October 27, 2011

Impressions of Grasshopper Falls and Osawkee, 1855

Compiled by Betty Jane Wilson, president, Valley Falls Historical Society

Reflecting on Valley Falls history, highlighting the names of the four pioneers, James Frazier, Robert Riddle, Andrew J. Whitney, and Hozea B. Jolly, a sundry of historic notes from neighboring town news sources and the Grasshopper edited by J.A. Cody provide insight into our town's infancy, with some mention of our neighbors.

The Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, Jan. 19, 1855: "Grasshopper Falls is the name of a new town recently located on the beautiful stream called Grasshopper, at the Falls — It will be surveyed in a short time and lots sold. It is a beautiful site for a town, abundantly supplied with water, with fine water power and good timber, excellent soil with many other advantages. The adjacent country is susceptible of a dense population, that must make the town a county seat. Besides it is on the nearest and most direct route from here (Ft. Leavenworth) to Ft. Riley."

The Weekly Herald, Jan. 26, 1855: "Whitney and Jolly, Attorney and Counsellors at Law, General Land Agents and Dealers in Real Estate, Grasshopper Falls, E.T.W. and J., have permanently located themselves at Grasshopper Falls, the vicinity of the best timbered and watered portion of Kansas.

"They will assist settlers in securing claims, either timber or rich prairie. Settlers will find it for their interest to apply to them as they have given the adjacent country a thorough exploration and have become familiar with all its advantages."

The Kansas Weekly Herald, March 13, 1855: "Grasshopper Falls — This town recently located at the Falls on that beautiful stream known as the Grasshopper, is about 20 miles from the Missouri River. There is a splendid mill site at the place and a large mill now being erected. The timbers for the dam and mill have been ready for a week or two. A store with a general assortment would be a splendid business at this thriving town."

The Kansas Weekly Herald, March 30, 1855: "Trip to Osawkee — Osawkee is on the Grasshopper Creek, one of the prettiest streams in the territory, just at the point where the military road crosses from Ft. Leavenworth via Ft. Riley, to New Mexico, Salt Lake, California, and Oregon. It is located on a high bottom, which is sufficiently undulating to make it dry and healthy. The surrounding scenery is magnificent and attractive. Everything about the place seems as if nature has fixed it for a large and flourishing town. All it needs is the hand of industry to make it what nature assigned it to be. Osawkee is between thirty and thirty-five miles from Ft. Leavenworth, and is the only place on the road after passing Stranger Creek at which a town can be built."

Next — Trip to Grasshopper Falls June 6, 1855.

The society museum will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29.

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