Murder in Northrup Canyon

There is a historical marker in Northrup Canyon that talks briefly about the murder that took place in 1903. The story is a bit deeper. In the mid-1890s John W. and Caty Northrup moved into the canyon. Together through hard work they created a wonderful orchard and irrigation system. With John W.’s health failing, the couple moved into Coulee City and leased the land including the orchard to another gentleman by the name of Isreal Sanford. After John W. died, Caty set up a homestead in Barker Canyon. Her relationship with Sanford was strained, and eventually Isreal came to believe that Caty was stealing full grown fruit trees from him. One day after a heated debate, Isreal traveled to Almira and bought a gun, returning to the canyon, his family ran and hid when they saw him coming. Isreal encountered Caty in the washroom, where he shot and killed her. 

At trial the jury acquitted Isreal Sanford as being of unsound mind due to injuries inflicted during his time in the battlefields of the Civil War. He was returned to the Sanford family who locked him in a woodshed for several years until his sanity returned. 

Northrup buildings

(Northrup homestead 2019)

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