On Sunday, December 8, 2013, the Yelm History Project website was updated with a story about Yelm ditch improvements from citizen J. L. Mosman, circa 1910-1929. This post dovetails nicely with news last week that the Mosman Ave. realignment in Yelm has been resolved between property-owner Steve Craig and the City of Yelm, which will officially be on the City Council’s Agenda soon, one that avoids the city exercising another eminent domain proceeding against a citizen and city property owner.
Quoting the Yelm History Project story,
“J.L. Mossman is one of the Yelm citizens responsible for the improvement. Years ago he conceived the idea of irrigating the prairie. Mossman conducts a general store and is one of the kind of citizens who cannot let things go haphazard.
Twenty years ago Mossman made an investigation at his own expense to determine whether or not the district could be irrigated profitably. He spent much of his time and money on the scheme, but he was given little support. Some of the old timers laughed at him. Others refused to listen. Irrigation was there but little practiced it in the west. Mossman was told that if the prairie were watered the moisture would sink away and disappear. He was told by the farming experts of the community that the scheme would not work, that the soil was not good enough, that there wasnt enough water in the world.
But, about this time a certain irrigation ditch in the west was being constructed, and it was costing a lot of money. The backers of the project put in $75,000 and were forced to shut down. The best looking man in the outfit was dolled up in a $10 suit of clothes and sent back east to talk to a big railroad official. Result the ditch was completed.
The Yelm ditch, however was not built that way. Associated with Mossman were L. M. Rice, O. K. Thompson and Chester Thompson as well as J. P. Martin. All three served in different capacities while the big ditch from the Nisqually was being constructed.”