Biography of William A. Coughanour

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For almost fourteen years Payette has numbered William A. Coughanour among its most prominent and progressive citizens. He may well be termed one of the founders of the city, for he has been the promoter of many of its leading business enterprises, and the growth and development of a city depend upon its commercial and industrial activity. His connection with any undertaking insures a prosperous outcome of the same, for it is in his nature to carry forward to successful completion whatever he is associated with. He has earned for himself an enviable reputation, as a careful man of business, and in his dealings is known for his prompt and honorable methods, which have won him the deserved and unbounded confidence of his fellow men.

Mr. Coughanour was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, on the 12th of March 1850, and is of Pennsylvania Dutch lineage. His father, H. S. Coughanour, is still residing in that county, at the age of eighty-four years. He followed shipbuilding as an occupation through the period of his active business career. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Caroline Conkle, was likewise a native of his neighborhood, and belonged to one of the old Dutch families. They became the parents of four daughters and a son, and all are yet living.

The subject of this review was reared in the place of his nativity and acquired his education in the public schools. The year 1870 witnessed his arrival in Idaho, where he has since made his home, becoming prominently identified with the development and advancement of the state. The last two hundred and eighty-five miles of his journey hither were made by stage, and upon his arrival he assumed the management of the Gold Hill mine, at Ouartzburg, acting as secretary and treasurer of the mining company for fifteen years, and being also superintendent of the same for an equal period of time. This is one of the richest and most celebrated mines in Idaho. Under Mr. Coughanour’s management ore to the value of three million dollars was taken out, yet the mine is only partially developed. He is still one of the stockholders, and his income is materially increased thereby. In 1885 he came to Payette and has been associated with many business enterprises, which have not only proved profitable to himself but have also advanced the general welfare. He has large landed interests in Oregon and Idaho and is conducting an extensive lumber business in Payette, where he has large yards that supply anything in his line that the public may demand. He is a director in the Payette Valley Bank and a stock-holder and the secretary of the Lower Payette Ditch Company, which has been an important factor in irrigating the lands in this section of the state. His realty holdings, aggregating twenty-seven hundred acres, are about equally divided between Oregon and Idaho. He has a fine orchard of thirty-three acres near this city and is also interested in stock raising, having as high as five hundred head of cattle at one time. It demands superior executive ability, keen discrimination and sound judgment to manage such extensive and varied business interests, but Mr. Coughanour controls all with a steady hand, and gains there from very gratifying financial returns. In politics he is a Democrat, and before coming to Payette was elected and served as county commissioner of Boise county. In 1896 he was elected a member of the state senate, from Canyon county, and introduced the horticultural inspection bill, securing its passage, together with an appropriation of ten thousand dollars, in order that the horticultural board, established through the measures of this bill, might be able to carry on its work of protecting the fruit interests of the state from destructive fruit pests. Our subject is now president of the state board of horticulture, and is interesting himself in effective measures for the protection of Idaho’s fruit industry. He is now serving his third term as mayor of Payette, and his administration of the affairs of the city is most progressive, as he exercises his official powers to promote all interests and measures which will prove of public benefit. He was also postmaster under President Cleveland, and at all times has been most true and faithful to the trust reposed in him, discharging his du-ties with marked promptness and fidelity.

Mr. Coughanour was married in 1874 to Miss Galena Bunting, a native of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and they now have a daughter and son, Emma L. and William M. The former was the efficient enrolling clerk in the state senate at the session of 1896-7. The family occupy an enviable position in social circles and enjoy the hospitality of the best homes of Payette. Mr. Coughanour has one of the finest museums in the state, including many specimens of quartz and gold nuggets, one of which is valued at one hundred and eighty-five dollars. Socially he is connected with the Order of Elks and he is also a very prominent representative of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he has the honor of being grand marshal of the grand lodge of Idaho. He is widely and favorably known throughout the entire state, his political, fraternal and business prominence gaining him a wide acquaintance. He is a man of integrity and splendid business ability, through the medium of which he has acquired consider-able wealth. He is a gentleman of exceedingly fine address, possessing that natural geniality of temperament and affability of deportment that, united to a heart full of sympathy, make him an easy winner of friends, and he is ever welcome in the best social circles.



MLA Source Citation:

Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 22 October 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/idaho/biography-of-william-a-coughanour.htm - Last updated on Apr 29th, 2012


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