One of the pioneers of the northwest and one of the old residents of Caldwell is Thomas Jefferson Huff, the present assessor of Canyon County. He is a man of the highest integrity and ability, and stands well in the estimation of all who know him. A lifelong Democrat, and devoted to his party, he has never occupied a public office before, and has not been an aspirant for political honors and emoluments. In his business career he has met with success, and by well directed energy and good judgment he has amassed a comfortable fortune.
Philip Huff, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was born in Germany, and coming to America in early manhood, settled in Tennessee. In that state his son Jefferson, father of Thomas J. Huff, was born, and for some years he made his home in Indiana. He married Lutilda White, and twelve children were born to them. In 1852 the family set out on a long and dangerous journey across the almost interminable plains, seeking for a new home and better prospects. The year was an especially trying one, as the cholera was raging in this country, and the emigrants along the way appeared to be favorite subjects of attack by the dread enemy to life. Four of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Huff succumbed and were buried on the dreary plains. Newly made graves along the trail indicated the havoc which death was making in the ranks of the toiling pilgrims, but at last some of them reached the land of promise, and developed the wonderful Pacific slope. The following winter Mr. Huff, who was a practicing physician, stayed with his family in Portland, and then they went to the Lewis River district of Washington, and dwelt there until the Indian troubles of 1855, when they settled on the Willamette, just below Portland. Mrs. Huff died in 1857, aged forty years. Dr. Huff afterward removed to Linn County, remarried, and lived to attain the age of seventy-one years, his death occurring in 1881.
Thomas J. Huff was born near Hartford, Boone County, Indiana, December 31, 1844, and he and one sister are the only survivors of the family of eleven who bravely set out for the west to meet the untold hardships of pioneer existence. He was about eight years old at the time of the eventful journey, and can never forget some of his experiences. Much of his education was gathered in the public schools of Linn County. In 1865 he embarked in the stock business in Oregon and at Walla Walla, Washington, and for almost a quarter of a century gave his whole attention to this line of enterprise, having at times six hundred head of cattle. In 1886 he came to Caldwell, Idaho, and purchased a home, and he still owns a stock ranch of five hundred acres on Cow creek, Malheur County, Oregon. He is also the owner of a ferry across Snake River, between Idaho and Oregon, and the Riverside ferry belongs to him. Fraternally he is associated with the Odd Fellows, and has passed all the chairs in the subordinate lodge.
On the 27th of February 1895, Mr. Huff married Mrs. A. J. Strickland, who has a son and a daughter by her previous marriage. The family have a pleasant home and their friends are legion.