Among those who have been distinctly conspicuous in connection with the substantial up-building and legitimate progress of the attractive little city of Moscow, the county-seat of Latah county, very definite recognition must be given to him whose name initiates this paragraph. It was his fortune to be on the ground when the town practically had its inception, and with every advance movement he has been prominently identified, being recognized as one of the leading and most enterprising business men of the place and as one who has contributed liberally and with enthusiasm to every cause which has had as its object the growth and prosperity of Moscow.
Mr. Lauder traces his ancestral line through many generations of sturdy Scottish stock, he himself being of but the second generation on American soil, since his father, William Lauder, was a native of bonnie Scotland, the fair land of “brown heather and shaggy wood.” Wylie A. Lauder is a native of Canisteo, Steuben County. New York, where he was born in July, 1857, the son of William and Mary (Cameron) Lauder, the former of whom was born in Scotland, as has already been noted, while the latter is likewise of Scottish ancestry. William Lauder came to the United States in the year 1845, locating at Duanesburg, New York, where was eventually solemnized his marriage to Miss Mary Cameron. In the year 1869 they removed to North Carolina, where the father of our subject devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits until the fall of 1885, when he made a visit to Moscow, Idaho, becoming so impressed with the attractions of the place that when he returned to his home in the south he determined to dispose of his property there and to make his home in the little city where his son was located. Accordingly, in 1891, he closed out his interests in North Carolina and came to Moscow, where he passed the residue of his days, his death occurring on the 24th of November 1897, at the age of seventy years. He was a Republican in his political proclivities, was a man of strong intellectuality and so ordered his life as to gain and to merit the esteem and confidence of his fellow men. His widow is still living, having reached the venerable age of seventy-six years, and makes her home in Moscow, where she is accorded the utmost filial devotion by her children, who are three in number.
Wylie A. Lauder, the immediate subject of this review, was the second in order of birth of the three children, and his educational discipline was secured in the public schools of North Carolina, where he was reared under the invigorating influences of the parental farmstead. He continued to be identified with agricultural pursuits until 1883, when he came to Colfax, Washington, where he was placed in charge of the store which furnished supplies to those engaged in the construction of the line of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company. When the line had been completed to Moscow Mr. Lauder determined to make this his permanent abiding place, foreseeing that the natural advantages of the location would in time make it an important point. His confidence in the future of Moscow has been justified by results, and his faith in its still greater precedence is unwavering. His first distinctly local business venture was made in company with Fred S. Clough, with whom he became associated in the manufacture of brick, in which important line of enterprise they were the absolute pioneers in the place. They made the first brick ever manufactured in Moscow, and supplied the material in this line for all of the many fine brick structures which have made the town so attractive and substantial in its upbuilding. The first building erected of brick was the Bank of Moscow, and for this the firm supplied the material, as well as for all other structures both public and private. The association of Messrs. Lauder and Clough continued for three years, after which, in 1886, our subject entered into partnership with his brother-in-law, T. J. Taylor, who is now sheriff of Lemhi county. Idaho. They continued the manufacture of brick up to the year 1895, conducting an extensive business in this line and also in that of contracting and building. The firm erected the building for the Washington State Agricultural College, at Pullman; the splendid building of the Idaho State University, at Moscow; all of the public-school buildings of this city and all but three of Moscow’s fine business blocks. They manufactured more than twelve million brick, having shipped over a million to Spokane, and the firm had a reputation for the highest integrity and for scrupulous honor in every business transaction.
When their business success was at its height, the general financial depression of 1893 began to make its influence felt in this section of the Union, and the firm failed, as did many others within that memorable period. The loss entailed to the firm was such that they were compelled, though with great reluctance, to discontinue the business which they had labored so assiduously to establish. In 1892-3 they had brought about the organization of the Builders’ Supply Company, of which Mr. Lauder was president. Quite extensive investments had been made in real estate, and with the depreciation in values and the slight demands for investments in realty, resulting from the unsettled financial conditions of the country, they met with heavy losses.
Mr. Lauder is not, however, a man to be easily disheartened or discouraged, and he soon turned his attention to other lines of enterprise, confident that energy, careful methods and hard work would insure success, even with many obstacles to be overcome. He accordingly organized the Idaho Fruit & Produce Company, of which he is manager. The company deals largely, at wholesale, in hay, grain and other agricultural products, and also handles fruits of all kinds in large amounts. The enterprise supplies a distinct need in Moscow, and excellent success is attending it. The producers find here a ready cash market for their products, and to Moscow is thus attracted the business of a large tributary territory, practically comprising the entire northern section of the state. The value of such an enterprise can not be overestimated, and in this way Mr. Lauder is contributing to the progress and prosperity of the city while promoting individual success. He is public-spirited in his attitude, and is at all times ready to lend his aid and influence to whatever conserves the wellbeing of his home city.
In the year 1886 Mr. Lauder was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Taylor, daughter of William Taylor, the pioneer settler of Latah county, to whom specific reference is made on other pages of this work. To the article mentioned the reader is referred for a detailed history of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Lauder are the parents of two children, Ralph Emerson and Alma. The family home is a most attractive residence of modern architectural design, located on a tenacre tract near the grounds of the State University, and here a gracious hospitality is extended to a large circle of friends. Mr. Lauder is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, while Mrs. Lauder holds membership in the Christian church. Our subject is one of the trustees of his church and was prominently identified with the building of the fine church edifice. In his political adherency he is arrayed in support of the Republican Party. An energetic, up-right and enterprising business man of Moscow, Mr. Lauder is one of the city’s honored and representative citizens.