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No work that might attempt to tell the story of the settlement and civilization of Idaho would be complete if it should contain no account of the hard, brave work performed by Deputy Sheriff and Deputy United States Marshal Ed. F. Winn, in ridding the country of the gangs of thieves, cut-throats and outlaws that once infested it. A book devoted to the exploits of Winn and other Federal and civil officers in this part of the country would be of thrilling interest.
Ed. F. Winn is a native of Brownsville, Pennsylvania, and was born October 29, 1857. His parents, Isaac and Mary Jane (Moore) Winn, came to the United States from Lancashire, England, soon after their marriage and settled in Pennsylvania, where they are vet living, Mr. Winn being still in the active practice of his profession, as a civil engineer. They are people of the highest worth, ornaments of the community in which they live, and have been lifelong members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. They had three sons and a daughter, and Ed. F. Winn was their second child. He was educated and learned the carpenter’s trade in his native state, and in 1875, when lie was about eighteen, went to Iowa and thence to Nebraska. At Omaha he found work as a carpenter, in the employ of the Union Pacific Railroad Company. He was sent out on the line of construction, while the road was being built, and worked his way to Helena, Montana, where he arrived July 8, 1879. He found employment in Helena until fall and then took up work for the Utah & Northern Railway Company, at Oxford, and was thus employed until the line had been constructed as far as Dillon. From Dillon he returned to Idaho Falls and worked on the railroad shops, which were then being erected. When that work was finished he engaged in the saloon business, in which he continued successfully until he was appointed deputy sheriff of Oneida County by Sheriff Homer. Oneida County then comprised a large territory, and it was infested by cattle and horse thieves, escaped criminals and other outlaws. Deputy Sheriff Winn’s work against this class was so aggressive and effective that it came to the notice of United States Marshal Fred T. Dubois, who appointed him deputy United States marshal. The office which Mr. Winn filled at that time required indomitable will, chilly nerve and the quality known as “clear grit.” These he proved that he possessed. He had many gunfights and hand-to-hand “scrimmages” with the desperate men, often against fearful odds, but he invariably came out victorious. He was shot at many times and had to shoot men down in self defense, but if he went out for a man he got him if he was to be found and brought him in if he once got his hand on him. In time the bad men with whom he had to deal found this out, and then his work was not quite so hard. He brought many to trial, many fled the country and in time Oneida County came to be a law-abiding place, and as such was gradually taken possession of by law-abiding people. This welcome change was due in no small measure to the efforts of Mr. Winn. He was kept at this good work under reappointment by Sheriff Wooden, in 1893-4, and during that period shot a burglar whom he had captured and who sought to escape from custody.
For some years Mr. Winn had a stock ranch, where he was engaged somewhat extensively in raising and dealing in cattle, buying in the fall, feeding through the winter and selling in the spring, and in this enterprise he met with the same degree of satisfactory success that has attended his other business ventures. Not long after he came to Idaho Falls he took up twenty-two acres of land adjoining the town site, which he platted as Winn’s Addition to Idaho Falls, and which has been sold off and built upon quite extensively. He has built several good residences and has otherwise done his part fully in the development of the town from the day of small things to the present magnitude and prominence. In this connection reference should be made to the fact that Mr. Winn built the Odd Fellows Orphans’ Home, at Idaho Falls, a fine large sandstone structure which is a credit alike to the order and to him.
In 1888 Mr. Winn went into the grocery trade, at the corner of Main street and Capital avenue, Idaho Falls, and his business has grown to such proportions that it is not only large locally, but extends throughout all of Idaho Falls’ rapidly developing tributary territory.
Mr. Winn is a strong Republican and has always attended state and county conventions and otherwise aided actively in the work of his part. His standing as a man may be inferred from the fact that he has been elected to important offices on a ticket to which he was opposed, having been taken up in that way because he was logically the best man for the place. He has long been an active Odd Fellow, devoted to the order in all principles and in all phases of its work. As a citizen he is public-spirited and up-to-date, ready always to give his time and means for the furtherance of any public measure which commends itself to his judgment as being just and wise.
In January 1885, Mr. Winn married Miss Katie Freeman, who was then living at Golden, Colorado, a native of England and a daughter of Joseph and Martha Freeman, of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Mrs. Winn is a member of the Episcopal Church.