The historian Bancroft has said. “Taken altogether Idaho is the most grand, wonderful, romantic and mysterious part of the domain enclosed within the federal Union;” and no one who has ever looked upon its beautiful and off times sublime scenery will doubt that it rightly deserves to be called “The Gem of the Mountains.” Its natural resources are probably more diversified than any other state can show, for in the midst of its high hills, rich in their mineral de-posits, are fertile valleys affording ample opportunity to the agriculturist, horticulturist and stock farmer. The owner of one of the finest ranches and most beautiful homes in Elmore county is Franklin P. Ake, a man of excellent business ability, who has been prominently connected with many interests of this region, and now in addition to the capable management of his own affairs is acceptably serving as the custodian of the county exchequer in the capacity of county treasurer.
Mr. Ake, whose residence is pleasantly situated about four miles from Mountain Home, was born in Muscatine, Iowa, July 6, 1857. During the colonial epoch in our country’s history his ancestors left their homes in Holland and became residents of Pennsylvania, taking part in many of the events which form the annals of that state, and also participating in the war of the Revolution. John H. Ake the father of our subject was born in the Keystone state and married Margaret Tediker, a native of Ohio. He removed with his bride to Iowa and became an extensive landowner and dealer in real estate. His wife died soon after the birth of her son Franklin, when only twenty years of age, but Mr. Ake reached the age of seventy-five years.
The subject of this review, an only child, was reared and educated in Iowa and Nebraska, and in 1877 went to Colorado, where he was engaged in freighting. He made money rapidly, invested in real estate in Leadville, Colorado, and when prices declined lost nearly all that he had saved. In 1882 he came to Idaho, and making his headquarters at American Falls again engaged in freighting and contracting from Kelton to Boise, Rocky Bar and Hailey. He also took contracts for supplying and delivering wood and charcoal to the mines at Rocky Bar and later contracted to haul mining timbers. He also built the telegraph line from Mountain Home to Rocky Bar, and subsequently became the promoter and builder of the reservoir and canal of the Mountain Home Reservoir & Land Company. They have thus supplied water to three thousand acres of land, and have a reservoir with an irrigating capacity for five thousand acres, and fifteen miles of ditches. Mr. Ake, in connection with others, now owns the system, which is one of the most valuable enterprises ever inaugurated in this section of the state. It is not only a profitable investment for the stockholders, but has proven of incalculable benefit to the farmers, making cultivable many thousand acres of rich land. Mr. Ake is now the owner of a splendid ranch of six hundred and forty acres. He has greatly improved this property, making it one of the most attractive and desirable countryseats in Elmore county. There is now a fine orchard, containing two thousand bearing fruit trees, mostly prunes. The home is a most tasteful and commodious dwelling, creditable alike to the owner and the county. In addition to the cultivation of his orchard, Mr. Ake is extensively engaged in raising stock and is proprietor of an excellent meat market in Mountain Home, where he supplies the citizens with choice beef and other meats.
In 1886 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Ake and Miss Laura Ford, of Salem, Oregon, a daughter of Colonel Ford of that city. They now have two daughters, Mary Frances and Clara Lail.
Mr. Ake has been a lifelong Democrat. In 1896 he was appointed treasurer of Elmore County, and in 1898 was the nominee of his party for the same position. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, having been raised in Elmore Lodge, No. 30, of Mountain Home, in which he served as master in 1898. He has also taken the Royal Arch and commandery degrees and is a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. A man of marked business and executive ability, he forms his plans readily, is determined in his execution and carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes. His methods command uniform confidence and respect and the most envious could not grudge him his prosperity, so worthily has it been won.