The neighborhood of which Frankfort, Kansas became the trading point was settled
in 1855-56 by
Free-State men from Ohio and Pittsburgh,
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.
In 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
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