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Payette County


Facts & Information

The Cities and communities of Payette County, Idaho *



New Plymouth


Sand Hollow

*This list of cities may not be complete. The list may contain towns, cities, villages, boroughs, neighborhoods, townships, ghost towns and other populated places.

If you have information about any of these unlinked communities, please send it to us and we will add a page for that community. Some of these places above may only be neighborhoods or local area names and are not listed with the census at all or just included in a larger surrounding designated census area..

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Information & Facts about Payette County, Idaho


Payette County Website

Payette County Courthouse
1130 3rd Avenue North
Payette, ID 83661
Phone: 208-642-6000

County Commissioners
Phone: (208) 642-6000
Fax: (208) 642-6011


1970 - 12,401
1980 - 15,825
1990 - 16,434
2000 -
2003 - 21,466

Payette County is 14th in population in the state. It has grown consistently in recently years.

Housing Units
2000 - 8,186

2000 - 50.5 persons per square mile


Payette County is located in southwestern Idaho and borders with the state of Oregon. To the north is Washington County. On the east is Gem County and Canyon County is located on the southern border of Payette County. Boise, the state capital, is about 50 miles to the southeast.


The area generally has a moderate climate with warm summers but with rare episodes over 100 degrees F. The winters are cold, but rarely do temperatures go below zero degrees F.

Annual average high temperature: 65.6 degrees F.
Annual average low temperature: 37.6 degrees F.
Annual average precipitation: 10.63 inches
Annual average snowfall: 16.8 inches


Other Facts & Figures:

median age
2000 - 33.7 years

Median Income:
1969 - $7,085
1979 - $11,654
1989 - $20,367
1999 - $33,046

Per Capita Income:
1969 - $2,813
1979 - $6,564
1989 - $11,756
1999 - $14,924
2001 - $19,956
2002 -


The beauty of the valley brought many to live here, defying the harsh elements and rough conditions to establish settlements. First the trappers arrived and then prospectors seeking their fortunes. Soon cattlemen, farmers, ranchers and their families began to arrive. Once the settlements were beginning to be established, ministers, teachers, lawyers and doctors set up their trades. Soon all the little valleys and settlements took on names and began to flourish. Payette Valley was one of these and then about 75 years after, it became associated with Treasure Valley. Four rivers flow through the valley, the Payette, Weiser and Malheur all emptying into the Snake River. Water helped the valley prosper and grow.

Before 3 March 1863, Payette was part of Boise County in Washington Territory. The county seat at that time was at Bannock City by Elk Creek. At this time, President Lincoln issued a proclamation that Idaho was indeed a territory, and until new officers were elected in the fall, the county was without any legal government for several months. Then, when the Second Territorial Legislature met at Lewiston, Ada County was born, being named after Ada Riggs, the daughter of H.F. Riggs, who introduced the bill forming the new county. This is when Payette Valley was included. There were no settlements in the Payette Valley until 1860. Eight years later, the Federal Government conducted a survey of its boundaries, showing that the valley ran northwest to southeast, encompassing all land from Weiser down to the mouth of the Payette River, following the river on both sides, to include Fruitland and New Plymouth, and on to Black Canyon near Emmettsville. In 1917, Payette was established as its own county seat. Fruitland, New Plymouth, Crystal, and Sand Hollow were included in the new Payette County, and it has remained so to this day in 1998.

In about 1860, stagecoaches began their scheduled runs, such as they were, between distant points. In 864, Ben Holliday received the contract to carry the mail three times a week from Salt Lake City to the Dalles, Oregon, by way of Boise and naturally through the Payette Valley. Bluff Station and Falk's Store had been established and welcomed weary travelers. These outposts were located just east of what is now New Plymouth.

Ish and Hailey, a freight company, decided to give Holliday some competition by producing cheaper teams and equipment. They delivered Portland papers, in the Boise Basin, a day ahead of the rival company and sold them for half the price, with letters being carried for one-fifth the cost. Some roads began charging tolls, as more wagon and freight trains appeared, but that in itself, did not deter the steady stream of pioneers determined to live somewhere else, besides where they were.

Falk's Store later became a post office on 7 December 1871 and Gustavis Kholberg was named the first postmaster. Three years later, James Patton was given that honor, and in 1877, Charles Leistner took over the duties of managing the store and post office as a unit. Little by little, a village on that acreage was built, which bragged of a hotel, meat market, blacksmith shop, so crucial to travelers, along with two stores and a saloon. It seemed saloons always appeared before churches and schools. Whiskey was shipped in by freight wagon trains from the east and robbers and highwaymen were always on the lookout to steal the golden liquid, along with the other valuables being transported. It seems the cycle was completing itself once more. Trading posts carried merchandise of vast varieties, much like the super market of today. Different items were carried with salt pork alongside coal oil and calico. Even coffin accessories such as handles and lining as well as homemade caskets could be purchased there. Undertakers were few and far between in the territory thereby making burials a family ritual from beginning to end.

Industry moved in to the area along with the railroad. Farmers sold a great deal of butter through the Payette Cooperative Creamery. Poultry, livestock, varied fruits and vegetables were all marketed in the early years. Payette Brick Mfg. Co. made bricks while the Rex Spray Company produced spray materials for orchards. An alfalfa mill and the Idaho Canning company also provided a large amount of product for sale.

In it's early days, Payette County was a typical "wild west" area. Crime was dealt with by Old Testament law. It was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But as time went on and churches were established, dealings with criminals were altered. As this remote area began, it was invaded by horse thieves, highwaymen, bank and stage robbers. Then, as more people traveled the lonely roads, the "loot" increased which brought even more lawlessness. Finally, when it reached the point of absolute lawlessness prevailing, it was time to bring law and order to the area. The Payette Valley Vigilantes were organized in 1863 and was made up of farmers and ranches who had enough of the malefactors. The law-abiding citizens felt they should make it very clear as to who was running the county after Dave Updyke of Boise was elected Sheriff of Ada County. It was common knowledge that he was a known member and leader of a gang of murderous cutthroats and thieves. Enough was enough and folks rebelled. It was also known that a favorite hideout of the undesirables was located about five miles above Emmettsville near the present Plaza Ranch site. Criminals from all over the West wandered in and out of this sanctuary to count their look, rebrand stolen horses and cattle or trade for other ill-gotten gain. A man by the name of William J. McConnell, who later became governor of the state and still later, U.S. Senator, had been the victim of horse thieves one time too many, so he came up with a solution. "Let's band together, boys, and go get 'em," he said, and that's what they did. On that day, the pendulum began swinging in the other direction. It only took a few examples, with the help of a rope and a tree, to show that the vigilantes meant business. In three months, the nest of culprits was cleaned out and Payette Valley settled back down to raising crops, livestock and children, safely. Updyke was hanged, but it was never discovered by whom. He had done everything in his power to arrest anyone suspected of being extra legal members of this volunteer group. However, his witnesses were found to be thieves and murderers, and therefore, no convictions could be obtained against the upstanding, brave protectors of the society.

Another interesting segment of frontier life was the educators and schools. Formal buildings came into existence very slowly, because teachers were difficult to obtain in such rural areas. They were enticed by families who had living quarters to offer. Children for miles around were taught at one ranch or another. As years slid by, schools were built, first as one room with eight grades, being taught by one teacher, then progressing into the giant edifices we see all around us today. But, in those early decades, the rules and regulations were strict. Only truly dedicated men and women answered the call. Eventually, there were far more women teachers and the requirements put upon them were unbelievable. Their behavior was monitored, down to the slightest detail. Her dismissal was immediate if she violated any of the list of rules or expectations.

She was required to earn her keep. Her charges ranged from first grade to eighth, all in one room, and each child had to be taught separately. She was not allowed to be married or to marry during the term of her contract. She wasn't even allowed to "keep company" with men or ride in a carriage or automobile with any man, except her father or brother. She was required to be at home between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., unless she was attending a school function, and could not loiter downtown during daylight hours, in an ice cream store. Smoking cigarettes, dyeing her hair, or even wearing bright colors was taboo. She must wear at least two petticoats under dresses, which could not be shorter than two inches above the ankle. She must keep the school room neat and clean, sweeping the floor at least once a day and scrubbing it with hot soapy water once a week. Blackboards were cleaned everyday and fires started by 7 a.m., so the room would be warm by the time the children arrived an hour later. In addition, she was to thaw the pump and bring in the wood. In the year 1915, her salary was $20 a month, if she behaved. A hard life and meager rewards were all she could expect, but courageous women were determined to change things and they did.

Payette Valley had those loyal, loving educators, one of them being Miss Marion Crawford, a truly fine and wonderful lady. She passed away after her 100th birthday, however, almost to her dying day, she often could be seen sitting on a counter stool eating a hamburger in a fast food restaurant. Twice a week, she taught piano to a select group of students for years and years. (portions of this history were written and submitted by Dee Klenck, a local historian)


Payette County is Idaho's smallest county in area

Latitude: 44.01
Longitude: 116.76

Square miles: 403


Cemeteries in the county
Payette County GenWeb Project page

Payette County Family History Center
320 N Pennsylvania Avenue
Fruitland, Idaho 83619
Phone: (208) 452-4345

For records after 1917, contact the county clerk of Payette County
For records before 1917, contact the county clerk of Canyon County
For records before 1891, contact the county clerk of Ada County


Payette Public Library
Valley Mountain Library Consortium
24 South Tenth
Payette, ID 83661-2861
Phone: 208-642-6029
Fax: 208-642-6046

New Plymouth Armoral Tuttle Public Library
301 N Plymouth
P.O. Box 158
New Plymouth, ID 83655
Phone: (208) 278-5338

Fruitland Community Library
500 SW 3rd Street
Fruitland, ID 83655
Phone: (208) 452-7123


Fruitland School District
P.O. Box A.
Fruitland, Idaho 83619
303 Southwest 3rd Street
Fruitland, Idaho 83619
Phone: 208-452-3595

Payette School District
20 N 12th St
Payette, ID 83661-0349
Phone: (208) 642-9366


Economic Development Coordinator
Phone: (208) 642-0500
Fax: (208) 642-0501

A link to the economic census for Payette County

Organizations & Groups:

Fruitland Chamber of Commerce
1105 B North Whitley Drive
PO Box 408
Fruitland, ID 83619
Phone: (208) 452-4350
Fax: (208) 452-5028

Hours: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm M-TH

Payette Chamber of Commerce
2 North Main Street
Payette, ID 83661
Phone: 208-642-2362

New Plymouth Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 26
New Plymouth, Idaho 83655

Payette County Historical Society
90 South 9th street
Payette, Idaho


Attractions & Other Information:

The Payette County Agriculture Museum, Inc
3585 N.W. 1st Avenue
New Plymouth, Idaho
Phone: 208-278-5462
This museum has hundreds of agricultural related items such as tractors, mowing machines, horse drawn machinery, buck rakes and more. Please call ahead for appointments.

Payette County Historical Museum.
90 South 9th Street
Payette, Idaho
Hours: Wed thru Sat, noon to 4 pm
Phone: 208-642-4883

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This page was last updated on 1 May 2009 at 11:53 am

This page was created on 7 February 2004

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