The history of the pioneer settlement of Payette would be incomplete without the record of this gentleman, who from the earliest founding of the town has been a prominent factor in its substantial growth and improvement. When Idaho was cut off from the advantages and comforts of the east by the long, hot stretches of sand and the high mountains, he made his way across the plains, braving all the trials and hardships of pioneer life in order to make a home in the northwest rich in its resources, vet unclaimed from the dominion of the red men.
Mr. Lamme is a native of Hancock County, Illinois, born February 11, 1842, and is of French and Irish descent. The Lammes were of French origin, and at an early period in the history of the east crossed the Atlantic. Representatives of the name participated in many of the leading events mentioned in the annals of the country, and in the Revolutionary war they aided in the struggle for independence. Jonathan Lamme, father of our subject, was born in Sangamon County, Illinois, and married Lydia Hamilton. One of her ancestors also was a Revolutionary hero, and her family is of Irish lineage. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Lamme were born six children, of whom four sons and a daughter are living. Both parents died when about forty-five years of age, and the children were left to make their own way in the world.
David S. Lamme spent the days of his boy-hood and youth in the County of his nativity, and provided for his own livelihood by working as a farm hand and following other occupations that would supply him with the necessaries of life. He was married in 1861 to Miss C. C. Beary a native of Summit County, Ohio, and in 1864, with his wife and child, started across the plains with oxen, their destination being Idaho. They traveled with a large party, forming the “Big Missouri Train” there being one hundred wagons and one hundred armed men. The Indians were very troublesome that year and they had several skirmishes with them, four or five of the company being killed, while several others were wounded. Their stock stampeded and the long journey of five months was a very hard and trying one, but on the 5th of September they reached the Payette valley.
For nine years Mr. Lamme engaged in mining in the Boise Basin and made thirty thousand dollars, but lost it again in quartz-mining speculations. He still has rich specimens of gold quartz taken from Mountain Chief, the mine in which he sunk his money. He was at one time offered ten thousand dollars for his interest in the mine, but refused it. This mine is still believed to be very rich, but as yet has been only partially developed. After failing in his mining ventures Mr. Lamme purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land, the purchase price being twenty-two hundred dollars, going in debt for the greater part of it. At the end of two years, however, he was enabled to pay the entire amount, and successfully continued his farming operations until 1883, when he sold his land, and on the 15th of May came to the present site of Payette. The railroad was then in course of construction, but the town was not surveyed. He purchased a small lot and called the hamlet Boomerang, by which name it was known for some time, but was finally changed to Payette taken from the Payette River, which was named in honor of a Frenchman in the employ of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Mr. Lamme built a cheap house on the site of his present fine residence and conducted a boarding house for four months. He then secured a small stock of goods from Chicago and opened a general mercantile store, which he has since conducted with gratifying success. After selling goods at his residence for five years, he built his present brick business block, twenty-six by eighty feet, and in this he has since conducted a large and constantly in-creasing business. In addition to his mercantile interests and city property, he owns five hundred acres of valuable land and is a stockholder in the Lower Payette Ditch Company, which provides an ample water supply for irrigation purposes.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Lamme is a commodious and pleasant residence, built of brick, and there, in the midst of many friends, they are now enjoying the fruits of former toil. All the hardships and trials of pioneer life have passed, and with advancing civilization the comforts and many of the luxuries that go to make life worth the living have come to them. Mrs. Lamme is a valued member of the Methodist church, and with her husband enjoys the high regard of Payette’s best citizens. In politics Mr. Lamme is a Democrat, and has taken an active part in the affairs of the city. For years he has been a member of the city board of trustees, was one of the incorporators of the town, and at all times has given his support to those measures which he believes are for the public good. In 1884 he was elected a member of the Idaho legislature and therein served with the same loyalty to his constituents and regard for the best interests of the state that have ever characterized his career in the walks of both public and private life.