by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
The quest to learn more about the establishment of the town of Grain Valley has led to some surprising revelations. From previously written histories I had learned, “When the railroad came through, the two townships (Pink Hill & Stony Point) relocated at a midway point between them. They consolidated and formed the City of Grain Valley, Missouri on September 5, 1878 at a location near the main line of the railroad. James Lucas surveyed the land for Joseph Peters.” Several histories noted that the town size was 10-acres.
In last week’s article for Valley News, I noted the land was probably owned by Lucas. Several hours of research on ancestry and a telephone call to the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds revealed what I believe is a more accurate picture.
In 1877, James F. Lucas of Lake Fork Township, Logan County, Illinois, owned 120-acres in the southwest quarter of Township 49, Range 30, Section 35 in Jackson County, Missouri. A genealogy search for Mr. Lucas revealed that he was born in Logan County on December 20, 1845, married in Logan County in 1867, farmed in Logan County and appeared on the U. S. Census as a Logan County resident from 1850 through 1880. By 1890 he had moved a few miles south to Illiopolis, Illinois, now a suburb of Springfield, in Sangamon County. In other words, he was a lifelong resident of Illinois. On the 1900 Census it did state his occupation as “landlord.”
When I contacted the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds, I received this document.
A strong magnifying glass and a couple hours work revealed this statement at the top of the first page. (The top of the map is East, the left is North, the bottom is West, and the right is South)
Know all men by those present that I James F. Lucas of the County of Logan in the State of Illinois do by those present set apart four acres of land located in the County of Jackson and the State of Missouri described as follows, that is to say, commencing fifty-eight feet south of northwest corner of the east quarter of the southwest quarter of Section (35) thirty-five, Township (49) forty-nine, Range 30, hence seven hundred and fifteen feet, hence east four hundred and forty feet, hence south to the railroad hence following the railroad due West one hundred and twenty feet hence south to the southern limits of the town hence West to the place of beginning making in all four acres more or less all of said tract of land situated on the Kansas City-St. Louis and ( ? ) railroad. For the ( ? ) and purpose and profit of the town of Grain Valley. The aforesaid town being laid off by Joseph Peters given under my hand and seal this fifth day of September A.D. 1878. James H Cannon
This statement appeared on the top of page two.
State of Missouri
County of Jackson
Be it remembered the James F. Lucas who is personally known to me the undersigner, Notary Public, within and for the said County to be the person whose name is subscribed to the foregoing instrument in writing
As proxy there in this day and hour (?) and acknowledged that he executed and delivered the same as his voluntary act and deed for the title and purchase wherein mentioned given by my hand and official seal this fifth day of September A.D. 1878
J. H. Cannon
My commission is dated April 7th, 1877
And expires April 2nd, 1882
While the wording is unusual, the second document grants Mr. Cannon the right to represent Lucas and turn the land (only “about” 4-acres) over to the City of Grain Valley. I would suspect that Mr. Lucas never left Logan County. James Cannon was a resident of the area and had a vested interest in the town. He had moved his mercantile business to a store he built on Main Street south and adjacent to the new railroad.
As for Joseph Peters, there is no record that he ever lived in Grain
Valley. However, I did learn that he married Amanda Parlee Christison on July 29, 1869. She was the daughter of John Christison who owned property in Section 36 (just north of U. S. 40 Highway & the East Kansas City Airport). His post office box was Blue Springs because there was no Grain Valley at that time. The Christison family was living on this land in 1845 when Amanda was born.
Joseph and Amanda Peters may have lived with her parents or rented a house, but there is no record of their having owned any property. The 1880 U. S. Census stated their residence as Preston in Jasper County, MO. The 1885 and 1895 Kansas Census stated their residence was Key West Township, Coffey County, Kansas and Joseph Peters occupation was listed as “surveyor.” They remained in California, Coffey County, Kansas until their deaths in 1909 (Joseph) and 1915 (Amanda).
So, it might be safe to say that Peters & Lucas were just in town to earn a living as a surveyor and make a buck off of some land when the town came to the railroad. They didn’t stick around to earn any prominent citizen awards.
Next Week: Learn about the Cannon Addition, and Graves & Ashcroft Addition.
Image courtesy Grain Valley Historical Society