George W. Oylear, filling the position of assessor of Canyon
county and making his home in Caldwell, has long been
identified with the west and is a representative of one of the
old pioneer families of California and Idaho. He was
born in Carson valley, California, Mar 17, 1877, his father
being Jonathan C. Oylear, who was a native of Missouri and a
veteran of the Civil war. He served throughout the
entire period of hostilities with Company A of the Sixth
Missouri Cavalry, entering the service as a private and being
discharged as a first sergeant, his principal duty being that
of scouting. After the war he established his home near
Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he resided for ten years, and then
went to California, living there for about three years, at the
end of which time he piloted a wagon train of settlers from
California to Lewiston, Idaho, in 1878. The Indians were
then very hostile and many of the trains which both preceded
and followed him has serious trouble with the red men, but Mr.
Oylear landed his train without the loss of a man, owing to
his ability as a scout and his knowledge of the western
county. He settle with his family on Little Potlatch
creek about twelve miles southeast of Moscow, where he
homesteaded and where he died in February, 1919, at the age of
eight years. His wife died in 18976. They had a
family of ten children, of whom George W. is the eighth in
order of birth. Five of the sons are living, while the
parents and four brothers and a sister have passed away.
Those who survive are. S. D., a retired farmer living a
Lewiston, Idaho; J. J., a farmer residing at Southwick, Idaho;
Elmer E., a merchant of Ellensburg, Washington; and M. M., who
is in the employ of the J. C. Penny Company at Pendleton,
Oregon. After the death of his first wife Mr. Oylear
married again and the children of that union are: Jesse
C. who farms the old homestead; Dora, also on the home farm;
and Hazel, who is connected with the Williamson Company at
Moscow. In the early days of the residence of the Oylear
family in Idaho there were no mills in that section of the
country and it was necessary many times to grind their wheat
in a coffee mill in order to obtain flour. The father
assisted largely in the development of Spokane, Washington, as
a contractor and builder, for it was by following that pursuit
that he managed to support his family, as the land was all
wild and undeveloped and in the early days crops could not be
grown successfully. It was also Mr. Oylear who
introduced the first threshing machine, mowing machine and
reaper in the Moscow country, the unusual machines frightening
the children of the neighborhood.
George W. Oylear entered the University of Moscow in
1893, pursuing the regular course, but on account of the death
of his mother he was compelled to leave college in 1897.
He is a natural musician and as a boy began playing the violin
and played for the country dances, using the proceeds to pay
for his education. After leaving college he taught
school until 1902, when he became cashier of the M. A. Means
Bank at Orofino, at the same time acting as general manager
and bookkeeper for the M. A. Means store and bookkeeper for
the bank. After two years his strenuous life, however,
proved too much for his health and he was compelled to resign.
He then, in connection with his brother, L. L. Oylear, opened
a hardware and grocery store at Leland, Nez Perce county, and
from the beginning the venture proved profitable. In
1906 the brother died and in 1907 George W. Oylear closed out
the business and in May of that year removed to Caldwell.
He worked at the carpenter's trade at Middleton for six months
and then opened a hardware store there, which he still
conducts. He is also a director of the Middleton State
Bank, of which he formerly served as assistant cashier.
He is an enterprising and progressive business man in whose
vocabulary there is no such word as fail, and his enterprise
and determination have been the salient features in the
attainment of success.
In June, 1898, Mr. Oylear was married to Miss Elizabeth
Chenoweth, of Lewiston, Idaho, a daughter of John Chenoweth, a
pioneer of Dayton, Washington which is situated but a short
distance from Lewiston. Mr. and Mrs. Oylear have three
children; Clarence H., nineteen years of age, now
attending the University of Moscow; Georgia E., a freshman at
Moscow; and Gertrude I.
In his political views Mr. Oylear is a republican and
has long been a n earnest supporter and active worker in the
party. For six years he served as a member of the
republican county central committee of Canyon county.
When he was made a candidate for the office of assessor he was
accorded a splendid majority, winning the election by three
hundred and fifty votes in a county that had formerly given a
strong democratic majority. He is chairman of the school
board of Middleton and was also city clerk there, and at the
present time he is most capably discharging the duties of
assessor of the county.