William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 8] [part 6] [Cutler's History]



Grasshopper Falls was incorporated as a village on May 19th, 1869. The following named citizens were appointed Trustees: Louis A. Myers, Nathan E. Parker, Stephen H. Dunn, John H. Gaines, and Adam Weiser. In 1871 it was incorporated as a city. S. C. Gephart was the first mayor, and John Beland, Clerk In 1875 the name of the city was changed by the legislature to Valley Falls. The city government has always been ably administered by efficient officers. The present present officers are: A. D. Kendal, Mayor, and John Beland, City Clerk.

The streets of the city are kept in an excellent condition. The city park, consisting of one block, is finely ornamented with evergreen and shade trees, but walks have not yet been made. It is intended to soon open to the public.


The school district was among the first in the county to be organized in 1859. The present schoolhouse, a large two-story stone building, was erected in 1866 at a cost of $10,000. Besides the smaller rooms, the house contains four large school rooms. it is built on finely ornamented school grounds consisting of one block. This land was formerly apportioned to the county for a court-house square. when Grasshopper Falls was a contestant for the county seat. When wanted for a schoolhouse site, there was some trouble in securing it, but it was finally settled by an act of the legislature. The district voted $10,000 in bonds for the the building of the house, and a contract was made with Alex. Hughan to guild it. There was, however, some trouble regarding the payment of the bonds, so that work stopped for a short time. Under the able management of the school-board--L. Northrup, John Beland, and E. D. Hillyer--the matter was soon adjusted, and the house was completed in due time.

The school is divided into five departments, each under the care of an able instructor. The school is well furnished with good apparatus, and has a well-selected library, which cost upward of $200. The attendance for the last year was nearly 300.

The first church organization was that of the Lutherans. It was organized under the leadership of Rev. J B. McAfee, and a church was built the same year. It was used for both religions services and for a schoolhouse. It was the first church edifice in the township. They owned it until 1879, when they sold it to the United Presbyterian Church.

The Congressional Church was organized in the year 1857 with about eight members. The first pastor was Rev. O. L. Woodford. The church was built in 1858 at a cost of $2,000. For many years it was the leading church of the town. It has now about fifty members.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1857. For several years it had but a small membership, but in 1866 Rev. Mr. Spillman came among them, and endeavored to increase the membership and to secure the building of a church. A tent was erected near the present site of the church, and meetings were held day and night. After considerable enthusiasm had been worked up, the minister proposed that the day meetings be given up, and that they devote the time to labor on a church edifice. Therefore work began in earnest. Stoves were brought. The tent was made a mess-room, and the members cam from far and near to enter upon the work. They worked hard quarrying and hauling stone during the day, while at night they held religious meetings. The basement story was soon completed, when the work came to a stand-still. A roof was put over it, however, and it was used for meetings for the next two years when it was completed. It is a brick building, worth upward of $3,000. It now has about seventy members.

The Catholic Church was organized in 1858. For several years it had but a small membership. In 1872 a brick church 24x46 feet was erected at a cost of $2,500. The church-yard occupies a one-half block, 150x300 feet. Its membership includes twenty-eight families. Father J. Begley is pastor.

The Christian church was organized in 1869, a church built in which services were held for some time, when in 1876, it was sold to the Baptist Church society.

The Baptist Church was organized in 1873 with about twenty-fie members. Rev. G. Gates was the first pastor. They have a good church building, and the society is in a prosperous condition.

The United Presbyterian church was formed in 1862 with twenty-two members. The first pastor was Rev. Andrew McCartney. In 1879 they bought the Lutheran Church property. The society now numbers thirty-six members. At one time it numbered sixty members, but three other societies have been organized from the original one.

Methodist Episcopal Church South, of Delaware Township, was organized in 1870, Rev. Mr. McEwan being the first pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. M. O'Howell. Among the original members was Z. Gragg, John Gragg, and Isaac Farrell. Present membership, forty. Soon after the organization, a neat frame church was built at a cost of $1,400.

Valley Falls Chapter Lodge No. 21, A. F. & A. M. was organized under dispensation in the spring of 1859. They received a charter the next October. The charter members were E. D. Hillyer, James E. Shultz, S. S. Cooper, G. S. Hillyer, Wm. Griggsby, J. F. Bliss, George H. Cain, Moses Akers, S. A. Smith, and S. C. Gephart. The lodge now has sixty members, and is in a prosperous condition. They own a well furnished hall worth about $1,500.

Valley Falls Chapter No 8, R. A. M., was organized March 7th, 1867, with nine members. E. D. Hillyer was high priest and J. L. Brunts, scribe. The lodge now has twenty members.

Crescent Lodge, No. 86, I. O. O. F., was organized March 15th, 1872, with ten charter members. Wm. Clark was N. G.; A. M. Cowan, V. G.; D. Y. Gallison, secretary; and J. M. McClellan, treasurer. The society how has upward of forty members, and is in an excellent financial condition, having about $1,000 on hand.

Acme Lodge, No 42, Ancient Order of United Workmen, was organized May 17, 1880, with nineteen members. The firs officers were: C. S. Thomas, maser workman; C. H. Gillman, past master workman; John Searl, receiver; J. W. Gardiner, overseer; A. J. Gunn, recorder; A. M. Russell, guide; D. B. Northrup, financier; Geo. Dunning, outside warden, and Geo. Demaree, inside warden. The society is now in a prosperous condition, and has bout thirty members.

The Turners Society was organized in December, 1880, with about twenty- five members. The first officers were H. Nolker, president; H. W. Lutt, secretary, and H. J. Schumacher, treasurer. They have a hall on Sycamore street. The society has now about fifty members.

The Valley Falls Liberal League was organized in 1872, and was known as the Philometic Society, then as the Free Religious Society, but was changed to the present name in 1878. The first president was Noah H. Harom. It now has a quite large membership.


The first newspaper published in Jefferson County, called the Grasshopper, was established by J. A. Cody, in May, 1858. It was a very small paper, and Mrs. Cody did most of the editorial work. In four months it was discontinued, but was soon revived for a few weeks by H. Rees Whiting. He sold the paper and rented the material to David W. Guernsey, who renamed it, calling it the Crescent. This paper was only published a few months, and in 1864 Mr. Cody sold the material to F. G. Adams of Atchison.

In 1862, the Gazette was established by P. . Hubbell, who only continued it a short time, and was succeeded by R. H. Crosby in 1863, who changed its name to the Kansas Jeffersonian. Crosby, a the end of six months, sold out to S. H. Dodge, who continued the publication till 1864, when he sold the establishment to a stock company, known as the Jeffersonian Publishing Company. R. K. McCartney was the editor. A the end of a year the company sold the office to J. B. McAfee, who ran the paper till the fall of 1866, with G. T. Isbell as editor, when A. W. Moore bought the material, and moved it to Holton.

In September, 1867, P. H. Hubbell revived the Gazette, but soon removed the office to Ellsworth.

In September, 1871, Rev. S. Weaver, who had been publishing the new Era at Medina, removed his material to Grasshopper Falls, where he continued the publication of his paper, retaining the old name, the first issue appearing on September 28. He published it until May, 1874, when he sold it to Hoffman & Lord.

In January, 1873, George W. Hoover and George A. Huron founded a new paper and called it the Grasshopper. In a few weeks Hoover withdrew, and Huron continued the publication alone. In September, 1874, Mr. Huron bought the New Era and consolidated it with the Grasshopper, called the paper by the former name. in October, 1876, he sold the paper to the New Era Printing Company, L. B. Wilson assuming the editorial control. In October, 1877, the company sold the establishment to A. G. Patrick, who changed the name to the Valley Falls New Era. Mr. Patrick sold his interest in October, 1878, to G. D. Ingersoll, who still continues the publication of the paper.

The Valley Falls Register was established July 29, 1880, by T. W. Gardner. It is Democratic in politics. In size it is a five column quarto. It is ably edited and has a good circulation.

The first bank was established in 1871, and was called the Valley Banking and Savings Institution. M. P. Hillyer was president, and M. P. Evans, cashier. On closing out business, it was succeeded in February, 1879, by the Valley Falls Bank of Deposit, H. Crosby, proprietor. The capital is $50,000. A general banking business is done, and the institution is in a prosperous condition.

In March, 1871, Hicks, Gephart & Co. entered the banking business. In 1872, an attempt was made to organize a National Bank. A charter was secured, but before beginning business it was bought by Hicks, Gephart & Co., who have since continued the business. They carry a capital of $20,000, and do a general banking and collections business.

The Cataract house is the oldest hotel in the city, having been built in 1857. it is now owned by Mrs. Susan M. Gardiner, and is operated by her son, John J. The hotel has thirty sleeping rooms, a sitting room, large parlor, and suitable dining rooms and kitchen.

The Octagon house was commenced in 1858, by Dr. Lorans Northrup, but was not completed for some time. It was situated in the center of block 21, near the depot. The house is unique in design, octagon in form, built with the foundation and corners of stone, and the walls a mixture on concrete and stone. The rooms are fanciful in design and are all finished with black walnut, and number about forty. The house was built for a residence, but is now used as hotel with Dr. Northrup proprietor.

The French Hotel is one of the leading public house of the city. The original building is 45x50 feet, two and one-half stores high. This is now being raised, and an addition 40x80 feet being built, which is two stories high, and constructed of brick and stone. R. D. Simpson is proprietor.

The Valley Falls saw-mill was erected in 1855 by Frazier, Riddle, Cody and Whitney. At that time J. M. Piazzek, the present owner, was a workman for them, and began without a dollar of money. In 1860, he became interested in the proprietorship, and buhrs were put in, making it also a grist-mill. He afterward purchased the entire mill, and in 1862, one run of flouring buhrs was put in. The old mill has since been used, but in 1878 he began the erection of a large stone structure, 32x42 feet, four stores high. It is not yet quite complete, but has two runs of buhrs, and all the most improved machinery.

In 1872, a large stone building for a woolen and oil mill was erected. Here a good quality of woolen goods are made. This business was begun in a small way at the old mill in 1860. It is the only manufactory of the kind in the county. The oil mill began operation is in January, 1881. There are in use one hydraulic pump and one press. Also, in connection with the mills, is a large grain elevator. These factories are all located at the original falls of the Delaware river, on which the dam is built.

The Oak Hill Mills were built in 1858 by Hayes and Pierce, who put in two run of buhrs. In 1866 it was purchased by Legler and Hefty, soon after which Henry Legler became sole proprietor. The old mill was a small frame building, but in 1873 a large stone mill, 36x48 feet, four stories high was erected. It has for run of buhrs, is furnished with improve machinery, and has daily grinding capacity of one hundred and fifty barrels. The mill is situated southeast of the town site, on the Delaware River, Mr. Legler is now building an elevator on the Chase plan, which will have a capacity of 60,000 bushels. An oil mill is also building, which will dispose of 150 bushels of flax per day. In addition to the water power are steam attachments.

The Delaware Valley Manufacturing Company, engaged in making door and window screens, etc. was established in Mar, 1881. It is a joint stock company, with a paid up capitol of $5,000. C. A. Harding is president, and G. W. McCamon, secretary and treasurer. Fifteen hands are employed and steam power is used.


This is merely a side track and stopping place for trains, on the line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, in the northern part of Delaware Township, and on the Delaware River.

The place is so named from a large mound in the vicinity. The mound is elevated about two hundred feet above the level of the prairie. Its base covers about ten acres. It is remarkably regular in contour, and presents a very striking appearance. it is composed of regular layers of shale and limestone, which alternate. It is an outlyer of a point of bluffs about a half mile distant.

There is on the Delaware River, at this place, a flouring mill known as the Half Mound Mill. It was built in 1871 by Hoesley & Co., who sold to Hillyer & Co., about two years later. in 1880, it was bought by J. M. Plazzek, who in August, 1882, sold it to Southward & McDowell, the present proprietors. The mill is a frame structure worth about $8,000, has two run of buhrs and improved machinery, and is manufacturing a good quality of flour.

[TOC] [part 8] [part 6] [Cutler's History]