Henry Floyd Samuels

(Click on picture to view larger image)

"Spokane and The Spokane Country - Pictorial and Biographical - Deluxe Supplement." Vol. II. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912. (No author listed.) pgs. 228-231.

       IN H. F. SAMUELS, Wallace has a citizen of marked determination, and to this characteristic may largely be attributed his success. It was this quality that enabled him to obtain a liberal education in the face of difficulties and obstacles that would have utterly discouraged many others and which has enabled him to continue on and on toward the goal of prosperity until he now ranks with the capitalists of this city. Moreover, he is entitled to distinction and honor from the fact that he is the only man who, after making his fortune from the mines about Wallace, has used his capital to develop and promote the business activities and uphuilding of the city. He was at one time prominent as a practitioner of law but later retired from the bar to concentrate his energies upon mining and banking interests. His birth occurred in Washington county, Mississippi, on the 4th of April, 1869, his parents being H. Floyd and Isabelle (Jenkins) Samuels. Representatives of the family were among the earliest settlers of Virginia, and later took up their abode among the pioneer residents of Kentucky, while subsequently they joined the first settlers of Indiana. The mother of the grandfather of our subject was thirteen years of age when the Revolutionary war broke out and lived to be one hundred and six years old. His grandmother White, on the maternal side, was a descendant of the White that came to America on the Mayflower. The father of Mr. Samuels of this review, who was living in Kentucky at the time of the outbreak of the Civil war, enlisted in the Federal army as captain of Company E, Twelfth Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, while his brother joined the Confederate ranks, the family thus becoming divided. He participated in fifty-two battles and his company was part of the command that pursued and finally captured the celebrated General Morgan. At the present time he is living in Indiana, and has attained the age of seventy-seven years. Representatives of the Jenkins family enlisted with the northern troops, and four uncles of our subject laid down their lives on the altar of their country.
       To the subject of this review the name of Henry Floyd Samuels was given but he has always been known as H. F. Samuels in order to distinguish himself from his father and his son, who bear the same name. He was but three years of age when the family removed to Crawford county, Indiana, where the father engaged in farming, so that H. F. Samuels was reared amid rural surroundings, early becoming familiar with the various tasks incident to the development and cultivation of the fields. He also attended the public schools of that district and was a pupil in the high school at Leavenworth, Indiana, walking a distance of five miles to and from the school each day-a fact which indicated his resolute spirit and ambition. He was graduated with the class of 1887 and after leaving school went to Butler county, Nebraska, where he spent the summer at work in the fields as a farm hand. In the succeeding fall he entered upon a course of study at Ulysses College, working his way through that institution until his graduation with the class of 1890. His own resourcefulness, labor and ability also enabled him to pursue the law course in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and he was admitted to the bar at Leavenworth, Indiana, in February, 1892.
       The opening of the Coeur d'Alene reservation attracted Mr. Samuels and on the 1st of April, 1892, he settled at Medimont. Idaho, where he entered upon the active work of his profession; but clients were comparatively few and during the succeeding winter he engaged in teaching school at Saint Maries, Idaho. In the spring of 1893 he went to Grangeville, Idaho, where he continued in the practice of law for two years, and in August, 1895, he arrived in Wallace, where he followed his profession until his mining operations demanded his entire attention. From 1896 until 1898 he served as city attorney and in the latter year was elected the first county attorney of Shoshone county, Idaho, occupying that position for two years. He next returned to the east for post-graduate work in law in the Columbian University, now the George Washington University of' Washington, D. C., which in 1902 conferred upon him the degree of Master of Law. During that period he was under the instruction of the late Justice Harlan and Justice Brewer of the United States supreme court.
       With the settlement of the northwest came the development of its rich mineral resources and like a great majority of the residents of this section of the country, Mr. Samuels turned his attention to mining, hoping that in the rich mineral fields he might lay the foundation of a fortune. He was one of the original owners of the Hercules mine when the rich strike was made but sold his interest therein in 1905. He also developed the celebrated Stewart mine, which was owned by the Stewart Mining Company, of which Mr. Samuels owned the controlling interest and which he later sold to F. A. Heinze. In February, 1905, Mr. Samuels purchased the Granite mine, which was then thought by all to be worked out and useless. He changed its name to the Success mine and began further development, The ore chute had been missed in the original mine but after drifting a short distance the main chute was struck at a lower level. Mr. Samuels then installed the machinery necessary to extract the zinc from the lead and silver and the Success is today rated as one of the great mines of Idaho. Mr. Samuels was thus the first to make of zinc in all the Coeur d'Alene district a profitable commercial product and is referred to as "the father of the zinc industry of Idaho." The mill of the Success mine was completed at a cost of over one hundred thousand dollars and in the year 1911 its output of zinc was more than eight million pounds in addition to its yield of silver and lead. Mr. Samuels is the president, general manager and the principal owner of the mine. He certainly deserves much credit for the fact that as he has prospered he has utilized his financial resources largely in developing Wallace and promoting its upbuilding along business lines. Many of those who have successfully operated in the mining regions of this district have gone to Spokane, Portland and other cities to make investments but he has remained and Wallace has greatly profited by his efforts. In January, 1908, he became identified with the Wallace Bank & Trust Company, which at that time was a state bank. He purchased a controlling interest, was elected its president, and at once took the necessary steps to convert this into a national bank, which was accomplished in April, 1908, at which time the name of the Wallace National Bank was assumed. Mr. Samuels acted as its president until he sold his stock in June, 1911, and retired from the office. In 1907 Mr. Samuels erected the Samuels Hotel at a cos of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. It was opened on the 1st of May, 1908, as the finest hotel in the state of Idaho, and is now the most up-to-date hostelry in the Coeur d'Alene district.
       Mr. Samuels has been twice married. On the 25th of December, 1892, he wedded Miss Iona Snyder, of Medimont, Idaho. They had a daughter, Amzel, whose natal day was November 6, 1893. On the 27th of February, 1905, Mr. Samuels was again married, his second union being with Miss Ada Jenkins, of Denver Colorado, by whom he has two children, namely: Helen, whose birth occurred on the 12th of July, 1906; and Henry Floyd, who was born on the 14th of June, 1909. Mr. Samuels is a prominent Mason, belonging to the following organizations: Shoshone Lodge, No. 25, F. & A. M.; Wallace Chapter, No. 9, R. A. M.; Coeur d'Alene Commandery, No. 9, K. T.; Coeur d'Alene Consistory, No. 5, S. P. R. S.; and Lewiston Shrine. He is also a member of Wallace Lodge No. 331, B. P. 0. E., and is now past chancellor commander of Wallace Lodge of the Knights of Pythias.
       Mr. Samuels is preeminently a representative of that class of men who in advancing individual interests also promote public progress and prosperity. His life record displays many admirable elements. His future success was foreshadowed in his determination to obtain an education at the sacrifice of physical ease and comfort. Always recognizing that the present and not the future held his opportunity, he utilized each passing moment to the best advantage and has never allowed obstacles nor difficulties to brook his path if they could be overcome by determined, persistent effort. This quality has enabled him to advance steadily on the highroad to success until today he stands among the capitalists of the Coeur d'Alene district, the possessor of a handsome fortune and an honorable name. Moreover, few men have the high sense of personal obligation and responsibility that is manifest in Mr. Samuels. Recognizing the chance to make his life work of benefit to the district in which his fortune was won, he has wisely and judiciously invested in business projects here and his efforts have been of almost inestimable benefit in the upbuilding of Wallace, of which place he may be termed without invidious distinction the foremost citizen.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton

* * * * Notice: These biographies were transcribed for the Washington Biographies Project. Unless otherwise stated, no further information is available on the individuals featured in the biographies.

Back to Spokane County Biographies