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The First Settlements the March of Progress

The first settlements made by whites with-in the present boundaries of Idaho were effected by Jesuit missionaries, as is true throughout the Pacific coast region; and previously to 1863, the beginning of a new era in this region, there were but two or three settlements made by others. In the primeval stage the country was not at all inviting to civilized people. The almost omnipresence of red savages precluded all thoughts of prospecting in the mountains for valuable minerals, while the valleys seemed to be only arid deserts absolutely irreclaimable for agricultural purposes. In the outside world ideas as to the climate were de-rived only from hunters and trappers, who spent only the winters here, in the mountains, where the cold was intense and snow abundant, and from emigrants, who passed through here only during hot weather, when the valleys they traversed seemed to deserve connection with what was known as “the Great American desert.” One authority states that the first permanent settlement in Idaho was made at Mount Idaho, the present County seat of Idaho County. Probably the first permanent settlement, however, was made in 1834 in which year Nathaniel J. Wyeth, with a party of sixty men, started across the continent and established Fort Hall as a trading post near Snake River. This fort was the most important point between the Missouri River and Salt Lake to most of the early transcontinental emigrants. It was at the crossing of the Missouri-Oregon and Utah-Canada trails. On the 11th of June 1834, Wyeth and his party encamped on a branch of the Blackfoot, near Port Neuf; the 12th on...

Washington County Its Towns, Resources, Etc.

Washington County lies on the western border of the state of Idaho, and about five hundred miles from the Pacific coast. It contains a large area of land suited to various purposes. It has a population of over five thousand people. Its inhabitants are, generally speaking, enterprising and thrifty people, many of them having settled here in the early 6o”s and have remained ever since. The early settler devoted himself to stock-raising and placer-mining, and he thought that was all the county was fit for. But as the county began settling up it was soon found that anything which grew in a temperate climate would grow here. Washington County is now considered to be a kingdom within itself, as it produces everything necessary for comfort and happiness. Its resources are so varied that it would be impossible to mention all of them in this connection. Agriculture and kindred industries are pursued more at present than anything else. This in the past has been confined largely to the raising of wheat and hay. But of late years our farmers have been planting large orchards and diversifying their products generally. Anywhere in the valleys all kind of grain, fruits and cereals can be successfully grown. Wherever Washington county fruit is exhibited it always carries away a premium. At a recent state fair held in Boise, Washington County carried off more premiums than any other county in the state. But agriculture is not the only industry of the county, by any means. The northern portion of the county, which is mostly mountainous, is thickly studded with pine timber, the supply of which...

Prominent Cities and Towns of the State

Boise, The Capital City The following descriptive article is an excerpt from the souvenir edition of the Boise Sentinel, issued in June 1897: So much has been said and written and sung of “Boise, the Beautiful,” that the task of saying any-thing new seems utterly hopeless; and of this there is little need. While those who have made their homes here from the beginning, and those who from year to year have come to stay, might naturally be expected to be most fervent in their praises, they have not always been the happiest in laying appropriate tributes before the shrine of the object of their love and admiration. Strangers and transient visitors have often been more fortunate in their offerings. Perhaps the first question that arises in the mind of a stranger in regard to this locality is why was it so named. After more than a third of a century has passed since the first human habitation was erected on the present site of the town, and after the story has been so often repeated in print, the inquiry continues to be daily made. Why Boise? Briefly, this is what the ancient chroniclers tell of the origin of the name: In the summer of 1834 a party of French Canadian voyagers, belonging to the expedition of Captain Bonneville (whose explorations and adventures were afterward immortalized by the pen of Washington Irving), in traveling across the treeless and arid Snake river plains, reached the edge of a plateau overlooking a beautiful valley, which, extending westward beyond the limits of their vision, seemed to present a continuous forest belt of...

Early Residents of Idaho County, Idaho

John Aram, born in Seneca, N. Y., in 1827, came with his brother Joseph to Cal. in 1850 by sea. He resided 5 years in San Jose, and 4 years in Amador County, Cal., after which he removed to Oregon in 1859, and to Grangeville, on Camas prairie, Idaho, in 1864. He married, in 1853, Sarah Barr, born in Wyoming County, N. Y., in 1831. Loyal P. Brown, born in Coos County, N. H., in 1829, came to Cal. by sea in 1849, the schooner Haunt Nut, of the Massasoit Company, bringing them to the Isthmus of Panama. Crossing on pack-mules, the passengers chartered a brigantine, which was condemned at Mazatlan, compelling them to wait for a steamer, which finally brought them to San Francisco, by which time their means were exhausted, and 10 of the company worked their passage to Sacramento, where they took a contract to cut hay at Sutter’s Fort, after which Brown and 3 others went to the mines on the Middle Fork of American River at Rector’s Bar. In 1850 Brown went to Trinity River, engaging in trade and packing for 2 years, then to Scottsburg on the Umpqua River, remaining in southern Oregon until 1862, when he removed to Mount Idaho. He was employed in the quartermaster’s department of the volunteer army in 1855-6, and after the war engaged in stock-raising in Douglas County. He went through the exciting scenes of the Nez Percé war in Idaho in 1877, in which he performed good service. His present business is merchandising. Jacob B. Chamberlain, born in Lennox County, Canada West, immigrated to Vancouver Island...

Biography of Charles A. Schnabel

Thirty-seven years have passed since Charles Augusta Schnabel came to Idaho. This state, so aptly termed “the gem of the mountains,” was then a wild district, its lands unclaimed, its resources undeveloped. A few courageous frontiersmen had dared to locate within its borders, but the work of progress and improvement remained to the future, and there was little promise of early development. In the years which have since passed Mr. Schnabel has not only witnessed a most wonderful transformation, but has largely aided in the labors which have transformed the wild tract into a splendid commonwealth. Now in his declining years he is living retired, enjoying the well-earned rest which is the merited reward of a long and honorable business career. A native of Prussia, Mr. Schnabel was born in Elberfield, October 18, 1828 and for generations his ancestors had resided in the fatherland. He acquired his education in the public schools, and in Germany learned the trade of fringe and lace weaving. When a young man of twenty years he determined to try his fortune in America, landing in New York on the day that Zachariah Taylor was elected president of the United States. He then made his way to Baltimore, Maryland, where he had a brother living, and in that city worked at his trade for a year, when, hearing of the rich gold discoveries in California, he determined to make his way to the Pacific coast. Twice he attempted to work his way across the country, but each time, after getting as far as western Missouri, lack of means forced him to turn back. A third...

Biography of John Wagener

John Wagener is one of the owners of the Trook and Jennings mine and five-stamp mill, one mile southeast of Silver City. He is also proprietor of several stock ranches and since pioneer days has been active in the development of the business resources of this state. A native of Germany, he came to America hoping to better his financial condition, and whatever success he has achieved is due entirely to his own labors. Mr. Wagener was born June 30, 1833 and in his native land acquired his education. When a young man of nineteen years he bade adieu to home and friends and in 1852 sailed for America, coming to this country in limited circumstances and without any knowledge of the language, manners or customs of the people. It is astonishing how rapidly our foreign-born citizens adapt themselves to new surroundings and be-come an integral part in our public life. Mr. Wagener took up his residence in New York City and began learning the wagon maker’s trade, at which he worked for a number of years. He then left the Atlantic for the Pacific coast, and in 1858 visited Idaho, when it was still a part of Washington Territory. He crossed the plains to Vancouver’s, thence came to Florence in 1862, and after engaging in placer-mining at the latter place for a year, went to Idaho City in the Boise basin, where he worked at placer-mining, receiving three dollars per day and his board in compensation for his services. In January 1864, he arrived in Boonville, now called Dewey, and engaged in sawing lumber for the different stamp...

Biography of James Harvey Forney

A visit to the library of the gentleman whose name is above and a chat with him in his pleasant home at Moscow, are sufficient to dispel any idea that the new west is without culture or men of ability interested in its educational progress and development. Mr. Forney has given some of the best years of an active and useful life to the cause of education in Idaho, and has attained more than local distinction otherwise. James Harvey Forney, a prominent citizen of Moscow, Idaho, and ex-United States district attorney for the district of Idaho, was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, forty-seven years ago, a son of James H. and Emily (Logan) Forney. The old homestead in North Carolina, where Mr. Forney was born, has been in the po-session of his family for four generations. The Forneys are of French-Huguenot descent and Mr. Forney’s great-great-grandfather, who was born in 1640, fled from his native land in 1685, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and settled in Alsace, on the Rhine. His son, Mr. Forney’s great-grandfather, was born in 1721. In 1754 he married a Miss Maria Bergner, of Canton Berne, Switzerland, and thereafter settled in Lincoln County. North Carolina. The fact that they and their sons, Jacob, Peter and Abraham, were uncompromising Whigs, and that the family sustained the cause of American liberty by the expenditure of their means and by force of arms, did not tend to make their relations with Cornwallis’ men any more pleasant, and they were deprived of about everything they possessed, even to their gold, silver and jewelry, much of...

Biography of James H. Hawley

No Compendium such as the province of this work defines in its essential limitations will serve to offer fit memorial to the life and accomplishments of the honored subject of this sketch a man remarkable in the breadth of his wisdom, in his indomitable perseverance, his strong individuality, and yet one whose entire life has not one esoteric phase, being an open scroll, inviting the closest scrutiny. True, his have been “massive deeds and great” in one sense, and yet his entire life accomplishment but represents the result of the fit utilization of the innate talent which is his, and the directing of his efforts in those lines where mature judgment and rare discrimination lead the way. There is in Mr. Hawley a weight of character, a native sagacity, a far-seeing judgment and a fidelity of purpose that commands the respect of all. A man of indefatigable enterprise and fertility of resource, he has carved his name deeply on the record of the political, commercial and professional history of the state, which owes much of its advancement to his efforts. James H. Hawley was born in Dubuque, Iowa, on the 17th of January 1847, and in his veins mingles the blood of English, Dutch and Irish ancestors. The Hawley family was founded in America in 1760. William Carr, the maternal great-grandfather of our subject, was a major in the Revolutionary army; and the grandfather, Henry Carr, commanded a company in the war of 1812, with the rank of captain. Thomas Hawley, his father, was born in Brooklyn, New York, and became a civil engineer by profession. He married Miss...

Biography of William Lauer

Since the establishment of Payette William Lauer has been identified with its development and upbuilding, and his labors have been most effective in promoting its welfare. He is the pioneer hardware merchant of the town, and still continues in that line of business, his well directed efforts bringing him success. He is among the worthy citizens that the Fatherland has furnished to the New World, his birth having occurred in Germany on the nth of November 1833. In his youth he crossed the Atlantic to New York with his father, Isaac Lauer, who made his home in the eastern metropolis until called to his final rest. His death occurred in his eightieth year. William Lauer had attended the public schools, of his native land, and was fifteen years of age when he came to America. He learned the tinner’s trade in New York City, and there remained for seven years, when he resolved to leave the Atlantic coast and seek a home on the Pacific coast. In 1854 he sailed from New York to San Francisco, and engaged in merchandising in Siskiyou County, California, where he remained until 1861, when he came to Idaho, attracted by the Oro Fino excitement. He engaged in clerking and also in placer mining, but his efforts in the latter direction did not prove successful. For his services as a salesman, however, he received one hundred dollars per month. Later he visited the various mining camps in Idaho, was in Elk City and in Florence, finally returned to Lewiston, and subsequently went to Warren, where he met with success, both as a merchant and...

Biography of Robert H. Leonard

Into the bosom of the earth the hand of nature placed many rich mineral deposits, and the great value of these, together with the magnificent forests and rolling lands of Idaho, have gained for the state the well deserved title of the “Gem of the Mountains.” Its mines are now yielding a large output of gold and silver, which adds to the wealth and prosperity of the country as well as of the individual mine owners. Among the enterprising and prominent business men who are now engaged in the development of the rich mineral resources of the state is Robert H. Leonard, of this review. The home of his childhood was the far-off state of Maine. He was born near the Kennebec River, in the Pine Tree state, June 7, 1832, and his ancestors, native of England, were early settlers of that northeastern section of our land which was named for the mother country. The grandfather, Isaac Leonard, was a ship owner of Maine, and served his country in the war of 1812. His son Isaac, the father of our subject, was also born in Maine, and became a sea captain. He married Miss Levina Snow, a native of his own state, and to them were born five children. The mother died and the father afterward married her sister, Priscilla Snow, by whom he had ten children. The sisters were both members of the Methodist church, but Mr. Leonard was a Universalist in religious faith. He died at the age of seventy-three years. Robert H. Leonard, whose name introduces this review, attended the common schools near his boyhood’s home,...
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