Those who have opened the way for civilization in our land, as the star of empire has taken its way toward the sunset gates, have been men of strong character, courageous, hardy, tenacious of purpose and willing lo endure hardships and privations for the sake of making homes for themselves and posterity. All honor has been paid the pioneers who blazed their way through the sylvan wilderness of the middle west in past generations, while not less is the homage due to those whose fortitude led them to traverse the plains, invade the mountain fastnesses and do battle with a dusky and treacherous foe in the great empire of the far west. Among those who are to be considered as genuine pioneers of Latah county is James Deakin, one of the honored citizens of the thriving county seat, Moscow. Hither he came to make his permanent abode as early as the year 1871, at which time there was no Moscow, no Colfax, no Spokane, this entire region, with its opulent resources, being then 1 wild and uninhabited district, save as the red men roamed at will among the peaceful valleys and over the mountain crags. At the time our subject located here the settlers were compelled to go to Walla Walla for their supplies, a distance of ninety miles. He passed through many and trying vicissitudes and has watched with interest the development and advancement of this section and is now able to enjoy here the privileges which modern civilization supplies. The transformation has been wonderful, and one can today scarcely realize the changes which a few years have wrought in this favored section of the Union.
James Deakin is a native of the Emerald Isle having been born in county Antrim on the 20th of June 1840, a representative of stanch old Irish stock, his parents having been devout members of the Roman Catholic church. He received his educational discipline in his native land, but laid aside his textbooks at the early age of fifteen years and came to America, and since that time has been a leal and loyal son of the republic. In the year 1871 he arrived on the spot where the thriving city of Moscow, Idaho, now stands. At that time there were established in the county the homes of a few settlers, the list comprising William Taylor, Ailsbury Llewellyn, William Frazier, the Cameron brothers, Thomas Tirney and Thomas Corley, Mr. Deakin says there may have been one or two others located here, but if so he fails to recall them or their names. He took up a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, upon which a portion of the city of Moscow now stands, and including the ground upon which the splendid building of the Idaho State University is located.
Mr. Deakin at once set to work to improve his farm, platted a portion of the town and did all in his power to aid in the development of the locality. He may be appropriately termed one of the fathers of Moscow. He has been frugal, industrious, and his personal prosperity has kept pace with the development of this section. He is a man of alert mentality and sterling integrity, and his conduct has been such as to gain and retain to him the confidence and high esteem of all with whom he has come in contact. He is now spending the evening of his life in the quiet enjoyment of the fruits of his many years of toil and endeavor, having a commodious and attractive home residence in the city which he has so greatly aided in developing, and of which he was one of the first settlers. It was his plow which first turned the soil where Moscow now stands, and here he grew his crops of wheat, barley and oats, and reaped rich harvests in due season. Mr. Deakin has several fine farms in the county, and these are being operated on shares, desirable tenants being secured for the same.
In the year 1874 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Deakin and Miss Annie King, of New York, and they are both devoted adherents of the Roman Catholic Church. In politics Mr. Deakin is a stalwart Democrat. He and his estimable wife enjoy a marked popularity in the community, and as one of the honored pioneers of the county Mr. Deakin amply deserves recognition in this work.