Jacob N. Gwin is a man of stirring activity and integrity, and has made a good name for himself in Nez Perces County and adjacent sections; he is deserving of consideration in the volume that mentions the leading men of the County. He was born in Washington County, Tennessee, on March 4, 1853, being the son of James K. and Mary A. (Whistler) Gwin. The father was of Welsh extraction, was born in Tennessee and died in 1874, having wrought at tilling the soil. The mother was born in Tennessee, in 1824, and now lives in this County. Her father, Jacob Whistler, was born in Virginia, and her mother, a Mis Swecker, was a native of that state also. The Swecker family were pioneers of Virginia, and some of its members were massacred by the Indians. Mr. Whistler died at the age of eighty-five and his wife was eighty-seven when she passed away. Our subject remained at home working on the farm and gaining a good education, both from the public schools and Washington College, until manhood’s estate.

At twenty he came to Trinidad, Colorado, with his parents. There he was interested in carpentry. They made the trip from Kit Carson, Colorado, to that city with Mexican freight outfits. Trinidad was his home until 1883; during that time he had taught school and been interested in various businesses. Then he came to Washington, settling near Dixie, where he assisted in threshing wheat that yielded forty bushels per acre without rain after May 12. He taught school after settling there, then removed to the vicinity of Garfield, and later came to Moscow to educate his children. There he was chosen to preach in the German Baptist denomination, and at this he labored faithfully for some years, also doing carpenter work. In 1896, on account of bronchial trouble, he went to Ashland, Oregon, with team, where he found relief. Three years were spent there and then he came to Nez Perces County and bought land. On the election of Mr. B. F. Bashor to the assessorship of the county, in 1902, our subject became deputy, and is acting in that capacity now and giving general satisfaction.

The marriage of Mr. Gwin and Miss Margaret J., daughter of Jacob and Anna (Arnold) Nead, was solemnized in Tennessee on January 5, 1881, by J. B. Pence. They have the following children: Ethel A., Laura M.. Dora A., Emma J., Edgar J., deceased, Bertha A., Lois, deceased. Mrs. Gwin was born in Washington County, Tennessee, on December 16, 1854, was educated there and taught school. Her father was born in Virginia in 1829 and died in 1862, while her mother was born in Virginia in 1828 and died in Tennessee in 1880. Mrs. Gwin had three uncles in the Confederate army. Her brothers are deceased and are named as follows: James, Benjamin and Jacob; and one sister, Cornelia Hopkins, who lives at Dayton, Washington, and two, Mary and Rebecca, are deceased. Mr. Gwin has brothers and sisters as follows: Phoebe I. Sipe, Mary J. Bashor, Joseph A., James F., Margaret E. Boyles, Emma M. Whitney.

Mr. and Mrs. Gwin are members of the German Baptist Brethren Church and are devout supporters of their faith. They have a good ranch in Nez Perces County and have raised as high as eighty-six and one-half bushels of grain per acre.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903