Biography of James L. Bounds

About one-half mile from North Lapwai is the elegant home of the subject of this article. It is large and tasty and has land there which is handled to general farming. Mr. Bounds is one of the earliest pioneers in many sections of the west and he played a very prominent part in the early times when gold was discovered in California. He came from the fields there and through his report there were hundreds of men who resorted thither.

James L. was born in Lafayette County, Missouri, on February 12, 1830, being the son of Obediah and Nancy (Lovelady) Bounds. The father was a farmer, born in Virginia in 1789 and died in 1844. He was a pioneer to Missouri in 1818 and settled in Lafayette County in 1820. He participated in the Black Hawk war, and the Osage Indian campaign. The mother of our subject was born in White County, Tennessee, and died in 1846.

James received his education in his native place and remained with his mother until her death; then spent some time with his brother-in-law, but not agreeing with him, he ran away to join the army in the Mexican war. He went to Fort Leavenworth but changed his mind and came to Oregon City instead. He drove an ox team all the way and consumed six months in the trip. October 30, 1847, was the date of his landing there and as times were hard he labored at what he could get until 1848 and then heard of the gold find in California. With two lads who had accompanied him across” the plains, he went thither on horseback, being the first party that went there across the mountains. They were at Clear creek in Shasta County, above Sacramento, on American river, and later at Placerville.

He there met Dr McBride, the grandfather of the present governor of Washington. He accompanied the Doctor to Ford’s Bar on the middle fork of the American River and there made nine hundred dollars the first month. In the fall he went back to Oregon in company with O. C. Pratt, one of the early governors of Oregon. In the spring of 1849, with a large company who were induced by his reports to join the exodus, he returned to California. They fought the Indians and soon were in the mines where young Bounds made fourteen hundred dollars in five weeks. He bought and sold horses and did well; later he went to Feather River and bought claims and made thirty-three hundred dollars. Being taken sick, he went to Sacramento and was doctored. He then returned to Oregon and later went back to California. Again we find him in Oregon working on his donation claim, and in 1857 he went again to California and remained seven years. In 1863 he came to Walla Walla and went into stock business. He returned to California in 1882 for his health and remained until 1890. In 1895 he came to Idaho and here he has been since.

On December 8, 1853, Mr. Bounds married Mis; Rachel, daughter of Thomas and Eliza Linville, and a native of Lafayette County, Missouri. She crossed the plains in 1853. Mr. Bounds has one sister living, Amanda Stark, in Missouri. Mrs. Bounds has the following brothers and sisters: Thomas, W. C. Humphrey, James B. and Eliza Hardesty. To Mr. and Airs Bounds there have been born seven children, as follows: Nancy King, in Nez Perces County; Homer, at Cape Nome; William, in Asotin, Washington; Jennie Sumpter; Anna Gilchrist, in California: Bertha Adron in Nez Perces County; Sallie Harrison, in Seattle. Mr. Bounds was deputy sheriff in Siskiyou County, California, for many years. He is a Democrat in politics and active in the welfare of the County.

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

1 thought on “Biography of James L. Bounds”

  1. Could this Bounds person have been related to the Bounds, Lillian Marie that was Walt Disneys wife from the Lewiston, Idaho area?

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