Kansas History and Heritage Project-Jefferson County

Jefferson County History, 1876
"A New Centennial History of Kansas," Charles Tuttle

[note: the "Grasshopper Falls" named below was later changed to Valley Falls.]

Jefferson County was organized in 1855, and named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States. Its' area is 665 miles, and its population in 1875, 11,716, having decreased 810 in five years. Males preponderate by 532. Farming occupies 80 per cent, and mines and manufactures 8 per cent. Fifteen per cent, of the area is bottom land and 5 per cent, forest. The county seat is at Oskaloosa, 22 miles northeast from Topeka. The Grasshopper river, Rock creek and several smaller streams flow in and through the county; springs are abundant, and well water of good quality can be obtained at from 20 to 40 feet. Coal has been found in three places at from 5 feet to 20, and the quality is tolerable; nearly 2,000 tons were mined in 1874, and it sells readily at $4 per ton. Good building stone is found in many places. There are three lines of railroad in the county: the Kansas Central (narrow gauge), the Kansas Pacific, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe; Winchester and Grasshopper Falls are the stations on the first; Perry and Medina on the second. Grasshopper Falls is the main station in this county of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe line. There are striking testimonies as to the fertility of the soil in Jefferson county. There are good water powers on the Grasshopper, and some mills have already been established. The manufactures in the county are, two steam saw mills in Union township, three grist mills and a woolen factory water power in Grasshopper township, a water power grist mill in Ozawkie, water power grist and saw mill in Kentucky township, steam saw mill and steam grist mill in Rural township, cheese factory in Medina and another in Valley Falls, and in Winchester, one steam saw mill. There are four banks, two at Valley Falls and two at Oskaloosa, with an aggregate capital of $91,881. There are three weekly papers, one at Valley Falls and the others at Oskaloosa. There are 89 school districts, and the same number of school houses valued at $128,529; besides these, there are two Catholic parochial schools at Newman and at Valley Falls. There are 13 church buildings valued at $32,000. The aggregate of books in five townships was 6,250 volumes, of which all but 300 were in private collections. Jefferson county was self-supporting in the locust era.

Return to Jefferson Co. KHHP

This website created Nov. 12, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
� 2011 Kansas History and Heritage Project