Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Weiser Stockman and Irrigation Developer Thomas Galloway [otd 06/06]

Tom Galloway. Illustrated History.
Weiser pioneer Thomas C. Galloway was born June 6, 1837 in Iowa County, Wisconsin, about forty miles southwest of Madison. According to the Illustrated History, his grandfather came to America from Scotland in time to fight in the Revolutionary War and was present at Yorktown when Lord Cornwallis surrendered there. Thomas was a teenager when the family emigrated along the Oregon Trail to Yamhill County, Oregon in 1852. Tom pursued a variety of jobs, including some time as a teacher, before leading pack trains to the British Canadian gold camps.

In 1863, Galloway packed supplies into the Boise Basin, then stayed to work in the gold fields. The following year, he and Woodson Jeffreys settled along the Weiser River [blog, February 11]. Tom built a log hut at the future site of Weiser City, and then replaced it three years later with a frame structure. Galloway ran these first buildings in the area as a simply hotel for several years. About 1868, he began a major expansion of his horse and cattle holdings.

His horse herd grew to be one of the largest in the area. Galloway’s Weiser City properties increased in value even more with the arrival of the Oregon Short Line Railroad in early 1884.  Tom served two terms on the Territorial Council (equivalent to the state Senate) in 1882 and 1884. He moved the family to Boise City at that time, partly so their children could take advantage of its better educational institutions. Tom maintained interests in Weiser and they moved back when the children had graduated from high school.
Weiser, ca. 1888. Weiser Museum.
During this period, Galloway was considered such an expert on stock raising that the leading agricultural journal of the day published his views on “Points of a Good Jack.” He recommended various male ass breeds for siring mules for different uses. If one needed a heavy draft animal, “then the Maltese ass or the Poitiers ass is required.”

In addition to his ranch, real estate, and business holdings, Galloway led the way in bringing irrigation to the higher plains along the Weiser River. A cooperative started the project, but apparently had neither the resources nor relevant skills to complete the job. Thomas attracted additional investors to finish the work. However, according to Judge Frank Harris, they eventually sold their rights to a local water district "at somewhat of a loss" because of the hassles involved in running the enterprise.

By the turn of the century, Tom owned over fourteen hundred acres of land around Weiser, some of it within the city limits. In late 1901, Galloway represented Idaho as a Delegate-at-Large at the Annual Convention of the National Live Stock Association. A few months later, he was elected President of the Washington County Stock Raisers Association.

In 1903, he served a term in the state House of Representatives. He also served as a justice of the peace in Weiser City, on the city council, and later on the school board. While the Galloways lived in Boise, they had a son, Thomas C. Jr., who became an eminent medical researcher [blog, March 17.]
Galloway House.
The elder Thomas passed away in June 1916. The Weiser mansion he had built in 1899-1900 is now on the National Register of Historic Places. He reportedly sold eight hundred horses to finance the place. (Today, it is a bed & breakfast furnished in period decor.)
References: [Illust-State]
Thomas C. Galloway, “Points of a Good Jack,” The American Agriculturist for the Farm, Garden and Household, Vol. 48, Orange Rudd Company, New York (1889).
"T. C. Galloway dies," Oregonian (June 11, 1916).
Frank Harris, 'History of Washington County and Adams County," Weiser Signal (1940s).
Charles F. Martin (ed.), Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Convention of the National Live Stock Association, December 3-6, 1901, P. F. Pettibone & Co., Publishers, Chicago (1902).

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