An Illustrated History of the State of Idaho
By Lewis Publishing Company, 1899, Page 118-119
Since the establishment of Payette William Lauer has been identified with its development and upbuilding, and his labors have been most effective in promoting its welfare. He is the pioneer hardware merchant of the town, and still continues in that line of business, his well directed efforts bringing him success. He is among the worthy citizens that the Fatherland has furnished to the New World, his birth having occurred in Germany on the 11th of November, 1833. In his youth he crossed the Atlantic to New York with his father, Isaac Lauer, who made his home in the eastern metropolis until called to his final rest. His death occurred in his eightieth year.
William Lauer had attended the public schools of his native land, and was fifteen years of age when he came to America. He learned the tinner's trade in New York city, and there remained for seven years, when he resolved to leave the Atlantic coast and seek a home on the Pacific coast. In 1854 he sailed from New York to San Francisco, and engaged in merchandising in Siskiyou county, California, where he remained until 1861, when he came to Idaho, attracted by the Oro Fino excitement. He engaged in clerking and also in placer mining, but his efforts in the latter direction did not prove successful. For his services as a salesman, however, he received one hundred dollars per month. Later he visited the various mining camps in Idaho, was in Elk City and in Florence, finally returned to Lewiston, and subsequently went to Warren, where he met with success, both as a merchant and in the mines, for the mineral deposits were very rich in that locality. In 1863 the excitement over the discoveries in the Boise basin was at its height, and with others he went to that section of the state. For two years he engaged in clerking and then opened a store of his own, but had been in business only nine days when almost the entire town was wiped out by fire, and his savings of many years were totally swept away. His losses amounted to fifteen thousand dollars, but, not discouraged, he resumed business almost immediately, the new store rising phoenix-like from the ashes. He continued .merchandising there until 1878, after which he engaged in mining and in the sawmill business until 1885, when he sold out and came to Payette.
This town had just been established, and the depot was not yet built. Mr. Lauer purchased two lots, erected a store building and became the pioneer hardware merchant in the town. He has since continued in this line of business, and enjoys a large trade, which has grown with the increasing population. By close attention to business, enterprise and untiring industry, he has attained a fair degree of prosperity, and notwithstanding his heavy losses by fire is now accounted one of the well-to-do citizens of Payette.
On the 27th of February, 1867, in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Lauer wedded Miss Bertha Oberdorfer, a native of Germany, and their union has been blessed with four sons and a daughter. Isaac H. was born in Portland, but the others are natives of Idaho. Milton, who was born in Idaho City, is now a successful liveryman of Payette; James A., born in Idaho City, is engaged in general merchandising in Payette; Edwin is clerking for his brother; and Lillie is at home with her parents. The parents and children are all working together in the greatest harmony, and all are respected members of society in Payette.
Mr. Lauer has been a life-long representative of the Democracy, and does all in his power to promote its growth and insure its success. He has been a useful member of the school board and was serving in that capacity when the commodious brick school building was erected. Since 1858 he has been an exemplary and leading member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to both lodge and encampment, in the former of which he has filled all the chairs and is now serving his third term as noble grand. Since 1861 he has been a resident of Idaho, and through the thirty-eight years which have since passed he has practically witnessed the entire development and growth of the state. He resided within her borders when her towns were little more than mining camps, and has been an important factor in the work of progress and improvement, so that he well deserves mention among the honored pioneers.