John Hailey

Photo of John Hailey
Photo courtesy of “The State We Live In” by Byron Defenbach

Born August 29, 1835, Smith County, Tennessee
Died April 10, 1921, Boise, Idaho

One of the best known of Idaho's pioneers, John Hailey crossed the plains in April 1853, driving a five-yoke ox team, bound for the Oregon Territory. He arrived at his destination in October, just in time to participate in the Jackson County Rogue River Native American War. After the close of hostilities, he raised livestock and farmed.  After his marriage on Aug. 7, 1856, to Louisa M. Griffin, Hailey added the operation of a ferry across the Rogue River to his business ventures. The ferry operated until 1862.

In the spring of 1863, Hailey established a saddle and pack train route from the Columbia River to the Boise Basin mines. A year later he added a stage line over the same route. He also opened a stage line in partnership with William Ish, from Umatilla, Oregon to Boise Basin. He extended the line to Ogden, Utah. He sold the business in 1870.

Hailey served two terms (1873-1875 and 1885-1887) as an Idaho delegate to the 43rd and 49th Congress. After his service in Washington, he resumed farming, stock raising and mining. He was appointed warden of the Idaho State Penitentiary, serving from 1899-1901. He became the first director of the Idaho State Historical Society in 1907, serving in the capacity until his death. At the urging of the Society and many friends, he wrote and published the History of Idaho in 1910.

The City of Hailey in Blaine County is named for John Hailey. John and Louisa had seven sons and one daughter.

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