History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


Frankfort, Kansas

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Frankfort, Kansas historic imageThe neighborhood of which Frankfort, Kansas became the trading point was settled in 1855-56 by Free-State men from Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In August, 1857, a post office was established with D.C. Auld as the first postmaster and called Nottingham. It was located about two miles southeast of where the future town of Frankfort would be established. However, it would be several years before a town would be officially organized.


With the coming of the railroad that changed and in 1867 the Frankfort Town Company was organized at Marysville and in August of the same year, the company purchased Section 16, Township 4, Range 9, and laid out a townsite. It was originally called Frank's Ford, named for Frank Schmidt, one of the founders of the town, but soon adopted the name of Frankfort. On consideration of receiving a station, depot and side-track, the town company gave the Central Branch Railroad Company one-half of the town site.

The railroad reached Frankfort in October, 1867, and in the fall of the same year the depot was erected. The first houses were built that year by J. S. Magill, R. S. Newell and Frank Schmidt. O. C. Horr established the first store in December, 1867. In 1868, seven buildings were erected, among them being two business houses by Jacob Weisbach and O. C. Horr. The next year, 1869, showed a marked increase in the building operations, as there were 54 good substantial buildings erected, among which was the first hotel, erected by J. Heasley. Unfortunately, it would only operate for one year.

Trouble occurred in Frankfort August 14, 1869, in which one of the oldest and most respected citizens, James Vaugham, was shot by a questionable character named Gus Quarles. It appears there had been for some time previous to the shooting, an antagonistic feeling between the two parties -- Quarles having circulated the report that Vaugham was a bushwhacker and had served with William Quantrill during his raids. On the day of the shooting, Quarles, who had been hunting, stopped in Jacob Weisbach's store, where he met Vaugham, who desired an explanation in regard to the report circulated by Quarles. Quarles did not deny what he had said, and from this an excited altercation arose, in the midst of which Quarles raised his gun and placing the muzzle within three feet of his victim, fired, the charge taking effect in the arm and side of Vaugham. As the wounded man did not fall Quarles immediately jumped on his horse and left for parts unknown. It was afterwards ascertained that he had gone to Missouri, where he soon after died. Mr. Vaugham finally recovered from his wounds.


In December, 1869, the post office was moved from Nottingham into town and the name was officially changed to Frankfort on December 28th with O.C. Horr as the postmaster.

In the spring of 1870, bonds to the amount of $1,600 were issued to build a school building, and a frame school and soon a 24x40 feet frame building was was erected. This building was used until 1880, when it was sold and is now used as a private residence. During the same year a new edifice built of limestone, was completed at a cost of $4,000. In 1874, an addition was made to the main building, and is used for primary purposes.

Main Street in Frankfort, Kansas todayIn the spring of 1869 a Methodist Episcopal congregation was established and the first services held in the railroad depot. Thereafter, they were held in various public halls until a church was finally built in 1881. The Presbyterians had also organized, utilizing the schoolhouse as a place of worship before work began on a building in 1874. The stone structure, measuring 32x45 feet was dedicated in December, 1877.


In 1870, a two-story frame building, measuring 24x40 feet was opened as a hotel by W. Bailey, and known as the Bailey House. It soon changed management and became known as the Frankfort House, would later be enlarged and become known as being a first-class hotel.


Frankfort was incorporated as a city of the third class in 1875 and an election was held in which R. S. Newell was made the first mayor.

The first newspaper was the Frankfort Record, which was established July 25, 1876, by Campbell & Bros. Over the next few years it would change hands becoming known as the Headlight, and later the Frankfort Bee.


The first bank was established in June, 1878





By 1910, Frankfort had become the third largest town in Marshall County, was serviced by Missouri Pacific Railroad which primarily shipped grain and produce. All principal lines of businesses were represented in the town, as well as good schools and churches, weekly and daily newspapers, express and telegraph offices, and six rural delivery routes go out from the Frankfort post office. At that time the town's population peaked at 1,426.


A historic building in Frankfort, KansasBy 1917, many improvements had been made to the school system, the Frankfort House had become the Savoy Hotel and remained a favorite stopping place for visitors, the town boasted grain elevators, an electric light plant, physicians, and all manner of retail businesses.

Over the years Frankfort's population gradually decreased and today is called home to about 701 people.

Frankfort is located 23 miles south of Marysville.




Compiled by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, March, 2017


Also See: Marshall County



Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Vol I; Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, IL 1912.

Cutler, William G; History of Kansas; A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL, 1883

Foster, Emma; History of Marshall County, Kansas: Its People, Industries, and Institutions, F. Bowen, 1917

Kansas Historical Society





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