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James F. Ailshie is one of the most distinguished criminal lawyers of Idaho, his marked success in that department of jurisprudence winning him enviable prestige. He is also public-spirited and thoroughly interested in whatever tends to promote the moral, intellectual and material welfare of his town, ranking among her progressive and popular citizens. A native of Greene County, Tennessee, he was born June 19, 1868, and is of Scotch ancestry, the family having been established in the south at an early period in its settlement. His great-grandfather, Stephen Ailshie, fought for independence in the war of the Revolution, and after American liberty was secured he took up his residence in Kentucky, where George Washington Ailshie, his grandson and the father of our subject, was born. George W. Ailshie removed to Tennessee while yet young and afterward married Miss Martha A. Knight of that state, where they still reside, respected members of the community. They belong to the Baptist church and their well spent lives are in harmony with their religious professions. To them were born ten children, nine of whom are yet living.
James F. Ailshie, the eldest of the family, was educated in the state of his nativity and in the Willamette University, at Salem, Oregon, winning the degrees of Bachelor of Philosophy and Bachelor of Law, both in 1891. The same year he was admitted to practice in the supreme court of Oregon, and after seeking for a favorable location in which to begin business decided to establish a home in Grangeville, where he opened an office in August, 1891. He has never had occasion to regret his choice, for success has here attended his efforts and he has gained a reputation as one of the leading lawyers of northern Idaho. He has built up an excellent practice and now has a distinctively representative clientage. His high order of talent, his comprehensive and accurate knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence and his keen power of argument enable him to handle criminal cases in a way that has won him some remarkable victories. He never loses sight of any point bearing on his case, and gives to each fact and point of law-its due prominence, at the same time always keeping before court and jury the important element upon which the decision of the case finally turns. His reasoning is sound and convincing, his arguments logical and his eloquence seldom, if ever, fails to produce the desired effect.
While Mr. Ailshie devotes his time and attention principally to his profession, he has other business interests. Believing firmly in the future growth and prosperity of the town of Grangeville, he has invested quite extensively in real estate in this locality and is now the owner of several hundred acres adjacent to the city. He also owns some of the best business sites and business blocks in Grangeville.
On the 19th of June 1894, Mr. Ailshie was united in marriage to Miss Bundren, a daughter of Rev. J. B. Bundren, a Baptist minister of Tennessee. Their union has been blessed with a beautiful little daughter, whom they have named Lucile. Mr. and Mrs. Ailshie are members of the Baptist church, and are very widely and favorably known throughout the state. Mrs. Ailshie, a true southerner, entertains a great deal, and their beautiful home on College Street is the scene of many pleasant social events.
In politics Mr. Ailshie is a stalwart Republican, and did most effective service for his party by his campaign addresses in support of the candidacy of McKinley in 1896. At the Republican state convention of 1898 he had the honor of being chosen its president, and conducted its meetings and business with marked fairness and ability, showing him to be a thorough parliamentarian. He has for two terms served as regent of the State University of Idaho, being appointed to that office by Governor McConnell. He was also a delegate from Idaho to the bi-metallic congress held in Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition. Socially he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has filled all the chairs in both branches of the order and has been a member of the grand lodge. He is also a member of the Maccabees and the Woodmen of the World. His fitness for leadership and his devotion to the public good have gained him prominence in public life, and his ability in the law has won him a distinguished position at the Idaho bar. He is a man of resolute purpose, of strong mentality and of genuine worth, and his high standing in the community is a merited tribute to his superiority. In man-ner, however, he is most unpretentious, genial and cordial, and in the community he has many warm personal friends.