Biography of Alexander Duffes

The pretty, flourishing town of Nampa, Canyon County, was founded about thirteen years ago by Alexander Duffes, who has made his home here continuously since the nth of November, 1885, and has given his most earnest efforts toward the development and improvement of the town. At that time the railroad had been constructed through this section and a small station had been built at Nampa. Mr. Duffes, passing through, on his way to his old home in Canada, saw the possibilities of the place as a location for a town, and decided to cast his lot here. He obtained a quarter section of land of the government and laid part of it out into town lots, investing considerable money in improvements. He donated building sites to various denominations for churches, set aside a block for a schoolhouse, and in many ways pro-vided for the advancement of the citizens. His wisdom and foresight have been abundantly proven: the town has steadily grown, and it is now one of the most promising locations in the County. Many of the substantial business blocks and residences here were built by Mr. Duffes, and are monuments to his good taste and skill.

A native of the state of New York, Alexander Duffes was born on the 26th of March 1839, in the town of Utica. His parents, John and Elizabeth (Ferrier) Duffes, were both natives of Scotland and in 1835 sailed across the sea to America, where they desired to found a new home. For a number of years they dwelt in the vicinity of Hamilton, Canada, the father working at his trade, that of carpenter and builder. He lived to a good old age, dying when in his seventy-ninth year. His faithful wife, who, like himself, was a devoted Presbyterian, died when in the prime of life, aged about forty-eight years. They were the parents of six children, two sons and four daughters. Two of the number have passed to the better land, two reside in Canada and two live in Nampa.

In his early manhood our subject learned the builder’s business with his father, and for a period of eleven years was engaged in merchandising in the town of Burlington, Ontario. He prospered in his financial undertakings, and finally sold his stock of goods, while retaining his real estate interests, which were not inconsiderable. For various reasons he decided to travel more or less extensively in the west and to see something of his native land, particularly of the great northwest. He went to Portland, Oregon, where he remained for about a year, and among other places which he visited were points in British Columbia, Montana, Oregon and Washington. It was when he was pursuing his eastward journey that he conceived the idea of building a town on the present site of Nampa, and with characteristic energy and directness of purpose he at once set about realizing his dream.

In his political views Mr. Duffes adheres to the principles of the Republican Party, and has never had aspirations to public distinction. Socially he is identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

Thirty years ago in 1869, the marriage of Alexander Duffes and Miss Hannah Lucinda Cummings was solemnized. Mrs. Duffes was born and reared in the town of Cumminsville. Canada, which place had been named in honor of her father, who was an influential citizen and early settler there. The only child of Mr. and Mrs. Duffes is Picton Warren, of Nampa. Mrs. Duffes was called to her reward eight years ago, in 1 89 1, loved and mourned by all who enjoyed her friendship.



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

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