Edward J. Northcutt is a veritable pioneer of the pioneers and has a history that is well worth chronicling in any volume that attempts to outline the history of Nez Perces County. He is really the father of Culdesac, which is one of his late ventures in life, his former career being spent on the frontier in all the leading western sections.
Edward J. Northcutt was born in Urbana, Ohio, on May 6, 1830, being the son of Willis and Sarah (Furman) Northcutt, farmers. The father was born in Ohio, his father being of Scotch extraction and a pioneer of that region. The mother of our subject was born in Ohio of English parentage, and their ancestors came from Kentucky and Virginia. Three children of the family are living, Charles W., a mechanic; Frances A., widow of Mr. Wheeler, residing in Tacoma; Emma M. wife of Bedford Jackson, a farmer on Cottonwood creek. Mr. Northcutt is now engaged in erecting a flour mill at Culdesac, which enterprise he is carrying on for a company, having collected twelve hundred dollars bonus for it. He is the owner of some fine residence property, also the livery barn operated by Mr. Watkins, besides other property. Mr. Northcutt helped to survey the town site and 1899 marks the date of his arrival on the spot.
Mr. Northcutt has been a pioneer of the Pacific coast for over fifty-one years and always has been foremost in the good labor of developing the country and fostering industries for its up building. He is now past seventy-one and is hale and hearty, being robust and ready for the activities of life. No sickness has come upon his to mar his life and he is free from all doctor bills. Mr. Northcutt in these fifty odd years has undergone deprivations and hardships that few could sustain, but he has never flinched and is now a leader in the line of progress. In 1851, Mr. Northcutt left Illinois and came with wagon train through to the coast. He crossed the Missouri where Omaha now stands and the first night out the Indians plundered the camp but because of the fierce resistance offered by the emigrants led by Mr. Northcutt they got but one steer. The next day Mr. Northcutt was chosen captain of the train, which he piloted through, having many trying experiences and some severe fighting with the Indians.
Mr. Northcutt has been married three times, and his first wife, whom he married in 1853, was the first single white woman in the Rogue River valley. He fought the Indians there and mined, and during that time drafted the first mining laws of the territory of Oregon. Much of his life has been spent in trapping and scouting and the mountain topography of the entire northwest is familiar to him. He helped to establish the post at Lapwai and was familiar with all the early history of this region.
Mr. Northcutt built the grade at Wawawai where the Palouse grain was hauled to the river before the railroads. On his farm near Pullman, Washington, Mr. Northcutt raised one hundred and one bushels of wheat on one acre, which went to the World’s Fair m Chicago in 1893. He is a man of sound judgment and great resources, has always labored for the good of the community where he has resided and to him is very much due for the up building and progress of much of the entire northwest.
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Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903