Thomas Benton Gess

Male 1841 - 1910  (68 years)


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  • Name Thomas Benton Gess  [1, 2
    Born 5 Oct 1841  Randolf Co., Missouri Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3
    Gender Male 
    Died 9 Feb 1910  Boise, Idaho Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3
    Buried Pioneer Cemetery, Boise, Idaho Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Person ID I7849  Bishir Family
    Last Modified 27 Dec 2010 

    Father William H. Gess,   b. 1798, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Jan 1865, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years) 
    Mother Sarah “Sallie” A. Hulen,   b. 1797, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Nov 1857  (Age 60 years) 
    Family ID F5566  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Anna Maria Crews,   b. 12 Jan 1842, Lafayette, Missouri Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Aug 1924, Boise, Idaho Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Married 5 Aug 1867  House of Mr. Lillard, Stewartsville, DeKalb Co., Missouri Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 5
    Children 
    +1. William Harley Gess,   b. 12 Feb 1871, Idaho Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Sep 1945, Boise, Idaho Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
    +2. Helen “Nellie” Gess,   b. Feb 1874, Iowa Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1920  (Age ~ 47 years)
    Last Modified 27 Dec 2010 
    Family ID F5565  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • From:
      "History of Idaho: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests" by Hiran T. French, M.S., Volune II, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1914.

      Thomas B. Gess. The late Thomas B. Gess, an
      Idaho pioneer since 1865 and for nearly forty years
      associated with the life of Boise, was a man of dis-
      tinction in this locality and has been greatly mourned
      since the time of his demise. He was a native of
      Randolph county, Missouri, and a son of William
      and Sarah Helen Gess, of that community, where
      the father was a prominent stock raiser. The par-
      ents were, respectively, of Tennessee and North
      Carolina nativity, although both died in Missouri.

      In the county of that state where they had estab-
      lished their home the birth of their son, Thomas B.
      Gess, had occurred on October 5, 1841.

      Thomas Gess spent his boyhood days among the
      scenes well known to the rural resident of that time
      and place, obtaining his educational advantages from
      the country schools of Randolph county. As he
      approached manhood's estate, he took up the voca-
      tion of stock raising and as his interest in this work
      broadened he determined to follow the fortunes of
      the west in that line. He had left his home during
      the war period and had spent one year at Bloommg-
      ton, Illinois, after which — in the spring of 1865— he
      organized a wagon train to come across the plains to
      Boise. On that trip the party encountered many
      bands of hostile Indians, but fortunately came through
      without any serious loss.

      After Mr. Gess had settled his affairs and plans
      for life in Ada county, he returned — after eight
      months — to Missouri, his transportation being ac-
      complished by the same method as had his trip to
      Idaho. The object of this return trip was his
      marriage to Miss Ann Crews, of Stewartsville, Mis-
      souri, a daughter of Harley and Mary (Lee) Crews
      and a descendant of General Lee of Virginia. Her
      family were of Puritan as well as of Cavalier con-
      nection and two uncles on her mother's side served
      in the Revolutionary war and that of 1812. Her
      father was a furniture merchant during his life,
      which was spent in Missouri, where he lived until
      the year of 1887, having reached the age of sixty-
      nine years.

      The bridal journey of Thomas Gess and his wife
      was the westward trip to Boise. From Stewarts-
      ville they traveled by rail to the end of the railroad
      at Green river. There they took the stage to Salt
      Lake, thence coming by the Wells Fargo system to
      Boise, near which place their ranch was located.
      There for many years Mr. Gess conducted the opera-
      tions of stock raising, which he continued until
      1890. In that year he sold his ranch and stock
      property and established his residence in Boise.

      A Democrat of staunch principles, Mr. Gess was at
      various times called upon to give civic service in one
      capacity or another. He had also gained considerable
      prominence through having served on the Hay-
      ward jury, of which he acted as foreman. In 1886
      he had been made postmaster of Boise and had ably
      discharged the duties of that office. As a resident
      of Boise, his ability and his leisure made him partic-
      ularly eligible for the office of assessor, which he
      filled for two years. After giving up that office his
      interests again turned to stock raising which he con-
      tinued until his death.

      Mr. Gess was survived by his estimable wife and
      by an admirable group of children and grandchildren.
      The eldest child of Thomas and Anna Gess was a
      daughter. Lulu, who is now Mrs. Mark, of Denver,
      Colorado, and who is without children. The only
      son is William Gess, who married Miss Katherine
      Porter and whose four children are named as fol-
      lows: Gerald, Elouise, Thomas Benton and William
      H. Jr., — all of whom are yet in school. The young-
      est of the children who were born to the subject of
      this review and his wife is a daughter who is well
      known in Boise as Mrs. James Stevenson. Her
      only son, James Stevenson Jr., met an accidental
      death by drowning, in June of 1903, at the age of
      four years.

      Not only by his loving family is Mr. Gess mourned,
      but by many devoted friends, including his brother
      members of the Christian church, as well as his
      comrades in the order of Ancient Free and Accepted
      Masons, in which he was a member both of chapter



      682



      HISTORY OF IDAHO



      and blue lodge. His is one of the beneficient memor-
      ies gathering about the personalities of Boise citizens
      who have lived and left the impress of their thoughts
      and deeds among us. He passed from this life,
      February 9. 1910, at his home in Boise, leaving to
      the world the bequest of his worthy descendants and
      to them the influence of an unpretentious but estim-
      able life.

      ---------

      "The Founding Fathers of Boise,"
      by Hugh H.Hartman
      Thomas Benton Gess was one of the early pioneers of Idaho, arriving in1865, and for over forty-five years was associated with the good life of Boise City. Mr. Gess was born on October 5, 1841 in Randolph County, Missouri. He was the son of William and Sarah Helen Gess. William Gess was a prominent stock raiser in that community. Thomas was raised and educated in the public schools of Randolph County. He followed in the footsteps of his father and took up the vocation of stock raising. He left home during the Civil War, and spent one year in Bloomington, Illinois. In the spring of 1865, he organized a wagon train to cross the plains to Boise City. Many bands of hostile Indians were encountered on the trip, but fortunately they came through without any serious loss. Mr. Gess claimed a ranch near Boise City, and after eight months of getting set-up, returned to Stewartsville, Missouri. The reason for this return trip was to marry Anna M. Crews Heidelsine. Anna was the daughter of Harley and Mary (Lee) Crews. She was born in 1841 at Lafayette, Missouri. She had two children by her first marriage, they were Louella Heidelsine, who was born in 1862 in Missouri, she married a man by the name of Mark; Samuel L. was born in 1863 in Missouri. Thomas and Anna had two children, they were: William H. and Alice "Nellie." William was born at Boise City in 1866, and married Katherine Porter. Alice "Nellie" was born at Boise City in 1869, and on April 2, 1897 married James Stephenson, Jr.The bridal trip of Mr. and Mrs. Gess was the journey westward to Boise City. From Stewartsville they traveled by rail to the end of the railroad at Green River. They took the stage to Salt Lake City, thence coming by the Wells Fargo system to Boise City. Mr. Gess was a staunch Democrat. He gained considerable notoriety having served as jury foreman at the "Big Bill" Haywood trial. He served the office of Ada County Assessor for two years. Mr. Gess was a member ofthe Christian Church and the order of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Mr. Gess operated his stock ranch near Boise until 1890, at which time he sold the ranch and relocated in Boise City at 1517 North Fourteenth Street. Thomas B. Gess died at his residence in Boise at Fourteenth and Eastman Streets on February 9, 1910. He was interred at Pioneer Cemetery, Boise. His wife, Anna, died on August 25, 1924, and was also buried in Pioneer Cemetery. The same book, on p. 24 shows that John Gess owned two city lots on Market Street very near 10th Street in Boise City.

  • Sources 
    1. [S1366] Hiran T. French, M.S., (The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago & New York, 1914).

    2. [S482] 1870 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2003).

    3. [S1413] Ancestry Tree for k2outside (Kathleen) , Entangled Branches .

    4. [S1379] Hugh H. Hartman, (http://gesswhoto.com/olden-daze/index10.html).

    5. [S1383] Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002, Provo UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.