Perkins, J. A., Hon.
The following data is extracted from History of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington, 1889.
HON. J.A. PERKINS. - It is a pleasure to see that this widely known and universally respected citizen of Colfax, Washington, the father of the place, is an Oregon man, having crossed the plains to his Western home in Benton county when but eleven years of age. He thus received his education and the impetus of his life on this coast, although he was born in Illinois. In 1861 he came to Walla Walla county, and in 1870 to the Palouse, taking up a claim upon unsurveyed land at the site of Colfax; for the whole region was yet a wilderness. There were then not above a dozen families within the present limits of Whitman county, now the third most populous in Washington. No sooner was Mr. Perkins well established there, than he began pushing for the upbuilding of the city. In 1871, with two others, he built a sawmill, - the first north of the Snake river, except at Colville. In 1872 he was appointed on a committee to select a county-seat. His nomination of Colfax was duly ratified by the people the following November.
In 1873 he was married to Miss Ewart of Whitman county, a daughter of Captain Ewart, who served actively during the war. This step was scarcely less advantageous to the city than any of the preceding, since Mrs. Perkins has contributed very largely to its social, educational and religious advancement. The family thus formed has furnished four children, Minnie D., Myrtle M., Stella and Somner E., Minnie being the first white child born there.
In 1878 Mr. Perkins was elected to the territorial legislature, serving on important committees in 1870. In 1880 he bought out C.G. Livingstone, who was conducting a private bank and established the Bank of Colfax in partnership with A.L. Mills. During his residence there, he has served as member of the city council, and was elected mayor three times in succession, refusing the nomination thereafter. As an active Republican he has sat in important conventions, assisting in the nomination of Selucius Garfielde, and of Major J.A. Armstrong, for delegate to Congress. He has ever been an indefatigable worker for railway connections, and is now taking measures for the construction of a branch road to the Coeur d'Alene mines, thus bringing the immense output of that region through Colfax. He has large real-estate interests in the place, and is one of the oldest, most active, upright, liberal and highly respected men in that section. He has recently been adorning his homestead and the city by the erection of a fine dwelling-house.
Source: History of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington, 1889