Biography of John W. Helt

Two miles south from Melrose is the home place of Mr. Helt. It consists of a fine quarter of land that he secured from the government by his homestead right and which he has transformed from the wilderness of nature to a fertile and productive farm, supplied with comfortable buildings and a good orchard. Mr. Helt is personally a man of good qualities, industrious and progressive.

He was born in Dubuque, Iowa, on July 2, 1869, being the son of John and Margaret (Cahill) Helt. The father was a cooper, born in Germany and came to the United States in an early day. The mother died when John was four years old. He then went to live with John J. McNamara, in Jones County, Iowa. This man was a brother to the well known Bill McNamara, who built one of the finest blocks in Butte, Montana. Mr. Helt was one of the family and received equally good treatment from his foster parents as did their own children and he remained contented with them until he was twenty-one. Then he began doing for himself and in 1896 he made his way to the reservation and took his present place. He has devoted himself to its culture and improvement and the result is that he is prosperous.

On January 1, 1896, in Sioux City, Iowa, Mr. Helt married Miss Georgianna, daughter of George and Celia (Brown) Pitts. Mr. Pitts was born in Otisco, New York, in 1838 and died in 1888. He was a soldier, serving in Company F, First Michigan of Engineers and Mechanics, where he enlisted under Sherman and went to the sea. Captain Bilton and Colonel Evans were his immediate commanders. His wife was born in Cortland County, New York, her folks being pioneers from Massachusetts. Mrs. Helt was born in Flowerfield, Michigan, in 1876, gained a good education in the University of Sioux City, Iowa, and taught for a few years previous to her marriage. She was an only child. Mrs. Helt has the distinction of carrying the first mail in the Melrose section, handling a pony route twice a week from Beeman, before there was any Melrose. At first they went twenty-five miles to Juliaetta for mail. Mr. Helt has the following brothers and sisters: Edward, Mary E., Fannie, Rosa and Jessie. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Helt, Marv Ellen and John E.

Mr. Helt is a member of the M. W. A., also of the Masonic order. He is a Republican in politics, has been director in the school matters and is zealous in his endeavors for good schools. He is a man of stanch character and stands for the development and progress of the country.

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

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