December 28, 2011

Some early settlers of Valley Falls

- by Betty Jane Wilson, society president

In February 1855, following the December 1854 discovery and founding of Grasshopper Falls, Mrs. Caroline Jolley, wife of H.B. Jolley, one of the founders, arrived. She was the first white woman in the township as well as the town.

On March 16, 1855, Stephen H. Dunn, a blacksmith, accompanied by his wife and children come to the township. Sarah Dunn was the second white woman in the new town and lived there with her husband until her death a few years later.

Since Mrs. Jolley remained only a short time, Mrs. Dunn may be said to be the first pioneer woman. In April 1855, a company was organized to build a saw and grist mill. The mill was erected by James Frazier, Robert Riddle, Isaac Cody, and A.J. Whitney.

J.M. Piazzek worked for these men and in 1860 he became interested in buying the mill and making it into a grist mill as well as a sawmill.

Isaac Cody was never a resident of Grasshopper (Valley) Falls; however, he was elected to the Legislature.

These brief historical facts of the founding of Valley Falls and history of the founders gleaned from the historical society files may be verified and expanded from the Kansas History quarterlies and countless books of authority housed at the Valley Falls Museum.

The museum is open Saturdays at 10 a.m. and other times with advance arrangements.

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