Richard J. Monroe

Lewiston Teller
Lewiston, Idaho, October 1, 1896

Richard J Monroe

Richard J. Monroe, died at Lake Waha at an early hour Thursday morning. For several months he had been afflicted with a severe case of diarrhoes, which had gradually developed into inflammation of the bowels. Partly to restore lost strength from the primary effects of the disease and partly on business, in company with Robert Schleicher, he started on a trip to the Camas Prairie country on the Thursday preceding the day of his death. While at Denver Sunday evening he was attacked with a violent chill, and compelled to retire to his bed. Advised by physician of the serious nature of Mr. Monroe's illness, Mr. Schleicher, with Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Day, started the following morning with the patient to Lewiston. The patient's strength gradually weakened and when the party reached Waha Tuesday it was seen that it was impossible to move him any further. Mrs. Monroe was at Waha when her husband arrived, and remained at his bedside until death claimed his life spark Thursday morning. Drs. Shaff and Stirling of this city were at the bedside of the patient during the hours preceding his death, hut medical aid was of no avail.

The news of Mr. Monroe's death reached the city Thursday morning. While it was known that he was confined to his bed at Waha, his friends had no knowledge of his critical condition, and the news of his death was a general surprise. The public schools of the city were immediately adjourned in respect to his memory, and a gloom of sadness pervaded the entire city. His remains were brought to the city Friday afternoon, accompanied by a delegation from the local benevolent societies of the city of which he was a member.

The funeral was held Saturday afternoon from the family residence on east Main street. The funeral services, conducted by the local lodge of Masons, assisted by the Ancient Order of United Workmen, were intensely impressive. Rev. J. D. McConkey delivered the sermon at the residence, paying sweet tribute to the character und life of the deceased. The funeral cortege, which followed his remains to the grave was one of the largest ever formed in the city. The secret societies, of which the deceased was a member, and the entire membership of the Lewiston public schools, attended in a body. He was lowered to his last resting place, in the Masonic cemetery, surrounded by hundreds of mourning friends, and sleeping 'neath a wilderness of floral tributes.

Mr. Monroe leaves a wife and three children to mourn their loss.

Richard J. Monroe was a pioneer of the west. To detail the story of his life would be to tell the story of the development of this great empire. As a child he first wandered into its healthful valleys, and he lived to grow white 'neath the shadow of its hills. He was born December 25th, 1839, in the state of Florida. While an infant his father died and his mother married Doctor Craig, of the U. S. Corps of Surgeons. In 1850, Dr. Craig was ordered to The Dalles, Oregon, at that time one of the important military posts of the west coast. His family accompanied him and in 1851 they established a residence at The Dalles. Later, the doctor retired from the service und engaged in business at that point. Mr. Monroe was sixteen years of age when the Cayuse war broke out, and enlisting in a volunteer company, he served to the close. The volunteer in those days was home's only protection, and Mr. Monroe served in several subsequent campaigns. Late in the fifties he became associated with his father in the drug business at The Dalles. The Dalles was then the axis for the trade of the great territory now termed Eastern Washington, Idaho and Oregon. As a business man he came into contact with the pioneers of all sections, and no man could have enjoyed a larger acquaintance, or possess more perfect knowledge of the trials of that blessed army of home-seekers. His business relations brought him to Lewiston as early as 1860, and in 1866 he engaged in the drug business at this point. Since that time he has continuously resided in this city, an honored and respected citizen. In 1872 he was appointed by General Grant as receiver of the Lewiston land office, and receiving subsequent appointments from Presidents Hayes, Garfield and Harrison, served for eighteen years in that capacity with credit and honor. Retiring from the land office in 1893, he engaged in the real estate business with H. K. Barnett. Mr. Monroe was an efficient land attorney, and much of his time was consumed in practice before the court of the land department up to the time of his death.

As a pioneer citizen of Lewiston, no man demonstrated a keener interest in the welfare of the city, in all movements of progress, he was a conspicuous figure. Practically the father of the public schools, its interests were his own, and with the history of this institution will always be associated his name. As mayor of the city and state legislator, the people had placed unqualified trusts in him that were sacredly kept and eminently fulfilled. Of high moral character and strict integrity, he enjoyed the confidence of the community. Pleasant, courteous, liberal to a fault, his acquaintances were his friends. Another pioneer has passed away; the world has been made better by his presence. Mourning friends sigh at his memory; death has checked a useful life, but a good name is a living monument.

Contributed by Natalie Huntley

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