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Idaho Government Documents

About this collection

The George Shoup (1836 – 1904) Collection consists of letters and documents formerly in the possession of Idaho’s first Governor, and United States Senator.  Subjects in the collection pertain to: Indian fighting, business methods, transportation, and politics in early Idaho, circa 1867 – 1900.  The items in the digital collection represent only a portion of the physical collection.

 

George Laird Shoup was born on June 15, 1836 in Kittaning, Pennsylvania. He attended local public schools, and, 1852 at age sixteen, he and his father moved to Illinois to continue farming and ranching. The Colorado gold rush of 1859 lured George to Colorado, where he fought in several Colorado-based units during the Civil War. In 1866, he purchased a stock of goods to sell to miners in the area around Virginia City, Montana Territory; in 1867, he opened a second store in the Salmon River mining district, helping to found the present-day city of Salmon, Idaho.

 

In 1868, he married Lena Darnutzer and six children were eventfully born to them. With the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad, George Shoup's business endeavors grew and he was sought out for political office in the newly established territory. By 1872 he became one of the first county commissioners for Lemhi County, Idaho and was also appointed county superintendent of schools. And, in 1874, he was elected to the Idaho Territory House of Representatives, serving one term and then returning in the 1879-1880 term on the Territorial Council. He served as a delegate to the 1880 Republican National Convention and the Republican National Committee from 1880 until 1892. President Benjamin Harrison appointed him Territorial Governor in 1889.

 

Governor Shoup affirmed his predecessor's proclamation for the calling of a State constitutional convention to explore the possibility of Statehood for Idaho. Under Governor Shoup's leadership, the Idaho Admission Act was passed by the United States Senate on July, 1, 1890, and he was overwhelmingly elected the first governor of the new state. When the state legislature met to appoint Idaho's first Senators to Congress, George Shoup was prevailed upon to enter his name.  He did, and was immediately elected as Idaho's first Senator, serving a six-year term, only to lose the bid for re-election in 1900.

 

George Shoup died on December 21, 1904 and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Boise, Idaho. He was memorialized by being one of the first two Idahoans allowed to have a statue in Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol.

 

 
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