Biography of James B. Coakley

Among the enterprises of Weiser which are alike creditable to the city and to their proprietors is the Vendome Hotel, which was built by its present owners and managers, Messrs. McGregor and Coakley, and by them opened for business in February, 1891. Since that time the hotel has gained a very favorable reputation with the traveling public and enjoys a large patronage. It is a brick structure, two stories high, and contains twenty-eight rooms, well finished, well furnished, well ventilated and nicely kept. Great care is given to the perfection of all arrangements which will contribute to the comfort of the guests, and from the daintily spread tables, supplied with all the delicacies of the season, to the tastefully appointed parlors, all is harmonious and attractive.

Malcolm McGregor, the senior member of the firm of McGregor & Coakley, was born in Picton, Nova Scotia, on the 14th of January 1845, and in his youth learned the machinist’s trade. He afterward operated a stationary engine and worked at his trade both in San Francisco. California, and Virginia City, Nevada. In 1871 he removed to Silver City, Idaho, where he accepted the position of chief engineer of the Ida Elmore mine and mill. He also conducted the Idaho Hotel there for some time, but came to Weiser in 1885. Here he engaged in raising sheep, also conducted a hotel, but abandoned both of those interests on joining Mr. Coakley in the erection of and conduct of the Vendome Hotel. He is an obliging and courteous landlord, well fitted by nature for the duties which rest upon him, having a social, genial disposition. He is also numbered among the enterprising and public-spirited citizens of the county and withholds his support from no movement intended to advance the general welfare. He is a stockholder in the Tele-phone Company and the Creamery Company, and his sound business judgment has contributed in no small degree to his success. As a hotel man he is widely known and has many friends all over the country.

James B. Coakley, the junior member of the firm, is a western man by birth and possesses the true western spirit of progress. He is a native of San Francisco, California, his birth having occurred on the 10th of October, 1856. His parents, John J. and Maria (Hanley) Coakley, were both natives of Ireland, and in early man-hood the father came to the United States. He was married in San Francisco, where he now resides, at the advanced age of eighty-two years. He was customhouse inspector at New Orleans for a number of years, and for a considerable period engaged in merchandising in California. His wife died in her fifty-ninth year. They were the parents of five children, two of whom are living.

James B. Coakley acquired his preliminary education in the public schools of New Orleans, and afterward attended the Soule Commercial College. He dates his residence in Idaho from 1875 at which time he took up his abode in Silver City and entered upon the duties of bookkeeper for William Hardiman, in whose employ he remained for six years. Later he engaged in merchandising on his own account in connection with William Sommercamp, of Silver City, and while there was twice elected probate judge and ex-officio county auditor and recorder, acceptably filling the position for six years, when he resigned to come to Weiser, in 1890. Here joining Mr. McGregor they inaugurated their new enterprise, and the Vendome Hotel now stands as a monument of their progressive spirit and business ability.

In 1882 Mr. Coakley was happily married to Miss Myrtle Stacey, of Pennsylvania, and they have three children: Raynor J., Verna S. and Donna D. Mr. Coakley is connected socially with the Knights of Pythias fraternity, in which he has filled all the chairs of the local lodge, and also belongs to both lodge and encampment of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In both branches he has taken a prominent part and has been representative in the grand lodge. His extended circle of acquaintances includes many warm friends, and, like Mr. McGregor, he is popular with the traveling public. Both are men whose success is attributable to their own efforts, capable management, perseverance and consecutive effort, and it is to such citizens that the northwest owes her rapid and substantial development.



Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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