by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
This building was on the east side of Main Street, just south of the railroad tracks. Currently there is a car wash at this location. When I was growing up in the 1950’s, it was Floyd Sharp’s Lumber Yard and it still had a dirt floor.
But from about 1906 until the mid-1930’s, the building housed Kershaw & Williams, General Blacksmithing.
Robert W. Kershaw came with his family to Grain Valley from Savannah, Missouri in the 1890s. His father, Peter Ferdinand Kershaw fought with the Union Army and was a Civil War Veteran with some disabilities.
He was in his 50s when he brought his family to Grain Valley. The U. S. Census in 1900 list his occupation as grocery. It is unclear whether he worked there or owned the store. Peter and his wife, Hannah Elizabeth (Walters), raised three children, Frederick, Hannah and the youngest, Robert (1879-1961).
On March 18, 1903 Robert married Iva Belle Bloomer from Holt, MO. He brought his bride back to Grain Valley to live and start a family. Sometime after that, he started the blacksmith business with Charles Williams.
Charles Evan Williams lived in Mayview, Missouri, before coming to Grain Valley with his young bride, Miss Goldie Pearl Dishman of Odessa. They were married on Christmas Day in 1905 in Mayview, Missouri. They also came to Grain Valley to live.
His family ancestry is unknown to this writer. I’m not sure when all of the streets in town were named, however, the 1910 U.S. Census said the Williams family lived on “church” street. By 1920 their address was on Capelle, the street with two churches. I’m guessing they did not move.
Together, the two young men established the blacksmith shop on what was then known as Broadway, now Main Street. Grain Valley was already a busy little town on the C & A Railroad, but when Mr. Nelson started buying land and established Sni-A-Bar Farms, business exploded. It must have taken a lot of horses and even more horseshoes to run a 1,700-acre farm!
When my grandfather arrived at the farm in 1922, he recalled that all of the “shoeing” was done by Kershaw and Williams. By the 1930s, tractors and trucks had replaced the horses and mules. The blacksmith shop closed around 1935.
When this photograph was given to the Historical Society by the family of Mrs. Ruby Wyatt, Williams’ daughter, we learned that her father, Charlie, also did all of the sign work for the farm and the stall cards that hung above the purebred cattle at livestock shoes and exhibitions from coast to coast.
Stop by the Historical Society. I still have 20 or more of the signs Mr. Williams made.
Note: According to the 1930 U. S. Census, the Robert Kershaw family had moved to Cass County near Harrisonville. His parents are buried in the Grain Valley Cemetery.