Charles E. Faunce

Biography of Charles E. Faunce

Charles E. Faunce
Charles E. Faunce

A real pioneer of the pioneers, leading the way for the early seekers for gold into this country and also doing the same in many other localities, always conducting himself with the same sagacity, uprightness, courage, fortitude, and affability that now characterizes him, and always doing a noble part in the worthy undertakings of the pioneers, it is very fitting that the subject of this article should occupy a prominent position in the history of Nez Perces County, since also he has done much here to advance and build it up, and is now one of the highly esteemed and substantial men of the County.

Charles E. Faunce has the distinction of being born in the old Miles Standish house, in Duxbury, Massachusetts, which was built in the seventeenth century. His birth occurred on August 17, 1832, being the son of George and Sallie (Chase) Faunce. The father was a seafaring man, born in Vermont, and died at the age of eighty-three. The mother was born in 1791 and died in 1881, aged ninety. New Hampshire was her native state.


Our subject remained at home securing his education and training in seafaring life until he was twenty and then he went, via Cape Horn, to San Francisco, consuming one hundred and twenty days on the trip. He went to the mines at Auburn, California, at once joining his brothers John and William, who had gone thither in 1849. A little later he went to Michigan Bluffs, having learned the art of mining in Auburn. He mined there for nine years and did well. Then he came to Idaho and went into the Florence and Warrens districts. He took a pack train in and found ten thousand men there. He worked that summer, took claims in the fall, then went to the Clearwater and assisted in rafting logs to build the Lapwai agency. Returning to Florence and Warrens the next spring, he did not meet with success, so came back to Lewiston and took charge of the wood business of Allen, Piercy & Company. He mined on the Snake River and at Warrens, and always wintered in Lewiston. At one time he had a summer’s work in the flume and one night parties cleaned it up and stole the entire amount, leaving him in the fall penniless. He went to Lewiston, having sold out his claims and quit the mining business.

He was appointed deputy sheriff under Ephraim Bunker and was in this capacity when the noted criminal, Peter Walker, was hung by a mob. He then went into the dray and transfer business with Dyer, where he labored until 1874, then sold out and returned to Massachusetts, where he visited one winter.

Returning, he mined, acted as night watchman, and in 1882, he built a hotel at Lake Waha. By his skill in handling it and making the place attractive as a summer resort, he soon had an enormous trade, almost the entire town of Lewiston being visitors to that attractive spot. In 1892 Mr. Faunce sold this property and removed to his homestead, two miles west. His wife, who had been postmistress at the lake, was also appointed the same in this new place, and here Mr. Faunce and his wife built up a fine resort. This was operated until 1901, when he sold it and removed to Lewiston where he now lives.

On September 28, 1881, Mr. Faunce married Mrs. Alida J. (Lappeus) Anderson, daughter of William W. and Elizabeth (Lewis) Lappeus, natives of New York, now dead. Mrs. Faunce was born in Albany, New York, in 1840, and she has two sisters, Mrs. Rachel Morris and Mrs. Mary Giffin. Mr. Faunce has the following brothers and sisters, George, John and Sallie. Mrs. Faunce has two sons by her former marriage, William and Absolum Anderson, both in Lewiston. Mr. Faunce is a Republican and is always interested in politics.

It is of note that the father of our subject was captured by the English in 1812, taken to England and there detained until he was stricken with the brain fever which nearly cost him his life. Mr. Faunce is a member of the Pioneer Association in the County and is highly esteemed by all who know him.

Source: An Illustrated History of North Idaho: Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone counties, state of Idaho; Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903

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