James F. Kane, the leading grocer of Pocatello, Idaho, was born at Joliet, Illinois, April 3, 1858, to Michael and Anna (Smith) Kane, natives of Ireland, who emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, early in life and there met and married. At Joliet, Illinois, Michael Kane became a prosperous farmer, and for years he was foreman of the Illinois prison quarries. He is now, at the age of sixty-nine, a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of Nuckolls County, Nebraska. His wife died in her fiftieth year, in 1882. As is her husband, she was a devout member of the Catholic Church. They had eight children, of whom seven are living.
James F. Kane was the fifth in order of birth. He was reared at Joliet and attended the public school and a private school of his church. He farmed three years in Nebraska and then lived for a time in Iowa, until he was offered a position as traveling salesman for a cigar factory, in New York City, of which one of his uncles was proprietor. He was successful in this work, and was called into the office and made assistant bookkeeper, a position which he retained until the death of his uncle necessitated the termination of the business. He was then chosen to settle up his uncle’s estate, which he did to the satisfaction of everyone concerned.
In 1890 he came to Pocatello and for about nine months was in the employ of the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company. For a time he was a clerk in the mercantile house of Harkness & Company, then in a small way he began business for himself on the east side of the town, handling fruits, vegetables, fish and oysters. He was successful in this venture, and in about two years removed to the west side and embarked in a general grocery business on Cleveland Avenue. In 1895 he purchased his present store, in which he materially enlarged his business, which is now the most important of its kind in the town. His stock of merchandise is most complete, and his honorable methods commend his establishment to the favor of all classes of customers. Heeding the instructive maxim of Ben Franklin that “he who by the plow would thrive, himself must either hold or drive,” he has from the outset given the closest personal attention to his growing interests, and to this fact much of his success is to be attributed.
He was married in 1881 to Miss Myra L. Hollingsworth, a native of Boston, Massachusetts. They have three children, named Kathleen, Myra and John. Their home is a very cozy and enjoyable one. They are hospitable in the extreme, and are highly esteemed by a wide circle of acquaintances. Mr. Kane is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and of the Woodmen of the World.