Biography of George Pettengill
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The subject of this review is one whose history touches the pioneer epoch in the annals of the state of Idaho, and whose days form an integral part of that indissoluble chain which linked the early formative period with that of latter day progress and prosperity. Not alone is there particular interest attaching to his career as one of the pioneers of Idaho, but in reviewing his genealogical record we find his lineage tracing back to the colonial history of the nation and to that period which marked the inception of the grandest republic the world has ever known. Through such sources have we attained the true American type, and along this line must our investigations proceed if we would learn of the steadfast and unyielding elements which constitute the basis upon which has been reared the lofty and magnificent superstructure of an en-lightened and favored commonwealth.
In 1620 Richard Pettengill was born in Staffordshire, England, and in 1641 he landed on the shores of New England, there to found a family that has sent its branches out into various sections of the country. He married Johanna Ingersol, and their son, Samuel, was married February 3, 1674, to Sarah Poor. On the 18th of December. 1692, was born to them a son, to whom they gave the name of Benjamin. He was the father of Andrew P. Pettengill, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch. He was born in 1742 and removed to Salisbury, New Hampshire, where he married Miss Sarah Abigail Greely, who was born in 1749. Their son, David Pettengill, father of our subject, was born December 4, 1791, and married Hannah Ouinby. She died, and he later married her sister, Sarah Abigail Ouinby, who became the mother of our subject. In 1838 they removed to Alton, Illinois, and the father established one of the first sawmill industries in that section of the state, but he was not long permitted to enjoy his new home, his death occurring soon after his arrival in the Mississippi valley. His wife did not long survive him, and thus three little children were left orphans in that then new country.
George Pettengill was born in Salisbury, New Hampshire, on the 18th of May, 1832, and was only ten years old at the time of his mother’s death. Thus early he was thrown upon his own resources, and whatever success he has since achieved is due entirely to his own efforts. He worked on a farm and obtained his education in the hard school of experience. At the age of seventeen he secured a clerkship in a country store, and was thus employed until the building of the railroad from Alton, Illinois, to Terre Haute, Indiana, when he was made superintendent of a number of men engaged on the construction of that road. In 1852 with a party of fifteen, he crossed the plains with oxen, taking three hundred head of cattle. At Fort Laramie, in company with five companions, he left the remainder of the party and continued the journey to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he remained for a month. On the expiration of that period Mr. Pettengill resumed his trip, by way of the Honey Lake Valley route, to California, and, after a short time passed at Shasta, went to Weaverville. He engaged in mining along the Trinity River until 1858, when, attracted by the excitement at the Fraser River, he made his way thither in search of gold.
The following year, however, Mr. Pettengill returned to California and for some years was engaged in hauling freight from Red Bluff, then the head of steamboat navigation on the Sacramento River, to various points in the northern section of the state. In 1862 he came with a pack train across the mountains to Lewiston, Idaho, and engaged in the raising of cattle and horses on Squaw creek, in which undertaking he met with excellent success, having on hand as many as three hundred and fifty head of cattle at one time and half that number of horses. In 1883 he came to Boise and for some time conducted the Central Hotel, but for some years past has been engaged in the public service.
In politics Mr. Pettengill has been a lifelong Republican, and in 1876 was a member of the territorial council for Boise County. He represented Ada County in the state legislature in 1884, and from 1887 until 1890 he was the assessor of Ada County, a position which he has since filled for six years. His long service plainly indicates his fidelity to duty and his ability in the discharge of the tasks that fall to his lot. He is thoroughly posted on the value of every piece of property in the county, and neither fear nor favor can swerve him from the path of duty and rectitude.
In 1876 Mr. Pettengill was united in marriage to Mrs. Anna Harris, and they have three sons. The eldest, George T., is now in the naval service of his country, as a member of the crew of the Puritan. He was at Matanzas and had the honor of firing the first shot in the Spanish-American war. The other sons, Benjamin and Hugh, are twins, and are graduates of the high school of Boise. The family is one of prominence in the community and the members of the household occupy a prominent position in social circles. His political career has been marked by fidelity, and in social circles his genuine worth commands the respect of all. He is numbered among Idaho’s honored pioneers, and his name should be placed high on the roll of her leading citizens.