The progressive, talented, successful and leading business man, of whom we now speak, is well known in Nez Perce and through the County, being a large lumber dealer and manufacturer, as well as a large real estate holder. His excellent capabilities have been manifested in a commendable manner in his business career and owing to his keen perception and discrimination, coupled with energy, he has placed himself among the heaviest property owners in this part of the state. William J. Ramey was born in Dassel, Meeker County, Minnesota, on February 26, 1869, being the son of Sylvester and Delilah C. (Gilbert) Ramey. The father is a native of Kentucky, and his parents were natives of the same state. Just at the breaking out of the war, they removed to Minnesota and there he enlisted in the Union army and fought for the flag for two and one half years. He is now aged fifty-eight and lives in Kootenai County, Idaho. In 1880 he was in Portland in the saw mill business with our subject, and then he was foreman and manager of Goldsmith & Company’s mills at La Prairie, formerly Texas Terry, Washington, being an expert timber man. The family then resided in Lewiston and later Mr. Ramey was bridge builder for the Northern Pacific. He went to Kootenai County in 1889. The mother of our subject was also born in Kentucky, of parents who were natives of that state, too. She went with them to Minnesota at the close of the war and there married. William J. was educated in the district schools in Minnesota, then in Rockford public schools, and finally took a course in the business college in Spokane. Subsequent to this, he traveled for fire insurance for two years and then opened an office in Tekoa, Washington, where he continued until 1896. Then he came to the reservation, being quick to perceive the advantages there to be had. He bought a milling plant twelve miles north from Nez Perce and to the operation of this and handling his fine farms in the County he has since continued. He has about eight hundred acres of excellent land, all in to hay and grain and he feeds scores of cattle and hogs. Mr. Ramey has a fine residence in Nez Perce and also business property there; he has constructed a private telephone for his use from the mills to the residence and office, it being the finest private line in the County. His mill will cut thirty thousand feet of lumber daily and he has machinery to produce all kinds of finished material, and is doing a thriving business, in all of which, as in his real estate matters, is seen his executive force and wisdom. His brother, Chads P. is foreman and manager of the mill at Russell and is a capable man. Mr. Ramey has also four sisters: Jane, wife of Paul Roscoe, a stockman in northern Idaho and Montana: Victoria, wife of Alexander Bailey, a saw mill man at Harrison, Idaho: Roxy, wife of Charles Van Amburg, a mining man at Murray, Idaho; Effie, wife of Edward Ribstein, a hardware merchant at Harrison. On February 6, 1895, Mr. Ramey married Miss Bertha A. Whitney, at Palouse, Washington, and to them have been born thee children: Marvel A., Lois, and Olga. Mrs. Ramey was born in Woodburn, Oregon, on September 20, 1879, and her parents, David and Minerva (Braun) Whitney, were pioneers of that state. The father was born in England and is an old sea captain. The mother was born in Illinois of German ancestry. Mr. Ramey is a member of the K. of P. in Wallace. Idaho: and of the W. W. and M. W A. in Nezperce. He is an active Democrat in political matters and interested keenly in all that is for improvement and advancement.
Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903