Pefley Saddle and Harness Company History


Boise, Idaho 1868 - 1896
Lewiston, Idaho 1897 - 1906

This history is about Peter Jackson Pefley born in Roanoke County, Virginia on June 6, 1830 to Jacob Pefley and Mary Myers Pefley both Roanoke County, Virginia natives. The early education P. J. Pefley received was acquired at the Delaware Town Academy where he also learned Saddlery and Harness Making, by the time he was 21 years old he crossed the Great Plains to California working and driving an ox team as part of a 27 Wagon Train. The only event on the journey was some livestock had been stolen by Indians but there were no confrontations with the Indians although the men were well prepared in the event of such an attack the entire journey lasted 6 months Coast to Coast. Ultimately P. J. Pefley settled in just North of Salem, Oregon in the French Prairie where he engaged in Farming and on July 12, 1855 Peter Jackson Pefley married Miss Sarah A. Smith who traveled with her family in the same Wagon Train as P. J. Pefley. In Oregon P. J. Pefley and his Wife Mary Myers Pefley had 6 children while living in Oregon Pierce J., Elbridge, Serena, Edith, Harlen and Wayne although unfortunately Pierce J., Edith and Wayne all died prior to 1864. After 1864 P. J. Pefley and his Mary Pefley had 5 additional children: Anna Inez, Maude, Claudia, Ray and Wynn of which by 1885 Anna Inez and Ray had died leaving the family with 6 living children and 5 children had died by 1885. In 1864 after 9 years of Farming and Ranching in the Salem, Oregon area Peter Jackson Pefley moved his Wife and 3 Children at the time too Idaho on Idaho City Road about 5 miles outside of Boise, Idaho. In Idaho P. J. Pefley went into the Cattle Stock Business and Diary Farming having brought about 95 Head of Cattle with him on the journey from Oregon, he pursued these endeavors for approximately 4 years until 1868.

It was in 1868 Peter Jackson Pefley moved his family to Boise, Idaho where he then opened his Saddlery & Harness Business. He operated in a brick building he had built for the purpose and he then bought the entire inventory from the S. S. Gray and Brothers Company the only other and original Saddlery & Harness business in Boise, Idaho. Over the years P. J. Pefley maintained the employment of many saddlers there was Albert Stringer, J. C. Sargent and Harlen Pefley the Son of P. J. Pefley worked in the 1880s and early 1890s. At the peak of Operation in the 1880s P. J. Pefley employed 12 Saddle & Harness makers making Saddles, Chaps, Farming Harness Equipment as well as a full line of Cowboy accessories and Saddlery Goods. The P. J. Pefley Saddlery remained the only operating Saddlery Business in Boise, Idaho until July 25, 1881 when John Perrault opened a Shop and advertised his Saddlery Business in the Idaho Statesman. By the 1880s P. J. Pefley had Satellite locations in Caldwell, Nampa, Ketchum and Hailey, Idaho employing multiple people at each location.

All the time the business was growing, P. J. Pefley was extremely active in Civic Affairs and a staunch Democrat, he was very active in developing a Public School System in Boise, and his popularity became so prevalent in the area that Peter Jackson Pefley was elected the 14th Mayor of Boise, Idaho a position he maintained from September 1, 1887 until February 7, 1889 after which he was elected a member of the Idaho House of Representatives as Representative of Ada County. In 1889 P. J. Pefley was very active in developing and writing the Idaho State Constitution as the Representative to the House for Ada County. Although P. J. Pefley signed all the documents associated with writing the Idaho State Constitution he was the only Representative that would not sign the final document on August 6, 1889. The reason he gave which is documented in the house minutes his quote is "I always think consistency is a jewel highly prized, and inasmuch as there are sections in there that I could not endorse when they passed as sections or articles, I cannot conscientiously sign the Constitution and therefore ask to be excused" the objection was to the following statement. "We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our Freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare, do establish this Constitution". The main objection on the part of P. J. Pefley was the reference to God which was not acceptable to P. J. Pefley as he himself had a falling out with so and did not want reference to this in the Preamble although the final document was presented to the people on November 5, 1889.

The following year on August 19, 1890 Peter Jackson Pefley was given the nomination to run as State Senator for the State of Idaho and although he never did become a Senator he is still highly regarded as one of the Pioneers and Builders of Idaho State. In the 1870s through the 1890s this country went through a financial crisis which by the early 1890s had hit P. J. Pefley, who himself over the previous 5 years had been so deeply involved in politics that his business was starting to suffer greatly from the lack of Diligent Management and so did the personal wealth that P. J. Pefley had accumulated. After finding an investor in the early 1890s the business expanded into more Dry Goods including Shoes and Boots, although by the mid 1890s with some misfortune related to the partnership he had formed P. J. Pefley sold his business in Boise, Idaho. In 1898 at the age of 68 years old P. J. Pefley decided to relocate in Lewiston, Idaho with his Wife Mary and 2 remaining daughters living at home he moved and setup a Saddlery & Harness Business in Lewiston which he named Pefley's New Saddlery Store. The business was maintained as a small business never achieving the success of the Saddlery & Harness Business in Boise, Idaho the business operated into the early 1900s but unfortunately on February 25, 1906 at 75 years old Peter Jackson Pefley died. His wife Mary Ann Myers Pefley to whom he was married 51 years and they had 11 Children together of whom 6 Survive at the time of P. J. Pefley's death. Mary Ann Myers Pefley lived until May 14, 1927 when she died at the age of 86 years old she passed away in Lewiston, Idaho.

Picture of Peter Pefley