Biography of Thomas M. Jeffreys
Thomas M. Jeffreys, probate judge and superintendent of public instruction in Washington County, Idaho, is a native of Oregon, his birth having occurred in Yamhill County, on the 7th of April 1852. His father, Woodson Jeffreys, was born in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1825, and in early manhood, in Oregon, married Jane Forrest, also a native of Missouri. They crossed the plains to Oregon in 1845, being nine months in accomplishing the long and weary journey across the plains, their way being beset by many obstacles, difficulties and dangers. They located on government land in Yamhill County, and during the first winter suffered many hardships and privations. Their stock of provisions was almost exhausted and they subsisted on boiled wheat and what game they could kill. Mr. Jeffreys also participated in the wars with the Indians in those early years of his residence in the northwest, and was a brave pioneer and a man of sterling character. In 1865 he came to Idaho, accompanied by his wife and five children, and
purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land at Weiser, where he built a residence and began the development of the farm upon which his widow yet resides. In connection with his brother he was extensively engaged in stock raising, both in Oregon and Idaho. They were enterprising, ambitious and fearless, and recognizing an excellent business opportunity, they drove large herds of cattle to the Carriboo country, where by furnishing the miners with beef, they made large sums of money. Mr. Jeffreys departed this life in 1881, at Weiser, at the age of fifty-six years, respected by all who knew him. His wife, who still survives him, is now sixty-five years of age, and like her husband is a consistent member of the Christian church. In the early days he served as County commissioner when the County comprised Ada, Canyon and Washington counties, and discharged the duties of that important position with promptness and fidelity. He was an important factor in the development of the state, and his labors proved very effective in opening up this region to the advance of civilization.
Judge Jeffreys, whose name introduces this review, was the eldest child of Woodson and Jane Jeffreys. He spent his youth in his parents’ home and was well fitted for the practical and responsible duties of life by liberal educational privileges. His early advantages in that direction were supplemented by a course in Kentucky University, at Lexington, Kentucky, where he was graduated in the law and commercial departments in the class of 1876. He then returned to his home in Idaho, where for some years he was successfully engaged in school teaching, being numbered among the most efficient educators of the state. For five years he was also engaged in general merchandising at Weiser, but is now devoting his energies to the public service, faith-fully performing the duties entrusted to his care.
Since attaining his majority he has exercised his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Democracy, and is a recognized leader in the party ranks in this section of the state. In 1881 he was elected a member of the territorial legislature and has also served for two terms as treasurer of Washington County. On his retirement from that office he was elected probate judge and superintendent of schools, and is now serving his second term in those offices, discharging his duties in a manner highly satisfactory to the people and creditable to himself.
In 1881 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Jeffreys and Mrs. M. G. Jewell, who by her former marriage had one son, C. W. Jewell. Mr. and Mrs. Jeffreys have a daughter, Ethel F. They have a nice home and fruit farm at Weiser, and occupy a leading position in social circles where true worth and intelligence are received as the passports into good society. They are valued members of the Baptist church, and give their support to all measures tending toward the moral and educational advancement of the community.