An Illustrated History of the State of Idaho
By Lewis Publishing Company, 1899, Page 301


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."

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