Biography of William F. Sommercamp

William F. Sommercamp, the leading merchant of Weiser, Idaho, is a native son of the golden west. He was born in California, February 16, 1860, and comes of German ancestry. His father, William F. Sommercamp, was born in Germany and when a young man emigrated to America, landing at New Orleans, where for a time he followed his trade, that of confectioner. Subsequently he married Miss Mary Slack, of Zanesville, Ohio, and shortly after their marriage they removed to California, where he engaged in mining. In 1864 he came over into Idaho and became one of the prominent miners and stock-raisers of Owyhee County. He died in the sixty-second year of his age. His widow is living, aged fifty-nine years, and of their children, three daughters and seven sons, only four are now living, three sons and a daughter.

William F., the subject of this sketch, is the eldest of the family. He was in his fifth year when they moved to Idaho and located in Silver City, and in the public schools of this place his education was begun. Later he attended St. Augustine College, at Benicia, and, after clerking three years in a mercantile establishment, took a course in Heald’s Business College, San Francisco, where he graduated in due time. After his graduation he accepted a position in a San Francisco wholesale house, where he remained three years. Next, we find him at Bodie employed as bookkeeper for Gilson, Barber & Company, and afterward he was for two years receiving teller in the Bodie Bank. Returning to Silver City at the end of that time, he became manager of the mercantile business of W. D. Bigelow. In the course of a year Mr. Bigelow died and Mr. Sommercamp took charge of the business, running it on shares for a year. Then he purchased the stock and continued the business five years longer. In 1891 he came to Weiser and opened his general merchandise business in this city. From the first he met with gratifying success, his long experience and excellent training standing him in good stead. His business has constantly grown, and today his well-stocked general store would do credit to any merchant in any town.

Mr. Sommercamp was married December 16, 1881, to Miss Alice Harley, a native of Oregon and a daughter of W. S. Harley of that state. They have two sons and a daughter, William FL, Walter E. and Ora Belle.

Mr. and Mrs. Sommercamp are worthy members of the Episcopal Church. Fraternally he is identified with the popular orders of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias and Masons. In the I. O. O. F. he is past grand, and past chief patriarch of the encampment, and he holds the rank of past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias. Politically he supports the Democratic Party, taking an active and influential part in local affairs. For three successive terms he served as treasurer of Owyhee County.



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

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