This is an age when the young man is prominent. He is at the head of many important enterprises and is bringing others to the front which ire bound to startle very many who have permitted themselves to be buried under superannuated ideas. At an age when the average business man of two generations ago was considered but a child, the boys of the end of the century have acquired the foundation of a practical knowledge of successful business methods, and with broad ideas, in harmony with the spirit and opportunities of the age, are planning their work for the future with a view to achieving success and retiring early in life. The west is full of young businessmen, and Idaho has its share of those who have made their marks early in life. One of these, the narrative of whose career will serve as an illustration pertinent to these remarks, is Mayor Shepherd of the city of Paris.
Joseph R. Shepherd was born in Hampshire, England, March 18, 1865, a son of William and Mary Ann (Tracy) Shepherd. His parents came of old English stock, and his father was a shoemaker by trade. They became converts to the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and in 1877 they emigrated to this country, bringing with them their ten children, and located at Paris, Bear Lake county, Idaho, where Mr. Shepherd worked at his trade until he retired from active life, and he died in 1898, aged seventy-three. His wife survives him and is now (1899) sixty-nine years old. He was a high priest in his church, having done valuable missionary work for it before coming to the United States, and his exertions in its behalf were continued with good results after he took up his residence in Paris. His children, except one, all live in Paris. Joseph R. Shepherd, the seventh in order of birth, attended school in England from his fifth to his twelfth year, when he was brought to Paris. Here he entered upon the work of earning his own living as a boy clerk in the store of the Paris Co-operative Institution, with which concern he was employed about five years. He then accepted a position with the Wooley Brothers, and was employed in their store about three years. He was then engaged as manager of the co-operative store of the town, and had charge of all its interests about five years, during which time he bought and sold large quantities of goods. In 1891, in connection with others, he organized the Paris Mercantile Company, in which he was a large stockholder and of which he was made business manager. At the expiration of two years he bought out the other stockholders and he has since that time owned and conducted the business of the concern.
He deals in every kind of merchandise for which there is any demand at Paris, and is a large buyer of the produce of the country round about. He is the owner of the large frame building in which his business is conducted and which is now too small for its adequate accommodation, and is now erecting a large double brick block, with rock basement and steel roof, which will be as nearly fire-proof as it is possible to make it.
He is a man of liberal methods, who is willing to invest money to make money and who treats his employees so generously that they work for his interests faithfully and tirelessly. His public-spirited helpfulness is recognized by all his fellow citizens. In politics he is a Republican. He was one of the organizers of the city of Paris, was one of the first councilmen and is its present efficient and popular mayor. All the members of his household are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Pie was married, in 1885, to Miss Rose Budge, daughter of State Senator William Budge of Paris, and they have six children: J. Russell, Alfred William, Clarence, David, Eva and Harold.