March 14, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
John P. Grasberger first arrived in Kansas in 1855 as a soldier with the 2nd Dragoons. He had come to America as a young German immigrant in 1852. After completing his 5 year enlistment, he purchased bounty land northwest of Fort Riley. He joined the Army again at the outbreak of the Civil War and served as an officer in the Union Army until 1864 when he returned to Kansas with his wife, Susan Maxfield, of Arkansas.
The newlywed Grasbergers settled on his farm about a mile west of what would become the Alida town site, in Smoky Hill Township. Soon other families were settling nearby and in 1866 a school was built on the Grasberger farm. In 1872, John built a log store beside the railroad track, which he operated while his wife ran the post office in their home. A short time later, he added a warehouse near his store for the storage and handling of grain.
In the early 1880’s Susan Grasberger died and in 1886 at the age of 50, John married 24 year old Hedwig or “Hattie” Wolters who had recently arrived in Kansas from Berlin. This union was blessed with three children. In 1890, John Grasberger sold his Alida store to P.H Gfeller and devoted his efforts to farming and raising his young family. In 1902, he fell from a ladder and died from his injuries leaving a legacy of honorable service to his community and his family.