Biography of Noyes B. Holbrook

Mr. Holbrook dates his residence in Idaho from 1862, and is therefore one of its pioneer settlers. He has witnessed almost the entire growth and development of the state, and has largely aided in its progress and advancement, neglecting no duty of citizenship and withholding his support and cooperation from no measure for the public good. He is now proprietor of the roller-process flouring mill at Juliaetta, and is an enterprising business man whose honorable methods commend him to the confidence and secure him the patronage of a large portion of the community with which he is connected.

Mr. Holbrook was born in New Haven, Connecticut, March 29, 1830, and is of English descent, a representative of one of the early New England families. John Holbrook, his great-grandfather, was a native of the “merrie isle,” and thence crossed the Atlantic to the New World, taking up his residence in New Haven County, Connecticut. He had a family of five sons, four of whom served in the war which brought to America her independence, being loyal members of the Colonial army. The youngest served under General Harrison in the war of 1812. One of these sons, Abel Holbrook, was the grandfather of our subject. He was born in New Haven County, and during the Revolution served as captain of a company. By occupation he was a farmer, and operated his land with the aid of slaves, but becoming disgusted with the institution of slavery he freed his Negroes and was active in promulgating an abolition sentiment throughout the community. He was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and lived to the ripe old age of eighty years, respected by all who knew him, as one of Connecticut’s best citizens.

Thomas C. Holbrook, father of our subject, was born and reared in New Haven County, Connecticut, and married Miss Maria Benham, also of the Nutmeg state. He followed the occupation of farming in pursuit of fortune, and was an industrious man and reliable citizen. His death occurred when he had reached the age of ninety-four, and his wife passed away at the age of eighty-four. They had three children, two of whom are yet living.

Noyes B. Holbrook, the youngest of the family, was educated in Connecticut and in the North Wilbraham Academy, in Massachusetts, after which he learned the trade of a bricklayer and plasterer. Determining to try his fortune in the rapidly developing west, he sailed for California in 1854, by way of the isthmus route, and at length arrived safely in San Francisco. There he worked at his trade for a time, and then engaged in mining in Nevada and Butte counties on the Feather River. He made money, but sunk it in other mining ventures, and after losing all that he had he returned to Marysville, California, where he worked at his trade, doing considerable contracting and building. In 1862, at the time of the gold discoveries at Florence, he made the journey with a companion through eastern Oregon to the place of the excitement. He prospected and worked at his trade in the then new town of Lewiston, and the following year went to the Boise basin, making the journey by boat up the Snake River. He met with fair success in the placer mines in the Boise basin and then returned to the northern part of the state, establishing a store on Salmon river. After a time he sold that property and purchased a placer claim, from which he took out from fifty to seventy-five dollars per day. The following spring he went to Lapwai, where he worked for the government for three months, spending the succeeding winter in Lewiston. When spring came he went to the Coeur d’Alene district and was there during the Wilson excitement. A murdered negro was found there and buried on the prairie, which for a long time thereafter went by the name of “Nigger Prairie.” The town of Mullan now stands on the site.

On leaving that locality Mr. Holbrook went to Montana at the time of the Blackfoot excitement, and thence returned to Idaho by way of the Lolo trail. He opened a store at Long Bar, on the Salmon river, but the following year sold that and established a store on the main crossing of the Coeur d’Alene, and in connection purchased and operated the ferry there. He sold out the following winter and went to Lewiston, where he secured the appointment to the position of deputy sheriff, in which capacity he served until the following July. He then resigned, and resumed prospecting in the Seven Devils country. He took up the Peacock lead and had it recorded in Idaho County, but finally let it go by default. Thence he went to Warrens, where he aided in building the first quartz-mill at that point. He remained in Warrens for five years, was there appointed deputy sheriff and while thus serving brought out four murderers through the then un” inhabited mountain districts. He spent the winter of 1870 in Portland, Oregon, and the next spring purchased a livery business in Lewiston, conducting the same for fourteen years. He met with good success in the undertaking, having a very liberal patronage. In 1880 he was elected sheriff of Nez Perces County, and so acceptably did he serve through the two years” term that he was reelected. In 1884 he sold his livery barn and turned his attention to stock dealing. In 1885 he erected his flouring-mill in Juliaetta, where he has fine water power and a full roller-process mill, with a capacity of fifty barrels of flour per day. His special brand is called the “Pride of the Potlatch,” and is of very superior quality. In 1896 Mr. Holbrook removed to Juliaetta, and has since managed the mill himself. Owing to the excellent quality of the product and his honorable business methods he receives a liberal patronage, and is conducting a profitable business. He resides in a pleasant home of his own, a short distance above the mill, and from his residence has a splendid view of the beautiful valley. In 1880 Mr. Holbrook was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie Armstrong, but she died two years later. In 1896 he wedded Eliza E. Caldwell, his present wife. They have three children. Mr. and Mrs. Holbrook are most highly esteemed and have a large circle of warm friends in the community. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity for more than forty-five years, having joined the order in 1853, in Morning Star Lodge, No. 43, F. & A. M., of Seymour, Connecticut. He assisted in organizing the lodge at Lewiston and was one of its most active members. In politics he has been a lifelong Democrat, but during the war was a strong Union man. He has filled various public positions of honor and trust, and in every case has shown himself fully worthy of the confidence reposed in him. He was at one time county commissioner of Nez Perces County, and served as mayor of Lewiston. He ever discharged his duties with promptness and fidelity, and exercised his official prerogatives to advance all measures which he believed would prove of general good. His life has been a busy, useful and honorable one, and he well deserves mention among the representative citizens of Idaho.



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

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