September 18, 2014

1894: Shooting death of C. F. Harman by Marshall Stockwell, part 1

(From the New Era files of 1894)
by Betty Jane Wilson

A series of conflagrations, tragedies, shootings, denominational destruction enhanced by denominational joys and miracles dominated by the early 1890s news items reported by the Valley Falls New Era, predecessor of the Valley Falls Vindicator.

The May 5, 1894, headlines:


"The quiet of our city was broken Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. by the loud report of four pistol shots fired in rapid succession. The shooting occurred at the city hall and jail. At the crossing to the alley back of Gephart's Bank lay Fora Harman and over him stood city Marshal Stockwell. The long feud was over and death had ended it. The body was carried to city hall to await the coroner who had been telegraphed at city hall.

"Sheriff Weatherford happened to be in the city at the time and the Marshal surrendered to him at once. The wife, mother, and brothers were notified of the victim's death. The father, somewhere in the southern part of the county, could not be found.

"Fora has been the black sheep of the flock and has caused the family untold agony and thousands of dollars by his wayward ways. He was to have a new trial at the next term of court for grand larceny. Marshal Stockwell was the principal witness and unless he could get him out of the way, he was sure to be convicted. He had, on a number of occasions, threatened the marshal's life. The two were bitter enemies.

"The immediate cause that led to the shooting as far as we can learn was that Harman was at the window talking to Frank Wright in the city jail. Wright was in the jail on a disorderly conduct charge. Stockwell had warned Harman to stay away from the jail. As he went down the alley, he saw Harman at the window and ordered him to leave. Harman made some remark and started toward the marshal. The marshal opened fire. He fired four shots.

"A post mortem examination revealed that only one bullet going through the pulmonary artery caused death.

"The coroner and acting county attorney swore in the jurymen and the following day the coroner conducted the inquest. A number of witnesses were examined. Testimony showed that Harman had repeatedly threatened to kill Marshal Stockwell. But the marshal had never threatened Harman. No one saw Harman and Stockwell before the shooting, but several saw it after the first shot was fired. Harman was then running west and fell on the sidewalk leading south past the Gephart's Bank. The sentiment seems to be all in Stockwell's favor and it is thought he was justified in defending himself.

"Of course the coroner's jury will decide according to the evidence given."

May 12, 1894, the Valley Falls New Era reported:

"The coroner's jury examined about 30 witnesses out of whom only four testified they had not heard Fora Harman make threats against Marshal Stockwell. No one testified they had seen Stockwell and Harman at the city jail. Just before the shooting occurred, Mr and Mrs. Durham saw Mr. Harman in the window and saw him run after the first shot was fired.

"The jury rendered the following verdict: 'We, the jury, find that C.F. Harman came to his death on the third day of May 1894, on or about 10 o'clock p.m. in the City of Valley Falls, Kansas, by a pistol shot fired by the hand of Allen Stockwell, city marshal, and that the killing was justifiable and lawful. — E.M. Hutchins, foreman, H.M. Doolittle, D.P. Paxton, H.D. Butts, J. A. Evans, and G.W. Elson, jurymen.'

"Immediately after the verdict, Mr. Stockwell was arrested upon complaint of Colfax Harman, brother of the deceased, and his preliminary trial was set for the following Monday before Justice Beland. His bond was set at $1,000 and was signed by all three of our bankers."

Next, The Case and the Other Side.

The Valley Falls Historical Society Museum will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20.

September 02, 2014

September displays in the museum windows

by Betty Jane Wilson, society president

The Valley Falls Historical Society museum window scene for September features sports equipment indicative of past years and obvious usage.

Basketball, football, softball, baseball, etc., all borrowed from the society museum showcases, dominate the display with a variety of trophies — for reminders of Valley Falls' sports winnings and academic accomplishments.

A gold background curtain, centered, with a mega black mesh wreath, embellished with tiny basketballs and footballs and large gold V and F letters identify the school — all designed to welcome all Valley Falls students to the 2014-15 school year.

The veterans window for August honored the memory of the World War II defeat of the Japanese with newspapers dated Aug. 14, 1945, with blazing headlines declaring VJ Day.

The September window display also includes memories of 9/11/2001 when the nation and the world were shocked when the New York World Trade Center and the nation's Capitol and surrounding areas were attacked by terrorists and the resulting death and destruction.

The Valley Falls Historical Society Museum will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6.

August 19, 2014

Why Sautrelle?

by Betty Jane Wilson, society president

"Why Sautrelle?" — Valley Falls, Kan., survivor of three names of which Sautrelle, (French for Grasshopper) was name number two given by the legislature in 1863.

Adoption of the name evoked sundry reactions from citizens and outsiders, especially when the nickname "Sowtail" was substituted for Sautrelle. The name was not acceptable to the citizens so the legislature restored the old name, "Grasshopper Falls" in 1864.

Still the inquiry "Why Sautrelle?"

The subject of the name change, revived in 1874, and an assortment of names were suggested. According to the Kansas Historical Quarterly, ironically, the worst invasion of grasshoppers came the summer of 1874, and the residents of the town, eager to eliminate the name Grasshopper, met with the legislature and in 1875, the bill was passed changing the name to Valley Falls, with no answer to the "Why Sautrelle?" inquiry.

The October 1990, Yesteryear, Jefferson County Genealogical publication, included newspaper quotes dated March 17 and March 31, 1883, respectively, taken from the Annals of Oskaloosa and compiled by Mr. Frank R. Roberts, 1945.

March 17, "R. A. Van Winkle of Arrington reports a conversation he held prior to 1854 with Jos. Robidoux, founder of St. Joseph, Mo., regarding the Delaware or Grasshopper River.

"About the year 1818, Robidoux and others, hauled some merchandise from the Missouri River westward to the bank of this small stream where they traded it to the Indians. While there the party encountered an infestation of grasshoppers, which in two or three days, ate all the grass in the vicinity and later most of the grass in Kansas. From the circumstance, Robidoux and his party named the stream 'Sautrelle' (French for grasshopper).

March 31, "Jas. H. Jones, Grantville, adds a chapter about the first naming of the Delaware River. In 1827, a government surveyor recorded in his field notes the name of the river as Sautrelle or Necushcontabe, the later presumed to be an Indian term, meaning unknown."

The Valley Falls Historical Society Museum will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23.

August 18, 2014

Celebrates 100th birthday: Anna Christina Goodrich, 1928

Compiled by Betty Jane Wilson, society president

"Anna Christina, daughter of Henry and Emily Butler, was born in Granville, Ohio, Dec. 16, 1828. Her parents were members of a colony that moved from Granville, Mass., and established the new town in 1805.

"There were five children in the family, all except Anna dying in infancy or early childhood and Anna was a delicate child. There was little hope that she would even survive to womanhood. It was during the first year of her birth that the first iron rail was laid for the first railroad in American. The stage coaches and canal boats were the only means of public transportation in the states and slow-going sailing vessels were the only method of communication with 'the old world' — taking weeks and often months to cross the Atlantic. Would anyone at that time have been so credulous as to believe that the little girl would live to see the day when not only would there be a network of railroads with palaces on wheels, steamships plowing the seas on a regular schedule, but that men would fly not only from place to place on the continent, but across the seas, and that communication by telegram, telephone, and radio would become instantaneous all over the entire world?"

A story taken from the Topeka Capital, Dec. 23, 1928, expressed these words of awe and respect in the following story titled "Girl Doomed to Early Death Lives to Be 100."

"Valley Falls, Kan. Dec. 22, 1928, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. A.D. Kendall, and surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a host of neighbors and friends of years, Mrs. George Goodrich celebrated her centennial birthday last Sunday.

"A lover of the outdoors and her father an expert horseman, she became an expert horsewoman to which she attributed much of the credit for her health and long life.

"She was eight years old when the first telegraph communication was perfected by Samuel Morse and 37 when the first cable was laid across the Atlantic. She was 15 when the first postage stamp was used. Prior to that time, postage was paid in cash by the recipient of the letter and based on the mileage. The miracle of electricity had not been discovered, an open fireplace, 'grease dips,' or candles made of tallow, were sources for light.

"John Quincy Adams was the president and the United States was still struggling in a effort to become a world leader. No one would have imagined that those states would take the commanding lead of the entire world in education, invention, trade, arms, finance, and luxury, yet all of these 'Mother Goodrich' has seen come to pass.

"She was educated in the Episcopalian female college of Granville and taught school for a number of years, so efficient in instruction that many children from the surrounding districts came to her school rather than attend their own.

"She married George Goodrich in Granville June 22, 1853, and as was the custom of that day, visited Niagara Falls, without which trip no wedding was deemed complete. On Oct. 17, 1878, the family moved to Valley Falls and located in the house built for them by Mark Hillyer, now (1928) the parish residence of the Catholic congregation. Here they lived until the new home was built on Broadway. Mr. Goodrich died Dec. 18, 1910, since which time she has lived with her daughters, Alma and Lida. Her family has always been her world. She attributes her long life largely to regular exercise, moderation in eating, the ability never to worry, and the use of cistern water. In other words, 'to work and love and service.'

"Those of the immediate relatives present Sunday were: Harry S. Goodrich, Brentwood, Calif., Mrs. May Allen, Spokane, Wash., Mrs. Kate S. Kendall, and Misses Alma and Lida Goodrich, Valley Falls, son and daughters; Mrs. W.A. Turnbull, Los Angeles, Calif., Mrs. Henry Starr, Tulare, Calif., Mrs. W.M.B. Lord, Sanford, Maine, Mrs. Gordon A. Bergu, Morgantown, W. Va., Mrs. Lida Ferguson, and Mrs. Ina Leglar, granddaughters; Miss Constance Lord, Sanford, Maine, Master Gordon Goodrich Bergu, Morgantown, W. Va., and Miss Ina Bumgardner, Lawrence, great-grandchildren; and a host of old friends." — Source: Yesteryears, April 1990.

The Valley Falls Historical Society Museum will open at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16.

Clarke Davis
Davis Publications, Inc.
The Oskaloosa Independent
The Valley Falls Vindicator
Fax: 785-945-3444

August 06, 2014

Window displays for August 2014

by Betty Jane Wilson, society president

The Valley Falls Historical Society Museum's seasonal window scene for August consists of scores of Jefferson County, Kan., automobile license plates with issue dates as early as 1939.

Displayed against a traditional 4-H exhibit mural backdrop, painted by local artist Susan Phillips, the license plates accompanied by a series of mega photos of Jefferson County and local citizens in their vehicles of past years, honor the antique cars and drivers participating in the 4-H parade. Welcome to the 12 4-H clubs, 325 members, and 124 adult leaders!

The veterans' window features the American Eagle, symbol of liberty. A colorful eagle symbol plaque, attached to a dark blue background and surrounded by miniature American flags, and military company service flags with select eagle figurines in the foreground, complete the August window display.

The society's museum will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9.

July 29, 2014

Some old county settlements, now extinct

Compiled by Betty Jane Wilson, society president

Pioneer news publications, ancestral letters, and reminiscenses of "old timers" frequently mention lesser known towns and settlements in Jefferson County, many extinct.

Following is a partial list of those places and approximate locations although some locations are possibly inaccurate because of Jefferson County boundry changes. Locations were determined from an 1860 map:

Anderson, located on the west side of Grasshopper River in 1855; Ashcroft, located in Norton Township; a farmer's post office known as Nichols Station; Boones Settlement located 2 1/2 miles southeast of Williamstown on the north bank of the Kansas River; Buck Creek, a station on the Kansas Pacific Railroad near where Buck Creek enters the Kaw.

Butler or Butlers, a townsite on the farm of Wm. Butler six miles east of Oskaloosa on the Military Road, see Middletown, Midway, and Ole; Centerville, the site of a town laid out in 1865 about midway between Perry and Medina; Clement, a post office which changed to Williamstown in 1865; Coon's Point, see Marshall, Crooked Creek, located five miles southeast of Nortonville; Crow Hollow, located about
three miles southwest of Boyle.

Dayton, another name for Pleasant Hill on the west side of Grasshopper River about one mile from Ozawkie; Defiance, received three (or eight) votes in the 1859 election for county seat of Jefferson County; Dixon, located nine miles southeast of Oskaloosa, a rural post office in 1883 and 1884; Fairfield, located in Jefferson Township, received 10 votes for county seat in 1858.

Hardtville or Hardville, near the Hickory Point battle site in Delaware Trust Lands, one of the first voting places in the county; Indian Mill, founded in 1854 by Solomon Everett, a Kaw half-breed, same site as Mormon Village and Thompsonville; Jacksonville, laid out in spring of 1855, about one mile east of Oskaloosa; Jacksonville, a new site laid out south of Ozawkie. It appears on maps several miles southeast of Ozawkie and southwest of Oskaloosa.

Jefferson City in Delaware Township (Grasshopper Falls). A post office from 1864 to about 1870; Kaw City, located in Kaw Township on the east side of Muddy Creek, post office established in 1858. The railroad missed the town and the post office moved to Grantville in 1866; Kaw Station, a railroad station at Grantville. Both names appear on several maps.

Marshall, the Topeka Tribune of Feb. 20, 1858, reports that an institution of higher learning in Jefferson County to be called Mt. Hope was to be opened in the spring at Marshall, which old timers remember as Coon's Point; McIntosh, a railroad station between McLouth and Oskaloosa; Medina, a station of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, a post office from 1866 to about 1902.

Middletown or Midway, a rural post office in 1857 on the same site as Butlers and Ole; Monroe City, incorporated on June 10, 1865, the present site of Perry; Mormon Village, located three miles northwest of Perry, settled by Mormons from 1851 to 1853 or '54. The site later of Indian Mills and Thompsonville.

Newell's Mill, now present Oskaloosa; Nichols Station, a side track and stopping place for AT&SF Railroad; Norton, shown on some maps as present site of Nortonville; Pleasant Hill, also called Dayton; Plum Creek, a post office from June 22, 1869, to Sept. 4, 1871, located seven miles north of Williamstown.

Savannah, the name first chosen for Winchester; Tebbsville or Tibbsdale, located two miles north of Ozawkie; Thompsonville, about three miles northwest of Perry, a post office from June 17, 1878 to May 1901, same site as Mormon Village and Indian Mills.

Source: Yesteryears, October 1980.

The historical society's museum will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2.

July 21, 2014

1931 in Valley Falls - businesses opening and expanding

Compiled by Betty Jane Wilson, society president

Preserved in a large plastic envelope and stored among the files of the Valley Falls Historical Society, a collection of newpaper clippings dated 1931, revealed the following news items:

March 13, "A heavy snow accompanied by high winds completely blocked all highways out of Valley Falls last Friday night and not until Monday was it possible to get through to Topeka. The Saturday games of the baseball tournament were postponed until Monday. The out-of-town teams could not get here."

March 20, "Mrs. Maxwell of Kansas City wishes to announce to her patrons she will be in Valley Falls doing permanent waving beginning March 30th. Anyone wishing either the Edmond Spiral or the Realistic Croquignole Wind permanent, call Mrs. Clyde Brooks, telephone 88, for appointment.

"The high school sociology class, under Miss Wilson's instruction, just completed a very interesting study on Valley Falls and the surrounding community. It was found there are 76 places of business; every type of shop and station as well as stores, banks, cafes, etc. The Valley Falls Vindicator prints over 1,400 copies weekly and these papers are distributed all over the United States from coast to coast. Some are sent to Scotland and Canada. Only 45 families in Valley Falls do not take the Vindicator. The Valley Falls Post Office takes an average of 30 sacks of mail daily to the train. There are five rural routes out from this office and the longest route going eight miles from town. The Meyer Milk Company makes hundreds of pounds of butter each week and a large quantity of powdered milk."

April 3, "Antone Gettler is tearing down the remains of his residence damaged by fire and will use the material to build a service station, garage, and lunch room on south Sycamore Street at the junction with Hwy. 4. When completed, will be a 'city within itself ' except a rooming house. Antone expects to handle the Phillips oil and gas products."

May 8, "The Hatfield Penslar Store is to install a fine new soda fountain within the next week. LaVelle Walker has been employed and will be charge of the fountain."

May 15, " Mit Huber is now located in the Shuler Building — operating a cigar factory, pool and billiard room, and a lunch counter."

May 29, "This week Elvin Neiman began work on the excavation for the new building, which he is putting up, which will house the Rausch Chevrolet Motor Co."

June 12, " A deal was consummated whereby Walt McDaniels and wife will sell the City Cafe to Chas. Tinklen and wife of Atchison.
"A.N. (Nick) Gahm has leased the City Bakery to a Mr. Dial of Topeka who will come here next Monday to take charge.
"Piano lessons — 12 for $5. Pay in September. Nell K. Ferguson."

Aug. 31, "Last week some Valley Falls boys 'visited' the Wm. Baumgarten watermelon patch in anticipation of securing some choice specimens. They had failed to take into consideration the fact that the Baumgartens slept in the patch. One of the watchmen fired both barrels of a shotgun into the air. The would-be pilferers quickly surrendered and they were locked in the granary. After a few hours they were released upon promise to 'never again.' "

Bacon Squares lb. 8c
Coney's—2 lbs. for 21c
Brick Cheese—Pound 28c
American Cheese—Pound 28c
Mitchell Bros. Bacon—(home cured) whole or half—12 1-2c
Pork Chops—Pound 13 1-2c
Weiners—Pound 13 1.2c
Boiled Ham—Pound 30c
Fresh Ham—Pound 12 1-2c
Sausage-2 pounds 17c
Hamburger—Pound 10c
Lunch Ham—Pound 12 1-2c
Beef Roast 10c
Sliced Bacon—Pound 14c
Prices f. o. b.
Lucky Day started This Week.
C. F. HESS, Manager.

The historical society museum will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 19.