Lafayette Cartee

Photo of Lafayette Cartee
Photo courtesy of The Idaho State Historical Society

Born December 2, 1823, Syracuse, New York
Died September 2, 1891, Boise, Idaho

Following the California gold rush in 1849, Lafayette Cartee moved to Oregon where he became superintendent and engineer of construction for a railroad line along the Columbia River. Before moving to Idaho in 1863, Cartee served in the Oregon legislature, including two terms as speaker of the house.

In 1863, Cartee built Idaho's first sawmill, at Rocky Bar. That same year, and in 1866, he was appointed the state’s first Surveyor General, serving about 14 years. Cartee purchased 24 acres of land between Grove St. and the Boise River where, for many years, he grew fruits and vegetables. He built the city's first greenhouse in 1871.

Cartee married Mary Bell in 1855. They became the parents of three daughters and a son. Mrs. Cartee died at The Dalles, Oregon in 1862. Many years later, he sent his 14-year old son Ross to bring Mary's body to Boise to be interred in Pioneer Cemetery.

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