Fourt Family papers, 1904-2005

Overview of the Collection

Fourt Family papers
1904-2005 (inclusive)
1 cubic feet, (1 bankers box)
Collection Number
MG 487
Papers of the Moscow, Idaho Fourt family, which included David Leslie (D.L.) Fourt and his wife Ellen (O'Donnell) Fourt, their son John Edward Fourt and his wife Dorothy Lewis Perkins Fourt and their children. Collection includes genealogical information of Ellen O'Donnell's maternal ancestors Butler, Tenney, Ingalls, Roundtree, Murphy, and Ferguson families back to colonial New England, letters and photographs, items from Moscow High School (1940-1942) as well as a scrapbook of family-related newspaper clippings.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Below was prepared by Ann Fourt, daughter of John E. Fourt and Dorothy Perkins Fourt.

The Fourt family is of French Huguenot ancestry, believed to have been from La Rochelle, France. The immigrant ancestors, Bartholomew Feurt, arrived in New York City in the late 1600s. The Fourt family migrated from New York City to Somerset County, New Jersey before the Revolutionary War, to Maryland in the 1780s, to Kentucy in the 1790s, and then to Missouri by the early 1800s.

D.L. Fourt was born 20 May 1895 in Houston, Texas County, Missouri and lived there through high school. After serving in the U.S. Army during WWI, he received bachelor's and master's degrees in agriculutre from the University of Idaho in Moscow in 1923. After graduation, he served as a county agent of Teton County for two years before teaching at the university. In 1946, he was named professor of dairy husbandry at the University of Idaho and served as head of the dairy science department from 1947 to 1960 when he retired. He died suddenly of a heart attack on 3 September 1961, age 66. He married Ellen O'Donnell in 1923.

Ellen O'Donnell was born 26 August 1892 in Independence, Oregon. Her mother was Nancy Ellen Butler a member of an early Oregon pioneer family. Ellen was briefly married to Frank McCready, who died of the Spanish Flue after less than a year of marriage. Whe was a postmaster before marrying D.L. Fourt, having beat out over 100 men for the job. Through Mary (Lord) Ingalls she is a Mayflower descendant from Francis Cooke. Her father John Franklin O'Donnell (born Stillwater, Minnesota in 1863) owned a number of hardware stores in Portland, Oregon. Her grandfather Michael R. O'Donnell, born 1833, was an Irish famine immigrant who came to the state of Maine as a teenager (probably via Canada). Through her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Malloy, Ellen was related to several second cousins of Bing Crosby. An avid geneologist, Ellen was Idaho State Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Ellen and D.L. had one child, son John Edward Fourt, born in April of 1924. After graduating from Moscow High School, he enlisted in the Army and attended the university until 1944 under a deferral program. He served with the Third Army tank corps under General Patton and fought at the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, and then participated in the occupation of Germany and Austria. Returning to the U.S., he attended law school at University of California Berkley on the G.I. Bill and pursued a career with the California Department of Justice as a deputy attorney general until his retirement in 1978. He died of a sudden heart attack in 1995 while on a trip in Bangor, Maine.

Dorothy (Perkins) Fourt was orphaned at an early age and raised by a maternal aunt in California, Alice Lewis Pearson. After graduating from the University of California Berkley, she married John Fourt. The marriage ended in divorce in 1968; she was killed in California n an automobile accident in 1972.

John and Dorothy Fourt had six children, three of whom had severe developmental disabilities and were institutionalized at an early age. Collection contains divorce agreement of John and Dorothy Fourt and commitment papers for the three developmentally disabled children.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collections consists of photographs and papers related to the Fourt family of Idaho and Missouri. Materials include correspondence between Dorothy Lews Perkins' aunt, Alice Pearson, and Ellen Fourt regarding the marriage of John and Dorothy, and genealogy correspondence between Ellen Fourt and Mildred Fourt Melton, a niece of D.L. Fourt.

Materials also include estate papers of D.L. and Ellen Fourt, genealogical notebooks, newspaper clippings, John Fourt's WWII Selective Service medal and high school papers, and various photograph albums.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

DESCRIPTION OF ITEM, Fourt Family papers, MG 487, Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, ID.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Materials donated by Ann Fourt in 2017 (MA 2017-08).

Related Materials

At the time of donation, the donor was planning to donate over 200 letters John Fourt wrote to his mother while serving in the Army during WWII to either the Smithsonian of the Library of Congress.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Family Papers, Genealogy Research, and PhotographsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
D.L. Fourt Papers
1943, undated
1 2
Estate Papers of D.L. Fourt
1 3
Ellen McCready (later Fourt) Teaching Contract
1 4
Ellen Fourt's Address Book
1 5
Court Documents Pertaining to Ellen Fourt and Robert W. Peterson
1 6
Ellen Fourt Deed and Mortgage Materials
1 7
Estate Papers of Ellen O'Donnell Fourt
1960, 1980
1 8
Baby Book - John Fourt's First Year of Life
1 9
John Fourt's School Papers (sensitive materials)
1941-1942, undated
1 10
WWII Service Medal, John Fourt
1 11
John and Dorothy Fourt Divorce Papers (sensitive materials)
1 12
Letters from Ellen O'Donnell Fourt to her son John
1967-1976, undated
1 13
Letters from John E. Fourt to his parents
1 14
Letters from Alice Lewis Pearson to D.L. and Ellen Fourt
1 15
Correspondence Pertaining to Fourt Family Genealogy
1 16
Miscellaneous Correspondence
1938, undated
1 17
Notebook with Butler family genealogy
1 18
Fourt Family Genealogy
1 19
Obituaries and Funeral Programs
1974-2008, undated
1 20
Fourt Family Photographs
1 21
Fourt Family Photographs
1 22
Fourt Family Photographs
1 23
Photographs of D.L. and Ellen Fourt
1 24
Photographs of John Fourt
1942, undated
1 25
Photographs of Robert, Steven, and Ann Fourt
1968-1970, undated
1 26
Photograph Albums
1 27
Butler Family Photo Album
1 28
Scrapbook of Newspaper Clippings
1 29
32 Degree Scottish Rite Certificate - John F. O'Donnell
1 30
Good Samaritan Society Admission Examination (sensitive materials)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Genealogy

Geographical Names

  • Moscow (Idaho)