Any compilation that has to do with the pioneers of Nez Perces County and adjacent country cannot fail to make mention of the genial and affable gentleman whose name appears above, since he is one of the earliest settlers; his father was one of the stanch men who came across the plains with ox teams and opened the west for the abode of man.

It will be interesting to note the details of this career and we will briefly outline them. James M. Taber was born in Sullivan County, Missouri, on April 6, 1860, being the son of John and Catherine (Whetstone) Taber. The father was born in Indiana in 1829 and died in Washington in 1871. The mother was born in Illinois in 1838 and lives at Latah County.

In 1864 the family crossed the plains with ox teams and the father bought land on the Touchet River, near Walla Walla. He went to work improving the property and was one of the enterprising men there until his death. Our subject and his brother continued to handle the farm until 1878, and then they sold out and the family went to the Potlatch country. Mrs. Taber had married E. Fix in the meantime. She was the first white woman in the Potlatch country and they have labored faithfully in the up building of the country.

James M. took land and farmed there until 1892, doing well. Then he sold out and rented land on the Nez Perces reservation. He continued there until 1896, then removed to Lewiston for a year to educate his children. He returned to the reservation and engaged as engineer at Mill No. 1: he passed the civil service examination and could have remained indefinitely. He determined, however, to purchase a mill for himself and accordingly bought his present property, three miles southwest from Kippen. He has operated this mill for four years and does well. He is a good sawmill man and has a fine plant.

On May 21, 1882, in Nez Perces County, Mr. Taber married Miss Addie, daughter of Perry and Nancy (Sumpter) Thomas. The father was a freighter and packer in Oregon, being an early pioneer. He came first to Washington and Idaho in 1852. He and his wife were born in Missouri. Mrs. Taber was born in Walla Walla County, Washington, in 1866, and has one brother and one sister, Thomas T. and Dora Taber. Mr. Taber has two brothers, Lewis C, Samuel S., and Lillie Hall and Ira Fix, a half brother and sister. Mr. and Mrs. Taber have the following named children: Lucy M. Bailey, of Nez Perces County: John, Clarence, Lester, Dorcas, and Samuel, at home.

Mr. Taber is a member of the M. W. A. and he and his wife are members of the Methodist Church. Mr. Taber has been justice of the peace; is a Republican in politics and always labors for good schools. He is a substantial man and stands well in the community.

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