Polly Bemis

220px-PollyBemis1894Polly Bemis (1853-1933) started life in China, where she was probably named Lalu Nathoy. As a child her feet were bound, (small feet were considered a sign of wealth, of not having to work). After her destitute father sold her to bandits for two bags of seeds, she was sent to San Francisco, where she was auctioned off to a saloon keeper in an Idaho mining camp. Eventually she married Charlie Bemis, whose life she saved twice. Respected for her many skills–nursing; fishing; gardening; tending to animals, including a cougar; and her sense of humor–Polly Bemis became an honored member of her community.  Today the Polly Bemis Ranch, located on the Salmon River, is designated a National Historic site. She was inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame.

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