Lee R. Carlton, the proprietor of the Maple Crest fruit farm, one of the finest fruit farms in the rich Potlatch country of Idaho, is a native of Richland county, Ohio, his birth having there occurred on the 18th of October, 1848. The family is of English origin and the first American ancestors were early settlers of New York and Pennsylvania. Representatives of the name also became pioneer settlers of Richland County, Ohio. James Carlton, the grandfather, was born in that county and was a farmer and stock-raiser. He was a Presbyterian in religious faith and lived to be eighty years of age. His son, James Carlton, father of our subject, was also born in Richland County, and was a prominent railroad contractor for twenty-five or thirty years. At the time of his death, which occurred in 1867, when he had reached the age of sixty-five years, he was master of transportation on the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Cornelia Lowdon, was a native of Ohio and was descended from an old American family. She died two years previously to the death of her husband. Of their four children two are yet living.
Mr. Carlton acquired his education in Mansfield, Ohio, and early in life became familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist, assisting his father in the work of field and meadow on the home farm. When only fifteen years of age he began railroading, and was thus employed for a number of years, after which he went to Colorado, where he engaged in taking contracts for supplying logs to sawmills. Seventeen years ago he came to his present home, four and a half miles southeast of Kendrick, and took up a quarter section of government land. There were then but two residences between his home and the city of Moscow, and no one dreamed there was to be a future Kendrick. On American ridge there were but six settlers, and the work of improvement and progress in this locality was still to come. Here by his industry and energy Mr. Carlton has made a valuable fruit farm, having one of the best properties of any horticulturist in this section of the state. He has sixty acres planted to the best varieties of winter apples, and raises very choice fruit, which brings one dollar per box on the market, his ten-year-old trees averaging about eight boxes each. He also has six acres planted to Italian prunes, six acres in Bartlett pears, three acres in cherries and two acres planted to a variety of fruits. He has shipped the products of his orchard to Boston, New York, Chicago and St. Paul, but much of it goes to Montana and British Columbia. He ships nothing but the best, and his fruit has become justly celebrated, so that there is now a large demand for it, and his business has accordingly been in a prosperous condition. He has made a close study of horticulture, and he was formerly vice-president of the Horticultural Society, which no longer maintains its organization, and he was also inspector of fruit for this association, his opinion en the subject of fruits being widely received as authority.
Mr. Carlton was married in 1878, Miss Olie J. Pumphrey becoming his wife. She is a native of Platte county, Missouri, and a daughter of James and Sarah A. Pumphrey. They have three children. Norma, Fern and Allen. Mr. Carlton is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Woodmen of the World, and gives his political support to the men and measures of the Democracy. In his chosen field of endeavor he is meeting with excellent success, and has done much to demonstrate the practicability of fine fruit-raising possibilities in this part of Idaho.