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List of Kansas Counties

Bedford | Hudson | St. John

Homesteading in Stafford County

St. John

Two different groups, one religious and one ethnic, settled in the Ohio Township. The religious group was a dissident branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints led by William Bickerton established a city called Zion Valley north of St. John in 1875. Mr. Bickerton, born in England, had formed the branch in Pennsylvania and came to Kansas to find a God-chosen area for his church.

A member of the Bickerton Church of Jesus Christ, Calvin Glasscock, parted from this branch and donated a large hill that he had purchased to the Utah Mormons. This group then purchased the German Baptist church building, and they moved it to a new location in St. John. The Utah Mormons then established their own headquarters in St. John in a hotel they built for their offices and living quarters. This operation did not last long, but their church continued by taking members from the Bickerton colony. The Utah Mormons built their own church in 1899. The Mormons moved to Pratt, Kansas, in 1968, and the Bickerton church was allowed to regain their original hill and the site of worship that they did not have for seventy years. For many years, two different groups of Mormons lived in Stafford County.

African-Americans homesteaded on several different sections of the township. The highest number of African-Americans living in Stafford County has been estimated to be 400-425 in the year 1914. They established the Martin Black cemetery named for a family of settlers in the area named Martin. This cemetery still exists. The African-American people became members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Baptist Church located in St. John. These churches had been founded by African-Americans who lived in town.


History Book Committee. Stafford County, Kansas, 1870-1990. Stafford, KS: Stafford County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1990.

Hours and Contacts

Monday,April 21 Forsyth will close at 10 pm because of no electricity

Spring Hours:
Sun:             1:00 pm - 2:00 am
Mon-Thurs: 7:30 am - 2:00 am
Friday:         7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Sat:            10:00 am - 5:00 pm

For current month(s) and detailed information, please select desired month under announcements (below).

Phone: 785.628.4434
Fax: 785.628.4096
Contacts Directory
Mailing Address:
   Forsyth Library
   600 Park Street
   Hays, KS 67601
Physical Address:

   502 South Campus Drive
   Hays, KS 67601-4099