Although the subject of this sketch has not been so long a resident of Nez Perces County as some, still his worthy labors and real worth entitle him to representation in the annals of its history, while also on the reservation portion of the County he has been one of the real pioneers.

Wilfred L. Gifford was born in Cedar County, Iowa, on June 19, 1870, being the son of Seth and Anna A. (Buckman) Gifford. The father resides at Gifford and the mother is long since deceased. Our subject received his education from the various places where he lived with his father, who is mentioned in this volume. He remained at home until 1890, and then entered the employ of the F. E. & M. V. R. R. in Nebraska, continuing there for four years. After that he turned his attention to developing mining properties in the Black Hills, South Dakota, until 1898, the date of his advent to this County, his father having preceded him.

He homesteaded his present place of one hundred and twenty acres three and one half miles northeast from Gifford. The land is adapted to fruit and stock and in these lines he is starting. During the summer of 1890 Mr. Gifford was a forest ranger for the government in the Bitter Root forest reserve. He was deputy sheriff under his father in Fall River County and had thrilling experiences among the outlaws who knew the terror of the law when our subject and his father administered it. One noted criminal, Ed Lehman, was apprehended and executed: at this time.

On June 23, 1891, at Hot Springs, South Dakota, Mr. Gifford married Miss Tillie, daughter of James and Elizabeth (Bellew) Craven, natives of Illinois and Kentucky, respectively. The father was a prominent stockman and also a pioneer across the plains in 1863, having made much money in the placer mines in Montana. Mrs. Giftord has the following brothers and sisters: John B., Woodson B., both residents of South Dakota and the latter County commissioner of Fall River County for four years; Lydia, twin sister to Mrs. Giftord; Jimmie, assistant principal and disciplinarian of the Gaylord Institute at Platte City, Missouri, yet her home is in Dakota with her other sister. Mrs. Gifford was born in Clay County, Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Gifford have one child, Bessie L., aged ten.

Mr. Gifford is a member of the Tin Centre Lodge, of the K. of P., No. 44; also of the M. W. A., Camp No. 5545. Mr. Gifford is a Republican and takes an active and intelligent part in political matters. He stands well among his fellows and is one of the leading citizens of the community. He was nominated on the Republican ticket for assessor and ex-officio tax collector of the N. P. Company and was elected by a majority of four hundred and sixty-one votes, and will begin the duties of the office January 1, 1902.

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