Friday, January 20, 2017

Mining Investor, Attorney, and Boise County Prosecutor Harry Fisher [otd 01/20]

Attorney Fisher. H. T. French photo.
Attorney Harry Leroy Fisher was born January 20, 1873, on a farm in Daviess County, Missouri, 40-60 miles east of St. Joseph’s. He taught school there and also for a time in Ada County after coming to Idaho in 1891. Fisher then spent a year or two prospecting around the Boise Basin. From time to time, he also worked as a farm laborer.

For some years, along with his other jobs, Harry read law in private law offices in Missouri as well as Idaho. Then, in 1894, he enrolled at the Stanford University law school. Two years later, he returned to Idaho and was admitted to the bar.

Harry also kept his interest in mining. The Idaho Statesman reported (December 19, 1901) that he had leased a lode mine northeast of Idaho City. The article went on, “Mr. Fisher will drift on the hanging wall of the north ledge and hopes, when he gets opposite the big shot in the south ledge, to strike rich ore.”

Three year before, he had started a practice in Idaho City, the county seat of Boise County. He did well enough there that he was elected Boise County Prosecutor in 1902 and again in 1904. Along with that office, Fisher also ran for a position on the Idaho City Board of Trustees. During the latter election, such was his local renown that he won by a 3-to-1 margin.

Reporting on one sensational murder case he prosecuted, the Idaho World newspaper said, “The way he has carried this case all through entitles him to great credit and the hearty congratulations of every good citizen in the county.” His performance was considered even more remarkable because he was pitted against the “experienced and able” James H. Hawley [blog, Jan 17].

In 1907, Fisher moved to Boise, where he would live for the rest of his life. Although he never again held public office, he did occasionally work as a special assistant. For example, the Idaho Statesman reported (October 30, 1913) on an assault trial in which “Robert M. McCraken and Harry L. Fisher, as special prosecutors, represent the state.”

In 1922, Fisher successfully pleaded cases before the Idaho Supreme Court, including one for damage inflicted on his client’s crops by stock that invaded his land from a neighboring sheep company. Fisher won, and the court required the sheep company to pay for the full amount of the farmer’s losses as well as all court costs.
Superior, Montana, ca 1930. Vintage postcard.

Besides his active legal practice, he still invested widely in irrigation and mining ventures. Thus, a Spokane newspaper, the Spokesman Review, reported (Feb 26, 1933) that the Board of Directors “of the Oregon Creek Mining company was reelected at the annual meeting in Boise, Idaho, last Tuesday. Its members are Harry L Fisher … ”

Fisher was the President of the company. Three months later (May 21, 1933), the Spokesman Review headlined, “$700 Gold dug in Six Hours.” This nice return came from a Oregon Creek holding south of Superior, Montana … about forty miles northwest of Missoula and near the Idaho border.  Fisher passed away in March 1940.  
References: [French], [Hawley]
I. W. Hart, ex officio reporter, “John B. Kellar vs Hugh Sproat and The McMillan Sheep Company,” Reports of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Idaho, Vol. 35, Bancroft-Whitney Company, San Francisco (1922).

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