Native American tribes—the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Shoshone of the Lemhi, Fort Hall, and Mountain bands—once gathered in Council Valley to trade, hold peace talks, and enjoy recreation together among the tribes. And so, when it came time to name the town, the place’s history as a gathering for these “councils” stuck.
The first while settlers, the families of George Moser and Robert White, arrived in 1876 from Arkansas, though it wasn’t their first attempt to move West. In 1873 they had joined a wagon train bound for Oregon; tragically, in Oklahoma they camped near a bad water source and some of the party died, including two of George Moser’s children and Robert White’s four-year-old daughter. The Idaho Statesman newspaper of Boise, Idaho (September 2, 1876), recounted their second, successful journey to Idaho:
Mr. Robert P. White, of Dover, Pope County, Arkansas, with his wife and two children, arrived here Sunday evening. Mr. George Moser and family, wife and four children, came with him. They came with ox teams and were five months and eight days on the road; lost one yoke of oxen but otherwise had very good luck, and their cattle are in fair condition. They intend to stop here and would like to get work in town, and another spring get farms to work. They appear to be good rustlers and we trust they will find employment and realize their full expectations in coming to this favored country.
George and his family settled in the Council Valley and were the first to build a cabin there; eventually he and his family opened another two-story home for travelers (today, Council’s business district is located on this site of the Moser homestead). George Moser eventually returned to Arkansas in 1894 after his health continued to decline following having his legs mauled by a grizzly bear.
When the Seven Devils mine began producing silver and copper, people poured into the area; in 1901, the railroad arrived at the town of Council, which was incorporated in 1903. Those who followed and settled in the Council Valley turned to irrigated crops, particularly grain and alfalfa. Today, the town of Council serves as the gateway to recreation in the Seven Devils Mountains.