Biography of Henry Dorsey

Henry Dorsey, deceased, formerly the proprietor of the Dorsey Cottage Hotel, at Mountain Home, was born in Hancock county, Ohio, in February, 1853, and traced his ancestors back to German and Scotch people who located in Pennsylvania at an early epoch in the history of the Keystone state. His father, David Dorsey, was born in Pennsylvania, and married Miss Rosana Wyant, also a native of that locality. In 1821, soon after their marriage, they started westward and located in the midst of the unbroken forests of Ohio. Mr. Dorsey was a farmer by occupation, and in order to prepare land for cultivation at his new home he felled the first tree that had ever been cut upon what is now the site of the city of Findlay, Hancock County, Ohio. He was one of the honored pioneers of that locality, bearing a very important part in the work of development and improvement, and at an early day he served as justice of the peace and county commissioner. He was a man of ability and worth, and exerted marked influence in his township and county. His death occurred when he had reached the ripe old age of eighty years, and his wife departed this life at the age of fifty-three years. In the family were eight children, Henry, who was the youngest, being but three years of age at the time of the mother’s death.

Reared on the home farm, he began work in the fields as soon as old enough to manage the plow, and was thus employed through the sum-mer months, while in the winter season he attended the public schools. In 1872, when nine-teen years of age, he came to the territory of Idaho, locating in Silver City, where he worked for his brother, David Dorsey, who at that time owned a meat market in the town. Later our subject engaged in packing, mining and contracting, and for several years owned and operated the ferry across Snake river, at the place then called Dorsey’s Ferry, but now known as Grand Mew. After continuing in that line of business for six years he sold out to the Owyhee Land & Irrigating Company, and in 1888 came to Mountain Home, after which time he was numbered among its leading and influential citizens. For a few years he engaged in freighting, carrying supplies to the mining camps at Rocky Bar.

In 1889 Mr. Dorsey was united in marriage to Mrs. S. J. Pattee. By her former marriage she had a daughter named Ethel, who is now attending school in Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Dorsey purchased six lots and erected thereon the building now known as the Cottage Hotel, planting shade and fruit trees and making this a very valuable and attractive place. In 1895 Mr. Dorsey and his wife, realizing the need of a well kept and comfortable hotel, determined to engage in that line of business, arranged their house for the purpose, and thenceforward there was no more popular host and hostess than this worthy couple, who spared no pains to enhance the convenience and pleasure of their guests. They had well kept rooms, a good table and received a liberal share of the public patronage. The Traveling Men’s Union selected the Cottage Hotel as headquarters when in Mountain Home. They were obliged to rent rooms in the locality in order to entertain some of their guests, and, as indicated, enjoyed a large and profitable business.

Mr. Dorsey became a member of the Home Forum and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he, with his wife, belonged to the Rebekah lodge. He was a most highly esteemed citizen, having the warm regard of many friends. He advocated the principles of the silver Republican party, and had long taken an active interest in educational matters.- He served as school trustee for a number of years, at length becoming chairman of the board. Mountain Home now has an excellent eight-department school, which has a good reference library, and most competent teachers are employed, so that the school system reflects credit upon the progressive town and especially upon the board of trustees. Mr. Dorsey at all times gave his support to the measures and movements calculated to advance the general welfare, and was accounted one of the most valued citizens of Mountain Home. He died February 23, 1899, lamented by a very large community of enthusiastic friends. Airs. Dorsey continued the hotel business until May i, 1899.



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

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