Lewis Publishing Company. cn.

An illustrated history of the state of Idaho, containing a history of the state of Idaho from the earliest period of its discovery to the present time, together with glimpses of its auspicious future; illustrations ... and biographical mention of many pioneers and prominent citizens of to-day .. online

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Online LibraryLewis Publishing Company. cnAn illustrated history of the state of Idaho, containing a history of the state of Idaho from the earliest period of its discovery to the present time, together with glimpses of its auspicious future; illustrations ... and biographical mention of many pioneers and prominent citizens of to-day .. → online text (page 76 of 136)
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fied with it actively and helpfully. He is a m.ember
of Joe Hooker Post, No. 20, of Idaho Falls, and
has several times served as its commander. He
is past master of the Eagle Rock Lodge, No. 19,
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of Idaho
Falls, and has a wide acquaintance among Ma-
sons throughout Idaho and adjacent states. In
his political views he is a Populist, but his tastes
have never inclined him to special activity in
political work, yet he is not without recognized
influence in his party. He is a modest man who
says little of himself or his achievements, but his
worth is known to his fellow citizens, who give
him rank as a leader in public-spirited work for
the general good and regard him as an upright
and reliable man of business and one of great
value to Idaho Falls. He was married. Novem-
ber 12, 1871, to Miss Harriet Regan, a native of
New York citv.


The career of Mr. Damas has been a very
eventful and interesting one, and now, at
the age of sixty-four, he is the possessor
of a handsome competence, — the fitting reward
of his well spent life. For twenty-six years
he has been prominently connected with the
mercantile interests of Lewiston and his efforts
have been an important element in the prog-
ress 'and advancement of this section of the
state. He was born far from his present
home, being a native of Brussels, Belgium, where
his birth occurred on the i8th of July, 1835. He
attended school in his native country until nine
years of age and then became a cadet in the
celebrated naval academy at Antwerp, where he
remained for several years, spending a part of
the time on a school-ship at sea. During that
period they sailed in every sea and visited all of
the principal ports of the world, and later Mr.
Damas was graduated as a second-class midship-

In 1848 his father sent him to Salem, Alassa-
chusetts, to learn the English language, and



there, as an apprentice, he went aboard the vessel
Thomas Perkins, under command of Captain
WilHam Rogers, saihng for San Francisco, Cah-
fornia, the vessel dropping anchor in that harbor
in the summer of 1849. Gold had but recently
been discovered and the great excitement there
caused every man to desert the ship save Mr.
Damas and the captain, who had to do the com-
mon sailor's work. Early in the spring of 1850
they secured a small crew of men and bovs and
sailed to the Sandwich islands, where a good
crew was employed, and from there they con-
tinued the voyage around the world. They
remained at Calcutta, India, for some tim.e and
returned by way of the Cape of Good Hope,
visiting St. Helena and the place where one of the
greatest military heroes of the world. Napoleon
Bonaparte, was laid to rest. They reached Bos-
ton, Massachusetts, just before Christmas of
1851, and found Captain Rogers' father ready to
launch the Witchcraft, a very fast sailing clipper
ship, making a record of eighteen miles an hour.
Mr. Damas was sent aboard this ship under his
former captain and was given the confidential
position of secretary. They took on a cargo for
San Francisco and started on a second voyage
around the world. In the China sea the vessel
was totally dismantled in a severe typhoon, in
which several ships were lost, but after great
effort the Witchcraft managed to reach Hong
Kong, where she remained four months undergo-
ing repairs. Notwithstanding all this she made
better time to San Francisco than any other ves-
sel had previously done. From Rio Janeiro
they took on four hundred Chinamen for San
Francisco, arid during the voyage the Celestials
mutinied, and almost succeeded in gaining con-
trol of the ship, but finally they were subdued
and the Witchcraft reached San Francisco in
safety. There they proceeded to prepare for
another trip to Calcutta, but Mr. Damas came to
the conclusion that it was advisable to seek to
better his condition on land, as he saw no pros-
pect of ever becoming owner of a vessel and
probably would never be more than a third of-
ficer, or at most a second ofificer. The relations
between himself and Captain Rogers had always
been most harmonious and agreeable, and the
Captain gave a very reluctant consent to Mr. Da-
mas' withdrawal, yet acceded the justice of his

wishes to better his lot in life. He was, how-
ever, asked to remain until the ship was ready
to start. While the preparations for sailing were
being made the crew made considerable fun of
him, assuring him that he would not be allowed
to leave the ship, and he had some fears himself
that such might be the case, but he packed his
trunk and had all in readiness to disembark. The
pilot came on board, the ship set sail, and it was
not until the pilot left the Witchcraft that Mr.
Damas received orders to go ashore. His trunk
was then lowered into the pilot's boat, and the
Captain bade him an affectionate good-bye,
placing in his hand a sealed envelope, which on
opening he found to contain a letter of recom-
mendation and a check for one thousand dollars,
— certainly a high tribute to the fidelity and
ability of Mr. Damas!

After some time our subject went to Sierra
county, California, where he engaged in mining
with good success. In 1853 he took out as higli
as one hundred dollars per day, but he loaned his
money and did not have much at the end of the
year. He was one of the discoverers of the How-
land Flats, a rich minine- district, but before he
knew the real value he sold out for a small sum
and went to the Feather river, where he became
interested in the building of a large flume near
Oroville. He was also interested in the Spanish
Flat-water ditch. From there he went to Siski-
you county, and arrived at Scott's Bar just in
time to take a part in the Indian war on the Kla-
math river. In 1861 the Oro Fino gold discov-
eries attracted him to Idaho. As the snow
melted and they progressed farther into the state,
they endured many hardships. In 1862 Mr.
Damas arrived at Lewiston, and at Oro Fino ac-
cepted a clerkship in the store of A. P. Aukeny,
remaining in that position until 1866, when, on
his own account, he began packing goods to
Montana. He sold out at Beartown. making ten
thousand dollars on the transaction. He then
returned to Oro Fino and succeeded A. P. Auk-
eny & Company in the mercantile business.
After successfully conducting a large trade there
for about six years, he was taken ill and by his
physician was advised to go to a lower altitude.
This led to his removal to Lewiston, where he has
made his home since 1872, engaged in the gen-
eral merchandise business.



In that year Mr. Damas went to San Fran-
cisco, purchased a stock of general merchandise
and opened the store which he thereafter carried
on with eminent success. He had a large and
well appointed store, carried a fine line of goods,
and enjoyed a very liberal patronage from
the beginning, so that he is now the possessor of
a handsome competence acquired through his
own well directed efiforts. He sold out his busi-
ness in May, 1899.

In 1869 Mr. Damas was united in m.arriage to
Miss Maria Frances Sperling, a native of New
York city, who was brought to Idaho in her early
girlhood, and is now one of the honored pioneer
women of the state. They have one daughter.
Amy D., now the wife of Frank W. Kettenbach,
of Lewiston. She was born in Pierce City, in
1870, and is now one of the esteemed residents
of Lewiston.

j\Ir. Damas has held several positions of pub-
lic honor and trust. He was the first treasurer
of Shoshone county, to which position he was
elected in 1862. He was its first district deputy
clerk and also filled the offices of justice of the
peace and probate judge, but he is probably best
known in connection with the Masonic fraternity,
of which he is an exemplary member, his life
standing in evidence of the humane, benevolent
and ennobling principles of the order. He be-
came a Master Mason in Mount Idaho Lodge,
No. 9, in 1864, and since then has taken all the
degrees of the York rite, and has attained the
thirty-third degree of the Scottish rite, and been
proclaimed a Sublime Prince of the Royal Se-
cret. He became a Royal Arch Mason in Lewis-
ton Chapter, No. 4, has filled all of its offices,
and was its high priest for four consecutive
terms. He is a charter member of Lewiston
Commandery, No. 2, was knighted in 1892, and
has filled the office of generaHssimo. Having
been a close student of the teachings and tenets
of Masonry, and becoming more and more im-
pressed with its beautiful teachings, he advanced
to the thirty-second degree of the Scottish rite,
and has been instrumental in founding the four
bodies in Lewiston. He established the Lewis-
ton Lodge of Perfection, No. i. fourteenth de-
gree; Lewiston Rose Croix Chapter, No. i,
eighteenth degree; Lewiston Consistory of
Knights of Kodash, thirtieth degree; and Idaho

Consistory, No. i, thirty-second degree. He
now has the honor of being inspector general of
the state of Idaho, and has the great honor of
legally wearing the ]\Iasonic cross of honor, voted
him by the supreme council of the southern juris-
diction in 1897, and in October, 1899, he was
elected a thirty-third degree Mason. He is a
very enthusiastic IMason, taking great delight in
the work of the order, and his wife is connected
with the ladies' branch of Masonry, being a mem-
ber of the Order of the Eastern Star. As pio-
neers of Idaho they have a wide acquaintance
and many friends, and none are more worthy the
high regard of their fellow townsmen.


To the brave pioneers of the early 'Sos and
'70s Idaho owes, in a large measure, the pros-
perity she now enjoys, as a state. Among those
hardy souls and courageous hearts who then
believed in her future, and by long years of toil
and undaunted perseverance assisted nobly in the
development of her resources, is the subject of
this article; and no one is more worthy of repre-
sentation in the annals of the state.

The ancestors of Norman S. Hubbell were
respected American citizens for many genera-
tions. He was born near Burdette, in what is now
Schuyler county. New York, October 29, 1837,
and his parents, Walton and Rebecca Emily
(Cure) Hubbell, were likewise natives of the Em-
pire state. The father was a millwright by trade,
an excellent machinist and a good business man.
At one time he was the drum major of a militia
company in his own state. He lived to reach his
seventy-second year, and died, loved and re-
spected by all who knew him. The wife and
mother was summoned to the silent land when
she was in her sixty-fifth year. Of their eight
children but two survive.

The education which N. S. Hubbell acquired
was such as the public schools of his boyhood
afforded, and from the time he was sixteen until
he was twenty-five years of age he gave all of his
earnings to his parents, reserving only what was
necessary to his support. On the 12th of June,
1862, he started west from Omaha, bound for the
Pacific coast, and on the 3d of the following
October reached his destination at what is now
Baker City, Oregon. From that place he and



two companions went to Auburn, Oregon, pros-
pecting for gold, and though they found good
claims they were obliged to leave them, as the
Indians were so hostile that their lives were
constantly menaced. In the spring of 1863 Mr.
Hubbell came to Boise basin, where he found
employment at six dollars a day, and the next
winter he returned to Oregon. After a few
months he again came to this locality and
for a few years he worked at freighting,
mining and other occupations, — at anything
whereby he might earn money honestly. From
1868 to 1 87 1 he was engaged in the
butchering business at Union, Oregon, and
at the same time he bought, sold and raised
cattle extensively. The country becoming
overstocked with cattle, prices declined, and
Mr. Hubbell retired from the business in
1873. Returning then to Boise Citv, he opened
a meat market here and also owned one at Wood
River, but these enterprises did not prove suc-
cessful. Then for some years he was interested
in sheep-raising, which he continued until 1898.
He now owns forty-six acres of land, situated a
mile and a half west of Boise City, and here he
still makes his home. He built a comfortable
house and planted a prune orchard and various
other fruits. He is still financially concerned in
the raising of sheep, and at this writing has be-
tween eight and nine thousand head. The flock
is in charge of his son Walton, and some seasons
of the year the sheep graze on the ranges and
need no feed, while some winters the cost of keep-
ing them is considerable. ^Ir. Hubbell owns
stock in the Artesian Hot & Cold Water Com-
pany of Boise City and has invested in other local

In his habits of life ]\Ir. Hubbell is strictl;/
temperate, upright and just in all his transac-
tions. He was postmaster and a justice of the
peace in Oregon, but has never sought nor de-
sired public office. Fraternally, he belongs to the
Ancient Order of United Workmen, and politic-
ally he has been a life-long Republican.

The marriage of Mr. Hubbell and Miss Cyn-
thia Elizabeth Reynolds was celebrated Au-
gust 14, 1870. Mrs. Hubbell is a daugh-
ter of C. F. Reynolds, of Xew York state,
and she was born and reared in the same
town as was her husband. In all his joys

and sorrows she has been a true helpmate,
cheering and strengthening him with her wifely
devotion. She is a valued member of the Method-
ist church of Boise City. Of the five children
born to our subject ana wife, one, Nora P.. died
at the age of seventeen months. Clara Rebecca
is the wife of John McMillan. Walton is manag-
ing his father's sheep, and Reynolds, the next son,
is in charge of the McMillan sheep ranch in the
same locality. Norman S., Jr., is a student in
the local schools.


Robert Grostein, one of Idaho's most success-
ful pioneer merchants, has carried on business in
Lewiston since 1862. and through the interven-
ing years has borne an unassailable reputation in
trade circles, never making an engagement which
he has not kept nor contracting an obHgation
that he has not met. His sagacity and enterprise
and moreover his untiring labor have brought
to him a handsome competence, and the most
envious could not grudge him his success, so
honorably has it been acquired.

Mr. Grostein is a native of Poland, born in
1835, and is the eldest in the family of four chil-
dren whose parents were Closes and Bena
(Herschell) Grostein. Thev also were natives of
Poland, in which country they were reared and
married, the father there remaining until 1838,
when he came to the United States. He had
been in sympathy with Napoleon, to whom he
had rendered active assistance, and for this reason
he was obliged to flee from his native land. After
spending a year in America he sent for his fam-
ily, having decided to make his home in the land
of the free. He settled first at Mason, Georgia,
spending six years there, after which he went to
Buffalo, New York, and was engaged in trade
there until 1870. In that year he came to Lewis-
ton, Idaho, bringing with, him his good wife, and
here they spent their remaining days with their
son Robert, the father dying in 1891, at the age
of ninety-two years, while the mother reached the
age of eighty-eight years. Of their family two
sons and the daughter are yet living.

During his early childhood Robert Grostein
was brought to the United States by his mother,
and was educated in the public schools of Buffalo,
Xew York. He received his business training in



his father's store and then went to California by
way of the Nicaraugua route, in 1854, landing at
San Francisco. From the coast he made his way
to Downieville, where he engaged in mini'.ig for
two years, working for wages at eight dollars for
six hours" labor. He wisely saved his money,
hoping to be able soon to engage in business on
his own account, and in 1856 he went to The
Dalles, Oregon, where he opened a store and
soon built up a large and lucrative trade, suc-
cessfully carrying on operations there until 1862,
when he chose Lewiston as a new field of labor.
The gold excitement here, and the large number
of people who were making their way to this
point, made Mr. Grostein realize that this would
prove an excellent business opening, and accord-
ingly he came to the new town, which was then a
collection of tents. As in all new mining com-
munities there was a rough element mixed in
with the better class, and on the first night which
Mr. Grostein spent in Nez Perces county a man
was ruthlessly murdered. In a small tent he
opened the store which has now grown to such
magnificent proportions, and began business in
the primitive style of the mining camps. He
had to pay about one hundred and fifty dollars
per ton to get his goods hauled to this place, and
he took his pay for his merchandise in gold dust,
at from thirteen to fifteen dollars per ounce. He
purchased his goods in Portland, and the pioneer
merchants of the northwest soon became his in-
timate and w^arm friends. He conducted busi-
ness in the tent for a year and a half, and in 1864
erected a log building, twenty by forty feet and
one story in height, the logs having been floated
down the Clearwater river. In 1865 he admitted
Abraham Binnard to a partnership in the store,
and they carried on business with mutual pleas-
ure and profit for thirty-three years, when, in
1898, Mr. Binnard was called to the home be-
yond. In 1890 they erected the fine brick block
in which Mr. Grostein now carries a sixty thou-
sand dollar stock of goods. This is a double
store, fifty by one hundred feet and two stories in
height with basement. It is splendidly equipped
in the most approved style of modern merchan-
dising, and he carries everything- found in a
first-class establishment of the kind. By close
attention to business and liberal and honorable
methods he has met with marked success and has

a very liberal patronage, which insures continued
prosperity as long as he continues in the trade.
He also has a branch store in Warren.

Mr. Grostein is a man of resourceful ability and
carries forward to successful completion what-
ever he undertakes. As his financial resources
have increased he has made judicious investments
in real estate, has erected a number of substantial
buildings in Lewiston, and is now putting up sev-
eral fine brick blocks, the rental from which adds
materially to his income. He has also been the
owner of about thirty-five hundred acres of land,
mostly comprised in farms in Nez Perces county,
on which he raises large quantities of wheat. He
has also erected one of the finest residences of the
city, and his improvements of property have been
of incalculable benefit to Lewiston. He has wit-
nessed almost the entire growth and development
of the city, and has done much for its advance-
ment. He has given his support to many meas-
ures for the public good, and in 1864, when
murder and theft increased to an alarming extent
in Lewiston, and life and property were in jeop-
ardy, he joined the other law-abiding citizens,
and a vigilance committee was formed. A num-
ber of the worst characters were then caught and
hanged, order v/as effectually restored, and life
and property soon became as secure in Lewiston
as in any section of the entire country. In
many ways Mr. Grostein has been connected with
the events which form the early history of the
state. At one time he had two hundred mules,
used in packing goods to the different mines
where he had supply stores, and during the Nez
Perces war one hundred and fifty of these mules
were rented to the government to carry supplies
to the army. He was paid one dollar a day for
each mule, and seventy of them were lost and
killed, for which the government paid him one
hundred dollars each. The remaining eighty
mules were returned to him. In the Cayuse war
the government again had his mules for ninety
days, and he was again paid for the forty that
were lost in that war. When the Bannack w-ar
came on he was able to once more immediately
meet the needs of the government for pack mules,
and thus greatly expedited the work of the sol-

In 1864 Mr. Grostein w-as happily married to
]\Iiss Rachel Newman, of Sacramento. Their



union has been blessed with the following named
children: Leah, wife of A. Kuhn, a resident of
Colfax, Oregon; Bell, wife of H. Keminskey;
Henry, who is conducting his father's store in
Warren; Louie and Ruth, who are attending
school in Pottland, Oregon; and Mitchel, the
youngest, a student in the Lewiston schools. In
connection with one of his school friends, he is
now publishing a bright little weekly paper
called the M. & M., devoted to local news. The
family adhere to the Hebrew faith. Mr. Grostein
is a man of excellent business and executive
ability, and is widely and favorably known
throughout the northwest. He has steadily
worked his way upward through his own efforts,
and the competence that crowns his labors is
well merited.


Some men achieve success almost instantan-
eously, some by slow accretion, others only after
long and patient working and waiting. The ex-
perience of men who are willing to work persist-
ently and intelligently and wait calmly goes to
prove that success may surely be attained during
an ordinary life-time, and no man not cut ofif at
an untimely age need work and wait in vain.
These reflections have been suggested by a con-
sideration of the career of Hon. George B. Rog-
ers, receiver of the United States land office at
Blackfoot, Idaho, who is one of the most promi-
nent and successful citizens of the state. He was
born in Dodgeville, Iowa county, Wisconsin,
February 22, 1842. His father, •John Rogers,
was born in England and there married Miss
Hannah Bailey. They came to the United States
in 1837, bringing with them two daughters,
named Susan and Elizabeth, and located at Min-
eral Point, Wisconsin, where Mr. Rcjgers en-
gaged in lead-mining and later became a farmer.
He died in 1880, aged seventy-six years, and his
wife passed away in 1882, aged seventy-three.
They were lifelong members and supporters of
the Methodist Episcopal church. Six more
children were born to them in Wisconsin, of
whom George B. Rogers was the second in order
of nativity and of whom two others are living.

George B. Rogers was brought up on his
father's farm and at a tender age gained an inti-
mate acquaintance with hard work and long

hours. The winter schools of that day and lo-
cality were poor, but such as they were he at-
tended as opportunity presented, and later he
attended night schools, but he may be said to be
practically self-educated.

In 1862 Mr. Rogers went to California by
water and was twenty-six days en route. He left
Wisconsin with borrowed capital to the amount
of three hundred dollars. For a time he worked
for three dollars and a half a day in the middle
California mines, and a knowledge of lead-min-
ing he had acquired while working with his
father in Wisconsin proved of great service to
him in this employment. Then he went back to
San Francisco and from there to Victoria, British
Columbia. Thence he came back to Portland.
Oregon, and from Portland he came to Idaho, in
1865, and went to the placer mines in Boise basin
and worked for wages in the Elkhorn mine. At
the time of Salmon river mining excitement he
went to that district. He worked there two
months, in 1867, and went from there to Mon-
tana. The succeeding two years he put in at the
mines at Helena and the next two years in pros-
pecting in Nevada and Idaho. He then returned
to Montana and worked six months in the old
Cable mine. He then bought mules and en-
gaged in freighting between points in L^tah and
Montana and, in partnership with C. W. Berry-
man, continued that business successfully for
fourteen years. An idea of the extent of their
operations will be afforded by the statement that
they owned considerably more than one hundred
mules and much of the time kept six twelve-mule
teams and eight six-mule teams busy. The work
was always arduous and sometimes dangerous,
but it was profitable, and when, in 1882, Rogers
& Berryman sold out, they found themselves
well on the way to fortune. Conditions had
changed and the business that had served them
so well was of decreasing value. They now

Online LibraryLewis Publishing Company. cnAn illustrated history of the state of Idaho, containing a history of the state of Idaho from the earliest period of its discovery to the present time, together with glimpses of its auspicious future; illustrations ... and biographical mention of many pioneers and prominent citizens of to-day .. → online text (page 76 of 136)