Biography of Almon S. Senter
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An eventful career was that of Colonel Almon S. Senter, who for some years figured conspicuously in connection with the mercantile and official interests of Lincoln County. At the time of his death, March 6, 1899, he was serving as district-court clerk and ex-officio auditor and recorder of Lincoln County, and he was also an enterprising and prominent merchant of Shoshone. A native of the old Granite state, he was born February 18, 1845, and is a representative of one of the old and honored families of New Hampshire, of English descent. His ancestors were early settlers of Londonderry, that state, and one of his great-granduncles served in the Colonial army during the Revolutionary war. The grandfather and father of our subject, both of whom bore the name of Thomas Senter, were natives of New Hampshire, the latter born in Petersboro. He wedded Miss Mary C. Giddings, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, and also a descendant of one of the prominent colonial families. Mr. Senter was an industrious farmer, who followed agricultural pursuits throughout his entire life. Both he and his wife were Methodists in religious belief, and the father lived to be sixty-four years of age, while the mother departed this life in her forty-seventh year, leaving a family of eleven children, the eldest but seventeen years of age, the youngest only three months old.
Colonel Senter was at that time a little lad of five summers. He was reared to manhood in Hudson, New Hampshire, was educated in the public schools, and when thirteen years of age began to earn his own living by working on a farm at six dollars per month. He was but sixteen years of age when the country was plunged into civil war, and in the following year he responded to the call for aid, enlisting August 29, 1862, as a member of Company G, Second Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. He served in Virginia and North Carolina, participated in the battles of Plymouth, Little Washington, Goldsboro. Fort Fisher, Smithfield and various other engagements, and received an honorable discharge, September 5, 1865. He was always found at his post of duty, faithfully defending the cause represented by the starry banner, but was never wounded or taken prisoner, and returned to his home a veteran and a victor.
Taking up the pursuits of civil life, Mr. Senter engaged in car building and had charge of the car shops at Reno, Pennsylvania, in the employ of the Atlantic & Great Western Railway Company. On the 4th of August 1886, he removed to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was employed in the car shops until May 7, 1887, when he was sent to take charge of the car shops at North Platte, Nebraska. He continued in that position for six and a half years, during which time, in August 1868, the Indians, under command of Chief Turkey Leg, the Cheyenne chief, derailed a train of freight cars at Plum Creek and plundered and burned them. Mr. Senter then organized a company of thirty-eight men to go in pursuit and save the goods, if possible. The Indians had loaded their ponies with all the goods they could carry and then fired the train, and as our subject and his men came nearer the smoke was carried by the wind far over the prairies, and the red men were seen galloping away in the distance, with pieces of high colored goods tied to the ponies’ tails and streaming behind in the breeze for many yards as the bolts unrolled. About the time Mr. Senter reached the scene Captain Pollock, with a company of United States regulars, came up and took charge of the pursuit of the Indians.
In 1874 Mr. Senter received the government contract to transport supplies to the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Indian agencies, and had two hundred and twenty-five oxen to convey the goods. He handled during that year over three million pounds of supplies, and lost on the con-tract about twenty thousand dollars.
In 1874 Mr. Senter also resigned his position in the railroad shops and established a general mercantile store in North Platte, where he carried on a successful business until June i, 1882. He then sold out and began dealing in stock, to which enterprise he devoted his energies until March 7, 1883, when he came to Idaho, arriving in Shoshone, on the 15th of the same month. Here he engaged in merchandising, and erected a large store building, which he filled with clothing, dry goods, boots and shoes. He had a liberal patronage and his honorable methods com-mended him to the confidence and good will of all. He also engaged in the fire-insurance, real-estate and undertaking businesses, and was the manager of the Shoshone Falls Stage Company, having been a prominent factor in the establishment of the route to the fine falls twenty-five miles distant. These falls, with the surrounding territory, form one of the most beautiful and magnificent scenes in all Idaho, a state noted for the splendid scenic pictures it affords.
In public life Mr. Senter was long a prominent factor. He always supported the Republican Party and on that ticket was elected clerk of the district court and ex-officio auditor and collector of Lincoln County, discharging his duties in a most capable and satisfactory manner. His life was a very busy one, yet no public or private duty was neglected by him, and his fidelity in all relations won him uniform confidence and regard. He was appointed by Governor McConnell one of the trustees of the Idaho Soldiers’ Home and was commissary general of subsistence on the staff of Governor Shoup, with the rank of colonel of cavalry. He had a remarkable memory for dates, and could recall with accuracy the time of many incidents in his past life. Socially he was connected with the Masonic fraternity and served as master of the lodge. He also belonged to the Knights of Pythias fraternity and the Grand Army of the Republic, in which he was past department commander of Idaho.
On the 14th of October 1875, was celebrated the marriage of Colonel Senter and Miss Emma Honn, a native of Ohio. They were married in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and by their union were born two children, Kate Irene and Clyde A. The daughter is now the wife of Henry A. Brown, who assisted her father in the store. The son followed his father’s example of patriotism, and with loyal spirit volunteered in his seventeenth year for service in the war with Spain, and after his discharge at Manila, March 17, 1899, he re-turned home, arriving May 5,1899, having fought to establish the right of the United States to rule over the Philippines. Clyde A. Senter was mustered into the United States service May 12, 1898, went to Manila by way of San Francisco, and took an honorable part in seven battles in the Philippines.
Such in brief is the life history of Colonel Senter. The character of the man has been shadowed forth between the lines of this review, and in a summary of his career we note only a few of the salient points, his activity and sound judgment in business affairs and his conformity to the ethics of commercial life, his loyalty to the old flag in times of war and likewise in days of peace, his faithfulness to public office, and his genuine friendship and regard for true worth of character. These are the qualities which made Colonel Senter a valued citizen in whatever com-munity he has made his home.