November 29, 2011

Impression of Nortonville, 1889

Compiled by Betty Jane Wilson, society president

The Oskaloosa Independent continued reporting on the growth of Jefferson County neighbors of Valley Falls with the following evaluation of Nortonville in the Sept. 14, 1889, issue of the newspaper:

"Nortonville is a beautiful little city on the north border of Jefferson County. They claim some 800 inhabitants. It presents the best appearance of any town in the county, except the county seat. It has as fine a buildings as are to be found in any of the small cities in the state, and is surrounded by the best farming country in eastern Kansas. They have but one R.R., the AT&SF, a good road and accommodating, and well patronized by the people.

"We notice several new buildings in course of erection, among them a business house by the Hon. A.J. Perry, dimensions, 40 x 70 brick. Mr. Perry is a live, wide-awake businessman and indispensable to this city.

"Janssen Bros. are new arrivals in the business circles of Nortonville and are making it hot for competitors in the hardware business. They sold quite a bill of hardware near Oskaloosa, and propose reaching out all over Jefferson and Atchison counties for trade. They are selling nails for 50 cents less on the keg than can be bought at any other store in the county. They propose carrying a big advertisement in the Independent to let people know what they have and how they sell it.

"We visited the canning factory and found Supt. Copley up to his eyes in business. Tomatoes are coming in now at the rate of 500 bushels per day and the Supt. will increase his force up to about 100 by the first of next of next week. At present outlook, this enterprise will distribute some $1,000 or $1,500 per week among the farmers and town people and is highly appreciated by all.

"The cheese factory is an older concern, but is one of the substantials of the town.

"We met Dr. D.T. Brown, who is one of the medical fraternity and has been located here for two years. The Dr. has a large practice and deserves success.

"We found the new postmaster busy dishing out the mail. Mr. Eckles, besides being postmaster, does an extensive business in the line of insurance.

"J.C. Stone, proprietor of the Commercial Hotel, understands the wants of his guests and takes pride in your comfort while a sojourner. When you come to Nortonville, give him a call.

"We went out among the farmers a day or so and find most farms abound with overloaded crops. Everything in abundance except fruit and money. So far as money is concerned, they propose to arrange that by some sort of legislation. They are banding themselves together in one common brotherhood called The Alliance. It is understood their fight is mainly against the banking system of the country and they propose to have things on a more humane basis and our observations predict that success will crown their efforts, if this organization don't (sic) allow itself to be killed by plunging into partisan politics and allowing certain elements in it to prostitute the order to their own selfish ends."

Source: Yesteryears, a publication of the Jefferson County Genealogical Society.

The Valley Falls Historical Society Museum will be open Saturday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m.

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