Payette's First Flag
By Tristan Goff


I hope to learn many things about Mrs. D.C. Chase, Payette, and the Chase home. Knowing a little bit about your hometown can be somewhat useful later in life. I know that no one else in school is doing this project, so I have no one to help me research with me. All except Mrs. Kay Stauff. I could not do this report without her. I probably would write about the history of rock and roll or the Titanic. So I hope that you enjoy this report!

Mrs. D.C. Chase

Mrs. D.C. Chase was an ordinary woman who lived in Payette, Idaho. Except for one thing. She sewed the first United States flag flown in Payette. Forty-five years later, she retold the story to the Portia Club on January 22, 1935 of which she was a charter member. Mrs. Dora McKinney documented her story in notes and sent the story to Washington.

The flag was made in celebration of Idaho entering the Union on July 3, 1890. Sadly, there were not flags to be found in the tiny town of Payette.

Mrs. Chase went to A.B. Moss and Bro's and to D.S. Lamme's store, looking for a flag to be flown for the celebration. There was none. So Mrs. D.C. Chase decided to be a little bit crafty and make one of her own. The materials used were bleached muslin, turkey red calico and heavy blue flannel. She and Mr. Chase worked all night on the flag, never stopping to rest. Finally, around three o'clock, it was finished. In the wee hours of the morning, the flag was raised to the top of the train station for all to see. Mrs. Chase had never been so proud in her life of the handmade flag. I guess that you could call her Payette's Betsy Ross. I think that sewing a flag in one day and night would be impossible for me. A train master said "The only flag we have seen between Pocatello to Portland." Years later, the flag was accidentally placed in the garbage and burned with the trash.

Mrs. Chase was born as Mary Anne Platt on April 19, 1858. Her parents were Susan and Samuel Platt. They lived on a farm just outside the town of Lynn. Mary Anne was one of eleven children. Can you imagine living with ten other kids, arguing with them and never getting all the Christmas presents that you wanted? She spent her childhood in Indiana but in the fall of 1876 she came west and was married to David C. Chase on September 30th. They lived in a small rugged railroad town of Silverbow, Montana. After a few years, they moved onto Rock Creek, Wyoming. In 1885, when the Oregon Short Line was being laid down, Mr. Chase was asked to be in charge of the new depot. He was currently at that time, living in Pocatello as a telegrapher. Then, the small family was moved to Payette. Since that time, they continued to live here in Payette.

Mrs. Chase was a charter member of the Portia Club, which was started in October 1895. The original members were Mrs. B.P. Shawhan, Mrs. Douglas Ross, Mrs. Major Burns, Mrs. J.H. Shawhan and her two daughters, Gertrude and Bess, Mrs. Pickering and her daughter, and of course Mrs. D.C. Chase. A few meetings later, other women wanted to join. This included Mrs. Henry Irwin, Mrs. McGlinchy, and Mrs. A.B. Moss, Mrs. G.W. Williams and Miss Adams. Thirty-two years later, the Portia Club had one hundred twenty four members. At that time, the Portia Club was building their first official Portia Club House.

I bet that you are wondering how the Portia Club got its name. Mrs. Burns named the club after a woman in one of William Shakespeare's more famous plays, The Merchant of Venice. The wise woman's name was Portia, and because the club was founded to help give back to the community; it was named The Portia Club.

Portia Club Records tell us that in the early years the group met at the Commercial Hotel. Activities in the year 1905 through 1906 were poetry recitations, sleigh rides, musical performances, and purchasing books for their small library. They held a debate. The topic was "What Knowledge is of Most Value to Women."

Mrs. Chase was a charter member of another early organization for women of Payette. This was the Lorraine Chapter #20, Order of the Eastern Star, which was founded on February 26, 1902. The lodge was located in the Rezac Building which is the second store north of Center Avenue on the west side of the Main Street, on the second floor. Early activities of the members were contributing money to furnish a building at the World Trade Fair in Portland, Oregon. They also visited other chapters of the Club. Their transportation was horse and buggies.

Mr. and Mrs. Chase were active members of the social community of Payette. For example, they attended a dance, card games, and held parties for their son, David Carl Chase. Verley's Orchestra provided the music at the dance. Those who attended the dance were the Chases, the misses Platt's, the McGlincheys, McDonald, Barch, Frieda and Elsie Hinze. One Saturday evening, Mrs. Chase entertained Mr. and Mrs. B.P. Shawhan, Mrs. Pickering, and Mr. Coxe at a game of cards. Some weeks later, a "pleasant party" was given at Mrs. Chase's Home in honor of their son Carl. Those who attended were the Misses Nelley Bussey, Grace Pence, Laura McDonald, Maggie Chatfield, Bessie Thurston and Ivy Currin. Misters Guy Ball, Will Perry, Chester Taylor, Robert Ewing, and Ralph Thurston.

In 1902, Mr. Chase built a barn because the Chases had a horse and buggy (carriage). On the night of July 5, 1900, Mr. Chase and his daughter went out riding in their buggy around eleven o'clock at night. They were driving just past the Grave's ranch when their horse became frightened and back into a wire fence, then stamped about the potato field. Mr. Chase finally after many tries, grasped the horse's head. Unfortunately, the horse struck him with its fore foot, which landed in Mr. Chase's coat pocket, tearing the whole garment off. Later, assistance came to the rescue. No serious damage was done to Mr. Chase or his daughter.

The Chase house was finished in 1890 or 1891. The starting date is unknown. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Chase lived in the train station until the house was finished. The brickwork of the house was red. The chimneys were topped with red brick and the rest was made of limestone. The furniture is all 18th century Chippendale "and the finer pieces are topped with brocaded upholstery of tender colors. Dinnerware was incased in glass cases on the walls along with pictures of pioneers decorated the house. There were elaborate, sheer curtains on the windows. The library had books lining the walls from floor to ceiling."


This is the life of Mrs. Chase, Payette's Betsy Ross. She came across many states until she was brought here to Payette, Idaho where Mrs. Chase pioneered the way for women of that era. She did many great things and yet never gets to be famous. The Chase house today stands on North Ninth Street, by the onion sheds. Back when the house was just built, there was no one who lived just a few feet away. The town grow up around the house. The Chase house is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The qualification to be on that list is that the building must be at least 90 years old. Mrs. Chase's story is somewhat typical of many ladies who lived in Payette during the early 1900's. They must have had a lot of fun!

More About Payette's First Flag More About The Portia Club

"Chase House Specifications" Payette County Historical Museum
Davidson, Joanna and James, compilers History of Lorraine Chapter no. 20, Payette Idaho 1902-2002 Centennial
"Local Notes" Payette Independent Newspaper, July 5, 1900, page 1
"Local Notes" Payette Independent Newspaper, July 19, 1900, page 1
"Local Notes" Payette Independent Newspaper, November 1, 1900, page 1
"Local Notes" Payette Independent Newspaper, September 27, 1900, page 1
"Payette Flew First Flag Carrying Idaho's Star" Idaho Statesman Newspaper, July 1, 1965
"Pioneer Matron Buried Monday" Independent Enterprise Newspaper, June 15, 1944
"Portia Club Activities" Payette Enterprise Newspaper, January 31, 1935
"Portia Club Records 1905-1906" Payette County Historical Society Museum
"Short Talks on Live Local Topics" Payette Independent Newspaper, March 13, 1902

Return to Payette County IDGenWeb Home
report problem