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James Russell Strong, judge of the probate court of Latah County, was born in Sullivan, Ashland County, Ohio, September 24, 1849. His great-grandfather, Russell Strong, was a resident of Vermont and participated in the events which go to form the early history of the Green Mountain state. His son, Alvah Strong, grandfather of our subject, was a participant in the war of 1812 when but a boy, and for one year served in the Union army during the civil war as a member of Company F, First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry. He participated in the battle of Fort Donelson and after the battle of Shiloh received an honorable discharge on account of his advanced age. He spent his last days with his son, Orrin R. Strong, and his grandson, James R. Strong, and had passed the ninetieth milestone on life’s journey when called to his final rest.
Orrin R. Strong, father of our subject, was born in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus county, New York, September 30, 1823, and having arrived at years of maturity married Miss Amanda Gibbs who was born in Rutland county, Vermont, a daughter of Elijah Gibbs, of that state. Mr. Strong was a farmer, but at the time of the rebellion he put aside all business cares and personal considerations to enter his country’s service, as a member of Company C, Fourth Regiment of Missouri Cavalry. On the expiration of his first term he reenlisted, and continued at the front until the close of the war. He now resides in Garfield, Washington, at the age of seventy-six years, and his wife is seventy-one years of age. They celebrated their golden wedding in October 1898, having traveled life’s journey together for half a century. They are members of the Methodist church, in which they have for many years been faithful workers. In their family were eight children, six of whom are living.
James Russell Strong, the eldest of the family, acquired his preliminary education in the public schools, and later was a student in Amity Academy, in Page County, Iowa. He entered upon his business career as a schoolteacher and farmer, performing the labors of the schoolroom through the winter season, while in the summer months he worked in the fields. In 1877 he removed to Kansas, where he purchased a cheese factory, which he operated for five years. He was also engaged in merchandising for five years in Ripley, Kansas, but in 1889 sold his business interests in that state and came to Idaho, locating on one hundred and sixty acres of land in the northern part of Latah county, his post office being Cora. He has also acted as salesman, bookkeeper and timekeeper in connection with a large sawmill in the neighborhood.
In politics Mr. Strong has always been a Republican and has been honored with a number of positions of public trust. He has served as postmaster and justice of the peace, and in 1898 received the Republican nomination for judge of the probate court of Latah County. Being elected, he is now ably serving, discharging his duties in a most prompt and able manner. The cause of education ever finds in him a warm friend and he has rendered effective service as school trustee.
In 1876 Mr. Strong was united in marriage to Miss Mary M. Putnam, a native of Canton, Fulton county, Illinois, and they have four children: Alvah, Eunice, Ettie and Alice, all yet under the parental roof. Mrs. Strong holds membership in the Methodist church, and for many years Mr. Strong has been a valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, passing all the chairs in the encampment. He is a gentleman of ability and is an obliging and painstaking officer.