Biography of Levi J. Rouse
Among the worthy representatives of honest industry and good government, stands the capable and intelligent gentleman, whose name is at the head of this article, and who has achieved a success in different lines, each of which is sufficient to stamp him as a man of ability and enterprise, while in it all he has maintained an untarnished reputation and displayed both integrity and faithfulness coupled with sound principles and honorable dealing with his fellows. In addition to this, Mr. Rouse has been an active worker in the advancement of the county’s interests in different lines and his efforts are to be commended in a strong manner since his intelligence and diligence have brought untold benefit to his fellows.
Near Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio, on October 15, 1835, the subject of this sketch was born to James M. and Mary (Weaver) Rouse. His early life was spent on the farm with his parents and when he had attained the age of fourteen, the parents both died and he was left to face the cold world alone. He continued in the same neighborhood, attending school and working until he was seventeen years of age and then his precocity and diligence had enabled him to gain the requisite certificate and he embarked in the life of the educator. He was signally successful from the start and he continued until the year 1857 in the same locality, and then migrated to Pleasantville, Marion County, Iowa. In the meantime, he had prosecuted his studies so that he won the highest or first grade of certificate that the county issued, and in Iowa he continued in the work of the instructor until 1859, then undertook the arduous journey across the plains with ox teams. His train was the first that had ventured across after the murder of the Ward family by the Indians. They arrived at the Dalles without any serious trouble and from that point they went down the trail to Portland. He continued his journey until he reached Independence and the winter of 1859-60 was spent in company with the late Hon. Frank Burch. In the spring he went with a drove of cattle to California, spending the larger part of the summer at Shasta, Butte county, near the scene of the massacre of General Canby in the Modoc war. Returning in the fall to Independence, the next winter was spent in clerking for Captain Lyon. In the spring of 1861 Mr. Rouse was one of the first ones to enter the famous Oro Fino mining regions, and there and in other portions of Idaho, he spent the time until 1864 in the industry of mining. The winter of 1864-65 was spent in the Grande Ronde valley with the late William S. Glenn. The following spring he returned to the mountains of Idaho and followed mining until 1866, then he turned again to the Grande Ronde valley and engaged in teaching until 1886, when he repaired to Wallowa valley. When the county was organized he was appointed the first superintendent of schools, the year being 1887. And at the first election he was chosen by his fellows as county clerk and for four successive terms, a period of eight years, he was kept in that office, the county gaining much benefit from his faithful and efficient labors. In 1897 he was appointed postmaster in Enterprise, taking charge in July of that year and he is continued there at the present time, giving general satisfaction and maintaining the dignity of the office. Mr. Rouse is one of the publishers and a half owner of the Wallowa Chieftain, the weekly Republican newspaper published at Enterprise. It is of note that Mr. Rouse assisted W. H. Odell to run the base line in Wallowa, they being the first surveying party in the section now embraced in Wallowa county. Mr. Rouse has a fine farm of three hundred acres on Alder slope and he has given much intelligent attention to handling it, manifesting wisdom in all its culture. He has paid much attention also to the industry of fruit raising and he has one of the finest orchards in the county, and his efforts for the advancement of that industry have done much for the county. He also handled a nursery for a number of years. In educational matters Mr. Rouse has taken a deep interest and his enthusiasm has pushed the cause forward in a commendable manner. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the A.F.&A.M. Lodge No. 128, being the oldest Mason in the county, becoming one in 1858. In church work, Mr. Rouse is one of the active participants and is at present trustee of the Methodist church in Enterprise. Politically he is a Republican and active in the local matters and interested in the general welfare of the county.