The career of this prominent Idaho merchant illustrates the claim, frequently made, that a man of enterprise will inevitably get into and make a success of the business for which he has the most liking and aptitude, regardless of discouragements and obstacles which would direct weaker men permanently into other paths of endeavor.
Edward Fanning was born in county Carlow, Ireland, February 23, 1844, a son of Patrick and Bridget (Murphy) Fanning. His father was a farmer, and both his parents were born in the Catholic faith and were reared and lived and died in it, Patrick Fanning passing away in his eighty-fourth year, and Bridget Fanning in her eighty-second year. They had eight children, of whom only three survive. Edward was educated in his native country and entered mercantile life at the age of twenty, as a salesman in a store. Three years later he came to the United States and located in Omaha, where he was given a position in the storeroom of the railroad company. In 1869 he removed to Evanston, Wyoming, and was roadmaster there and at Pocatello and Idaho Falls until 1895. He then gave up the railroad position to become a member of the Clark & Fanning Company, merchants, in which Nathan H. Clark was his partner. The concern was burned out after about two years’ successful business, but the company had sufficient insurance on its plant and stock and sufficient capital to enable it to continue business without embarrassment. A mercantile enterprise which had been established by Messrs. Johnson & Poulson was purchased by the Clark & Fanning Company. Mr. Clark withdrew from the business and Mr. Johnson and Mr. Poulson bought an interest in it, and it has since been continued under the old corporate name. The store of this concern is centrally located and is attractive and substantial. With a floor space twenty-five by one hundred and thirty feet, ample room is afforded to carry a large stock of all kinds of merchandise required by the people of Idaho Falls and its tributary country. This stock is selected with that care which is assured only by long experience in buying and selling and intimate knowledge of trade and demands. The building is a large brick structure, owned by Mr. Fanning and his associates, and the store is so popular that its trade reaches out into adjoining counties. Of this important business Mr. Fanning was the organizer and is the directing spirit. He is a man of extraordinary public spirit and has done very much toward the advancement of all of Idaho Falls’ best interests. As a Democrat, he has been three times elected a member of the board of trustees of that town. Socially he and his family are held in high esteem.
In 1879 Mr. Fanning married Miss Catherine Coady, a native of Iowa. They were vouchsafed a happy married life of twelve years, and then Mrs. Fanning died, leaving six children, including twins who were born just before her death. She was a loving and faithful wife and a kind and indulgent mother, a helpful and honored member of society and a devout communicant of the Catholic Church, and her death was deeply regretted by all who knew her. The six children of Edward and Catherine (Coady) Fanning are Margaret, Ann, John T., Helen, Edward and Mary. John T. is employed by the Fanning & Clark Company. January 5, 1894, Mr. Fanning married Mrs. Agnes Furrey, a native of Ohio, and a lady of many virtues and accomplishments, who has been a lifelong member of the Catholic Church. The home of the family is one of the most attractive in Idaho Falls, and their list of personal friends is large, including the best people in southeastern Idaho.