An Illustrated History of the State of Idaho
By Lewis Publishing Company, 1899, Page 298-310
THE PAYETTE VALLEY — ITS TOWNS, WATER, WEATHER, SOIL, PRODUCTS, RESOURCES ANDVARIED ATTRACTIONS.
FOR the following graphic and ably written article in regard to the attractions of the Payette valley we are indebted to a souvenir edition of the Payette Independent issued in March, 1898:
The Payette valley lies in the southwestern part of Idaho, with its upper and narrow end extending far back into pine-clad mountains and its lower flaring into broad, fertile fields, terminating at the banks of the Snake river, just across whose waters rise the mountain peaks of Oregon. Its length is upward of forty miles, its width varying from two miles at the upper point to eight where it merges into the larger delta of the Snake. On its northern side rise foothills which succeed each other with increasing height until they are lost in the great chain of the Seven Devils mountains; on the south a long, low line of hills divides it from its sister valley, the Boise; and through it from end to end the Payette river, broad, deep, perennial, threads its way around innumerable islands. At its mouth, its gateway and outlet, within half a mile of the confluence of the Snake and Payette rivers, is the flourishing town of Payette; midway in its length, on its mesa or bench lands, is New Plymouth, a new community established on the co-operative principle: still farther up the valley is Falk's Store, which in an early day was one of the most widely known stage stations in the state and an outfitting point for cattlemen of a large adjacent territory; and at its upper end, where the waters of the Payette, cold and clear, come tumbling out of a deep canyon, Emmett, a thrifty village, stands sentinel.
Such is a brief outline of the district to which we have come to pay tribute. Its area is not large, but the stuff it is made of is "pay dirt." Up to the time of the building of the Oregon Short Line Railway, a link in the Union Pacific system, the Payette valley lay, as did the greater part of the arid northwest, a desert which was covered with sage brush, and over which the coyote chased the jack rabbit for his daily meat. A few men, more hardy and more enterprising than their fellows, had located homes along the water courses, but they had done so with no other expectation than spending their lives in the picket line of pioneers. Irrigation was then in its swaddling clothes in the northwest. The general opinion of it then, as it is now to a less extent, was that it was a fad, a game to play at, but as a utilitarian proposition—nil. But the railroad drew people in its wake, who found a climate so genial that they cast about them for some occupation that would yield a livelihood, so that they might stay. Many embarked in the live-stock industry, some sought the great forests of pine, fir and tamarack toward the headwaters of the Payette, rafting logs to its mouth, and some, settling on the lower lands, easy to water, commenced tilling the soil. To these latter and to the few who preceded them in the same work is due the growth of the tree of knowledge. Through them the possibilities of production of the valley's seventy-five thousand acres has been made known, and from that time the certainty of future prosperity was made as 'sure as the coming of the seasons is sure. It was these men who first planted fruit trees. They were set out for home orchards and home consumption, with little thought or expectation of their being utilized for anything else. But when they reached maturity their enormous yields and the excellence of the quality of the fruit opened a new field for endeavor. Commercial orchards were planted. They came to fruitfulness and the future great industry of the valley was established. From this small beginning, although it was less than a decade ago, there are now in the valley upward of twenty-five hundred acres in tree fruits, five hundred acres in berries, and an annual acreage in melons in excess of two hundred and fifty.
The climatic, soil and moisture conditions which make it possible for the Payette valley to outrival even some of the famed lotus lands of California and to raise fruit that is second to none in any market, are unusually felicitous. The summer season is long and warm, with an average of twenty-nine days of sunshine each month. Practically no rain falls from May to October, making the harvesting of all crops a matter of comparative ease. The winters are short and mild, yet with that indispensable touch of frost which gives the crispness and flavor to fruits of the temperate zone which those of California lack. The soil is of the same nature as abounds throughout the inter-mountain region, —a deep alluvial, rich in all mineral constituents and of a durability widely known. In an irrigation district "water is king." On it depends the success of all crops; without it land is not worth annual taxes. The Payette valley claims, and is prepared to make good this statement to all comers, that it has the best water supply in the irrigated northwest. To-day four-fifths of all the land in it that is susceptible of irrigation is under ditch, yet at the time when the Payette river is at its lowest stage there runs to waste fifty thousand miner's inches. That is an amount sufficient to irrigate twice the number of acres in the entire valley. Should this present natural flow ever diminish there are on the north fork of the Payette two lakes whose storage capacity can hardly be estimated in figures. They lie in deep canyons, walled on all sides with mountains that reach the line of perpetual snow, and their outlets are through deep cuts where they may be dammed at comparatively small cost. The canals now constructed and in operation are of a substantial and permanent character and supplying water with every facility for the best and most economical use of it. Second only to getting water on land is getting it off. At no place in the valley is there a lack of ample drainage channels which carry all waste to one of the two rivers. The slope on the bench lands is an even one to the north, —the ideal exposure for fruit, — and on the lower lands to the north and west. These lands are universally level, but susceptible of easy irrigation.
While horticulture will be a leading industry it will not be the only one. The first settlers to accumulate means, and some of them wealth, were the stock men, and they form to-day a large proportion of the population. The foot hills adjacent to the valley form good ranges, on which large bands of cattle and sheep roam. The majority of these are rounded up and fed during the three winter months, but many get no other forage than they can "rustle for themselves" throughout the year. The quantity of hay that can be raised to the acre makes the question of winter feeding an easy one to meet. The average is five tons. Here as elsewhere the cattle business is being divided into small holdings, and with the exceptional advantages for feeding it has already become a most important factor in the support of many homes. The many large valleys lying to the north of the Payette afford summer ranges for sheep that are wintered in the Payette. It is estimated that eighty-five thousand sheep were fed between Emmett and Payette last winter, making a market the value of which the growers of hay acknowledge. Dairying is, up to the present, almost neglected, and it affords a field for enterprise second to none.
Where by actual test one-eighth of an acre of alfalfa pasturage has kept one cow from May to September, where five tons of hay can be grown to the acre, where other forage is plenty and cheap, and where in the neighboring cities creamery butter is quoted at from eighteen to twenty-two cents a pound, there must be some ground for the belief that dairying will at least keep the wolf from the door.
To those who are looking for a location for general farming the Payette valley offers inducements. Thirty bushels of wheat, fifty of corn, forty of oats, twelve thousand pounds of potatoes, eighteen thousand of onions are some of the yields that are certified to by the state's engineer. A guaranty of plenty of water leaves nothing lacking to good crops but muscular energy and that intelligence that makes the American people the foremost in the world.
Reference has already been made to the timber belts that surround the Payette valley. Their acreage runs into the millions,—pine, tamarack, fir, spruce and mountain poplar. There is but one natural outlet for this vast amount of lumber. It is the Payette river. Already a company has prospected the ground and made estimates on what is needful to be done to effect rafting of logs down the river to Payette, where it contemplates the establishment of a mill that will employ two hundred men. Taking into consideration that each year sees the visible supply of lumber in the world decrease, the practically untouched forests of Idaho will be a source of boundless wealth.
In and contiguous to the Payette valley are a number of mining propositions that are on a well paying basis, and many others that promise much for the future. At Pearl a half dozen prospects have developed paying quartz: in the Seven Devils, copper that assays forty-five per cent pure is being mined on the surface; in Little Willow creek, a vein of coal has been uncovered that is getting better and better in quality as the shaft is sunk; and in the sands of the two rivers any one may pan out gold practically the year round in quantities that will yield a revenue of two dollars per day. In these same sands lie untold riches, when some inventive genius perfects a way to separate the precious metal from them. Many have tried and failed, others have tried with a fair measure of success, and at the present time a large capital has been invested in a still newer process which promises greater results than have yet been attained. Although the money invested in the mining industry in Idaho is small compared with such states as Colorado or California, her yield of precious metals ranks with the first. Yet there is two-thirds of her territory that has never been prospected, except in the most desultory manner, and much of this virgin ground properly belongs in a section to which the Payette valley bears the relation of a base of supplies.
The average prospective settler, when he begins to think of moving to the far west, hesitates because he dreads that he will be compelled to undergo himself or subject his family to hardships and privations incident to pioneering. In his mind's eye he sees his home surrounded by a wilderness, —neighbors, schools, churches and the doctor far distant: no conditions whereby his children may be brought up with proper social training or where he and his wife can secure relaxation from the labor of overcoming the virgin soil, and possibly himself engaged in some hand-to-hand encounter with wild beasts, or wilder men. Generally he who hesitates is lost; and by reason of failure to investigate he goes to some perhaps less genial clime. The Payette valley offers nearly all the advantages and many of the luxuries of any well regulated rural community, whether it be in effete New England or the middle-aged central west. Payette has a graded school, housed in a handsome brick building; in all the country districts schools are opened and taught for six to nine months; and in New Plymouth, Falk's Store and Emmett there are good schools with ample facilities for all scholars. The state has a compulsory-education law, buys and furnishes all books. There are two denominational colleges, —a Congregational and a Presbyterian—within a day's drive of any part of the valley. Each community has its churches, which represent nearly every denomination with the exception of the Mormon. They have their regular pastors and services, their church societies and entertainments and their work for the relief of the sick. Social organizations, such as literary and debating societies; fraternal organizations, such as the Masons, Odd Fellows, G. A. R. and others; business organizations, village-improvement societies; outing clubs, gun clubs and riding clubs form nuclei around which revolves a social life that older communities would not blush to father. The business and banking facilities are on a par with what are called modern methods. The services of physicians in good standing can always be secured, and medicines are easy of access.
As for the struggle with the virgin soil, there are but few places in this wide land where the settler may first stick plow in the ground in the spring, with no previous preparation, and raise that same year a good crop of almost anything he is minded to plant: and the Payette valley is one of those places. And wild animals! The fiercest animal that roams the sage brush is the timorous coyote, and next is the reserved and distant jack rabbit. So that here is no pioneering. It is of course not the excellence of living in some large center of population, but hardship there is none; and here is refuted the maxim that "the poor ye have with ye alway." There are no poor as it is understood to be poor in any older settled country. There is no man in the Payette valley so poor but that he has a roof to cover his head, a fire at which to keep warm, and food for himself and family when meal-time comes. Nor is there any man who, if he is willing and able to work, but can lay up that little store that is so needful on the "rainy day."
The lands of the Payette valley are cheap. Practically all that can be entered under the desert or homestead acts are taken up, but the best lands under ditch can be had for from fifteen to fifty dollars per acre. Those prices are a contrast to what is asked for fruit lands in California, Colorado or any other recognized fruit locality; and those or any other states are challenged to show a greater yield or a better quality of fruit than that from the fertile fields of the Payette. The people of this section make no claim to a super-excellence or to an absence of disadvantages. It is not set forth that this is a Garden of Eden, a bower of the Fountain of Youth, or a land flowing with milk and honey, where the people, like the lilies of the field, toil not nor spin. There are those drawbacks always incident to the infant days of making a commonwealth. There are bad, muddy roads in winter and bad dusty ones in summer, transportation charges are high, and neither DeWolfe Hopper or Miss S. Bernhardt play at Payette's opera house, but there is no disadvantage that will not yield to time, and a short time at that. This is a place where energetic and intelligent men and women can secure, at a nominal cost, homes that will support them in their old age in ease if not in luxury: it is where a young man, if he will exercise the same industry as he does to keep his head above water in crowded avenues of trade, can acquire a competence if not wealth; and where no man, if he will work, will become a patron of a public soup house.
Each year sees a large number of the American people seek to escape the heated term by flight to the mountains or sea side. Near to the Payette valley lies a country of mountains and forests and lakes, of perpetual snows, of magnificent panoramas, of little sequestered valleys of indescribable charm, and of grand, deep canyons and precipitous mountains of granite, that offer such delights for the lover of nature and such possibilities to the adventurous traveler as no land excels. There, too, the hunter may find some of the remaining few of those vanishing species —the moose, the elk, the mountain sheep, the caribou and the fierce grizzly. The seeker of health may there locate himself at any altitude in an atmosphere redolent of the pines and fairly crackling with vigor, and on every side he will find living examples of the beneficence of nature to man.
Of the family of states that forms the empire of the northwest, Idaho is the Cinderella, —the least known and the most fair,—and her foremost foot is slippered by the Payette valley and its surroundings. Even now the tread of the fairy prince who is to lead her to wealth and prosperity is heard. Now is the time to enroll in her train of courtiers.
Since the time, in 1836, when Marcus Whitman demonstrated that it was possible to travel from the Missouri river to Puget sound on wheels, the Payette valley has lain in the direct route of travel to the northwest. But it was not until the building of the railroad, in 1884, that it was looked upon as a place for permanent settlement. In the previous year the engineers of the Union Pacific surveying the line through, located a bridge over the Snake at the mouth of the Payette valley, and at that time A. B. and F. C. Moss and others, under contract to deliver a quarter million of ties, camped near the junction of the Payette and Snake on the site of the present town of Payette. That marked its birth. In July of that year the Moss brothers erected the first store building, and settlers began coming in. The year 1884 saw the completion of the railroad as far as Huntington; the building of the first school-house in the infant town on the site of the present Baptist church: the construction of the lower Payette ditch by the farmers along its route, an irrigating canal, with extensions, twenty miles in length and carrying a volume of water of seven thousand miner's inches; and the establishment of a sawmill by W. A. Coughanour. In this year and those immediately following there located in Payette the greater number of those men who now form the "old guard." This ancient and honorable phalanx has on its rolls such names as Peter Pence, Henry Irvin, William Ireton, S. W. King, J. T. Clement, Alex. Rossi, John Ashbaugh, James Welch, W. C. Johnson, Samuel and John Apple gate, John, Ben and William Bivens, August and Adolph Jacobsen, John Henshaw, Jacob Stroup, D. S. Lamme, A. A. and F. C. Moss and others. The growth of the town was not particularly rapid from that time on to 1890, but the population steadily increased and from a supply station for railway-construction gangs it had become a center of trade and base of supplies for a country an hundred miles in extent.
The "brick age" was inaugurated in 1890. It received its main impetus from the decision oi a German syndicate, which had sent representatives to investigate the resources of the valley, to make extensive purchases in real estate and place money in various enterprises. The syndicate invested about two hundred thousand dollars. Its faith in the future was pinned to the valley's horticultural, timber and live-stock resources. A two-story brick school-house had already been erected and following on the upward trend of affairs given by the location of the syndicate named there went up a two-story hotel, three-story bank building, two-story Odd Fellow building, the large establishments of the Moss, Payette Valley and Lamme mercantile companies and several large residences, all of brick, as well as a number of large frame buildings.
Payette was incorporated as a village in 1891. In 1891 the first car load of fruit was shipped. To-day Payette has a population of one thousand. In speaking of its future, A. B. Moss, one of the original pioneers, says: "I traveled in Colorado in 1866, when it was less advanced than Idaho is to-day. Colorado is now a rich and populous state, yet it has never had any more advantages to offer than has Idaho and particularly the Payette valley. Therefore I look to see this valley support a population of fifty thousand people; I look to see a town within its borders of ten thousand people inside of fifteen years; I look to see a railroad running the length of it inside of ten years; and I look to see its people prosperous and happy. This may happen much sooner than the time I state, but I do not think my time will be overrun."
New Plymouth is the youngest of the communities in the Payette valley, and is the result of the first organized effort to secure immigration. In the year 1893 the Payette Valley irrigation and Water Power Company completed the construction of an irrigation canal forty miles in length on the bench lands of the valley, and at once set about to induce settlement under it. B. P. Shawhan, in charge of this plant, in 1894 associated himself with William E. Smythe, then chairman of the executive committee of the National Irrigation Congress, for the establishment in the Payette valley of a community under the general plan of colonization, but also to include a number of novel and advantageous features. The plan formulated was based on the principle of co-operative business interests, government by the people, the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors in any manner, and social and civic equality.
The city of Chicago was selected as the most available point at which to introduce the project, and during the summer of 1895 a committee of seven was sent to Payette to investigate the country. Its report was so favorable that in the fall of that year some thirty-five families subscribed to the plan offered and settled where New Plymouth now stands. During that winter —1895-6—a town site of three hundred and twenty-five acres was laid out, upward of ten miles of streets graded, thirty-six hundred shade trees planted, and a village hall and two houses for general occupancy erected. From that time to the present the growth of New Plymouth has gone steadily forward. People from all sections of the United States have become its citizens. To-day, although it is less than three years ago when its being was certainly decided upon, it has handsome residences on its streets, commodious public buildings, business buildings, a considerable population of intelligent and industrious people and has passed the stage where its successful future was in doubt.
When the irrigation ditch was completed, the year before the establishment of New Plymouth, the lands which it now waters and of which New Plymouth is the logical and geographical center, were as innocent of the taming hand of man as in the days when fierce mountain torrents swept it from divide to divide. Now there are upward of three thousand acres of land under fence and annually yielding crops; there are one thousand acres of orchard, some of which will this year bear fruit; and from a desert it has become a garden.
Falk's Store is the oldest settlement in southern Idaho between the Boise basin and the Snake river. A station on the Utah, Idaho and Oregon stage line was first located there, and around it sprang up an outfitting and trading post which had all those lively characteristics incident to the frontier. The first store was established about 1867, by James Toombs, on what is now called the Scott Stuart place, about a mile and a half below Falk's Store proper. A few years later he was bought out by A. J. McFarland, who successfully conducted a large business for about ten years. Nathan Falk, now a prominent merchant in Boise city, then established a store at the station, and from it the name was taken. In those days the place boasted a hotel, store, saloon, blacksmith shop and numerous smaller enterprises, and in proof of the assertion that times were good in the seventies it is said that Falk's store alone did a business of sixty thousand dollars in one year. The building of the railroad, however, put an end to staging and Falk's Store has since declined.
James Wardwell built a sawmill on the Payette river close at the head of the valley in the early seventies, to which logs were rafted from the great timber belts lying to the north. Around this mill lumbermen and merchants congregated, with the result that the town of Emmett was established. Emmett now has a population of five hundred, large mercantile establishments, fine residences and is surrounded by bearing orchards of many acres in extent. The sawing of lumber has been moved further back into the mountains, but Emmett is the distributing point for the industry.
The Payette valley has that most necessary adjunct to an irrigated section, —water. It has the best water supply in the irrigated northwest. Not only has it a supply greatly in excess of all demands that are being made on it at present, but it has a supply that is more than twice sufficient to irrigate every acre of land that the valley contains, and should its present annual flow ever be diminished by some unforeseen disturbance of nature there are at its source two natural reservoirs of an extended surface area and of a depth that has heretofore baffled measurement, and a mountain chain on which there are snows and ice an hundred centuries old. This fact in itself makes the Payette valley pre-eminent among the many of this section of the country. There may be others where the soil is as fertile, the climate as salubrious and the people as intelligent and industrious, but there are few whose family skeleton is not labeled, "Fear for future water supply." Therefore the Payette valley says to any and all home-seekers that to leave it out of consideration in the making of permanent homes is to be blind to self-interest.
During the year 1896 the state engineer of Idaho, F. J. Mills, made measurements of the flow of water in all the rivers in the state from which water was diverted for irrigating purposes. The tables of figures he has compiled are too cumbersome for reproduction here, although they may be obtained from him on request; but his general statement as to the Payette's water supply is the best of evidence. He says:
"The gauging station on this stream is at the wagon bridge near the town of Payette not far from the mouth of the stream and below all diverting canals. As the flow of this river is so much greater at all times than any possible demands upon it by any existing or projected canals, this station answers all purposes as well as one located above the canals. The quantity of water carried at all seasons of the year by the Payette is more than sufficient for the irrigation of all the agricultural land in the valley, and therefore there need be little fear of any scarcity of water. The Payette lakes offer natural reservoir sites, but it is doubtful if it will be necessary to make use of them, certainly not for many years, and never unless a larger part of the flow of the Payette be taken out of its own drainage area for use elsewhere."
The Payette lakes, to which the engineer refers, lie on the north fork of the Payette, distant about one hundred and forty miles. Their combined surface area is about fifty square miles. The deepest sounding ever made in the lower lake was two thousand and five hundred feet, which failed to reach bottom, so that it is impossible to compute the number of gallons of water it contains. They lie in deep, steep-sided ravines and their outlets dash over rocky bottoms through walled canyons. The cost of damming them so as to raise their surfaces many feet will be, if it should ever become necessary, light compared with the enormous expenditures of time and money to conserve almost an infinitesimal amount of these waters in the states' of California, Colorado and New Mexico. The middle fork of the Payette rises in eternal glaciers in the Sawtooth mountains. Here is another fruitful source of water supply. Just at the time when other accumulations of water begin to ebb the snow and ice here are melting most rapidly. The south fork of the river drains a large area and contributes no little to the general fund of moisture. If you want to irrigate, the Payette valley can furnish you with water.
Water for drinking is found at depths varying from twenty to sixty feet and is universally free from impurities and any trace of alkali.
The state of Idaho has as many varieties of climate as there are styles in feminine headgear. On the exposed mountain peaks and in high altitudes old Boreas holds frozen court the greater part of the year, while on the lower levels and in the sheltered valleys winter is little more than a name. One of these latter is the Payette. Its altitude is two thousand and two hundred feet, and it stands open-mouthed to the warm winds from the Japan current that come sweeping up the deltas of the Columbia and Snake. Its latitude is the same as that of southern France and Italy, and it is protected from the fierce colds that originate in the region of Montana by the continental divide. The winter season usually lasts about three months, with varying degrees of cold. Taking one winter with another the mean average temperature is but little below the freezing point. The thermometer generally sinks to zero for not to exceed three or four nights during the season. The lowest point it has ever reached since the establishment of a voluntary observer's station in Payette, seven years ago, is twelve degrees below zero. The ground seldom freezes to a depth greater than six inches.
The summer season approaches the tropical as far as the thermometer's record is concerned. It is no unusual thing for the one hundred degree mark to be hovered around for weeks at a time, but there the resemblance to the tropics ends. There is no depressing humidity, nor hot, sultry nights. The average difference of thermometer readings between day and night is, for the summer months, thirty-five degrees, and the rarity and dryness of the air so tempers the rays of the sun that no bad effects are ever experienced. At the same time, when in Chicago and other eastern cities, with the thermometer standing at about ninety degrees, people and horses have been dying of sun-stroke by the dozens, the thermometers in the Payette valley have registered as high as one hundred and fifteen, with men and animals working under its mid-day rays practically oblivious of their heat. A case of hydrophobia has never been known in the state of Idaho.
The dry season lasts from about the first of May until the first of October. During this time the atmosphere is practically devoid of humidity and days of uninterrupted sunshine succeed each other, furnishing, in connection with the abundant water supply of the valley, the most favorable conditions for plant life and growth. The periods of rain are in the fall and spring, when a considerable volume falls. Snow sometimes succeeds during the winter months, but sleighing of more than two weeks' duration seldom occurs. What makes the coldest of weather the easier to endure is the fact that the colder it gets, the less the wind blows, and if the thermometer hovers at the zero point the faintest breath of a breeze cannot be detected. Such conditions produce a climate that is beneficial, and in many cases curetive to pulmonary complaints, catarrhal troubles, malarial diseases and many other ills that flesh is heir to. In other words the climate is healthful and stimulating, and there are many persons living in the Payette valley to-day, vigorous and robust, who left former homes with a doctor's prophecy hanging over them that life for them was short.
The soil of the Payette valley is an alluvial deposit of a volcanic nature, varying in weight and depth in different places. Surrounding the town of Payette, including those lands adjacent to the mouth of the Payette river, the bottom lands of the Snake, and an area containing about one thousand and five hundred acres, which is known as the Washoe flat, the soil borders on a sandy loam. It assimilates irrigation waters with great ease, and is deep and friable.
On the bench lands about New Plymouth there is more of a clay consistency. It makes a soil less friable when first cultivated than the more sandy, but competent judges are of the belief that it will be longer lived. In the upper end of the valley there is a mixture of sand, clay and bottom lands.
The statement is made here without fear of successful contradiction that there is no hard pan or gumbo land in the Payette valley; and no alkali except along the river bottoms, which form a most insignificant part of the total acreage. The soils are all rich in the ingredients needful for plant life, and their longevity is increased in that the running of irrigating water on their surface continually refertilizes them.
An advancement in fruit-growing has already been made, in the Payette valley that places it among the foremost in the state and surrounding country. It is past the experimental stage. N. A. Jacobsen shipped the first solid car of fruit— prunes—from Payette in 1891. since which time shipments have increased, until last season they amounted to twenty-five car loads of green fruit, twenty-three car loads of melons: and by express, 3,537 crates of berries and 1,689 crates of cantaloupes. In addition there have been from time to time shipped dried fruits. There are about six hundred acres of tree fruits now in bearing, an acreage that will be doubled within the next two years, and should not even another tree be planted there will within the next five years two thousand and five hundred acres come to bearing. There is little danger, however, of planting ceasing. An average yield of such fruits as prunes and apples is a car load to an acre, and the average number of hands ordinarily required to care for it during the harvesting season is five per acre.
The above figures give an idea as to the point whither the industry is tending. The acreage of berries is large and in many instances the growing of them has been more profitable than of tree fruits. The production of melons is assuming some magnitude, and the acreage of them the coming season will reach two hundred and fifty.
The following is a list of the fruits that are grown in the valley with profit: Apples, prunes, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, quinces, cherries, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, dewberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries and ground-cherries. Plantings of walnuts, chestnuts, pecans, almonds and English walnuts are also being made, and the few nut trees in bearing have shown big and profitable yields.
The right of the apple to the title of the "king of fruits" was established early in the history of man. It has successfully defended that title against all challengers ever since; and while the apple is the "king of fruits" the "king of apples" grows in the Payette valley. It is of large size, fancy flavor, colored so highly that generally the same apple grown by irrigation and perpetual sunshine here is unrecognizable beside the one grown in the east, and is of a weight and keeping-quality not excelled. Its early productiveness is a feature of its value. One-year-old nursery stock will bear fruit the fourth year from planting, will yield a partial crop the fifth, a large crop the sixth and seventh, and from the eighth to tenth come to maturity. The number of apples that a tree will put forth is an increasing marvel as one year succeeds another. From two to three boxes—forty pounds to the box—of marketable fruit off a five-year-old tree to twenty boxes off one from seven to ten years old are ordinary figures, although the standard estimate of first-class fruit from trees aged seven and upward is ten boxes. Taking the latter as a basis, there being generally planted fifty trees to the acre, the average yield year in and year out may be safely placed at five hundred boxes per acre— an even car load. Last season these apples sold in the Chicago and New York markets for from two to four dollars per box, if they were Jonathans, and from one to three dollars a less fancy varieties.
"Incredible as it may seem, Idaho has the best show of prunes in the general exhibit" (at the World's Fair)—San Francisco Examiner, May 10, 1893.
Coming as this does from the heart of California it is generous praise from a worsted competitor. The prunes in this exhibit were from southwestern Idaho, some of them from the Payette valley. If the apple is the "king of fruits," the prune is the "royal consort." The state engineer of the state of Idaho places the average yield of prunes in Canyon county, of which the Payette valley forms a considerable part, at twenty-five thousand pounds to the acre. Although there are a number of prune-growers in the Payette who annually exceed these figures, and there are some whose trees are yet in the first years of bearing, who equal them, they are sufficient for the purpose of illustration and are an official statement capable of proof. The average number of trees to an acre is about one hundred, making the yield of each tree two hundred and fifty pounds. Many of the Payette valley growers sold their product in the green state, some for three-quarters of a cent per pound on the trees, and others for one cent delivered at the station in Payette. Gross proceeds of two hundred and fifty dollars per acre leave a wide margin for the expense of care and picking. Others have shipped to eastern markets with large profits, and some have made long shipments at a loss. As yet the only practical way of handling this crop, by evaporation, has not been adopted to any extent. The need of it is felt, however, and there are at least two projects on foot looking to the establishment of evaporating plants. The particular excellence of the Idaho prune is in its size, flavor and large percentage of sugar. In the Payette valley there is no fear of wet weather to give it an excess of water, making it dry, light or poor, or to develop the fungus diseases that sometimes cause disaster in Oregon. The prune has become a staple in the market and where the properly cured and packed Idaho product has been offered it has commanded a price often above that of California. Prune trees begin bearing the third year from planting and yield largely the fourth and fifth.
There are many residents of the Payette valley who contend that the pear is the fruit to grow for profit. Certain it is that it reaches a size, lusciousness and carrying quality which make it as marketable as it is in any country. An average acre's yield according to the state engineer's estimate, is eighteen thousand pounds. On market pears are generally quoted at from two to four cents, with even higher figures for the fancy article attractively packed. So far none of the pear orchards in the valley have suffered seriously from blight,—that universal enemy of the pear tree, the cause of which is yet a matter of speculation among pomologists and bacteriologists. Like other fruits the pear bears early, the third year generally furnishing a crop.
The quality and productiveness of these fruits is such that many orchardists are planting them extensively. Some question their ability to stand the climate, but the Payette valley furnishes peaches when they are a failure in every section about here, and none of the bearing apricot orchards have gone a season uncroppea. Peaches yield from eighteen to twenty thousand pounds to the acre and always command a good price. The yield of apricots is about the same. Both begin bearing the second year. They, too, await the advent of the evaporator that their entire value may be utilized.
Cherries, plums, quinces, nectarines and other tree fruits all bear in like proportion to those stated above and at the same early date, but have not been so extensively planted. Their acreage will, doubtless, be much less than of the staple fruits, but they will be grown at a profit and form a considerable part of the total volume of business.
The staple small fruits grown commercially are the strawberry and black raspberry. Both yield profusely and have that same carrying quality that makes Idaho's tree fruits famous. Already large shipments of strawberries are being made, some of them going to points east of Chicago, and the profits secured in some instances seem almost fabulous. A prominent nurseryman of Payette sells his berries on the vine for two hundred and fifty dollars per acre, the buyer picking and packing. The black-cap is grown chiefly for drying, yielding at a conservative estimate from one thousand to one thousand and five hundred pounds of the dried fruit to the acre. In the season of 1897 the market prices were from ten to fifteen cents. While every fruit-grower and rancher has nearly all the other small fruits and grapes on his place in quantities sufficient for home consumption, no extensive effort to utilize them commercially has yet been made, although there is no reason why there should not be.
The most popular of fruits in its season is the melon, particularly the cantaloupe. It is the ne plus ultra of the breakfast table and the facile princeps of all desserts. It is said of the cantaloupe that it is the one fruit of which enough cannot be had; and the smiling watermelon is synonymous with a tickled palate. Both these melons grow to a state of high perfection here. The sandy soil on the lower lands is just what they require for an early and rapid growth. Last year twenty-three car loads and thousands of crates were shipped. The standard for melons in recent years has been, by common consent, the melon grown at Rocky Ford, Colorado. Payette valley melons shipped to Denver have elicited the following comment from the G. G. Liebhardt Commission Company, under date of January 5, 1898: "We know of no other place, outside of Rocky Ford, where as good melons are raised as we have seen from your point. The trouble with all cantaloupes raised in the east is that they are just like a turnip: there is no taste to them. The only way they can eat them is to put sugar on them; but the beauty of the Rocky Ford melons, and also the melons at your place, is that thev are sweet. They do not require any artificial sweetening."
One incalculable advantage that the Payette valley melons have is that they are from two to three weeks ahead of the Rocky Ford. The first shipments here in 1897 were on July 26.
Some idea of yields and profits may be gained from the experience of R. L. Jimerson, who certifies to the fact that in 1897 from two acres of ground, he delivered at the Payette station eight hundred and twenty-seven crates of cantaloupes that netted him $627.32. It does not necessarily follow that all can come and do likewise, but what man has done man may do. For the purpose of advancing this industry there has recently been incorporated a company styled the Payette Valley Melon Growers' Association, with a capital stock of three thousand dollars.
General farming is most successfully carried on throughout this entire section, but as the growing of fruit and handling of cattle and sheep hold out inducements for larger profit, only a comparatively small acreage is devoted to it. All cereals and grains and all vegetables yield well, and farmers have in instances made unusual profits from potatoes, onions and other special crops. A strict adherence to the truth, however, makes necessary the observation that the Payette valley is not as well adapted to the growth of general farm crops as it is to fruits, and that there are better grain sections in the state.
In the state engineer's report before alluded to the following yields for this county are given: Wheat, 30 bushels per acre; oats, 42; corn, 35; rye, 18; barley, 34; potatoes, 10,480 pounds; carrots, 19,900; beets, 19,900; and onions, 18,666.
Many orchardists successfully plant and grow root crops and corn between tree rows, assisting materially in meeting the expenses of caring for the trees until they come to bearing. The growth of early vegetables has, up to the present time, been wholly in the hands of the Chinese, who have made it extremely profitable to themselves and demonstrated that it may be made profitable to others. So much so has it been to them that one of them, a man of means and education, has made the offer that if a cannery could be established in the valley he would agree to take five hundred acres of land at an annual rental of twenty-five dollars per acre, pay water rental and taxes on it, and put it out to vegetables.
One thing the farmer in this valley may be absolutely certain of, and that is that he will get a crop every year. There are no "off years," no droughts, no floods, no tornadoes. A story is told of a tourist through Kansas who met a native and asked him what sort of a country Kansas was to settle in. The native replied by asking this question: "If you had known a man for twenty-two years and he had been a horse thief, a blackleg, and a regular out and out child of sin and the devil for twenty years, and then had reformed and been just a tolerably decent sort of fellow for two years, would you tie to him?" The tourist said that he didn't think that he would. The native dug spurs into his tired broncho, leaving the tourist to cipher out the moral. No such allegory can be drawn of the Payette valley. It is the same one year with another. If it is bad, there is no hope of reform; if it is good, there is no fear of its fall. It courts investigation.
In the valley of the Payette the farmer cuts from two to four crops of hay each season. The average tonnage per acre each season is five. There have been as high as eight and nine tons of alfalfa taken off a single acre from four cuttings a season. With all the grasses—alfalfa, clover, timothy, orchard-grass, blue-grass and others—yielding such weights of forage, the question of feeding stock is reduced to a minimum, taking into consideration also that all other forage produces in like measure. It is no unusual thing for four to eight head of stock to be pastured to the acre. Compare this feeding capacity with that of eastern acres. There is but one creamery in the state of Idaho, and even dairies are few. There is but one in the Payette valley. The price of butter in the Payette valley has never been less than twenty cents per pound. The price of creamery butter is from that figure to twenty-five cents anywhere in the state. Idaho annually ships in thousands of pounds of butter from California, Utah, Oregon and other states.
Nobody in this section of the country has as yet taken special interest in the development of the poultry industry. During the winter months it is oftentimes impossible to buy an egg in the Payette valley, and if any are offered for sale the price asked for them is from twenty-five to thirty cents a dozen. There is no reason why the hen should not be worked to her full capacity here. The weather is never severe enough to necessitate the erection of expensive buildings, and feed is plenty. The rearing of chickens will, in fact, become a part and parcel of fruit-growing. A few dozen industrious birds in an orchard will do more than almost any other agency, unless it be hogs, to destroy the various insect enemies of fruit. The chicken has come to stay and it will produce a considerable part of the valley's wealth. There are several residents both at Payette and New Plymouth who have introduced thoroughbred birds, such as Cochins, Wyandottes, Langshans, Plymouth Rocks and Leghorns. Eggs and individual fowls from these fanciers are being distributed over the country, to the effect that nearly all flocks are being improved.
Scrutiny of and reflection on the following figures are invited. They do not misrepresent in any essential. There are one million acres of timber land of which the Payette river is the natural and only outlet. It is certain that this timber will cut twenty thousand feet to the acre, and in all probability it will cut more. That means that there are twenty billion feet of it. It is worth fifteen dollars a thousand at Payette. Therefore it represents a value of three hundred dollars per acre, or three hundred million dollars. Of this timber five per cent is tamarack, ten per cent is fir and eighty-five per cent is pine. The percentage of rot in this timber will not exceed one-half of one per cent; that of Michigan exceeds twenty-five per cent. These are surprising figures and such as may sound exaggerated to those who live in less extensive areas than the people of Idaho; but, taking into consideration that there are fifty-five million acres in the state, of which twenty millions are estimated as timber lands, there is nothing unreasonable in them.
This timber, often rising to a height of over one hundred feet, stands in most instances so thick as to exclude the light of the sun, and is straight and flawless, generally speaking. It is not claimed for it that its quality is superior to other timber belts of this section, but it is asserted for it that it is of more value than the same kinds either in Oregon or Washington because there is a greater percentage of "uppers" or clear lumber. As previously stated the Payette river is the natural and only outlet for these billions of feet. Not only does it furnish a highway on which logs may be driven to mill every month in the year but two, but it will also furnish the power to drive the mills. It is possible, also, to get the logs out of the timber to the river at all seasons of the year, the snow never getting so deep as to prevent work. Another feature that adds to the value of the lumber is that all refuse can be sold for wood, and even the sawdust commands ready sale. It is a well known fact that the demand for lumber exceeds the supply. There is now going eastward over the Oregon Short Line Railway daily often as much as a train 16ad of lumber from Oregon. The forests of that state have been subjected to a steady drain for many years, and those in the western part, in the Blue mountain region, are becoming badly thinned. As a matter of fact the only untouched pineries of the United States are in this state, and the Payette taps one of them that is not the least. The market for the lumber stretches east for a distance of fifteen hundred miles, a country a large part of which is timberless There are now two mills sawing lumber in this belt, one at Payette and one in what is called the Dry Buck country. Emmett is the distributing point for the latter and it is a Payette valley enterprise.
These mills have never been able to supply the local demand, quantities of lumber being shipped here from Oregon.
Time was, ten years ago, when the cattle of the Payette valley were counted by the tens of thousands; and the "hi, hi!" of the cowboy made the land merry during the spring and fall roundups. There has been a change since then, and although there are many still in the country, the days of individual ownership of large bands is past. If you ask a cattle man to tell you why it will pay you well to embark in his business, he will say to you, "Because there are spring, summer and fall ranges off which you can send your stock to market in first-class condition, and you can winter them at a cost of one dollar and fifty cents a head." The cheapness of winter feeding is the main article of faith. More cattle are fed only two months of the year than are fed three, and the cost of hay is seldom over three dollars a ton.
The quality of the cattle of this section of Idaho ranks among the best of grass-fed stock of the northwest, taking precedence of that of Montana, Wyoming and Oregon. This is due not so much to any superiority of feed as to the fact that there have been imported a number of bulls of high grade. One owner in the Payette secured two Herefords from Adams Earl, of Earl Park, Indiana, at a cost of one thousand dollars at five months old, and there is some shorthorn and Durham stock of the best.
It is estimated that there were about ten thousand head of cattle wintered in the Payette valley this year. Of these the largest single ownership was fifteen hundred, at Emmett, and the next about one thousand, at Payette. The rest were divided up into holdings of from fifty to three hundred head.
Tributary to the Payette, in the Weiser, Indian, Crane creek, Squaw creek. Paddock and Long valleys, there are many thousands of stock which are driven in for shipment at this and adjacent points. Present prices range at fifteen and sixteen dollars for yearlings and twenty to twenty-four dollars for two-year-olds. The future of the cattle industry will see a continually increasing number in the country, but they will be in bands of tens and twenties owned by each rancher whose few acres of hay land will furnish them abundant feed.
Wool is not the least of the items that swell the commerce of the Payette valley. The wool clip from it and the surrounding sections amounts to about a half million pounds annually. With the advance in price guaranteed by a protective tariff the business has proved most profitable under the conditions existing here.
This valley offers a winter range which is unexcelled. Hay can be bought on an average for three dollars per ton. and the weather is never so severe as to necessitate artificial shelter.. The time of feeding the past winter did not exceed two months. Several bands fed in the Payette broke winter camp in the middle of February and headed for the upper ranges. Others commenced as early as the first of that month to turn out in the sage brush. The summer ranges for the sheep fed in the Payette valley lie in the numerous smaller valleys contiguous, and even high up on the mountain ranges. Feed is plenty and the ranges are not overrun.
The number of sheep in the country is increasing each year. From an insignificant number a half dozen years ago the industry has grown until the present. The supply of hay is increasing each year, making it a certainty that those engaging in the business will find an abundance of feed in a sheltered country.
One of the largest irrigation enterprises in the state is that of the Payette Valley Irrigation and Water Power Company. Diverting water from the Payette about two miles above Emmett, its canal, running close under the foot-hills that divide the Payette and Boise valleys, carries water for a distance of about forty miles to all the bench lands of the valley, an acreage in excess of thirty thousand. The cost of construction was about three hundred thousand dollars, an expenditure resulting in the most substantial work, both at the headgates and along the route, and giving every facility for quick and economic deliverance of water. Its capacity will at all times be greater than any probable demand that will be made on it, the intake at the headgates being 556.5 cubic feet per second, or 27,825 miners' inches. There always being plenty of water in the river, those locating under this canal will never lack moisture. This company has sold perpetual water-rights to the lands under it. and charges an annual maintenance fee of one dollar and fifty cents an acre.
The canal was constructed by New York capital, and was completed in the fall of 1893. Water was first turned out to users in the spring of 1894. Settlement under it from that time on has been rapid, seeing established the town of New Plymouth, the planting of many hundreds of acres of orchard and the cultivation of thousands of acres of land. At the present rate of progress it will be but a few years at the most until all lands under it will be occupied by permanent settlers.
R. P. Shawhan. at that time treasurer and member of the board of directors of the Equitable Securities Company of New York city, was sent to the Payette valley in charge of the construction of this canal, and has since remained as president of the company and manager of it. The company has been most active in advancing the interests of the country, advertising widely and promoting permanent improvements.
The lower Payette ditch, which waters those lands of the valley that lie on the north side of the river from a point opposite New Plymouth to one about seven miles below Payette, is a "farmers' ditch," having been built and still being operated by the users of water from it. Agitation for its construction was begun in 1881 and the next year a company was incorporated bv David and Norval Gorrie. C. T. Williams and S. L. Sparks, with a capital stock of eight thousand dollars, divided into eighty shares. Work was commenced at once and the canal was completed in 1883. Since that time both the size of ditch and the capital stock of the company have been increased until the latter has reached three hundred and twenty shares of one hundred dollars each, and the former a carrying capacity that makes it an irrigation enterprise of first magnitude. Its affairs are managed by a board of directors, and consumers are charged for water at the rate of actual operating expenses assessed pro rata to each share. It is estimated that the average annual cost of water under it for the past five years has been thirty-seven cents an acre. This ditch is of ample size to carry all the water needed under it for many years to come. It also supplies much land above it, the water being raised by means of under-shot wheels. The operation of these wheels is one of the novel and interesting sights of irrigation.
A number of smaller community ditches water the upper end of the valley, and some of its lower stretches mid-way between Emmett and Payette: While no one of them irrigates any considerable amount of land, their aggregate makes a good showing in the total acreage of lands cultivated. Water under them is charged for on the basis of operating expenses.
West and south of Payette, just across the beautiful river from which that village derives its name, lies Washoe bottom. It is a fine body of land, alluvium and loam, almost entirely bounded by the left bank of the Payette and the right bank of the Snake rivers. It contains about two thousand six hundred acres, four-fifths of which was converted into an island when A. Rossi built a head-gate at the Payette river and constructed a ditch out of a certain "sloo" for the purpose of running logs down to his saw-mill on the Oregon Short Line Railroad at Washoe. Through this ditch a large part of the bottom receives its water for irrigation. The Washoe Irrigation and Water Power Company also owns a fine ditch from the Payette, which waters the remaining and larger portion of the land. These ditches will sufficiently irrigate all the land on the bottom at an expense not to exceed twenty cents per acre.
All of the cereals, vegetables, forage plants and fruits of the temperate zone can be produced here in abundance and of special fine quality. Five tons of alfalfa to the acre have been harvested at two cuttings. Thus far, since the settlement of these lands, hay has been the principal crop, much of which is still produced from the native grasses. Orchards, what few we have here, are young and bear in from two to three years from setting. Apples and pears give fair yields at four years from setting of one and two year old trees.
Be it known that the crop of vegetables, grain and hay was less in the season of 1897 (with one exception) than any during the past 13 years, yet it amounted to the following: Hay, 526 tons; wheat, 2,900 bushels; oats, 4.458 bushels; alfalfa seed, 5,000 pounds; potatoes, 36,000; winter squashes, 252,000; tomatoes, 4,500; grapes, 5,000; apples, 15,500; peaches, 4,750; prunes, 5,000; pears, 1,380; apricots, 800; cherries, 400; and other crops in like proportion. There are also a large number of cattle owned on the bottom. In the gravel and sand underlying its fields there is untold wealth. Experts in mining state that gold abounds all through them to a depth of thirty feet to bed-rock. There is an underflow of water beneath every acre which will facilitate mining by means of the use of centrifugal pumps, and it is believed that the Snake river valley will in the near future rival the famous Yukon.
What is known as Whitley bottom is an area of about three thousand acres lying along the east bank of the Snake river and between it and the bench lands of Payette valley. Its entire extent is almost as level as a floor and its surface is but little above that of the river. When the river is running high in the spring, water sets back into a number of channels, forming miniature lakes and ponds which afford facilities for irrigation later on. . For this reason it was selected by the earlier settlers for the location of cattle and hay ranches. Many thousand head of stock have been wintered there in times gone by, and some are yet, but the falling off of the cattle business and the improvement of the higher lands have enlarged the feeding area once confined to the river lands. Whitley bottom is now under the ditch of the Payette Valley Irrigation and Water Power Company and is a fine tract for general farming.
RECREATION AND SPORT.
Sportsmen who have been used to long journeys in search of feathered, furred or scaled game, with indifferent luck at their end, will find hunting and fishing in and about the Payette valley an easy and successful matter. In the ponds and bayous formed by the irrigation ditches, and in the many stretches of still water along the rivers countless thousands of ducks, geese, brant, crane and other game fowls find feeding grounds, winter quarters and breeding places. During the fall of the year the air maybe said to be literally filled with them, and they do not entirely disappear until late in the spring. Quail, sage-hen and a species of snipe are also abundant in their season. In the neighboring foothills and in the smaller valleys there are grouse, curlew and various kinds of chicken in numbers at times confusing to the gunner and heating to his gun-barrels.
The divide between the Payette and Boise valleys is a runway for deer passing to and from winter feeding grounds in the southern valleys of Oregon and summer ones in the high mountains north of the Payette. Many of them are shot during these pilgrimages by men who are less than a half day's ride on horseback from home, and occasionally a band of timid doe, led by an adventurous buck, stray down among the ranches of the lower valley to fall prey to some marksman.
But it is in the timbered and mountainous country northward for an hundred miles and more that the royal sport lies. There may be found deer, elk, antelope, mountain sheep, numerous bears of the smaller species, and occasionally a fierce grizzly and a timid moose. Big game is becoming more and more scarce, and in the mountains and forests of Idaho are found many of those animals that are extinct in almost every other portion of the continent. The hunting of them in summer and fall gives an invigorating outing that is an experience in itself.
No more charming resort than the Payette lakes, lying as they do sunk deep into snow-covered mountains, their waters as clear and cold as the mountain springs from which they have their source, and their shores and clean, sandy beaches, lined with gigantic pines that stretch far up onto the mountain's sides, can be found anywhere; and many spots that are storied in poetry and song are as much less beautiful than they as a cheap print is less beautiful than nature. The arduous toil of the chase can be intermitted there by repose and recreation, and in a thousand other places the tourist may set himself down to an enjoyment of fine vistas, seductive odors, stimulating waters and an appetite that fears no dish and knows no limit.
All the mountain lakes and streams are more or less filled with that finny delicacy,—the speckled mountain trout—and at certain seasons of the year they are caught in large numbers. In the lakes and rivers, salmon, salmon trout, bull trout and red fish are plenty, to say nothing of less toothsome species that may be caught by the thousands. In the lower rivers salmon are caught, and in the Snake huge sturgeon—some weighing as high as three hundred pounds—are victims of the angler.
A summer spent in the mountains and forests and on the lakes of the country adjacent to the Payette valley will give to the hunter months of such sport as Cooper writes of: will furnish the tourist a series of novelties that will delight the most blase; will afford the searcher for rest and recreation rest that will have permanent value and recreation that will recreate with all the variations of the word's meaning; and will be of more benefit to an invalid than all the nostrums known.
To review the resources and industries of this valley without making a few remarks about the author of the ham would be to leave the review incomplete. It is believed and frequently asserted that more hogs can be grown and fattened to a given area of land in the irrigated valleys of this section than at any other place in the world. The magic lies in that greatest of forage plants—alfalfa. It is a fact too common to excite comment that from fifteen to twenty head of hogs can be summered on an acre of it, taken up in the fall and fed corn from twenty to thirty days, and be sent to market in as prime condition for slaughter as any buyer demands. The raising of hogs is also a powerful auxiliary to the growing of fruit. Turned in an orchard they eat all decaying, stunted or infested fruit as it falls, and by continual agitation of the surface of the soil and rubbing against the trunks of the trees destroy innumerable hiding places for pests of all sorts.
The busy bee is another important and profitable prop to the fruit business. Many berries and tree fruits have need to be fertilized from some other of the same family, and the bee is a most potent agent in this work. Every orchard should have its apiary. The country affords every possible inducement for the bee to make honey. Three and four times a season the alfalfa and clover blossom give a harvest that yields a superior product. Alfalfa honey is a special brand in the west. The countless fruit blossoms are enough to almost set the drones at work, and even the sage-brush puts forth blossoms in the spring that the bee seeks. The country, since the introduction of bees, has become filled with wild swarms that have escaped from the home hives through the carelessness of keepers. They seek lodgment in buildings, groves and out of the way places, and as much as fifty to one hundred pounds of honey has frequently been taken from these nomads at the end of the season.
No systematic effort has been made to cultivate the sugar beet. Last year and the one before the experiment station at the state university, at Moscow, sent out a large amount of seed to farmers in various sections of the state for the purpose of testing the adaptability of the soil and climate to it. A number of reports were received and they were for the most part flattering. The beets grew well, and upon being analyzed showed a percentage of sugar above the profitable mark. Those grown in the Payette valley averaged with the best, and growing them in large quantities would not be an experiment, but certain to prove as profitable as the beet is at any place.
The sugar beet propaganda is spreading so rapidly that it is not unlikely that a plant will be established in this section in the near future.
PAYETTE VALLEY MERCANTILE CO.
The Payette Valley Mercantile Company, limited, doing business at Payette, Idaho, was organized with twenty thousand dollars cash capital on the ioth of April, 1891, comprising the following named gentlemen: A. A. Miller, Alexander B. Allen, A. E. Gipson, W. G. Whitney, D. C. Chase, H. B. Piatt, A. Rossi and S. S. Morris. For their place of business they erected a brick store, thirty by one hundred feet in dimensions and two stories high, all devoted to both the wholesale and retail branches of general merchandise. At the organization of the company the officers were: W. G. Whitney, president; A. Rossi, vice-president: D. C. Chase, secretary and treasurer; and A. A. Miller, manager. The present officers are: W. L. Rider, president and general manager, and D. C. Chase, secretary and treasurer.
The officers are men of the highest integrity and responsibility, are business men of experience, and their establishment is patronized by a large portion of the community. The citizens feel proud of having such an enterprising company at the head of the principal mercantile interest of the town.