An honorable and upright man, a patriotic citizen, a first class farmer and an enterprising business man, the subject of this sketch is eminently fitted for representation in the history of this County.

Robert H. Steele was born in Randolph County, Missouri, on April 16, 1858, being the son of William M. and Nancy H. (Wallace) Steele, natives respectively of Kentucky and North Carolina. Robert grew up on a farm, obtained a common schooling, and in 1878 went to Colorado Springs, where he teamed and railroaded until 1881. In that year he came to southern Idaho and there wrought on the Oregon Shortline and in 1883 we find him in the same labor between Colfax and Pullman.

In 1884 Mr. Steele went to the Coeur d’Alenes and packed for Charlie Smith for a time, then worked in a sawmill in Palouse. In the winter of 18845 he went, via Portland, to San Francisco, Old Mexico, Texas, and so forth, to his home in Missouri, to visit his father, his mother having died in 1871. While crossing the Cascade Mountains they were snowed in and were twenty-three days cooped up and finally had to walk out, almost perishing, as three days were spent without food under these trying circumstances.

Two years were spent in the east and then Mr. Steele came to the vicinity of Troy, Latah County, and there took a preemption. This was the arena of his labors in the stock business until the spring of 1896, when he came to his present place at Steele post office, and took a homestead. This has been improved in a good manner, has produced abundant returns of crops, is a valuable piece of land and shows in every point the skill and thrift of Mr. Steele. His means were limited when he opened this place but now he has gained a good competence.

In April, 1902, Mr. Steele was appointed postmaster of Steele post office and since that time has discharged the duties of the office in an acceptable manner. In addition to the post office and farm, Mr. Steele has opened a general merchandise establishment and is constantly increasing his stock as the demands of trade indicate. He is a good, substantial man, well respected by all who know him and is an influential factor in the up building of the country. He is a member of the W. W.

On February 17, 1895, Mr. Steele married Miss Nettie B., daughter of Allen and Susan Summers, who were pioneers to Bates County, Missouri, and also to Latah County and in 1896 to the reservation country near Nezperce, where the father died on February 21, 1902. The mother still lives on the old home place. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Steele: William A., Victor H., and Susan F. Mr. Steele enlisted in the National Guards in 1890 and served three years, being there soon after the Frisco mine was blown up.

Mr. and Mrs. Steele are members of the church and are in hearty sympathy with this branch of labor as in all worthy endeavors for the amelioration of the condition of all.

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