Biography of Thomas C. Galloway

Thomas G. Galloway
Thomas G. Galloway

Thomas C. Galloway. The first settler of Weiser was the gentleman whose name introduces this article. Before the town was founded he located on land that is now within its borders, and since that period has been actively identified with the growth and development of the little hamlet which has become one of the flourishing cities of Idaho. His residence in the state covers a period of thirty-six years, and as time has passed he has risen to a position among the most successful stock-dealers and business men of the commonwealth. His landed and other possessions are now very extensive, and he is thereby enabled to live a retired life “crowning a youth of labor with an age of ease.”

Mr. Galloway was born at Mineral Point, Iowa county, Wisconsin, on the 6th of June, 1837, and is of Scotch descent. His grandfather, Charles Galloway, was a native of the land of hills and heather, whence he emigrated to America, locating in Richmond, Virginia. When the British empire began to encroach on the liberties of the colonists he joined the Americans in their opposition to such measures, and fought throughout the greater part of the war for independence. He was at Yorktown and witnessed the surrender of Lord Cornwallis to General Washington. His son, Charles Galloway, was born in Virginia, in 1798, and wedded Miss Mary Haney, who was born in Ireland, in 1813. In 1826 Charles Gallo-way removed to Virginia, and in 1832 went to Wisconsin, where he made his home until 1852, when, with his wife and nine children, he started across the plains with ox teams for Oregon. That year there was a fearful epidemic of cholera, and all along the route were many new-made graves of emigrants who had fallen victims to the disease. Elias Wiley, an uncle of our subject, died, but all of the Galloway family escaped. They traveled westward with a large party, and in consequence were not attacked by Indians, but the red men stole some of the stock. On reaching their destination Charles Galloway secured three hundred and twenty acres of government land in Yamhill County, Oregon, and there made his home until his death, which occurred in 1882, when he had attained the age of eighty-four years. His wife passed away in 1884, when seventy-one years of age. Of the nine children who accompanied their parents on the long and wearisome journey across the plains six are still living. Thomas C. Galloway, the fourth in order of birth, was only thirteen years of age at the time of the removal to the northwest. He attended the public schools of Oregon and further pursued his studies in the academy at Bethel, Polk county, that state. He began to earn his own livelihood when only fifteen years of age, and by chop-ping wood and other kinds of manual labor earned the money which enabled him to pursue his academic course. He learned the printer’s trade in Portland, Oregon, and in 1859 he went to British Columbia, attracted by the Carriboo gold discoveries. In 1860 and 1861 he engaged in teaching school, and in the latter year returned to the Carriboo country with a pack train of pro-visions for the miners. He had eleven horses in his train, and walked all the way from The Dalles, Oregon a distance of nine hundred miles. On reaching his destination he disposed of the provisions at a profit of fourteen hundred dollars. He also made a similar trip from the Fraser river to Carriboo, where he disposed of his goods advantageously, and then returned to Oregon. In 1863 he came to Idaho with a pack train, bringing the first sawmill to the Boise basin.

Since that time Mr. Galloway has been prominently connected with the development and progress of this section of the state. For some time he engaged in mining in the Boise basin, and also transported goods for others by pack trains, and in the month of September came to the present site of the now thriving and beautiful little city of Weiser. He erected the first building a structure of willow logs, plastered with mud and covered with a dirt roof, but having neither floor nor door. He kept the pony-express station and furnished food to the traveler. This was the first hotel in the town, but though he supplied the meals the visitors slept in their own blankets. In 1865 he built the first frame house in the town, paying forty dollars per thousand feet for the lumber, and hauling it ninety miles. From 1864 until 1868 he was an express agent, and for many years served as postmaster of Weiser. He be-came extensively engaged in stock-raising, and still has large numbers of cattle and horses. He was instrumental in inaugurating the movement which resulted in the construction of the splendid irrigation ditch which takes water from the Weiser river, eight miles above the town, and carries it nine miles beyond the town. It now irrigates six thousand acres of land and has a much great-er capacity. This enterprise was started by the farmers in 1881 and was not a success until Mr. Galloway took charge of the same in 1885. He finally sold an interest in the property, in order to get money to complete the ditch. There is neither bond nor mortgage on it, water is supplied to the farmers at the rate of a dollar and a quarter per acre and the enterprise has proven of incalculable benefit to this section of the state. Some of the finest crops of grains and fruits are raised on the lands thus irrigated, and it is the only irrigation company in Idaho that is not in debt or has its system mortgaged. Mr. Galloway is one of the most extensive land-owners of the state, having thirteen hundred and sixty acres in the vicinity of Weiser, and eighty acres within the city limits. In 1890 a disastrous fire swept over the city, destroying a large part of the old town, twenty-two houses being reduced to ashes, but these have been replaced by better buildings, and Mr. Galloway has lived to see the town which he founded becoming an enterprising center of trade, enjoying a stable growth and continued prosperity.

On the 27th of February, 1868, Mr. Galloway married Miss Mary Flournoy, who was born in Missouri, but was of Virginian ancestry. Her father was A. W. Flournoy, one of the pioneers of Idaho. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Galloway have been born nine children, all of whom are living. The entire expenses incurred by the family for physician’s services is thirty-seven dollars and a half, and the lawyers’ fees have only amounted to ten dollars a remarkable record indicating the healthfulness of Idaho and the good sense and sound judgment of Mr. and Mrs. Galloway. Their eldest daughter, Anna, is now the wife of Lewis Dickerson, who resides in Weiser; Francis H. and Mary F. are graduates of the State Normal School and are popular teachers in Idaho; Charles is now a volunteer soldier in Manila, having enlisted with the cadets of the university, at Moscow; Flournoy, ‘Guy, Kate, James and Thomas C. are all at home with their parents.

In his political belief Mr. Galloway is a silver-Republican. He has been twice elected and served for two terms in the territorial senate, has also been trustee and justice of the peace of Weiser, and has ever discharged his official duties with promptness and ability. He and his wife have a large and commodious residence, in which they are spending the evening of their lives in peace and comfort. Their home ‘is surrounded by fruit trees of their own planting, and their labors of former years now supply them with all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. Mr. Galloway takes a deep and abiding interest in everything pertaining to the well-being of Idaho, and is justly accorded a place among her honored pioneers.



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

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