Prominent in the field of politics and in business circles, Isaac C. Hattabaugh has left the impress of his individuality upon the public life of Latah county, and is today numbered among the leading and influential citizens of Moscow. A native of Indiana, he was born in Salem, that state, December 24, 1851. His grandfather, Jacob Hattabaugh, was born in Germany, and crossing the Atlantic to America settled in Virginia, whence he afterward removed to Pennsylvania and from there to Indiana. He was a man of ability and an influential pioneer settler of southern Indiana. His son, George W. Hattabaugh, the father of our subject, was a native of the Hoosier state, and there married Sarah Boling, who was born in North Carolina and was a daughter of Randolph and Jane (Graves) Boling. By occupation Mr. Hattabaugh was a farmer, following that pursuit throughout his active business life. His wife was a member of the Christian church. He was never identified with any church. He was born in 1822 and died in 1898, at the age of seventy-six years, and his wife passed away in 1892, at the age of sixty-eight. They were the parents of seven children, four of whom are still living in Indiana and Illinois.
The subject of this sketch was reared on his father’s farm, where he early became familiar with all the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He acquired his education in the public schools of Kossuth and Plattsburg, and when nineteen years of age left home, going to Indianapolis, where he taught school and later engaged in bridge-building and contracting. He was also for some years engaged in the manufacture of drain tile near Jamestown, Indiana, and in 1878 he resolved to try his fortune in the far west. Accordingly he took up his residence in Lewiston, Idaho, preempted one hundred and sixty acres of land, and then engaged in contracting and building. He also was interested in a sash and door manufactory for a number of years, and was thus very active in promoting the industrial interests of the community in which he resided. He is a man of excellent business and executive ability, and his capable management and industry brought to him a deserved success.
Mr. Hattabaugh also early became recognized as a leading factor in Democratic circles, giving an active support to the men and measures of the party. He received the appointment of deputy auditor of his county and afterward was elected auditor of Nez Perces County, which then included all of Latah County. In 1889 he came to Moscow to reside and here served as deputy court clerk. He also established an abstract office and in that year the Commercial Bank was organized, with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars, and he was elected president of the new institution, over which he presided until 1895. Under his capable management the bank prospered and became very popular, doing a large business, but in 1895 when the great financial panic came, they had one hundred and twenty thousand dollars loaned out and were unable to get the money. Therefore, like many other banks and business enterprises, they were forced into bankruptcy. Mr. Hattabaugh was appointed trustee to close up the business of the bank, but the entire wheat crop of the country was destroyed by heavy rains that year and fifteen thousand dollars was all that could be collected, so that the loss sustained by the bank was one hundred and five thousand dollars. Since that time Mr. Hattabaugh has been with the Elder Brothers, dealers in farm machinery, this being the largest house of the kind south of Spokane.
In 1892 Mr. Hattabaugh was chosen by his party as the candidate for county treasurer. The campaign was a very spirited one and he made a splendid canvass, receiving a majority of one hundred and fifty-two votes, when the usual Republican majority was from five to seven hundred. He has also held the office of regent of the State University, to which he was appointed by Governor McConnell, and had the honor of being president of the board for two years. He took a deep interest in the affairs of the university and labored most effectively and earnestly for its welfare. He is at all times a progressive and loyal citizen and withholds his support from no measure which he believes will advance the general good. He was six years a member of the Moscow school board of trustees, during which time he was treasurer of the board, and when the bank failed, wherein the funds were deposited, he made it good by deeding the school board one brick building in Moscow and his former residence in Lewiston. This sacrifice was in the interest of education.
Before leaving Indiana Mr. Hattabaugh was married, December 16, 1875, to Miss Allie Miller, daughter of Eli Miller, of Indiana, and now the only survivor of her father’s family. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hattabaugh have been born two children, a son and daughter, M. Reese and Nona, both now students in the State University. The family have a pleasant home in Moscow and the members of the household hold high rank in social circles. Our subject is a very zealous and enthusiastic member of the Masonic fraternity, and his wife is an active member of the Order of the Eastern Star, while she and her daughter both belong to the Order of Rebekah, Miss Nona being secretary of the latter lodge in Moscow. Mr. Hattabaugh was made a Master Mason in Middlefork Lodge, No. 304, F. & A. M., of Middlefork, Indiana, March 6, 1875, and admitted there from in 1879 to become a member of Nez Perces Lodge, No. 10, of Lewiston. He took a very active part in its work, filled all of the offices and served as master for two years. On removing to Moscow, he admitted from the lodge in Lewiston, in 1890, and is now affiliated with Paradise Lodge, No. 17, of which he had the honor of being chosen master in 1891. He was made a Royal Arch Mason in Lewiston Chapter, No. 4, R. A. M., October 24, 1885, and in 1889 he admitted to Moscow Chapter No. 7. He was created a Knight Templar in Moscow Commandery in 1892, is now its eminent commander, and has attained the fourteenth degree of the Scottish rite. He is well versed in the ritual and the work of the order, and by reason of his proficiency was appointed deputy grand master in 1887, and in 1892 was honored by election to the office of most worshipful grand master of the grand lodge of Idaho. He is a worthy exemplar of the beneficent and ennobling teachings of the fraternity and as a man and Mason stands very high in the public regard.