“The Church Would Look Foolish Without Them”: José Navarro, Boise, Idaho

José Navarro, successfully engaged in wool growing at Boise, is a well-known member of the Spanish-Basque colony, who came to this in 1908 from the Jordan valley of Oregon, where he had resided from 1889 until 1908. He was born in Spain, August 27, 1868, the son of a farmer, and in 1887 came to the United States, then a young man of nineteen years. He spent two years in Nevada and in 1889 removed to the Jordan valley of Oregon. In Nevada he was a sheep herder and he also worked in that way in Oregon for several years, or until he was able to save a sum sufficient to permit him to start in the sheep business on his own account. This he did in 1896, forming a partnership with Antonio Azcuenaga. The partnership was maintained for about twenty years and both men are residents of Boise and are now numbered among the most prosperous Basque people of the city. Mr. Azcuenaga is now engaged in the cattle business, however, but Mr. Navarro still remains active as a sheepman. He is associated in the sheep industry at the present time with Fred Palmer, a prominent and substantial citizen of the Jordan valley, their interests being conducted under the name of the Palmer Sheep Company. Mr. Navarro owns a half interest in the business and they now have about eleven thousand head of sheep.

Mr. Navarro had returned to Spain twice since coming to the new world, first in 1899 and again in 1907. On the occasion of his first visit he was married there on the 13th of April, 1899, to Pia Azpiri, bringing his bride back with him to his country, and on his second visit to his native land he was accompanied by his wife. Both are very fond of Idaho and the United States and are numbered among the substantial citizens of Boise. They hold membership in the Roman Catholic Church, being connected with the Church of the Good Shepherd. They occupy an attractive residence in Boise at No. 1101 North Eighth Street, which Mr. Navarro purchased when he first took up his abode in the capital city in 1908. He has never had occasion to regret his determination to come to the new world, for here he has found the opportunities which he has sought and by reason of his unfaltering industry and perseverance has gained a place among the successful wool growers of Idaho.

History of Idaho: The Gem of the Mountains (Volume III) (Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1920), 334.

About Pat McNamara
  • Dale

    I think it is impressive that an immigrant, who likely didn’t speak English when he arrived, could work his way up from a simple shepherd to owning half-interest in a business with 11,000 sheep.

    The marriage arrangements leave me with questions, though. How did he know his bride, who apparently lived Spain and whom he married on his first trip home? How long did the couple know one another? Were they paired up by family, friends or some other association?

    Their home in Boise, built in 1900, appears to be well-maintained. It is larger than it might appear in this picture, with 2200 sq. feet, four bedrooms etc. Sounds like the couple was planning on a big family!

    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=1101+North+Eighth+Street+boise+idaho&ll=43.62365,-116.197221&spn=0.005941,0.016512&sll=43.624115,-116.197868&layer=c&cbp=13,268.22,,0,0.12&cbll=43.624121,-116.197567&gl=us&hnear=1101+N+8th+St,+Boise,+Ada,+Idaho+83702&t=m&z=17&panoid=PtSWp-GOUxdKbPEVR00Hvg


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X