Grant Township in Cloud County was organized January 8, 1872. It was named Grant for General Ulysses S. Grant, then President of the United States. J. F. McCracken was the first trustee. G. W. Johnson and Reginald Reed were the first to take up claims in Grant Township. Three valleys converge near the middle of Grant Township, which lies in the northwest corner of the county. Buffalo creek, Salt Marsh, and the Big Cheyenne are the reason there is but a small percentage of upland. The Great Salt Marsh of 4,000 acres lies partly in the northern part of the township.
Grant Township is bordered on the north by Republic County and on the west by Jewell County. It is bordered on the east by Buffalo Township and on the south by Summit Township. It is six miles square and is composed of 36 sections with the description of T-5-S and R-5-W.
Gustave William Johnson, who came from Sweden, was the first settler in Grant Township. He came to Kansas in the spring of 1868 and filed on a homestead at the land office in Junction City. His claim was the W 1/2 of the N E 1/4 and the E 1/2 of the N W 1/4 of Section 18-5-5.
He walked from Junction City to his homestead and carried a 48-pound sack of flour, a blanket, several pounds of sugar, an axe and a shovel. This was a distance of 75 miles or more. He was friendly with the Indians, and they visited him often. They came one evening when Mr. Johnson was preparing supper. They drank his hot coffee and demanded more. They playfully kicked his coffee pot down the steep bank into the creek. It was from this incident that he became known as "Coffee Pot Johnson."
In 1870, C.I. Gould came from New York to Waterville where he met Elia Marsh, John Kiggins and a man named Hogue. The four men came to the Jamestown area together. Marsh settled on section 23, Kiggins on section 21 and Gould on the N E 1/4 of section 22.
The 1903 Hallibaugh history gives the following account: "The town was originally platted by C.I. Gould. A tract of land comprising sixty acres was divided into lots of which each alternate division was given to the railroad company." This is the north part of Jamestown and is known as the Gould addition.
In June 1870 Will and Henry Ansdell and a carpenter, P.A. Thomas, left Wisconsin with two wagons and ox teams for Kansas. In Iowa they picked up James and David Carter. They came to Grant Township. Will filed on SW ľ Section 14. P .A. Thomas built a house here for Will of cottonwood lumber from Captain Saundersís Mill. This was the first frame house in the township. Henry selected S E 1/4 section 14. The boys filed on NE 1/4 section 14 for their father, Fred T .S. Ansdell. P .A. Thomas took the NW 1/4 of section 14.
In 1871 a post office was established in Grant Township in section 17. The name was suggested by A.A.Carnahan, and the new post office was christened "Fanny" in honor of Miss Fanny Price a sister of commissioner Price. Fanny was the scene of considerable traffic. It was one of the stage line relay stations. It had large stables, built of cottonwood timber and concreted with lime to make it bullet proof as protection from the Indians.
In April 1872 at the legal precinct Fanny, the first officers were elected. They were John P. McCracken, trustee; Fred Ansdell, treasurer; and B.F. Bracken, clerk; William Willord, justice of the peace; J. Carter, constable; George Champlin, Roadmaster No. 1; H. M. Torneby, Roadmaster No.2; R.S. Jones, No.3; and William J. Ion, No.4.
Henry Nelson resigned as postmaster in 1873 and the Fanny post office was moved to Jacob Fulmer's residence in section 20, two and a half miles west of Jamestown. That same year another post once was established in John V. Hodgson's dugout home in section 26. It was called Alva. In 1878, the Alva post office was moved to Jamestown in the Strain and Bracken store. Ben Bracken was the first postmaster of Jamestown.
The first store in the township was in Will Ansdell's house in 1870 in SW 1/4 section 14. In 1872, John Kiggins had a small stock of goods in his stone house on the west bank of Cheyenne Creek on the SE 1/4 section 21. Hans Olson, living north of Buffalo creek, mended shoes for the settlers. A. J. Belden had a blacksmith shop on Cheyenne creek in 1872, later in the west part of Jamestown.
The last two buffalo slain in Cloud County were killed by Lewis Kiggins of Grant Township. The first was killed the spring of 1871 on a farm owned by Sam Clark. The other was killed the summer of 1871 on the farm of Patrick Murray, E 1/2 NW 1/4 and E 1/2 SW 1/4 section 27. The hunting party was comprised of William H. Ansdell, Lewis Carter, George Champlin and Lewis Kiggins. They gave chase with pitch forks, hoes, knives, etc. Kiggins had a gun and rode a horse. To him was given the honor of killing the last "hero of the plains" in Cloud County. The buffalo was slain within a few yards of Pat Murray's house on Cheyenne creek.
An early cemetery was located at the south D side of the W 1/2 of the NE 1/4 of section 34. Rev. Hungate, a Baptist minister, built a small rock [1 church and established a cemetery on the SW ~ comer of the SE 1/4, section 27. Saron cemetery on the NE corner of the SE 1/4 of section II is still used. Jamestown cemetery at the south side of section 21 is still used by both Catholics and Protestants.
There are four churches in the township: Saron Baptist in section 11 and the Catholic, Methodist and Fellowship churches in Jamestown. The Christian church was built south of the library in Jamestown but was destroyed in the November 28. 1911, fire and never rebuilt. C.I. Gould built a church on his claim in the early 1870s but it was not used after 1878.
The kiln that furnished the lime for building the first house in Jamestown was one mile east of town in section 24 and was operated by James Nelson and Ed Hodgson.
By 1870, claims had been taken by Irish, Welsh, French, Dane, Norwegian, English, Dutch, and Swedish pioneers.
Located in section 9 in the NW quarter of the township is a shallow water lake. It is operated by the state as a bird and game refuge. Many migrant waterfowl can be seen here in the spring and fall.
In the 1870s trails across the prairie were abandoned as roads along section lines were constructed. Fords were built as a way to cross the creeks. There was the Ansdell ford, the Gray ford and the Ion ford across the Buffalo, and many along the Cheyenne creek.
Since the early years, the township has had rail service by the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Passenger and mail service has long been gone. The Kyle Railroad now provides freight service. Kansas Highway 28 provides an east-west paved route. Rural mail routes, school bus routes, and the county road system provide good farm-to-market roads.
The Cunningham Telephone Company of Glen Elder serves Grant Township. The lines are now underground and safe from ice storms of bygone years. Electricity is furnished to farms and rural homes by the North Central Kanas Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Rural Water District #1 supplies rural water to the area, which is primarily agricultural with the main crops wheat, milo, soybeans and alfalfa. Farmers are using larger machinery and are able to farm larger acreages. This makes for fewer homes and abandoned homesteads. In 1917 there were over 100 occupied rural homes in the township. In 1992, there were only 22. The present township officers are Aldimore Odette, trustee; Novella Trude, clerk; and Betty Bombardier, treasurer.
(from the History of Cloud County)
This beautiful church stands today a monument to the pioneer past of this area. St. Luke's Evangelical Church was one of the earliest churches in the area. It is located on Kansas Highway 28 six miles northwest of Jamestown. It is an important entity to residents of western Cloud County whose ancestors settled along Buffalo and Cheyenne creeks.
Several pioneer families met in their homes in the early 1870s. The congregation was organized in 1874, at the H. A. Ruud home. Plans were made, and finally in 1878 the erection of a well-built, neat little church was begun on an acre of donated farmland.
Charter members were Torneby, Brechan, Holt, Ruud, Elniff, Moe, and Olsen. Others who came later included Bodding, Anderson, Peterson, Swenson, Rodde, Kaad, Hanson, and Melby. All of these men donated their labor. The east section was added in 1896, and the new entry and bell tower were built in 1913. The faithful women and families were an important help and encouragement.
The first pastor was the Rev. E. Dale, who preached at Mankato, White Rock and Glasco. The first marriage recorded reads February 26, 1885, between Christian Hansen Elniff and Alena Ruud. Many pastors served through the years. On October 13, 1974, a Centennial Open House was held in observance of the 100th anniversary of the congregation.
This church and cemetery grounds have long been a beautiful, historical landmark of the area. Regular church services were held until 1956. The last minister to serve, 1948-56, was the Rev. H. Severn Bly. Since then, occasional services have been held. The women's organization, Associated Lutheran Church Women (ALCW) remained active until 1985.
The church stands as a memorial to the courageous men of over 100 years ago who labored with crude handmade tools and backbreaking work, such as we may never know, to finish and lay up heavy stones quarried on local hills. Let us not forget the women who braved pioneer hardships to make this area a home for their families.
Descendants of these strong people have maintained the church and cemetery. In early days they drove horse and buggy or lumber wagon, in rain, snow or shine. They never thought of missing church or Sunday School. Crowds were packed to the rafters most of the time. Gradually farmers were forced off the land due to adverse conditions and changing life styles. The congregation dwindled and now few farmers remain. At present, the church is used only on special occasions but is kept in good repair as a monument of our historic past and heritage.
The following poem was written by Mrs. Nellie Shelley (now deceased) in 1965 for the church that she could see in the distance from her home:
"Little stone church on the prairie,
Resting on virgin sod,
With your steeple rising upward,
Pointing the way to God."
-Bertha M. Collins
(from the History of Cloud County)