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Biographical Sketch of Charles Smith

This worthy pioneer and substantial citizen of Malheur County, is deserving of a place in any compilation that purports to give the history of this section, since his labors have been here for many years toward the development and progress of the country, and since he is a man of ability and has achieved a goodly success as the reward of his labors and thrift. Mr. Smith was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 18, 1835, being the son of John and Susan Smith. At the age of eight he went with his parents to Illinois and there remained until 1854, when he came across the plains with his brothers, in an ox train, to Siskiyou County, California, and there engaged in mining. He made some good discoveries and later, 1858, went to the Cariboo mines at the time of the Fraser river excitement, whence he returned to Portland, then to Salem, and there followed his trade of brick mason. In 1878 he removed to Jackson County and remained three years and then vent to Mugginsville, California, where he mined until 188o. The next year he came to Malheur County, and located the place where he now lives as a homestead, ten miles northwest from Rockville, and devoted himself to farming and stock raising. His place is under the irrigating ditch and well improved and he has a good band of stock. Mr. Smith mines some, being interested in several good properties. The marriage of Mr. Smith and Miss Mary, daughter of John and Frances Ramsey, was solemnized in Salem, on November 9. 1865, and they have become the...

Biography of Charles Nickell

CHARLES NICKELL. – Among the young men of ability and energy in the Pacific Northwest who have come to the front through their own efforts is the gentleman whose name is given above. He is a native of the Golden state, having been born at Yreka in 1856. The advantages for receiving an education in early days were not good; but, notwithstanding this fact, his natural push gave impetus to a spirit to improve each opportunity for storing his mind with that which would fit him for a sphere of usefulness in the future; and so well did he succeed that at the age of thirteen years he was assistant teacher at Yreka with Professor William Duenkal. In 1869 he quit that most trying of all pursuits, and in 1870 entered the office of the Yreka Journal, completing his printer’s apprenticeship in twenty months. In 1871 he permanently removed to Jacksonville, and worked as compositor and reporter on the Democratic Times until December, 1872, when, at the age of sixteen years, he formed a partnership with P.D. Hull, and launched out as a full-fledged journalist by the purchase of that paper. The great fire in 1873 swept away the office and entire plant in common with other buildings. But the Times existed in a few active brains, not simply in types and plates, and was running as lively as ever in a short time thereafter. In 1874 Mr. Nickell became sole proprietor; and under his personal management it has become a very remunerative property, having a circulation of twenty-five hundred, which is second to no paper published in Oregon...

Biography of Frederick D. Schnebly

FREDERICK D. SCHNEBLY – Our subject was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1832, and was educated in the Franklin and Marshall College of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 1854 he started for California by way of Nicaragua. In passing up the Pacific, the steamer, Star of the West, on which he had taken passage, took fire; but the horrors of a burning ship tragedy were avoided by the timely and effective labors of the crew and passengers. After stopping for a time in San Francisco, he visited the Sandwich Islands, but, returning to the Golden state, spent two unsuccessful years in mining. While there, in 1855, he witnessed a bloody pitched battle between several hundred Kong Kong Chinamen and an equal number of their Canton countrymen. Later he became a trader and miner in Siskiyou county, but left that region for the new gold fields on the Frazer River. After much journeying, he settled where Dayton, Washington, now stands. With one exception, he was the first to build a business house there. This property he sold, and wandered from camp to camp among the mountains of Idaho and Montana. In 1871 he reached Walla Walla, and in 1872 located a farm in the Kittitass valley near Ellensburgh, Washington Territory. In 1873 he started the first agricultural implement establishment in Yakima county, representing Hawley, Dodd & Co., and since 1855 continued the same business for Knapp, Burrell & Co. Mr. Schnebly’s political record is that of a Democrat; and in 1878 he was elected sheriff of Yakima county by a majority of one hundred and fifty out of a total vote of...

Biography of William H. Townsend

Since the earliest pioneer development of Owyhee County, William H. Townsend has resided within its borders. Silver City had as yet no beginning when he arrived on its present site, in 1863, and De Lamar, Dewey and other towns were not heard of for many years afterward. The rich mineral deposits of this region, however, have attracted a large population, and with marvelous rapidity villages have been builded and all the enterprises and business industries of older communities have been introduced. All honor is due to the brave band of pioneers who first opened up this region to civilization, among which number is William H. Townsend. He is a native of New England and a representative of one of the oldest American families, his English ancestors having come to the shores of the New World in 1630, only ten years after the planting of the colony at Salem. Among the heroes of the Revolution were some who bore the name of Townsend, the number including the great grandfather of our subject. The grand-father, William W. Townsend, was born in Massachusetts, and built the first block house in Shoreham, Vermont. In the Green Mountain state occurred the birth of our subject’s father, Vernon Townsend, who on attaining his majority married Eunice Haskins. In his early life he was a mechanic, but in 1844 he removed to Wisconsin, where he industriously followed farming throughout his remaining days. His death occurred when he had reached the age of eighty-six years, and most of his family were long-lived people, few passing away before arriving at the eightieth milestone on life’s journey. In religious...

Biography of James A. Pinney

The enterprise of our American citizens has given the nation a position among the powers of the world that it has taken other countries many centuries to gain. The progressive spirit of the times is manifest throughout the length and breadth of the land, yet even to our own people the growth and development of the west seems almost incredible. Less than half a century ago Idaho, California, Montana, Oregon and other western states were wild and almost unpeopled regions, without the railroad or other transportation facilities, without the telegraph or the varied commercial and industrial industries of the east. The hostile Indians made it a hazardous under-taking to establish homes in the district, but some fearless and sturdy spirits pushed their way into the wild region, reclaimed it from desolation and Indian rule, and to-day beautiful towns and enterprising villages dot the landscape, and in no particular are the improvements or the com-forts or the advantages of the east lacking in this district. Among those who have made Boise one of the most attractive and progressive centers of population in the northwest is James Alonzo Pinney, who has left the impress of his individuality upon many of the business interests of the city and thereby become an essential factor in the history of its upbuilding. He is a native of Ohio, born in Franklin County, on the 29th of September 1835, descended from New England ancestry, the family having been established in Vermont at a very early day in the colonial epoch. Four brothers emigrated westward to Franklin County, Ohio, one of whom was Azariah Pinney, the grandfather...

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 John M. Silcott

Almost forty years have passed since John M. Silcott took up his residence in Idaho, and he is therefore one of the oldest and most widely known pioneers of the state. He came in the spring of 1860 to establish the government Indian agency at Lapwai, and has since been identified with the growth and development of this section. He is a Virginian, his birth having occurred in Loudoun County, of the Old Dominion, January 14, 1824. His French and Scotch ancestors were early settlers there, and during the Revolution and the war of 18 12 representatives of the family loyally served their country on the field of battle. William Silcott, the father of our subject, married Sarah Violet, a lady of Scotch ancestry, and about 1828 they removed with the family to Zanesville, Ohio, where the father engaged in business as a contractor and builder. He was liberal in his religious views, and his wife held the faith of the Presbyterian Church. His political support was given the Whig party and the principles advocated by Henry Clay. Only two children of the family of five are now living, the sister being Sarah T., who married Captain Abrams, of Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Abrams now makes her home in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1845 the family removed to St. Louis, where both the parents died. Mr. Silcott received a common-school education in Zanesville, Ohio, and one of his school-mates was “Sunset” Cox, afterward distinguished in the United States congress. In his early life our subject learned the carpenter’s and boat-builder’s trades, which knowledge afterward proved of great practical benefit to him...

Biography of Edward J. Curtis

Among the eminent men of the northwest whose life records form an integral part of the history of Idaho was numbered Hon. Edward J. Curtis. In his death the state lost one of its most distinguished lawyers, gifted statesmen and loyal citizens. As the day, with its morning of hope and promise, its noontide of activity, its evening of completed and successful efforts, ending in the grateful rest and quiet of the night, so was the life of this honored man. His career was a long, busy and useful one, marked by the utmost fidelity to the duties of public and private life, and crowned with honors conferred upon him in recognition of superior merit. His name is inseparably interwoven with the annals of the Pacific coast, with its best development and its stable progress, and his memory is cherished as that of one who made the world better for his having lived. Edward J. Curtis was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1827 and acquired his preliminary education in public schools and under the instruction of private tutors in his native town. He was thus prepared for college and entered Princeton, where he was graduated with high honors. On the completion of his collegiate course he returned to Worcester, but soon after went to Boston, where he began the study of law in the office of the renowned jurist, Rufus Choate, but after a short time the news of the discovery of gold reached the east, and in company with a number of young men he started for California, crossing the plains to San Francisco, where he arrived early...

Biography of Francis E. Ensign

Holding marked prestige among the prominent members of the Idaho bar is Francis Edward Ensign, who is now engaged in the practice of the legal profession in Hailey. There are few-men whose lives are crowned with the honor and respect which is uniformly accorded him; but through forty-five years” connection with the west his has been an unblemished career. With him success in life has been reached by sterling qualities of mind and a heart true to every manly principle. In his varied business interests his reputation has been unassailable and in offices of public trust he has displayed a loyalty that classed him among the valued citizens of the commonwealth. He has nearly reached the seventieth milestone that marks earth’s pilgrimage, but is still concerned with the active affairs of life, and in the courts of his district displays a strong mentality undimmed by time and a power of argument that wins him many notable forensic victories. A native of Ohio, Mr. Ensign was born in Painesville, March 4, 1829, and is descended from English ancestors who came from the “merrie isle” to the New World, locating in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1630, only two years after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. A little later the Ensigns became pioneer settlers of Hartford, Connecticut. The paternal grandfather of our subject was one of the first settlers of Pitts-field and one of the incorporators of the town. When Benedict Arnold, then in command of American forces in the Revolutionary war, at-tempted the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, he volunteered and aided in taking that British strong-hold, bringing away with...
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