A. H. SUNDLES
History of Idaho, Gem of the Mountains, Volume 2, by James H. Hawley
S. J. Clarke Publishing Co, 1920, Page 961-962
A. H. Sundles is now living retired in New Plymouth. For a long period he was connected with farming interests, which he carefully promoted and developed, winning thereby a measure of success that now enables him, to rest from further labor. He was born in Dalton, Wayne county, Ohio, July 13, 1856, a son of Henry and Elisa Sundles, who were likewise natives of the Buckeye state, the former, however, of German lineage, while the latter was of American ancestry.
A. H. Sundles acquired his early education in the common schools of Ohio while living upon his father's farm and in vacation periods and after his school days were over assisted in the cultivation of the fields upon the home place. He also worked as a farm boy for others until eighteen yeas of age when he entered the employ of the Cleveland, Akron & Columbus Railroad Company, running the engine in the shop. He remained with that corporation for fifteen years, when, owing to the ill health of his wife, he came to the west on the advice of her physician.
It was on the 13th of March, 1896, that Mr. Sundles arrived in New Plymouth, at which time the town contained no business house and only five dwellings. There were but eight farmers between Payette and Falk's store on the south side of the river, a distance of twenty miles. Mr. Sundles purchased forty acres near where the town now stands and still owns the property, which at that time was a tract of raw land but which he brought to a high state of cultivation. He raised hay and grain most successfully and is now renting the place to a tenant. On the 7th of June, 1913, while mowing with a hand scythe the grass that grew along the ditch in places where the mowing machine could not reach, he saw a wire which would obstruct his progress. He picked it up to remove it and to his horror found it a live wire. He was almost burned to death and was unconscious for over three hours. One arm was burned off just below the elbow, while the thumb, index and little fingers were burned off the other hand, making him a cripple for life. Since that time he has lived retired in a very good home on the avenue in New Plymouth. For many years he operated a dairy, milking eight cows.
On the 19th of September, 1888, Mr. Sundles was married to Miss Clara Masteller, a native of Ohio and a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Benoy) Masteller, both now deceased. The father was a native of Pennsylvania and the mother of England. Mr. and Mrs. Sundles have become the parents of two children: Esther, who was born in Ohio and is a graduate of New Plymouth high school; and Henry, seventeen years of age, who was born in New Plymouth and is attending high school.
There is no feature of pioneer life nor of later development in New Plymouth with which Mr. Sundles is not familiar. When he first located in this section of Idaho the settlers had to get all their mail and supplies from Payette and the residents would take turns, one each day, in making the trip and bringing the mail and supplies for the community. There was then but one covered wagon in the valley and the trip had to be made over a sagebrush trail with a two-horse wagon. The first church services were held here in a house fourteen by twenty feet, a shack which was weather-boarded on the outside and with windows.
Nail kegs over which boards were laid were used for seats. In those days there were four denominations here and all were good Christian people. The first minister was a Methodist, known as Father Burns, but he passed away many years ago. Following him came the Rev. Clemmens, a United Presbyterian, who is now living on a ranch near Caldwell. For the first three years there were no schools because there were no children. The first public hall built here is now used as the Baptist church but was formerly used for all public services, school purposes and church services. In winter they used sagebrush for fuel and for evening services they took the lamps from their homes to furnish light.
Each resident took his turn as janitor and as supplier of wood. Father Burns and Rev. Clemmens preached alternately, so that there would be a service of different denominations each Sunday. Each Thanksgiving day the whole community took their dinner at the town hall, a splendid evidence of community friendship, which made them like one big family. When Mr. Sundles first came here the country was infested with Jack rabbits and coyotes, range horses and cattle by the hundreds. The latter would tear the fences down and destroy the crops. The rabbits, despite "rabbit proof" fences, destroyed the trees until a chemical was discovered that was proof against the pests. The first crop put in
by Mr. Sundles was twenty acres of grain, all of which was lost, as the water would not defy the law of gravitation and run up hill. It was after this loss that he decided the farm must be developed, which he immediately proceeded to do. For several winters he and his family were actually cold from lack of fuel. Now that the dangers have been passed and a quiet harbor has been reached the memory of those days has become a pleasure. There has never been a saloon in New Plymouth, as that was one of the early restrictions, and the community on the whole has held to high ideals, making it a most desirable place in which to live. Mr. Sundles was one of the builders of the Noble canal and at all times has borne his part of the work of general progress and improvement. He enjoys in the fullest measure the respect and confidence of his fellowmen and is one of the honored and representative residents of New Plymouth.