Polly Bemis
( born Lalu Nathoy )
September 11, 1853 - November 6, 1933

Polly in her Wedding Dress
Polly and Charlie's Cabin

Polly Bemis, born Lalu Nathoy, won the respect and affection of many in life–and became a legend in death. Her final cabin, now a museum, is in the National Register of Historic Places, and at the dedication ceremonies in 1987, Idaho's Governor Cecil Andrus declared, "The history of Polly Bemis is a great part of the legacy of central Idaho. She is the foremost pioneer on the rugged Salmon River."

Researching Lalu/Polly's life in the late 1970s and 1980 for Thousand Pieces of Gold, I interviewed pioneers and scoured memoirs, studied photographs, official documents, articles in newspapers and magazines. My research did not end with the book's publication in 1981 but extended across the Pacific to the Peoples Republic of China. And in 2003, I wrote about my decades of research in "Reclaiming Polly Bemis: China's Daughter, Idaho's Legendary Pioneer," Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 24, no. 1 (2003), published by the University of Nebraska Press.