The superior business ability of Mr. Helfrich has been an integral factor in the commercial activity whereon has rested much of the prosperity of southern Idaho. The world judges the character of a community by those of its representative citizens, and yields its tributes of admiration and respect for the ability and accomplishments of those whose works and actions constitute the record of the state’s prosperity and pride. Therefore it is proper that a just celebrity should be given to those men who are prominent in their day and generation, that the living may enjoy the approbation of their contemporaries as well as that of a grateful posterity.
Edward G. Helfrich is one of the leading and pioneer merchants of southern Idaho, and is now successfully and extensively carrying on operations at Mountain Home. He has, however, been the originator of many other enterprises which have contributed not alone to his individual prosperity but have also promoted the general welfare. He was born in North San Juan, Nevada County, California, March 11, 1858. His father, Conrad D. Helfrich, was a native of Germany, and when a young man emigrated to the United States, becoming a resident of California in 1850. Two years later he returned to Maryland and was married to Miss Elizabeth Gaynor, bringing his bride with him to his California home. For many years he was engaged in the manufacture and sale of soda water. He died in 1876, at the age of fifty-four years, and his wife, who still survives him, is now sixty-two years of age. Both were members of the Catholic Church and by their marriage they became the parents of nine children, of whom seven are yet living.
Mr. Helfrich of this review, the second in order of birth, was educated in the public schools of California, and when fifteen years of age went to Utah, where he engaged in clerking in the store of his uncle, J. W. Guthrie, a prominent merchant of that territory. He continued in that service for seven years, acquiring a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the business, both in principle and detail. Later he began merchandising on his own account, conducting stores in both Corinne and Ogden. In the fall of 1882 he came to Shoshone, Idaho. The railroad was then being constructed through this section of the state, but the now promising and progressive towns found along its line had not then been founded. Mr. Helfrich formed a partnership with Sam Holt and Howard Sebree in the ownership of stores at Shoshone, Mountain Home, Caldwell, Weiser and at Ogden and Salt Lake, Utah. This connection was continued until the spring of 1886, when the property was divided. Mr. Helfrich becoming owner of the stores in Weiser and Mountain Home. In 1887 he consolidated the two stores and has since remained at Mountain Home, where he has a large and well appointed store and is regarded as one of the most reliable and successful merchants of the town. He has built a double store, fifty by sixty feet, in which he carries a large line of general merchandise, and in addition he has a large warehouse adjacent to the railroad track, in which he stores his surplus stock, also utilizing it for the storage of wool, Mountain Home being an extensive wool market.
Mr. Helfrich was happily married, in February 1888, to Miss Nellie G. Mallison, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of Samuel Mallison, now of Kansas. She is a lady of refinement, possessing many estimable characteristics. Theirs is one of the delightful homes in their locality and they are justly entitled to the high esteem in which they are held by the citizens of the town. In his political views Mr. Helfrich has always been a Democrat, and has taken a prominent part in promoting the interests of that organization. He represented Alturas County in the territorial legislature in 1886-7, but is not an office-seeker, preferring to give his entire time and attention to his business, whereby he has acquired a good property. His mercantile career is above reproach. He has met every obligation most fully and honorably, is courteous and fair with his patrons, and his reliability commends him to their confidence and good will.