Abstracted from "History of Idaho, the Gem of the Mountains," vol. 3, by James H. Hawley. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago. (p. 885f) archive.org


John H. Talley is a retired rancher residing at No. 1914 North Eleventh street in Boise. The story of Idaho's development is familiar to him through more than a third of a century's connection with the state. He removed from Georgetown, Colorado, to the northwest, but was born in Morgan county, Ohio, March 6, 1845, and was the first one of his family to come to this state. Later, however, his parents, Harmon Harrison and Hannah (Smith) Talley, removed to Idaho, together with a brother and sister of John H. Talley, these being Wesley and Jennie. The former is now deceased, while the latter is the wife of W. A. Carpenter, of Boise, mentioned elsewhere in this work.

John H. Talley spent his early childhood in Morgan county, Ohio, but was only seven years of age when he went with his parents to Ogle county, Illinois. There he resided from 1852 until 1869, or for a period of seventeen years, when he removed with his parents to Atchison county, Kansas. For two years he was a resident of that locality and then went to Osborne county, Kansas. While living there he was appointed United States deputy marshal and filled the position for two years in the Indian Territory under President Grant's first administration. Later he spent two years in Minnesota and in 1880 he removed to Georgetown, Colorado, where he remained until 1886, when he came to Idaho. After coming to this state Mr. Talley was for two years employed in a silver mine in Owyhee county. He then removed to Sweet, Idaho, where he took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres of desert land near the town. Thereon he lived for more than a quarter of a century, developing the once wild and desolate tract into a highly improved and productive farm. While upon the ranch he was one of five men who constructed what is known as the Squaw creek dam and ditch. In fact he was the principal mover in the project, owning four times as much stock in the enterprise as his associates and performing four times as much of the work as they. The construction of this dam and ditch was an enormous job for the five ranchers and required five years in its accomplishment, but the results fully justified the expenditure of time, labor and capital, for it not only irrigated their own ranches but also many others in the vicinity and has now been in good working order since 1896.

Soon after taking up his desert claim, Mr. Talley was united in marriage in Nampa, Idaho, on the 24th of January, 1890, to Miss Dena Ebbelmesser, who was born in Fayette county, Illinois, February 2, 1870, and is of German parentage, but both her father and mother died when she was a little girl. Thus left an orphan, shy was partly reared by an aunt. She formed the acquaintance of Mr. Talley while he was on a visit in Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Talley have become the parents of twc daughters. Gladys, born December 17, 1891, was married in 1913 to Wellington Wills and they reside on a ranch near Eagle, Idaho. Bernice, born September 2, 1897, is a graduate of a business college and is now employed in the state auditor's office.

Mr. Talley continued to serve as president of the Squaw Creek Ditch Company for several years and also was president of the Boise County Milling Company, which operated a flour mill at Sweet, getting its power from the Squaw creek ditch. In boyhood Mr. Talley joined the Independent Order of Good Templars and has ever been a man of strictly temperate habits, doing all in his power to advance the abolition of strong drinks. He is also a Master Mason and is loyal to the teachings and purposes of the craft, which recognizes the brotherhood of mankind and the obligations thereby imposed. For thirty-four years he has lived in Idaho — years which have marked a marvelous change in the state and its development. He has recognized the problems connected with the agricultural development of the region, and his enterprise and iu" itiative have enabled him to largely extend the work of improvement, while as the years have passed the careful conduct of his business affairs has brought to him a substantial competence that now enables him to live retired, ranking with the men of affluence in the capital city.

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