson was his best school chum. He attended Boise public schools and graduated from Boise High School in 1913. Then Docky went for a year to the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, before attending the University of Virginia for two and a half years. He returned home in December 1916 after his grandfather's death.

Laurence served a stint in the U.S. Army. When he was discharged from the service December 26, 1918, he found his mother in bed beyond recovery. She died February 15, 1919.

His first job at the Idaho First National Bank was as a messenger in about 1910. For a short time after he came back from the Army, Docky worked under his Uncle Crawford Moore's leadership at the bank as a bookkeeper with three kinds of ink. "I had ink all over me," he quipped. They had great big books with sixteen days on each side. Red ink indicated money one took out, blue showed what was put in, and green was used to indicate the balance. Docky stuck a pen over each ear and the other one in his mouth. He handled about 700 accounts with that method, but soon quit to pursue the livestock business in southern Idaho.

In 1928 Docky and his father took a trip around the world. They were photographed with a saronged woman and wild monkeys in Bali, on camels in Egypt, and with his Aunt Laura and Uncle Will in Rome and Florence where they toured Italy together.

On September 20, 1930, he married Agnes McMillan Little, the oldest child of Andrew Little, the sheep baron of Emmett, Idaho. The couple operated a cattle ranch on the Wood River nearest to the post office at Gannett, Idaho, for nearly thirty years. The winter of 1932-33 when the bank was in crisis and family holdings were at stake, Laurence left Agnes with the Chaneys at the ranch and went to Boise to work in the bank until the crisis was over.

In October of 1934, their first child, Harry Little Bettis, was born. (He was named Harry Sylvester Bettis after his grandfather who died nine days before his birth; his name was changed during his college years.) Another son born April 18, 1937, died in childbirth.

Starting in the 1940s, when their son Harry went to boarding school at California Preparatory School in the Ojai Valley, the Bettises spent time during the winters in Santa Barbara. Beginning about 1954 they began going to Mazatlan, Mexico, for two or three months in winter. In 1958 they moved from the ranch at Wood River to Boise when their son Harry took it over after graduating from Stanford.

Laurence Bettis was made a director of the Idaho First National Bank in 1949 and became the voice for family interests, which at that time represented about 32% of its shares. In 1960 he headed a contingent dissatisfied with the leadership of John Schoonover, which resulted in the eventual resignation of the bank's chairman and one of his top employees, the reorganization of its board, and its policy on bond purchases and reporting. On his retirement from the board in 1975, Laurence Moore Bettis was appointed Director Emeritus by President Tom Frye.

When his wife Agnes died in 1968, Docky moved into the Moore-Cunningham mansion with the family who had been taking care of the house and the gardens since Mrs. Cunningham's death in 1963 (Joe and Mercedes Urrutia, their children, and his uncle). In May 1974 Laurence Bettis married Shirley Springer at the home. The couple lived at 3100 Crescent Rim Drive and were married nineteen months when Laurence died on February 2, 1976.

Docky Bettis was known as a champion of political conservatism. He cherished a "hard money" philosophy and was an avid gold bug. He was very gregarious, making frequent calls on a round of close friends, and was a good letter writer.

Besides his leadership as president of the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, Laurence Bettis was known for his personal charity for various causes in Boise. He donated the pear trees down the center of Harrison Boulevard, gave money to develop the Laura Moore Cunningham Arboretum on land donated to the City of Boise by Mrs. Cunningham's will, and gave generous contributions to St. Luke's Hospital, St. Alphonsus Hospital, the Booth Memorial Home, and the Mountain States Tumor Institute. He helped to send children of friends to college. However, he did not enjoy the celebration of his birthday or Christmas. His favorite color was blue. He was more interested in politics and business than the arts or sciences. He proclaimed strong opinions about subjects of his interest.

--by Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Anderson, Eloise. Frontier Bankers: A History of the Idaho First National Bank. Boise.

The Idaho First National Bank, 1981.

Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interviews and conversations with the author.

First Talk, Magazine of the Idaho First National Bank. Vol VI, No. 2 (February 1976) (Copy in the collection, Box 10, Folder 1).

The largest portion of the Laurence Moore Bettis papers relate to his cattle and sheep ranching business near Gannett, Idaho, in the 1930s and 40s. Included are many accounts of sales of his livestock by agents at stockyards in Denver and Omaha and other financial and ranching records. There are approximately sixty-five letters in the files (Box 10, Folders 3-5) from J.J. Drinkard, a proprietor of Drinkard & Emmert Livestock at Denver. Those letters (typewritten, single spaced, and usually at least two pages long) present in great detail commentary on Bettis' cattle, the prices they would bring, market and livestock industry conditions in general, and politics over the period 1931-1949.

Two sets of the Laurence Moore Bettis papers are closed to research until the year 2014. These sets include his federal income tax returns and his papers, as a bank director, relating to the disagreements within the board of directors of the Idaho First National Bank that led to the dismissal of board chairman John A. Schoonover in 1961.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
10 1
Biographical Material
10 2
(This folder not used)
10 3-5
Correspondence: Drinkard, J.J.
10 6
Correspondence: Odiaga, Domingo
10 7
Correspondence: US Immigration and Naturalization Service (re: Pedro Onarte Echevarria)
10 8
Correspondence: Foreign correspondents
10 9
Correspondence: From Mexico
10 10
Correspondence: Miscellaneous
10 11
Arid Club rules
1944 1948
10 12
Charitable contributions
10 13-15
Clippings and collected commentary
1935-1948, 1962-1976
10 16
Sale records: Cattle: Drinkard & Emmert
10 17
Sale records: Cattle: Roberts Bros. & Rose
10 18
Sale records: Cattle: Tagg Bros. & Rosenbaum
10 19
Sale records: Cattle: Valley Stock Yards & Grain Company
10 20
Sale records: Cattle: Miscellaneous
10 21-24
Sale records: Sheep: Wm. R. Smith & Son
10 25
Sale records: Wool: Eisemann, Inc.
11 1
Ranching records: Brand certificates
11 2
Ranching records: Water papers
11 3
Ranching records: Miscellaneous
11 4
Ranching records: Banking papers: Crystal Farms Co.
11 5-6
Ranching records: Federal Land Bank loan
11 7
Ranching records: Statements of condition: Agnes Bettis
11 8
Ranching records: LMB sheep account
11 9
Ranching records: Bettis & Co.
11 10-11
Ranching records: Crystal Farms Co.
11 12
Ranching records: Crystal Livestock Co.
11 13
Ranching records: Laing & Company
11 14
Ranching records: Weiser Sheep Co.
11 15
Personal Bank statements
11 16
Personal Stock market investments
11 17
Personal Swiss bank account
11 18
Tax notices (Blaine County)
11 19
Tax receipts (Blaine County)
11 20
Tax receipts for Archie Dunn
Tax records
Box Folder
11 21
Blaine County Taxpayers League bank statements
11 22
Engineering study, Dewey and Sunshine mines (Valley County)
11 23
Western Loan & Investment Co.: Financial statements
12 1
Idaho First National Bank: Board of Directors minutes
12 2
Idaho First National Bank: Notices to stockholders and directors
12 3
Idaho First National Bank: Financial statements
12 4
Idaho First National Bank: Government securities accounts
12 5
Idaho First National Bank: Salaries and bonuses
12 6
Idaho First National Bank: Financial and salary statements
12 7
Idaho First National Bank: Correspondence, Harry W. Morrison
12 8
Idaho First National Bank: Correspondence, S.E. Hutton
12 9
Idaho First National Bank: Correspondence, Family
12 10
Idaho First National Bank: Correspondence, Broadbent estate
12 12-13
Idaho First National Bank: Shareholder lists
12 14
Idaho First National Bank: Miscellaneous
12 11
Idaho First National Bank: Notes by LMB
12 15-17
Tax Returns

9:  Agnes L. BettisReturn to Top

Agnes was the eldest child of Andrew and Agnes Sproat Little, who emigrated from Scotland separately and were married in the United States. Agnes was born on December 17, 1905, in Boise. Andrew Little was one of Idaho's leading sheepmen. During the 1920s, his sheep outfit was reputed to have been the largest in the United States, operating out of Emmett, Idaho, with over 100,000 sheep. There were five Little children. The second was Agnes' sister, Jessie Little Naylor, who died in 1984, having operated the Highland Livestock and Land Company for many years. They had three brothers: Drew, who ran the home place and other ranches after his father's death and who died in 1962; Robert, who died in 1935 in a truck wreck on the North Fork of the Payette; and David Little, the youngest, who [in 1989] continues to oversee his sons' cattle operations in Gem, Ada, and Valley counties.

Agnes attended public schools in Emmett. Then she went to the University of Washington at Seattle for two years and transferred to Wellesley College, an Ivy League women's college in Massachusetts, from which she was graduated about 1927.

In the summer of 1929 Laurence Bettis visited the Little's summer range in Long Valley at Belvidere with his father, Dr. H.S. Bettis (a friend of Andy Little), Clinton Moore, and Walter Gooding. There Laurence met Agnes, who fetched home brew from the well to serve them. On September 20, 1930, Laurence and Agnes were married.

The Bettises moved to Wood River where Laurence owned and operated a cattle ranch for nearly thirty years. Agnes enjoyed being a housewife on the ranch. Although she belonged to the Junior League of Boise, the Blaine County Red Cross, and the P.E.O. sisterhood of Hailey, she was not dependent on the company of others for her happiness. She liked living out on the ranch under the mountains of Wood River. Friends from Boise, family members, and even Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway (on a duck hunt) enjoyed dropping in to the Bettis ranch and finding a gracious welcome from Agnes' renowned hospitality. She was an excellent listener, rather shy and reserved, especially in comparison to her gregarious husband. Agnes was frugal and practical in personal habits as well as business decisions. She was tall (five feet, seven inches) and lean, and she wore her long, dark brown hair in a bun. She dressed conservatively.

The Bettis' son Harry was born several days after the death of his grandfather, Dr. Harry Sylvester Bettis, in October 1934, and was given his paternal grandfather's name. During his college years, the name was changed to Harry Little Bettis. Laurence and Agnes' second son died during a difficult childbirth on April 18, 1937.

When her father died in 1941, Agnes inherited several farms on the Emmett bench, which she sold, and a ranch at Norwood, southwest of Lake Fork. Agnes rented the Norwood Ranch for years to her brother David and bequeathed it to her son Harry.

Agnes Bettis served on the board of the Idanha Hotel in Boise, which was owned mainly by Aichman and McMillan family interests. (Tom McMillan and John McMillan were Agnes' maternal uncles. Robert Aichman's wife was her aunt.)

The Bettises sent their son Harry to the California Preparatory School in the Ojai Valley in California in 1946, and later to the Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs. They spent part of every winter in Santa Barbara and then in Mazatlan, Mexico. Laurence had suffered a heart attack and preferred exercising on the beach, walking, and swimming. Agnes was tolerant, if not enthusiastic, of these excursions.

In 1958 the Bettises turned the ranch near Gannett over to their son Harry and moved to Boise to 1424 Warm Springs Avenue where they resided for ten years. Agnes was a life long member of the Presbyterian Church. In Boise, she supported the Booth Memorial Home and was a member of its board when she died of cancer on May 19, 1968, at the age of 63.

--by Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Bettis, Harry L. Conversations with the author.

Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interviews and conversations with the author.

Shadduck, Louise. Andy Little, Idaho Sheep King. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1990.

The bulk of the Agnes Little Bettis papers consist of tax statements and receipts for Little family lands in Valley County, Idaho, 1943-1957. Her papers also include three letters (1928-1930) from her father, Andrew Little, "the Sheep King of Idaho," to Doctor Harry S. Bettis, who became her father-in-law upon her marriage to Laurence Moore Bettis in 1930. The collection also contains papers relating to the estates of her parents, Andrew and Agnes Sproat Little. These estate papers are closed until the year 2014.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
13 1
13 2
Marriage license
13 3
Baby Bettis interment and memorial
13 4
Business papers: Norwood Ranch
13 5
Financial papers: Statements of conditions
13 6
Financial papers: Miscellaneous
13 7
Tax statements (Valley County)
13 8
Tax receipts (Valley County)
13 9
Tax records (Gem County)
13 10
13 11
Andrew Little letters to Harry S. Bettis
14 1-6
Andrew and Agnes Little estate papers

10:  Harry L. BettisReturn to Top

Harry Little Bettis, rancher and banker, is the son of Laurence Moore Bettis and Agnes Little Bettis. He was first named Harry Sylvester Bettis, after his paternal grandfather, but later changed his middle name. A graduate of Stanford University, he is a rancher in western Idaho, north of Emmett. He was elected to the board of directors of Idaho First National Bank in 1971. Harry Bettis married Carol Lynn MacGregor in 1970. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1983. Together they have three daughters, Laura MacGregor, Catherine Moore, and Janelle Agnes Bettis, who grew up in the Moore-Cunningham mansion in Boise.

The Harry Little Bettis papers consist mainly of letters he wrote home to his parents during a trip to Hong Kong in 1954. The file also includes several letters from his friend, Harvard student Robert H.P. Fung, with whom he traveled, and from Fung's parents in Hong Kong. Approximately twenty other letters by Harry L. Bettis, dated 1947-1959 and addressed to his great aunt, Laura Moore Cunningham, are located in Mrs. Cunningham's papers, Box 2 Folder 3.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
13 12
13 13
Hong Kong trip letters

11:  Other sons and daughters of C.W. MooreReturn to Top

Marion Percy Moore

Born on October 21, 1877, in Boise City, Marion Percy Moore was the fifth child and second son of C.W. and Catherine Moore. He attended public schools in Boise.

Marion went to Colorado to work for his brother Crawford on a cattle ranch for a while after school. He returned to Boise and worked on his father's ranching concerns near Weiser. He apparently became involved with a married woman around 1912. He left for Canada in November 1913 but returned home where the woman's husband came looking for him with a shot gun and apparently wounded him. He hid out at his sister Alice Moore Bettis' house for two days and left for Australia.

Marion was in Australia about three years. He bought a cart and a donkey and he drove the cart all over Queensland and New South Wales. There was little correspondence with the family in Boise. In Australia he met Frances, a Jewish woman (known to the family as "Aunt Fran") who had a daughter, Doreen. They were married and Marion adopted Doreen. Mr. and Mrs. Marion Moore returned to Oregon and bought a ranch. Mrs. Moore knew nothing about ranching, but she bravely stuck it out several years, living in a relatively remote area that Laurence Bettis attested was "crawling with rattlesnakes." Marion then sold the ranch and the cattle to "the Anderson boys." Marion was a hard worker, and a very likeable and charming person but his business decisions were not wise. His marriage did remedy the problems his charm and attraction to women had caused. His wife was thrifty, a good manager of money. Mary Louise Bettis wrote of Mrs. Moore in a letter in 1948 to Laura Moore Cunningham, "Having been in Melbourne gave us something in common to talk about. Her hair was so black and heavy and lent itself to this braided style nicely."

Marion's share of his father's estate was up to the discretion of the trustees, who at that time were Laurence Moore Bettis and William Cunningham. (This must have been in the 1930s.) They decided to deduct the interest Marion owed the estate and give him his share of the principal which amounted to about $225,000. Laurence Bettis rode over on the train to Washington State where Marion lived to meet him and talk to him about it. Bettis encouraged Moore to stay out of business and look after his family with what he had, which he did. Doreen stayed home and looked after her mother and her father until they died. Marion was still living in Ellensburg when Laura Moore Cunningham died in 1963. Doreen never married and lived at Ellensburg, Washington, traveling on cruises around the world nearly every year on the income from her bank dividends from Idaho First. When she died in 1988, she left her stock to the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.

--by Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interviews and conversations with the author.

Moore family Bible in possession of the family.

Crawford Moore

Crawford Moore, president of Idaho First National Bank from 1917 until 1939, was born in Boise City on October 22, 1871, the third child and first son of C.W. Moore, founder of the bank. He grew up primarily at the family's Grove Street home, later known as the DeLamar House. John Ridenbaugh was a boyhood friend and lifelong acquaintance.

Crawford did not go to college; however, he might have attended Mount Camel's Pass in San Francisco for a while after high school. He was appointed a director of the Idaho First National Bank in 1895. He soon left Boise because his father thought practical experience would furnish Crawford the best business background. C.W. Moore backed him in the cattle business in Colorado. Crawford had cattle and windmills in his ranching operation in Colorado, which was worth about $100,000 in about 1913, according to his nephew Laurence Bettis. Crawford enjoyed the ranching business.

On December 10, 1902, Crawford married Mildred Fraser (the aunt of Robert Naylor, Jessie Little Naylor's husband). They had two daughters, Catharine ("Kaki") and Marjorie ("Mooney").

After C.W. Moore's wife died he asked his son to run the bank. There was no question that Crawford would. His nephew, Laurence Bettis said, "That's the way they ran things around here. They didn't ask them what to do; they just told him. Mildred always said she thought Crawford would have been a lot happier if he'd never come back to the bank."

Crawford devoted the rest of his career to the Idaho First National Bank. His management style was intense. He dominated every aspect of the bank's decisions from his father's death in 1916 until 1932. In his position as one of three trustees of the C.W. Moore Trust, he wanted all trust monies loaned back to the bank. William Cunningham, another trustee, acted as bookkeeper between the Trust, the Western Loan and Investment Company (the family's holding company), and the bank. The bank closed in the Depression on August 31, 1932. Harry Morrison was appointed by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to reorganize the bank when it reopened. The bank opened in October with 80% of its liquidity. Homer Pitner was appointed to head operations although Crawford retained the title of president. Pitner drowned on a fishing trip only a year and a half later. Crawford kept an office and the title of President of the bank after it was reopened, but he was paid by the Western Loan.

The events surrounding the bank closing and hiring of Pitner to replace Crawford caused a family breach between Laurence Moore Bettis and J.W. Cunningham on one side, and Crawford on the other. Crawford died in June 1939. Mildred died in 1950.

-- by Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Anderson, Eloise. Frontier Bankers: A History of the Idaho First National Bank. Boise:

The Idaho First National Bank, 1981.

Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interview with the author, 1975.

Moore family Bible in possession of the family.

Anna Moore

Anna was the fourth child and third daughter of C.W. and Catherine Moore. Born in Boise City on August 9, 1874, she went east to Oberlin College where she became a member of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. On November 11, 1958, she was given a fifty year membership certificate.

Anna married Frank Parsons on September 28, 1910, in Boise, probably at the Moore home at 1109 Warm Springs Avenue. Frank Parsons was born on February 5, 1865, and was in the cattle business. They had no children. They built a lovely Tudor style home on a part of the Moore property at 1127 Warm Springs Avenue. Anna and her sister Laura exhibited some forms of rivalry throughout life, with Laura apparently being a stronger person and more dominant socially. Anna was interested in family history and kept notes on family births and deaths.

Frank Parsons died September 25, 1942. Anna Moore Parsons suffered some symptoms of depression during the fifties and sixties. She became a member of the First Methodist Church. Being close to her niece, Margaret Moore Howell, she left a sizeable amount of her property after her death on April 7, 1967, to her and her brother Clinton. Anna was 93 when she died.

--by Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interviews with the author.

Conversations with family members.

Moore family Bible in possession of the family.

Raymond Moore

Raymond Howard Moore was the seventh and last child, and the fourth son, born to Catherine and C.W. Moore. Raymond was born in Boise City on February 28, 1886, and went to public schools in Boise. Then he attended Andover and Yale and graduated from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

He married Estelle Clinton in Salt Lake City on January 12, 1911. They had two children, Clinton Wilkinson Moore and Margaret Moore Howell. Raymond was elected assistant cashier of the First National Bank in 1911 and became cashier in 1923, working in that capacity until the bank reorganization in 1932. He also served as a director of the bank. He moved to Salt Lake City about 1934, and later to California.

Raymond's social and intellectual skills were not matched with business successes. His life was plagued with financial difficulties. At one point his wife convinced him to get into the furniture business. The managers of the business sent by the bank were both reputed to have furnished their own homes out of it, without making the business pay. Raymond's share of the Moore estate was handled differently: the trustees sold the furniture business, deducted the loans paid by his father, paid off his debts, and gave him the rest in stock. Anna Moore Parsons, who had no children, left her estate to Raymond's children.

Estelle died in Los Angeles. Raymond then married Betty in 1943. He died in Santa Ana, California, on October 12, 1950.

--by Carol L. MacGregor (1990)


Anderson, Eloise H. Frontier Bankers: A History of the Idaho First National Bank. Boise: The Idaho First National Bank, 1981.

Bettis, Laurence Moore. Tape-recorded interviews and conversations with the author.

Moore family Bible in possession of the family.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
13 14
Marion Moore: Miscellaneous
13 15
Marion Moore: Correspondence
1913-1914 1940
13 16
Crawford Moore: Miscellaneous
13 17
Anna Moore: Miscellaneous
13 18
Anna Moore: Estate
13 19
Raymond Moore: Miscellaneous
13 20
Raymond Moore: Correspondence

12:  Richard Z. JohnsonReturn to Top

Richard Z. Johnson was one of the leading attorneys in early Idaho. A native of Ohio, he received legal training at Yale and then moved west, first to Minnesota, then Nevada, and finally, in the 1860s, to Idaho. He practiced law in Boise and Silver City and served as trustee of the Boise school district for many years. He was a member of the territorial council and was twice appointed attorney general of Idaho Territory.

This file contains six letters to Johnson and one written by him, all pertaining to Boise school matters. Two of the six letters to Johnson were written by C.W. Moore; three others were written by J.W. Daniels, principal in the Boise schools. Among the topics Daniels discussed were his differences with teacher Julia Capwell. These letters, like the rest of the Moore-Cunningham-Bettis collection, came from the Moore-Cunningham mansion. A much larger collection of Richard Z. Johnson papers is located at the Idaho State Historical Society.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
13 21
Boise school correspondence

13:  C.W. Moore & Co. (Silver City)Return to Top

The C.W. Moore and Company offices in Silver City served as an agency for the First National Bank of Idaho.

The letterbooks contain copies of letters from the company, most addressed to C.W. Moore in Boise in his role as cashier of the First National Bank. The pages in Book 4 (Statements of accounts) have been torn and mutilated.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box book
15 1
15 2
15 3
Statements of accounts
15 4
Statements of accounts

14:  Carol Lynn MacGregorReturn to Top

The daughter of Gordon Angus and Nellie Irwin MacGregor, Carol L. MacGregor grew up in Boise. She graduated from Borah High School, studied at Wellesley College, and received a degree in history from the University of California in 1964. She worked as a research assistant to Senator Len B. Jordan in Washington, D.C., before returning to Idaho. After her first marriage to Joseph Leonard Schwarz, she married Harry L. Bettis in 1970. She has one son, Joseph Gordon Schwarz, and three daughters, Laura MacGregor, Catherine Moore, and Janelle Agnes Bettis. Her marriage to Harry Bettis ended in divorce in 1983.

Carol MacGregor has taught foreign languages at the high school and college levels and has also taught English to migrant workers. She oversaw the restoration of the Moore-Cunningham mansion, 1977-81, and has been active in numerous civic causes in Boise. She received a masters degree in international relations from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., in 1987. [She earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of New Mexico in 1999 with a dissertation entitled "Founding Community in Boise, Idaho, 1882-1910."]

These papers consist chiefly of letters that Carol MacGregor wrote to her father-in-law, Laurence Moore Bettis.

These papers (with the exception of the biographical material) are closed until the year 2014.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
13 22
Biographical Material
12 19
Letters to Laurence Moore Bettis

15:  PhotographsReturn to Top

The photographs are listed below in groups according to the family member with whom they are associated. They are located in Box 16. Photos numbered 001 through 149 are 5 × 7 inches or smaller. Photos numbered 101 thorugh 139 are larger (with the exception of several whose mountings make them too large to fit in a 5 × 7 inch envelope).

Description Dates
C.W. Moore
Photo# 001: Portrait
Photo# 002-003: Moore gravestones (color snapshots)
Photo# 101-104: Portraits
Photo# 105: Residence, Warm Springs Avenue
Catherine Minear Moore
Photo# 004: Portrait
Photo# 106-108: Portraits
Photo# 109: Party group at Ridenbaugh home
circa 1900
J.W. Cunningham
Photo# 005: Portrait
Photo# 006: Portrait (5-way)
Photo# 007-008: Portraits
Photo# 009: With Laura Moore Cunningham in Venice
Photo# 010: With Laura Moore Cunningham and group (snapshot)
Photo# 011: With Karl Paine
Photo# 110-111: Horseshoe Bend Power Plant
Photo# 112: "Will's power plant"
Laura Moore Cunningham
Photo# 012-013: Childhood portraits
Photo# 014: With Anna Moore Parsons (color snapshot)
Photo# 015: LMC (color snapshot)
Photo# 016-017: Unidentified photos from LMC
Photo# 113: Portrait
Photo# 114: With Jessie Naylor, 1954
Photo# 115: Bess Shrady
Photo# 116: Mrs. Jackson and Jessie McElroy in Egypt, on camels Before The Sphinx and pyramids.
Photo# 117-118: Stanford University chapel, interior view
Photo# 119: View from Stanford Museum steps
Photo# 120-122: Pipe organ, Boise Junior College
Alice Moore Bettis
Photo# 018-019: Childhood portraits (see 012-013)
Bettis family
Photo# 020: Mary Louise Bettis, 100th birthday (color snapshot)
Photo# 123: Mary Louise Bettis, age 100, with group
Laurence Moore Bettis
Photo# 021: Portrait
Photo# 022: At Sun Valley trapshoot
Photo# 023: Ranch (snapshot)
Photo# 024: With wild turkeys (snapshot)
Photo# 025: Bud and Ruth Purdy family, Gannett, ID (snapshot)
Photo# 026-028: In Mexico (snapshots)
Photo# 029: S. Fletcher (color snapshot)
Photo# 030: With newborn granddaughter, Laura MacGregor Bettis (color snapshot)
Photo# 124: With Harry S. Bettis in Egypt, on camels before the Sphinx and Pyramids
Photo# 125: In winners circle at Santa Anita
Photo# 126: Boise High School class of 1913
Photo# 127: Glenns Ferry Bank, Melba-Kuna branch (montage)
Agnes Little Bettis
Photo# 031: With father Andrew Little
Photo# 032: At home in Hailey
Photo# 033: At Little home, Emmett, ID
Photo# 034: ALB (color photo)
Photo# 035: With Laurence Moore Bettis (color snapshot)
Photo# 036-037: In Mexico
Harry Little Bettis
Photo# 038: Baby portrait
Photo# 039-041: Color snapshots
Other Moore family members
Photo# 042: Marion Moore, Laurence Moore Bettis, Agnes Little Bettis (snapshot)
Photo# 043: Mrs. Marion Moore, LMB, ALB (snapshot)
Photo# 044-045: Anna Moore Parsons (portrait)
Photo# 046: Raymond Moore's summer camp, McCall, Idaho
Photo# 047: Children, Robbie and Mandy
Photo# 128: Doreen Moore (portrait)
Photo# 129: Crawford Moore (portrait)
Photo# 130: Estelle Clinton Moore (portrait)
Photo# 131: Clinton Moore (portrait)
Photo# 132: Margaret Moore Howell (graduation portrait)
Photo# 133: Margaret Moore Howell (portrait)
Idaho First National Bank, 80th Anniversary banquet
Photo# 134: Head table
Photo# 135: Laura Moore Cunningham and John Schoonover with anniversary cake
Photo# 136: Banquet hall scene
Harry S. Bettis
Photo# 048: HSB on wild turkey shoot
circa 1930
Photo# 049: Dr. Harry S. Bettis
Photo# 137: Unidentified group outdoors (Tollman, Sea Side Photographer)
Photo# 138: "The Queen"
Photo# 139: "The Queen and her maids taken at C.W. Moores"
Framed color photos
Boise Payette Lumber Company, Cascade, Idaho (Aerial)
Boise Payette Lumber Company, Council, Idaho (Aerial)
Boise Payette Lumber Company, Emmett, Idaho (Aerial)
Bridge under construction

Idaho Stock Growers' Association Ledger, undatedReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 17

Oversize itemsReturn to Top

The following items are kept in the oversize storage drawers in the Special Collections Department:

Certificate of graduation (1890) for Laura Belle Moore from Northwestern University School of Oratory, special course in elocution.

Biographical sketch of C.W. Moore (page 5 taken from an issue of Illustrated Idaho, ca. 1901)

Plat of property at Gannett, Idaho

Reprint, obituary of Laura Moore Cunningham from Idaho Statesman, August 17, 1963

Portrait Photograph, Laurence Moore Bettis