Sunday, November 4, 2018

Boise Mayor, Merchant, and Prominent Mason Charles Himrod [otd 11/04]

Mayor Himrod. H. T. French.
Boise merchant and Mayor Charles Himrod was born November 4, 1842, in Burdett, New York, about 55 miles southwest of Syracuse. After completing basic country schooling, he became clerk in a general merchandise store. After eight years of that, he traveled in 1864 with a government-organized emigrant party on the Oregon Trail. The train reached Boise City at the end of September.

Charles decided to settle in the new town and found a job in the dry-goods and general merchandise store owned by Cyrus Jacobs. Jacobs had moved first to Oregon around 1852. After prospectors discovered gold in the Boise Basin, Jacobs headed there with a pack train. Instead of going on, however, he set up a tent store near Fort Boise and helped found Boise City nearby.

By August 1864, he had built a home – the first one made of brick – and was advertising his new permanent store in the Idaho Statesman. Jacobs must have been pleased to find an experienced clerk and bookkeeper in Himrod to help run the store. Himrod remained with that firm for around twelve years, before spending two or three years with another mercantile operation.

He did try to branch out in 1872, serving as business manager and Secretary for a new newspaper called the Idaho Standard (Idaho Statesman, May 2, 1872). That venture soon failed, however.

During the same period, Himrod also served in a number of public offices. He was Mayor of Boise City from 1869 through 1872, part of the time with a concurrent position as Ada County Treasurer (1870-1871). In 1872, “Charley” also served a term in the House of Representatives for Idaho Territory. He was very active in the state Democratic Party structure.

For a few years after about 1878, Himrod ran his own general store. He also returned to public office as the Mayor of Boise City in 1879, and had another stint as Ada County Treasurer.

Then, in 1882, he teamed up with Thomas J. Davis [blog, January 2] to open a dry goods and grocery store, styled “Davis & Himrod.” Like Cyrus Jacobs, Tom Davis was one of the original founders of Boise City. By this time, he owned extensive fruit orchards in the Boise Valley. The initial advertisement in the Idaho Statesman (July 6, 1882) said, “We deal extensively in dried and canned fruits, of our own raising, and better than any of the California or Oregon fruits.”
Main Street, Boise, ca 1912. H. T. French.

Davis & Himrod remained in business through most of the decade. In 1885 and again in 1889, Charley served terms as Treasurer for Idaho Territory. The partnership was dissolved “by mutual consent” after seven years (Idaho Statesman, March 28, 1889), but Himrod continue in the dry good business for another two years or so.

He then liquidated his stock to focus on a new electric trolley project. Later, he acted as an independent business agent, and also went into banking.

During the first decade of the new century, he served four years as a Commissioner for Ada County. Himrod also served for many years as a Director for the Boise School District.

Almost from his arrival in Idaho, Charley took an active part in the Masonic Lodge. For many years he served as Grand Secretary for the state Lodge, and was elected Grand Master in 1879. Starting in 1889, Himrod held the position of Grand Treasurer for the Idaho Lodge for over a quarter century. When Charley died in January 1920, the Lodge played a major role in his memorial and burial service.
References: [French], [Hawley]
Charles Himrod Papers, MS 512, Idaho State Historical Society, Boise (1985).
“Cyrus Jacobs: December 22 or 23, 1831 – June 28, 1900,” Reference Series No. 580, Idaho State Historical Society (1981).


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