Early North Payette Settlers And Irrigation

by Mary Trail, IGS

In 1886, the Lower Payette Ditch, a canal, was beginning to provide irrigation water from the Payette River, beginning near Falk's Store and flowing northward until its end at the Weiser River east of town. The availability of water attracted an influx of emigrants from the Midwest, primarily farmers and orchardists to the dry Payette Valley.

As engineer P. J. Kinney of Utica, New York, observed in his 1886 letters to Eastern investors, Payette Valley's natural slope creates in a perfect drainage system for a successful irrigation project (1). Canyon County Drainage District No. 2 (CCDD No. 2) was the suggested drainage for north of Payette. On 20 December, 1916, just prior to Payette County's formation from the north portion of Canyon County (1917), the drainage district was established, and it is in use to the present time.


The legal Order Of Confirmation (2) to build the proposed drainage, at an estimated cost of $25,444.11, was issued by Judge Isaac F. Smith, Weiser, Idaho, 8 February, A. D. 1918. (2). Lee Young, Frank B. Suplee and D. R. Durham served as the duly qualified commissioners. The legal document lists names and the legal descriptions of each parcel that would benefit from this drainage.

The first is the list of those who filed remonstrance against the report:

      Oregon Short Line Railroad Company, a corporation
      Extension Ditch Company, a corporation
      Elizabeth G. Toole
      M. W. Watts
      First National Bank, a corporation
      Payette National Bank, a corporation
      John A. Bowers
      B. E. Carrier
      J. S. Thurston, administrator for the estate of E. E. Hunter, deceased
      Gordon E. Stone
      Silas Joplin
      J. W. Wilkinson and Sara Jane Wilkinson
Each and every one of the protests were disallowed, and the report of the drainage commissioners was ordered confirmed.

The "correct list of the land owners within said district, mortgages, description of each parcel, assessments, etc." is as follows:

      Mary Howard and J. Bertram Howard
      A. J. Shearer, Payette; H. M. Green, Hartford, Connecticut
      A. J. Shearer, Payette; A. C. Gardner, Ida Grove, Iowa
      Moses C. Meyers: O. A. Sellman, Chicago, Illinois
      Mrs. Janet Shearer, Payette
      R. H. Woods, Payette; G. E. Stone, Anita, Iowa
      R. H. Woods, Payette; Delia Judd, Payette
      C. P. Lattig, Payette
      Thos. Moggridge, Payette; Mary Howard Brown, Payette
      Myrtle Moggridge, Payette
      John R. Jr. and Fredericka Jimmerson [also spelled Jimerson], Payette
      Hugh Shearer, Payette
      Wendlin Oster, Payette
      North Payette Air Storage Company, Payette
      Harvey J. McNeil, Weiser; Robt. Livingstone, Portland, Oregon
      Mrs. M. J. Sherwood or E. A. Johnson, Payette; Don Davenport, Spokane, Washington
      F. B. Suplee, Payette
      Wm. N. Beeson, Payette; H. M. Green, Hartford, Connecticut
      G. W. Lattig, Payette; John B. Simmons, Racine, Wisconsin
      Clarence Fritchman, Payette
      Elby M. Medaris, Payette; John Asmunson, Plainview, Nebraska
      O. R. Sellers, Glendora, California; Robt. Bradshaw, Weiser; J. O. Bowker, Payette
      James B. Durham, Payette; H. L. and G. D. Durham, Emmet, Idaho
      Geo. W. Shurtleff, Payette; The Oregon Mortgage Co. Ltd., Portland, Oregon
      U. S . National Bank of Vale, Oregon; J. W. and Sarah Jane Wilkinson, Payette
      Trustees School District No. 1, Payette
      D. R. Durham, Payette
      D. R. Durham, Payette; H. R. Lundt, Payette
      Henry Reimers, Payette
      Minnie C. Lundt, Payette
      Lee Young, Payette; Isaac Leighton, Weiser
      The Payette National Bank; American Mortgage Co. Ltd. of Scotland
      A. P. Scritchfield, Payette
      Geo. W. Fonner, Weiser; James M. Fisher, Weiser
      Bert P. Briggs, Luella M. Skiffington, John H. Harader
      Lenora T. Noyer, Weiser; Isaac Leighton, Weiser
      ?ora J. and Lillian E. Springston; A. C. Gardner
      E. F. Lattig, Payette

Lands outside the district, but that will receive benefit from the drainage are:

      F. J. Woods, Midvale, Idaho
      E. B. Cox, Weiser; First State Bank, Bensenville, Illinois (3)


(1)  Kinney, P. J. "Report on the Feasibility Of Irrigating and Reclaiming Certain Desert Lands in the Payette [sic] Valley, Ada County, Idaho." Idaho Yesterdays. Spring 2000.

(2)  Based on the report of the commissioners of Drainage District No. 2 of Canyon County that was filed with the court on 13 July of 1917 and heard in open court 23 August 1917 (In the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District of the State of Idaho in and for the County of Payette. In the Matter of Drainage District No. 2 of Canyon County, Idaho: Order of Confirmation.). Obtained from Bill Ford, current board chairman, from the archives of the CCDD No. 2, who gave me a copy when my brother, Jon, and I agreed to work with the drainage company to restore as wetlands 43 acres adjacent to the drainage to return cleaner water to the Snake River and to create wildlife habitat.

(3)  See Trail, Mary, "The Idaho Century Farm of E. B. and Florence Allen Cox." Idaho Genealogical Quarterly. 46.1 (Spring 2003).

From the Idaho Geological Society Quarterly, Summer, Fall, Winter 2006, Volume 49, Number 2, 3, 4, Page 31

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