Oregon Republican League: History 104 Biographies
Every Wednesday, the Oregon Republican League will post the biographies of important figures, in the League's/State of Oregon's history. Feel free to comment or share stories of your family's Republican affiliation.
An Illustrated History of Umatilla County & Morrow County, by Colonel William Parsons and W. S. Shiach with a brief outline of the early history of the State of Oregon. W. H. Lever, Spokane, WA, (1902), p. 542-543.
HON. JOSIAH S. BOOTHBY. The venerable Civil War veteran, pioneer citizen of Oregon and able politician and statesman, whose career it is now our task to present in brief outline, was born in Brown county, Ohio, in October, 1824, his parents being Josiah and Mary (Rounds) Boothby. His mother died when he was two weeks old, and at the age of six he was deprived by death of his father also. He then went to Illinois to live with an older brother. At a very early age he began the struggle of life as a cabin boy on the Mississippi River, and at the age of nineteen he began learning the trade of an engineer. In 1849, he went to Kansas, whence he was driven by the drouth(sic). His next place of abode was in the vicinity of Alexandria, Missouri where he continued to reside until the outbreak of the war in 1861. He then moved his family to Illinois and himself enlisted in Company F, Seventh Missouri infantry. During his four years of service he fought under Colonel Stevens, General Logan and General Grant, participating in twenty-two regular battles. As illustrating the danger of the service in which he was engaged we may say that out of the twelve hundred enlisted men who constituted his regiment, only one hundred and thirty-four were left at the end of the war.
At the close of the hostilities, Mr. Boothby returned to Illinois. Subsequently he went to Kansas, locating in Howard county where for a number of years he was engaged in farming and milling. He ultimately moved to Leavenworth county, whence in 1879 he came to Monmouth in the Willamette valley, and he states that at the time of his arrival there his worldly wealth consisted of three nickels. He set to work vigorously to retrieve his lost fortune, achieving at least fair success in the effort. In 1883 he came to Lexington, took land and engaged in raising wheat and cattle, and to these kindred occupations he has devoted himself continuously since.
In 1894 our subject's public spirit and abilities received a fitting reward in his election to the state legislature. While endeavoring to faithfully represent his constituency he felt it incumbent upon him to throw his influence in favor of the coinage of America's silver on a basis which would, in his opinion, keep it on a par with gold. He made a hard fight to have the Columbia river opened by the state so that farmers of the Inland Empire might be relieved of excessive freight charges. He also sought energetically and successfully to defeat the re-election of Senator Dolph.
Mr. Boothby was married first in Illinois in 1844, the lady being Elizabeth Peyton, a native of Tennessee, who died in 1867, leaving four children; Samantha, now deceased; John C., a resident of Kansas; Mary J. in Spokane, Washington and Josiah T., a farmer near Lexington.
In 1867, in Coles county, Illinois, he a second time took upon himself the bonds of matrimony, the lady being Susan J. Yates, a native of Illinois. To this union there have been born three children, namely; Grant, in Missouri; Luella B., wife of Charles Beymer, but now deceased; one infant that died. In 1899, he sold his farm to his son and moved into Lexington, where he bought a comfortable home and is spending the golden years of his life. It was through his influence that the Methodist society of Lexington was organized and he has been one of the leaders in the enterprise of erecting the commodations(sic) and tasty church edifice that they now occupy. He and his wife are leading members of this church and are highly respected and beloved by all.