Monday, April 12, 2010

Peter J. Pefley, Mayor of Boise, Idaho

Most family histories follow the male lines. Daughters are generally followed only to their children but not beyond. I decided that I wanted to know about the families of the daughters of the progenitor of my mother's surname. This man was my grandfather 10 generations back and his daughters having been born in the years following his marriage in 1649 in New Amsterdam were my aunts.

I found some very interesting people as I researched these women and their descendants. I was most fascinated with the men that they married and accomplishments of their children. One such female relative was Sarah Smith. She is the 4th great granddaughter of my direct ancestor's sister. Her family along with other families including the Pefley family moved to Oregon in 1851.

Peter Pefley was a harness maker. Sarah's father was a farmer. So who would have guessed that Peter Pefley would be an influential person in the state of Idaho?

Although he was mayor of Boise for 2 years (1887-1889) and a member of the constitutional committee to bring about statehood for Idaho, he was a harness maker and saddler throughout this period and beyond. As I studied this man further, found more intriguing facts.

In 1884, he filed a patent for a Saddle-girth. Then in May of 1887, he filed a patent for Girth-buckles for Saddles. A few months later he filed a patent for a Riding-saddle. Now it seemed to me that he was not just a harness maker but an inventor.

In the 1891 Boise City Directory, he is listed the proprietor of the Idaho Saddlery Company at 833 Main Street. You can see a picture of the building in 1895 at the Washington State University Library Digital Collections.

Sarah and Peter were married in 1855. She was at his side throughout his career. There is a saying, "Behind every great man there is a great woman." They were married 41 years when he died. She was his wife throughout his career.

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