by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
I’ve read the history of Grain Valley so many times I practically have it memorized. James Lucas, presumably a surveyor, laid out the original town for Joseph Peters. The town, 10 acres in size, was incorporated as a village on September 5, 1878. Those 10 acres were East of and adjacent to what is now Main Street.
My original question was, “Who were these men?” At this writing I have found only one piece of information regarding either of the men. The 1877 Township and Railroad Map of Missouri published by Brink, McDonough, & Co. shows that James Lucas owned 120 acres in Township 49, Range 30, Section 35.
That might mean that Lucas and not Peters owned the land where the original town of Grain Valley was established the following year.
It is also interesting to note that the railroad went right through the middle of Mr. Lucas’ land. Therefore, I believe he may have been a land speculator who never actually lived in Grain Valley.
An exhaustive search of the 1877 and 1904 plat maps do not show the name Joseph Peters on any land within a 5-mile radius of Grain Valley. This fact makes me wonder if he surveyed the land for Lucas and not the other way around.
When the 1904 Map was published, the Lucas land, as well as land belonging to W. S. May, were part of the 219.7-acre Ravensmere Stock Farm owned by Frank Colvin. A few years later this land along with an addition 1500-acres became part of Sni-A-Bar Farms.
At this time I’m left with more questions than answers. Over the next few weeks, I will not only try to answer those questions, I will also let you know about the people who owned the land west of the original town and when Ashcroft, Graves, Finnell, Storms, Minter, Cannon and other additions were included in our town. With new homes constantly being built, I have much research in my future!