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In the front rank of the columns which have advanced the civilization of the northwest, Solomon M. Jeffreys has led the way to the substantial development, progress and up building of Idaho, being particularly active in the growth of Weiser, where he still makes his home. He is numbered among the pioneers of Idaho, California and Oregon, his memory going back to the time when the entire Pacific coast was but very sparsely settled, when the Indians were more numerous than the white men, and the land had not been reclaimed for purposes of cultivation, but remained in the primitive condition in which it came from the hand of nature.
Mr. Jeffreys was born in Jackson County, Missouri, February 11, 1835, and is of English lineage. His father, Thomas Jeffreys, was born in Kentucky and was married there to Miss Mary Dickerson. In 1845, with his wife and five children, he started for Oregon with a train of sixty wagons, drawn by oxen and mules, there being about two hundred persons in the company. They were nine months in making the long and tedious journey across the plains and endured many hardships and privations. Their route lay along the south and west banks of the Snake River, but they little dreamed that in the course of a few years members of their Party would locate in that beautiful district of what is now the state of Idaho. They pressed onward to the fertile Willamette valley, and the father located a “donation” claim of six hundred and forty acres of land in what became the rich County of Yamhill, Oregon. In 1849, attracted by the discovery of gold in California, he went to that state, accompanied by two of his sons, and engaged in mining for some time. When they had taken out considerable gold they started to return to Oregon, but the father died and was buried at sea, when forty-eight years of age. He was an honest, industrious and brave pioneer. His estimable wife, who shared with him in the dangers and privations of frontier life, survived him for a long period, and died at the age of seventy-three years. Of their five children who crossed the plains only two are living, Solomon and James.
The former acquired his education in Polk County, Oregon, and at the Methodist Mission College, at Salem. In 1849 he went with his father and brother John to California and engaged in mining on the north fork of the American River. When they had saved twenty-five thousand dollars they started to return to Oregon. After the death and burial of their father at sea, the brothers continued on their way alone to Yamhill County, where Mr. Jeffreys of this review engaged in farming for a number of years. He then followed stock raising in eastern Oregon, and became one of the largest cattlemen of that time. In 1862 he drove one thousand head of cattle from The Dalles to the Carriboo Country, where he butchered them, selling the beef to the miners for fifty and seventy-five cents per pound, making on that venture about half a million dollars. On the trip to that place, the Indian chief Moses and his band accompanied Mr. Jeffreys and his Party, and they feasted the Indians on the best they had. His brother John was a lieutenant in the Wasco Company, and with his command participated in the Indian war of 1856.
In the year 1865 Mr. Jeffreys of this review arrived in Idaho, and settled in what is now Washington County, and he engaged in the raising of cattle and horses. Later he was actively identified with many of the industrial and commercial interests of Weiser. He built the first flouring-mill and was also one of the early merchants of the town. He became one of the builders of the city water ditches and a member of the Weiser City Ditch and Irrigation Company, which has been of great value to the town and surrounding country. Since its organization he has been president of the company, and in all his business interests he has met with gratifying success, owing to his careful management, his reliable judgment and his unabating energy.
In 1868 Mr. Jeffreys married Miss Alary Boyles, a native of Polk County, Oregon, and a daughter of Dr. Boyles, who was a very prominent physician. By that marriage there were three children. The mother died soon after the birth of her twins, and they did not long survive her. The first born, Laura, is now the wife of W. W. Curtis, of Salem, Oregon. On the 23d of April 1878, Mr. Jeffreys wedded Mrs. Sarah E. Ripper, and they have two sons, Oliver, in school, and Woodson, who is a volunteer in the American army at Manila.
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Mrs. Sarah E. Jeffreys, nee Anderson, was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, December 29, 1845. Her parents, Samuel Anderson and Cynthia Ann, nee Penland, were born, raised and married in Fleming County, Kentucky. Her father is seventy-five years of age and makes his home with his children. Her mother died January 13, 1884, when sixty-one years of age. Her great-grandparents, of Scotch-Irish descent, came from Virginia and took part in the war of 1812. Mrs. Jeffreys moved with her parents to Buchanan County, Missouri, in 1847, and crossed the plains to Willamette valley in 185 1. She was married to C. W. Ripper, March 19, 1863, and with her husband moved to eastern Oregon in 1864, and to Weiser, Idaho, in 1869. They had five children, three sons and two daughters: one son and daughter were twins. Only one of the five is living, Isaac N. Ripper, of Dayville, Oregon. Mrs. Jeffreys is a charter member of the Baptist church and one of its most active workers. Mr. Jeffreys was made a Master Mason in Amity Lodge, No. 20, at Amity, in Yamhill County, Oregon. In his earlier years he gave his political support to the Democratic Party, but is now a Populist. He was a member of the territorial legislature in the seventh session and aided in procuring the erection of Washington County, being one of the commissioners appointed to effect its organization. He is now a member of the town council and his popularity in Weiser is indicated by the fact that he was made the nominee of three parties for the office of County treasurer. He has ever discharged his duties with marked ability and fairness, for he is a most loyal, public-spirited citizen. As a businessman he has been conspicuous among his associates, not only for his success, but for his probity, fairness and honorable methods. In everything he has been eminently practical, and this has been manifest not only in his business undertakings but also in private and social life.