WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
JAMES NEWELL LOUDER
(merchant, newspaper editor, postmaster)
BIOGRAPHYJames Newell Louder was born on June 14, 1843.
The Louder family came to Silver Reef in 1877 or 1878. James was a prospector and a correspondent for the Salt Lake Tribune. In 1880, he was working as a store clerk. In 1881, he was working as a real estate and collection agent and ran for representative to the legislative assembly for Washington County (but lost to Erastus Snow).
Also in 1881, Ed Pike, the owner and editor of the Silver Reef Miner (aka The Miner), sold the newspaper to James, who was one of its editors. The paper was anti-Mormon, anti-management, and pro-miner. It slowed to a weekly in 1881, and then a semi-weekly in 1882. The last known edition of the paper was February 1883.
James became more involved politically; he was appointed county registrar for Washington County in 1882. He served in this position repeatedly from 1882 to 1891.
He also headed up a liberal convention held at Citizens Hall in Silver Reef in October 1882. He called the meeting to order and briefly stated the nature of the business, and a permanent organization was chosen with a chairman and secretary. He made a stirring speech in behalf of the liberal cause. "Judge Louder" was selected as a Washington County delegate to the Territorial Convention at Salt Lake City.
James was heavily involved in the "reconstruction" era (enforcement of the Edmunds and Edmunds-Tucker laws from 1882-1890) of Utah history. In 1888, James was appointed the US Commissioner for Silver Reef (he served as commissioner again in 1898). As a US Commissioner, his docket showed nearly 100 "prominent members of the polygamous cult" appearing in his court as defendants, most of whom served terms in the federal prison as "martyrs for their religious belief".
James was heavily involved in the public school in Silver Reef. He was appointed the assessor and collector of the special school tax in 1882. In 1884, he was appointed as a trustee for the term of three years, and re-elected every three years through 1892. He served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for most of the time, otherwise serving as vice, treasurer, and clerk. As a school trustee, he was involved in collecting money, hiring teachers, inspecting the school building and property, and finding alternate buildings to use for the school.
In 1883, James was appointed postmaster for Silver Reef and served until 1887. It is interesting to note that his compensation for the year 1885 was $912.47, the highest in the territory (the second highest was $662).
He also worked as an attorney for estate probates and divorces. In 1886 and 1891-1892, he was involved with the prosecution of polygamy, from complaints of unlawful cohabitation to bail and discharge. He also traveled to Salt Lake City and Mohave, Arizona, for legal business.
In 1889, he was made a notary public for the county. He ran for representative in the House for the 24th District, but lost heavily to Wm, T, Stewart.
By 1891, he was more involved with the mining in the area. He became an equal partner with John S. Ferris with property in Harrisburg Canyon. A discovery of silver sandstone there was similar to that at Silver Reef and James put up an arrastra for working the ore.
By 1886, James had acquired the dance hall across the street from the Wells Fargo office and next to the Elk Horn Saloon. He turned it into J. N. Louder & Company, a general store and post office. It was one of three first-class mercantile establishments in Silver Reef (the others being Woolley, Lund & Judd and Peter Harrison). It was one of the buildings burned in the 1888 fire, but was rebuilt. Sometime before 1896, he sold it to Peter Anderson and moved to Beaver.
On the 1920 census, James was living with his daughter and her husband in Los Angeles. He died there on January 2, 1921 and was buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery.
Ida died in 1942 in Idaho and was buried there.
PHOTOSSee the undigitized photos in the Mark A. Pendleton Photograph Collection.
Box 1, Folder 2: #3
Box 1, Folder 2: #4 (taken in 1896)
Box 1, Folder 2: #5
Box 1, Folder 2: #6
Box 1, Folder 2: #7
REFERENCESJames Newell Louder
A research report by Elaine Young, PhD.