Life at “the Murtaugh Place” and Longing for Adventure

Coming from humble origins, and yet possessing the sophistication, intelligence, and charisma of mavericks, Glen and Bessie Hyde were determined to break the shackles which tied them down to a normal life.

Glen Hyde and Bessie Haley met on a ship steaming from San Francisco to Los Angles in the early summer of 1927, and it was clear to their friends and family that the two were immediately attracted to one another. Glen and Bessie were both intelligent, cultured, and outgoing, and they had the makings of the ultimate power couple. After divorcing her first husband in early April 1928, Bessie immediately married Glen. The newly wedded couple then settled into life at Glen's home near the town of Murtaugh in Twin Falls County, Idaho.

Acquired by the Hydes in the early 1910s, “the Murtaugh Place” was a small parcel of land located fifteen miles east of the family's farm, “the Home Place,” in Kimberly, Idaho. Glen's father, Rollin Hyde, had bought it to expand his farming enterprises. After dropping out of college for the final time in 1923, Glen came to live in the small shack he and Rollin built on the property, dividing his workdays between the Murtaugh Place and the Home Place. In the spring and summer, Glen and Rollin grew crops on both properties to sell in Kimberly, while in the winter, they raised sheep and sold their wool when spring came. When he wasn't working, Glen enjoyed activities like playing tennis on the court he had built at the Home Place, or swimming in the local irrigation canals or in the nearby Snake River. Yet, Glen was never satisfied with his life at the Murtaugh Place. The young man craved adventure.

Glen's new wife shared his ambition. Bessie was accustomed to the bustling and exciting nature of life in the city, having spent much of her early adulthood studying art in San Francisco. Life at the Murtaugh Place was comparatively dull and uneventful, as daily life was largely based on the regular routines of farm work. Though she learned to ride a horse, got a dog, and reportedly worked as hard as her husband, it was clear to friends and family that Bessie, along with Glen, desired a lifestyle that their existence at the Murtaugh Place could not provide. A “normal” life on the farm wasn't for them.

For Glen and Bessie, the means to escape the monotony of the Murtaugh Place came in the form of their upcoming honeymoon, a trip down the Colorado River. By choosing such an undertaking, the couple sought to emulate the fantastical stories of exploration and daring feats reported on the front pages of popular tabloids. If successful, Bessie would have been the first woman to travel the entire length of the nearly 600-mile-long river, a feat that the couple could use to gain further fame for themselves. In essence, their honeymoon was a ticket out of their boring lives at the Murtaugh Place.

After Glen and Bessie disappeared, the Hyde family continued to operate the Murtaugh Place for several more years. At present, it seems as though nothing remains of the shack Glen and Bessie lived in.   

Images

Murtaugh Place
Murtaugh Place Glen Hyde’s house, “the Murtaugh Place” ca. 1925. Source:

“Glen's Country House (Murtaugh).” 1925. Glen Hyde Collection. Courtesy of the Northern Arizona University Cline Library. https://archive.library.nau.edu/digital/collection/cpa/id/9149/rec/213.

The young Hydes
The young Hydes Hyde Family camping trip, Jeanne (left), Glen (middle) and Edna (right) ca. 1900-1920. Source:

“Jeanne Hyde, Glen Hyde, Edna Hyde [Camping].” 1900. Glen Hyde Collection. Courtesy of the Northern Arizona University Cline Library. https://cdm16748.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/cpa/id/12220/rec/2.

Woman’s best friend
Woman’s best friend Bessie playing with her dog, Murtaugh Idaho, ca. 1928. Source:

Item 18384. In Jeanne Hyde’s Photo Album, 1928. Glen Hyde Collection. Courtesy of the Northern Arizona University Cline Library. https://cdm16748.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/cpa/id/71738/rec/17.

Location

Metadata

William Knapp, Northern Arizona University, “Life at “the Murtaugh Place” and Longing for Adventure,” Intermountain Histories, accessed June 23, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/520.