In the following paragraphs will be given the history of the busy and useful career of a distinguished resident of Genesee, Idaho, who as pioneer, as citizen, as legislator and as a soldier, has done his duty without fear and without reproach, with an eye single to the greatest good to the greatest number. His life is one which has in it many lessons for those who would do well and persevere in well doing.
George W. Daggett, one of the most prominent citizens of Genesee, Idaho, was born in Illinois, August 19, 1840, and is descended from an old Vermont family. His grandfather, Asel Daggett, was a soldier in the war of 1812-14 and fought under Commander Perry and participated in his historic victory. After the war he returned to Vermont, where he lived until his death, in 1862, at the age of eighty-nine years. His son, Asel A. Daggett, father of George W. Daggett, was born in Vermont and married Miss Eliza White, at Woonsocket Falls, Rhode Island, in 1838, and was one of the pioneers of the state of Illinois. For some years he was warden of the Illinois state penitentiary, at Joliet. In 1847 he moved to Wisconsin and located in Grant County, where his wife died in 1852 and where he lived to the venerable age of eighty-two years. Mr. and Mrs. Daggett were devout and active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and were held in the highest esteem by all who knew them. They had ten children, five of whom are living.
George W. Daggett was their fifth child in order of birth. He grew up on the farm, working hard in spring, summer and fall and attending school three months during the winter, in a little log schoolhouse, until he was fourteen. He was a robust boy and willing worker, and after that time was in such demand for the farm work and as an aid in the support of the family that he was entirely debarred from attending school. But he liked books and had a way of learning something from about everything he saw, and he became a well informed man notwithstanding his limited educational advantages.
The civil war had begun when, in August 1861, he attained his majority. August 27, eight days after his birthday, he enlisted in Company I, Tenth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. His first service was in the west, under General Mitchell. Later he was in the command of General W. T. Sherman. He participated in twenty-seven battles and skirmishes. The first engagement in which he took part was at Perryville, Kentucky. Then followed the engagements at Stone River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. He went with Sherman to the relief of Knoxville, and was in all the battles from Chattanooga to the capture of Atlanta, then participated in Sherman’s memorable march to the sea and was in the fighting at Savannah and at Goldsborough and was one of the veterans who participated in the grand review at Washington, after the war was over. In the engagement at Chickamauga he was shot through the arm and in the side, but though his wounds were very painful they were not dangerous, and he did not leave the field, and though he was many times after that in the thickest of the fight, with men falling all around him, he never afterward suffered so much as an abrasion of the skin. He was promoted to be orderly sergeant of his company. He reenlisted as a private in Company K, Forty-fourth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and was promoted to be orderly sergeant of that company also. He had served to the very end of the struggle. His service had been arduous and exacting and he had been every inch a soldier. He was honorably discharged and returned to Wisconsin and settled down to the peaceful life of a farmer.
Mr. Daggett remained in Wisconsin for three years after his return from the army and then moved to Nebraska and took up a homestead, improved it until 1876, when he went to California and thence to Oregon. He passed the winter of 1876-7 at Lake View, Oregon, and in the following spring came to Idaho and preempted a claim on Little Potlatch, five miles north of the site of Genesee, in Nez Perces County. This he improved into a fine stock and dairy farm and he has added to it from time to time until he now has four hundred acres, constituting one of the finest farms in this splendid farming district. He has a town home in Genesee, where he is spending the evening of a busy and successful life.
Mr. Daggett was married, in 1865, to Mrs. Mary E. Clowse, a native of Wisconsin, who has divided with him the honors of their useful life as pioneers and in the period of Idaho’s wonderful development. Mr. and Mrs. Daggett have had two children, both of whom died young. By her first marriage Mrs. Daggett (then Mrs. Clowse) had two daughters, Edith E., who married Alexander Matthews, and Ella E., who married John Matthews, brother of Alexander.
A lifelong Republican, devoted to the principles of his party, Mr. Daggett has always supported its measures, national and local, energetically and unselfishly, with no hope of personal reward and with no wish for political preferment. However, his fellow citizens of Latah County elected him to represent them in the Idaho state legislature, an office which he has filled to the satisfaction of his constituents, regardless of party affiliation. He was one of the committee of five appointed by the speaker of the house to investigate the revisions of the state laws, and determine their constitutionality. He also formulated and introduced a bill looking to the more perfect regulation of the liquor traffic, which provided that a license must in any case be taken out for a full year and if a liquor dealer should violate its provisions the license should be revoked and, upon conviction, he should forfeit the fee for its unexpired term. The bill was widely conceded to be one of the best bills introduced during that session. Mr. Daggett is a zealous and active member of the Grand Army of the Republic and is the present commander of his post and chaplain of the state organization of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is public-spirited to a degree that makes him a very helpful citizen and he is held in the highest esteem by his fellow citizens of all classes and of all shades of political and religious belief.