CAPTAIN HENRY ERVIN
History of Idaho, Volume 2, by Hiram T. French, M.S.
The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York 1914, Page 867-868
A half century of residence in any state is not a fact to be lightly regarded. It means that such a resident's activities have closely identified him with the locality which he has called his home for fifty years, and that his work and his have been no unimportant factors in creating the present day prosperity. Captain Ervin of Payette is one of these Idaho old-timers, who came here during the height of the mining excitement in the Boise basin, and who have witnessed and been a part of every important period of development from the beginning of territorial government in Idaho down to the present year.
Captain Henry Ervin is an Irishman, born in County Down, Ireland, on the 11th of July 1838, a son of William and Jeannett (Beard) Ervin. The parents lived out their lives in Ireland and they reared a family of seven sons, Henry being the only one who left his native Erin and came to America. As a boy he had little education, and feeling that his opportunities were limited in his native country, he came to America at the age of twenty-three in 1861. His first home was at Springfield, Illinois, where he spent the first year in working for wages at ten dollars a month. He then accomplished the overland migration to the northwest, a strenuous trip in those days. Embarking on a Missouri river steamboat he came up that stream as far as Port Benton, Montana, which was then one of the few outposts of American civilization in the northwest. Thence he followed the overland trail to Walla Walla, Washington, and on the first day of January, 1863, arrived at Placerville in the Boise basin. Idaho territory was not yet organized, and practically the only activities within what are now the state lines were mining and freighting. He began work in the mines, and followed that for several years, in the meantime acquiring a small amount of capital from his labors in that direction. Finally in 1871 he established himself permanently in Idaho's industry when he bought the land which constitutes the greater part of his present ranch, near Payette. His ranch comprises from five to six hundred acres, and he has improved it with the most modern facilities, including a fine home, many barns, excellent fences, and nearly all the land is now under ditch, and one of his largest crops is alfalfa. For many years Captain Ervin was one of the big cattlemen in this part of the state, operating on his own and on the range.
Captain Ervin was one of the organizers and is still a stock holder in the Payette National Bank. He was married in Payette in 1877 to Miss Josephine M. Bivens, of a family whose residence in Idaho somewhat antedates that of Captain Ervin himself. She was a daughter of D. M. and Honor J. (Braly) Bivens, both of whom were natives of Howard county, Missouri, Mrs. Ervin being the fourth in a family of nine children. The family came to the northwest in 1862, spending a brief time in Idaho, and locating in Oregon, where they remained five years, after which they returned to Idaho. The father was for some time engaged in the operation of a new mill in Silver city, Idaho, after which he came into the Payette valley, where he was a farmer until his death in 1879. The mother passed away in 1900. The Bivens farm still belongs to members of the family. David M. Bivens was one of the pioneers in the Pike's Peak Mining district, and for some time did freighting in that vicinity. At the time of the war the Bivens family were residents of Atchison, Kansas, and after losing most of their property came out to the West. Captain Ervin is a Republican in politics, but has never sought office and has contributed his share to the general welfare by his able business management and his strict integrity in all his relations with his fellow citizens.