Moxee was first settled by Mortimer Thorp and several French-Canadian farmers who arrived in 1867. A warm spring on the Thorp ranch emitted steam year 'round and never froze. It was known as "Moxee" by the native people, a Sahaptin word for an edible root, and was the name was adopted for the settlement. Over time, the community has been variously known as: "Artesian", "Moksee", "Moxie", "Moxee City", and "Moxee."
The sandy soil and mild climate of the region were ideal for growing hops used in the brewing of beer, and for growing grapes. By the turn-of-the century, the Northern Pacific Railroad had completed a railway line nearby and irrigation projects were being constructed making rich, farmland available to new settlers. This attracted more French and French-Canadian farmers who had first immigrated to northern Minnesota and northern Michigan. A French school was established on La Framboise Road and masses at Holy Rosary Parish were spoken in French up to World War I.
The town of Moxee City was incorporated on April 27, 1921. Street and road names in the vicinity, such as Charron, Faucher, Rivard, Beaudry, Desmarais, Robillard, Beauchene, Gamache, Morrier, and St. Hilaire, continue to reflect Moxee's French-Canadian heritage.