One to whom has been entrusted important public service and over whose record there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil, is James I. Crutcher, of Boise. President Cleveland recognized his eminent qualifications for responsible duties when he appointed him United States marshal for Idaho, in which position he served for four years and two months, in a manner above suspicion. His unbending integrity of character, his fearlessness in the discharge of duty and his appreciation of the responsibilities that rested upon him were such as to make him a most acceptable incumbent of that office, and his worth then, as now, was widely acknowledged.
A native of Kentucky, Mr. Crutcher was born in Shelby County, on the 31st of December 1835. His ancestors were early settlers of Virginia and North Carolina, and members of the family became pioneers in the development of Kentucky. It was in that state that Thomas M. Crutcher, father of our subject, was born, his natal clay being in 1810. He wedded Miss Mary Ann Edwards, a native of Woodford County, Kentucky, who also belonged to a family of equally early settlement in the south. Her father was James Edwards, a pioneer widely and favorably known in Kentucky. Thomas M. Crutcher was an enterprising farmer, and through the capable management of his agricultural interests won a comfortable competence. He held membership in the Christian church, and died in the seventy-third year of his age. The mother of our subject died when he was only four years of age, after which he was reared by his stepmother, who is still living, and now, at the advanced age of eighty-two years, is spending the evening of her life upon the old homestead in Shelby County, Kentucky.
James I. Crutcher acquired his education in the schools of Frankfort, Kentucky, and in 1860 left his native state, crossing the plains to Colorado with a party. After two years spent in the Golden state he came to Idaho, in 1862, locating in Elk City, where he engaged in mining for a few months. He then made a short trip to Oregon, and on returning to Idaho took up his residence in Boise County. In 1865 he was elected sheriff of the County. At that time the office was no sinecure, owing to the rough and lawless element that had come to the new district, hoping to gain a living in ways that would not bear legal inspection. However, he discharged all the duties that fell to his lot most fearlessly, never wavering in the fulfillment of any task assigned him, and his course at once inspired confidence in the law-abiding citizens and terror in the hearts of the evil-doers. After his four years” term of office expired he resumed his mining operations, and since then he has been largely interested in various mines which have yielded him good returns. He entered upon his duties as United States marshal in 1894, and even the most malevolent can say naught against his faithfulness and ability in office. Politically Mr. Crutcher has always been an ardent Democrat, stanchly supporting the principles of the party and doing all in his power to promote its growth and insure its success in a legitimate way.
In 1865, in Idaho City, Mr. Crutcher was united in marriage to Miss Adelma C. Belknap. Her father. Dr. David H. Belknap was one of the pioneer physicians of Oregon. Her mother, who bore the maiden name of Rachel E. Stubbins, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1814, and died in Silver City, Idaho, in 1875. To Mr. and Mrs. Crutcher have been born four children, three sons and a daughter, but all are now deceased, the only daughter, Rachel Harriet, having passed away January i, 1899, at the age of twelve years, four months and fifteen days. The Daily Capital of January 3, 1899, expressed the sentiment of the entire community when it said: “In any form and at any time the angel of death is most unwelcome: but when he enters the home and strikes down the young, the talented, the lovable, when he bears away the choicest and only jewel of the hearthstone, then, indeed, he seems most cruel. Rachel was the only child left to Mr. and Mrs. Crutcher. One by one the others passed into the empyrean of the immortals, and now Rachel has joined them, leaving the parents in the dark shadow of a bitter bereavement. The many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Crutcher extend to them their most sincere sympathies.”
Since 1894 Mr. and Mrs. Crutcher have resided in Boise, the capital of the state. They have in their possession a relic in the shape of a melodeon that was purchased in San Francisco in 1856 by Dr. Belknap and taken to Portland, Oregon; and in 1863 the old instrument was transported across the country from Umatilla, Oregon, to Idaho City by pack animals, a distance of three hundred and fifty miles. This instrument was the first used in all southern Idaho, and was used at funerals for many years and at parties, etc.
Mrs. Crutcher is a consistent member of the Episcopal Church and one of the leading ladies of Boise, presiding with gracious hospitality over her pleasant home, which is a favorite resort with her many friends. Mr. Crutcher was made a Master Mason in Arrow Rock, Missouri, and has also taken the Royal Arch degrees. He has been a prominent factor in the public life of the state, and belongs to that class of men of public spirit and patriotism who place the good of the commonwealth above partisanship and the welfare of the many above personal aggrandizement. He was a member of the convention which framed the present constitution of the state of Idaho, and throughout the long years of his residence here he has ever labored for the advancement and up-building of the commonwealth. Mr. Crutcher is an excellent type of the southern gentleman, courteous, genial and kindly, and he and his wife are popular throughout Idaho, where their friends are legion.