No history of Riverton would be complete without extended mention of J. J. Jewett, who was the pioneer citizen there and has long been one of the foremost business men, dealing extensively and successfully in lumber and coal. His activities have ever been of a character that have contributed to public progress and prosperity as well as to individual success.
Mr. Jewett is one of the substantial citizens that Ohio has furnished to Wyoming. He was born in the city of Columbus, Ohio, October 27, 1876, a son of James B. and Eliza J. ( Johnson) Jewett, the former a native of Steubenville, Ohio. and the latter of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in which city they were married. Immediately afterward they removed to Columbus, where the father was fuel agent for the Pan Handle Railroad at the time when the road burned wood. His father, Thomas L. Jewett, was the builder of the Pan Handle Railroad and was the first president of the railroad company. James B. Jewett was transferred from Columbus to Richmond, Indiana, when his son, J. J., was a little lad of but four years. and four years later he was transferred to Lima, Ohio, and after eight years was sent to Cadiz, Ohio, where he resided until the time of his retirement from railroad service. At the time of the Civil war he responded to the country's call for troops and became a captain in the Ninety-eighth Ohio Infantry. In later years he was active and prominent in Grand Army work, ever maintaining pleasant relations with the "boys in blue" with whom he had defended the Union cause. He died in the year 1912 and his widow still survives, making her home in Lima, Ohio.
J. J. Jewett was educated in the public schools and in the Oberlin Academy and Oberlin College, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts upon his graduation as a member of the class of 1902. He worked his way through college, conducting a laundry agency, waiting on table and doing anything that offered that would yield him an honest living. Following his graduation he took up the profession of teaching, which he successfully followed for four years. For one year he was in the physical laboratory of the college at Oberlin as teacher, while for three years he engaged in teaching in the public schools of Casper, Wyoming. He arrived in this state in the fall of 1903 to enter upon educational work at Casper and in the summer of 1906 he went to Shoshoni and that fall came to Riverton with the building of the railroad and engaged in the lumber business. He erected one of the first buildings, if not the first, built in the town and he sold the first bill of lumber used in the town. making the sale from the Shoshoni yard. From a small business he has developed his present interest to one of magnitude and is today one of the leading lumber merchants of the state, having at all times an extensive line of lumber on hand, with other building materials. His patronage has reached most gratifying proportions and has been won by reasonable prices, fair dealing and honorable methods.
In politics Mr. Jewett is a stalwart republican and keeps well informed on the questions and issues of 'the day, supporting his position by intelligent argument. He has served as a member of the school board for the past nine years and is interested in every movement for the advancement of the interests of his town, cooperating in every plan and measure that works for general advancement and upbuilding.
In 1907 Mr. Jewett was united in marriage to Miss Bertha B. Goetzman, a teacher in the schools of Casper at the time of her marriage. She came to Wyoming from Lyons, New York, in the fall of 1902, and by her marriage has become the mother of two children. James Judge and Barbara Eliza.
The parents are well known socially and enjoy the hospitality of the best homes of this section of the state. Mr. Jewett is a Presbyterian in his religious faith, while his wife holds membership in the Lutheran church. Fraternally he is connected with Riverton Lodge, No. 26, A. F. & A. M., and is a past grand master of the Grand Lodge of Wyoming—a fact which indicates his prominence and activity in Masonic circles. His life work has ever been characterized by the spirit of progress and from the point of his identification with Riverton he has contributed in most substantial measure to the development and upbuilding of the city, which is largely a monument to his efforts.