ADELBERT L. GORHAM
History of Idaho, Volume 2, by Hiram T. French, M.S.
The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York 1914, Page 779
Adelbert L. Gorham, president of the Gorham Mercantile Company, one of the largest mercantile establishments of Payette and one of the leading concerns of its kind in Canyon county, Idaho, took up his residence in Payette in 1908 and has continued it by choice. After extensive experience in other sections of the country, he has found that while every state has redeeming features and many of them afford great opportunity, Idaho, at least to him, offers the most desirable advantages of all, both for a home and for business.
Adelbert L. Gorham was born in Van Buren county, Michigan, November 5, 1857 and comes of New England stock, his parents having been among the thrifty pioneer settlers that passed into Michigan from the Empire state along in the early '40s. Jabez Gorham, the father, followed agricultural pursuits and merchandising during his active career and was moderately successful. The mother was Adaline Baker as a maiden, a native of New York. Both parents passed away early in the '90s.
Adelbert L. was brought up in Michigan, was educated to the age of nineteen in the country schools of Allegan county, that state, under Professor Latta, and after that and until his marriage he worked as a farm hand. In 1879 he went to Kansas and preempted government land in Sumner county. He started with practically nothing, but followed farming on this place eight years and was fairly successful. Removing from there to Colorado in 1887, he settled in the San Luis valley, where for two years he followed mercantile pursuits; then at the opening of Oklahoma in 1889 he took up a homestead in Payne county, near Coyle, Oklahoma, and followed farming there successfully seven years.
The next two years he engaged in the grocery and drug business at Stroud, Oklahoma, and from there removed to Cushing, Oklahoma, where for twelve years he operated in the same line of business but on a much more extensive scale. He was very successful there, but having an opportunity for an advantageous sale and hearing of the remarkable advantages Idaho offered, he disposed of his interests at Cushing and in 1908 located at Payette, Idaho, where in June of that year he purchased the business of the Himler Mercantile Company. The Gorham Mercantile Company was then organized and on January 1, 1912, was incorporated, with Mr. Gorham as president; his son, Sylvester Gorham, as secretary; and B. F. Bohannan as treasurer.
The firm conducts the second largest mercantile establishment of Payette and is among the leading stores of Canyon county. The firm carries membership in the Payette Commercial Club. Mr. Gorham is also a stockholder and one of the board of trustees of the First National Bank, of Payette and besides these interests he has holdings in Oklahoma in the way of farm and city property valued at about $10,000. Mr. Gorham's interest and energy is not confined to his business interests, for to him citizenship carries other responsibilities and he has not shirked them. Whenever he has seen duty he has followed it fearlessly, with a sympathetic heart where there was suffering.
He is a member of the Brethren church and an ordained minister of that denomination, and wherever he has been located he has taken an active part in religious and philanthropic work. He is a member of the Orphans Home Foundling Society in Idaho, and in 1911 labored effectively in Canyon county in the interest of prohibition, lecturing in eleven different places and succeeding, for the time at least, in eliminating the grog shops there.
At Conway Springs, Kansas, on July 16, 1879, Mr. Gorham was joined in marriage to Miss Johanna S. Holloway, a daughter of Abijah Holloway, who was a native of Indiana. Mrs. Gorham also takes a very active part in church work. Five of the seven children born to their union are living and are mentioned as follows; Sylvester A. Gorham, secretary of the Gorham Mercantile Company, is a member of the Payette city council and takes an active interest in city and civic affairs; he married Miss Blanche Stockwell, of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Ethel E. Gorham is now Mrs. Albert Mohler and reside at Redman, Oregon; Minnie M. is the wife of Elmer Mohler and she also resides at Redman, Oregon; Jennie is the wife of B. F. Bohannan, treasurer of the Gorham Mercantile Company, Payette; and Walter A. Gorham is yet at the parental home.
From the foregoing brief review it will be seen that Mr. Gorham has steadily climbed upward in a financial way and he has done so by means of his own industry, self-reliance and energetic endeavor, for he began to accept responsibility at the early age of twelve and from that time to the present has builded upon his own resources, even to the securing of his education. It was after long experience, both as to vacations and places that he came to Idaho and he is so well satisfied that he says he would not care to live anywhere else. Mr. Gorham says that no man of the right stamp need fail in Idaho.