Farm Industry Pervades Yelm
Particularly unexplored. When James Longmire arrived here with his family, the grass was “belly-high to a horse,” as one of the old-timers expressed it today. Deer romped about in large numbers, and there was plenty of game. The story goes that a few settlers were hereabouts when Longmire appeared, including George Edwards, and, of course, there were Indians around.
Longmire lost no time in deciding that here was a good place to make his home. He soon availed himself of the opportunity to secure land, and to this day the name of Longmire is known all over this section of the state largely through the landed possessions. A number of the members of James Longmire’s family live hereabouts, and several sons are well known residents of Tacoma.
Named After Indian Chief.
How the name of the settlement came to be selected is a matter that will probably interest a large number of the people who travel on the railroad to points beyond this place. The brakeman’s yell of “Yelm” generally nettles the person who has not heard the name before, and repeated yells of the station’s title do not enlighten the puzzled mistener, who doesn’t succeed in clearing the mystery until he reads the name painted in big white letters on the little red depot. It has happened here just like it has in many more of the towns of Washington at the settling time—the Indian titles were drawn upon to fittingly designate the community. The old chief who held forth in this vicinity was called Yelm Jim. It was decided by the settlers to take for a title the first end of this name so the place became Yelm.
This section is chiefly noted for cattle raising and dairying, though there is quite a large area of the productive prairie land here devoted to the growing of grain. The wheat runs from 20 to 25 bushels to the acre and oats from 30 to 40 bushels. The dairy interests are the larger and the success of those there is room for a great increase in this district. Only cream is being shipped away from here, and some days the shipments go as high as 200 gallons.
Stock Raising Profitable.
Stock raising is very profitable. Owing to the climatic conditions the cattle graze the year round. During but a few weeks do they require stall feeding, and that is only in exceptionally rainy weather. The stock is of a very high standard, too. Of the numerous stock raisers, L. N. Rice is one of the leaders. He had 400 head of sheep alone in the spring, when he disposed of half of them. There is a great need for a creamery here, which would undoubtedly prove very successful, owing to the immediate supply and the ever waiting market in the larger cities to the north and south.
As a pleasure spot the country about Yelm is specially attractive. Shooting and fishing parties are constantly making their way hitherward during the open seasons. Only a couple of miles from the railroad station are the finest of fishing streams. Lawrence lake, Clear lake and the Des Chutes river team with trout, which the sportsman with rod seeks out generally with success. Along the prairies, marches and open timber the man with gun finds China pheasants, bob white and native quail and snipe, while late in the season the river and lakes swarm with mallard, teal and other choice ducks.
On Main Wagon Road.
Yelm’s main thoroughfare is the road from Tacoma to Olympia that is used by auto owners, and it is a dull day in the buzz-wagon line when the machines that whiz through the place do not number two score. This road is kept in good condition in this vicinity. Being under country control, Yelm is a “dry” town, and since the change by which its two saloons were closed came about, there has ceased talk of voting on the question of incorporating the settlement as a fourth class city. “now that there are no saloons there is no need to incorporate, for we get along all right and don’t need any special revenues,” said one of the settlers.
The Northern Pacific depot here is one of the few on the line that has a woman operator. She is Mrs. N. B. Mullin and her hours of work are during the daytime. It is a novel sight to watch this alert woman at her responsible task, and she makes an interesting picture as she darts out of the station and to the tracks, where she places offers in the hands of a train hand as a freight goes by without hardly hesitating.
Two young women who are popular here are daughters of the postmaster. They are misses Edna and Alice Hughes. Both assist their father in distributing among the Yelm’s people the many letters sent here, and in preparing missives for the outgoing mails.
A parsonage is being built for Pastor Anderson of the M. E. Church.
At present J. L. Mosman is kept very busy in his general store, especially in the line of farm implements, the farmers preparing for harvest time.
L. D. Clarke and his wife and son have left Yelm for Idaho, where they will make their future home.
J. Clarke has retired from the hotel business on account of his wife’s health.