November 03, 2011

More impressions of Grasshopper Falls, east to Mooney Creek, 1855-56

- Compiled by Betty Jane Wilson, president

The Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, K.T. (Kansas Territory) Friday, June 8, 1855, continued the newspaper's series on Kansas towns with the following commentary:
"On Saturday, having the offer of Mr. Whitey (presumably A.J. Whitney, one of the town founders) to take a ride with him in his carriage, to Grasshopper Falls, we accepted, and must say, we were delighted with the trip.

"We passed over as pretty a country as the eye ever rested upon. The prairies are rolling and dry, soil rich and interspersed with beautiful groves of timber all along the many large and small streams. The Stranger and the Grasshopper are the largest streams we saw with an abundance of good timber on each of them.

"The Stranger Creek is about is about ten miles out and Grasshopper is about 18 or 20 miles still farther west (from Leavenworth). About four or five miles west on Stranger Creek, we crossed what is known as Money (Mooney) Creek. The prairie on each side of it is of unsurpassed beauty — high, dry, rolling, and rich. There is a small bottom on this stream with a great body of excellent timber.

"Crooked Creek is the name of another stream four or five miles west of Money (Mooney) Creek and its name truly indicates what we found the stream to be. In the distance of about two miles, traveling a due west direction, we had to cross it four times . . . The bottoms of this creek are rather subject to overflow, but upon them is a large growth of fine timber capable of supporting many valuable farms upon the adjoining rich prairie lands. . .

"­Soon, very soon, those rich prairies over which we passed, will be dotted with large cultivated fields of hemp, wheat, corn, and the various products of this climate. . . This country is undoubtedly one of the best stock grazing sections to be found in the world . . . It cannot be excelled anywhere. The rich pastures of this prairie will feed and fatten stock in any quantity two thirds of the year. We soon reached Grasshopper Falls and stopped for the night where we had good accommodations.

"Taking a stroll over the town site, we admired its beauty and gently undulating surface. The town site is on the east side of Grasshopper at the Falls. The surface has a gradual and regular ascent for three quarters of a mile. From the eastern limits of the town, you have a view of the timber beyond Osawkee and Hickory Point, eight and ten miles distant and over the Grasshopper in an opposite direction for many miles, of fine bodies of timber on the tributaries of that stream.

"There are two or three streams that empty their waters a short distance above. The view alluded to is grand and magnificent. The town site is high, dry, and lays beautiful to the morning sun. It includes about sixty acres of valuable timber, which will add much value to shares. The Falls of Grasshopper affords one of the best mill sites in the west. There is a perpendicular fall of over six feet with rapids immediately below. A large grist mill is now being erected and we are assured it will be in operation during the summer.

Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth City, K.T., January 19, 1856:
"Grasshopper Falls — There is built and in operation one of the best mills in the territory."

On the 18th of February, 1856, a drawing of lots among shareholders took place marking the town's growth from town site to town to city.

The Valley Falls Historical Society Museum will be open at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5.

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