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Perry, James Montgomery

Among the retired ranchmen of Spokane county who deserve prominent mention in this work should be named James Montgomery Perry, who located at Cheney thirty-four years ago and is, therefore, one of the pioneers of this section. He was born in New York state, April 20, 1846, and is a son of Oren and Margaret (Tabor) Perry. The father died in 1852, when his son James was six years of age, but the mother survived until 1901.
James M. Perry received his early education in the public schools of the Empire state. After leaving school he worked on a farm and continued there until twenty years of age. He then went to Holley, New York, and secured employment in a flour and feed store. After giving up this position he came westward to Nebraska, where be applied himself to farming for seven years. Believing that the Pacific coast presented more favorable inducements, he removed to California, remaining, however, only a short time in that state. He next became a resident of Oregon and worked in a sawmill for two years. In 1877 he arrived at Cheney and took up a preemption claim of one hundred and sixty acres. Subsequently he purchased tracts of eighty, two hundred and forty and four hundred and forty acres respectively, thus becoming the owner of nine hundred and twenty acres of land in Spokane county. He applied himself successfully to farming until 1905, when he disposed of a portion of his land and bought property in Cheney. On account of ill health he retired from active operations and has since made his home in town. In 1910 he sold four hundred and forty acres but still retains two hundred and forty acres, which he rents to other persons.
On March 4, 1874, Mr. Perry was married to Miss Marie C. Salisbury, a daughter of Ackland Salisbury, whose ancestors were pioneers of New York state. Mr. and Mrs. Perry are the parents of one child, Grace, who is the wife of L. C. Van Patten. In politics Mr. Perry supports the republican party. He has been an active worker in its behalf and has attended many county conventions at Spokane. He belongs to the Masonic order, and has served as chaplain of the lodge at Cheney. He was also for many years a member of the Commercial Club of Cheney.
He has witnessed many changes in eastern Washington. When he located in Spokane county the country in this region was largely uninhabited except by Indians and wild animals, and settlers were often in danger from outbreaks of the savages. Twice Mr. Perry and his family were forced to leave Cheney on account of Indian scares, going the first time to Spokane and the second time to Colfax and on to Walla Walla. Conditions have changed,—the railroad, the telegraph and the wonderful conveniences of an inventive age assisted in the rapid march of progress and today Spokane county is within ready access of the best markets and the people enjoy all the desirable comforts and luxuries of modern life.
Mr. Perry showed rare public spirit at the time when the bill for the support of the State Normal school was vetoed, when he with a number of others signed notes to prevent the school from closing until the state appropriation could be made. His daughter is a graduate of that school. Mr. and Mrs. Perry became members of the Methodist church in 1884, and ever since have been very prominent in church and temperance work. Both have served as officers in the church, and Mrs. Perry is an officer in the Ladies' Aid Society. She is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, as is her daughter and her son-in-law, having lately been elected sec¬retary of the local Masonic lodge. It is largely to the pioneers that the people of eastern Washington owe the blessing they now enjoy and no one of that noble class is more sincerely respected than James M. Perry.

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