Biography of Thomas H. LaDow

This worthy pioneer has done much to open this western country for the abode of his fellows. He is worthy of a place in the history of northern Idaho and it is with pleasure that we accord him consideration. He is a man of integrity and strong character, and has manifested great energy and enterprise in his course.

Thomas H. LaDow was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on August 22, 1853, being the son of John and Cornelia (Geer) LaDow. The father was born in Ohio, in 1819, and was a pioneer in Wisconsin and Minnesota, being in the last state at the time of the Sioux uprising. He was also a pioneer in Washington. The mother of our subject was born in New York in June, 1826. The family went to Wisconsin, and in 1859 went thence to Dayton, Ohio, returning again to Wisconsin; Thomas distinctly remembers the debates between Lincoln and Douglas. They went from Wisconsin to Minnesota, and in 1868 came across the plains with ox teams to Walla Walla. Four years after that the father went to unsurveyed land north from Palouse and settled, and that is the home where our subject remained until twenty.

In November, 1873, he began carrying the mail from Lewiston to Spokane, there being no town at Spokane, only a store or so, and no town between that and Lewiston. This was the first mail route into Spokane. Until 1882 the mail was carried on horseback, and in that year Mr. LaDow got the contract for himself. He then put on a four horse stage. Two years later he sold out and took a line from Colfax to Cheney. In 1884 he went to the Coeur d’Alene mines and there operated until his exchequer was empty; then he returned to staging.

He operated the first line from Moscow to Colfax, then he took the line from Farmington to Spokane and later bought a livery stable in Moscow. In 1886 Mr. LaDow went on the road as a traveling salesman for farm implements, and in a short time he went to farming near Palouse. In March, [896, he came to the reservation and took his present place three miles south and two east from Melrose. He has a good farm, well tilled, fine barn and orchard and also handles considerable other land.

On November 9, 1884, at Moscow, Mr. LaDow married Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Amos and Alary (Gwin) Phillips. Mr. Phillips was a pioneer to Whitman County in 1874. Mrs. LaDow was born in Dakota in 1863 and has two sisters and one brother, Nora Whitson, Hiram and Jennie Ames. Mr. LaDow has the following brothers and sisters: Josephine, Emmett A., Lora Palmer, Hattie Cox and Stella McConnell. Two sons have been born to Mr. and Mrs. LaDow, Leonard, and Floyd, deceased.

They are members of the Christian Church in Melrose. Mr. LaDow is clerk of the school board and has been since the district was organized. He is greatly interested in good schools and general progress. Mr. LaDow is a staunch Republican and his friends strongly urged him to accept the office of County commissioner.

By way of reminiscence it is of note that Mr. LaDow was present when the volunteers, Captain Randall, Lew Willmott, James Curley, C. M. Day, Josh Rowden, and Joe Moore, were surrounded by the Indians and Captain Randall and Joe Moore were killed almost in sight of the soldiers. Mount Idaho was but a trading post and Grangeville was not then built.

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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