For any of you who have been to Sabrina (Tolliver) Kiser’s home, you may remember her long, straight, flat driveway off of US 68 north of Wilmington, Ohio. Did you ever notice the way it was cut out? Her son-in-law Roger did…
When son-in-law Roger Starnes first became part of the Kiser family, he asked about the driveway and the odd concrete fence posts all the way down the drive, and the way the driveway seemed graded. Roger was told that the driveway was once part of a railroad called the “Grasshopper”. But little other info was ever available.
In late 2014, Roger connected with a guy in Port William, Ohio, just north-east of the Kiser’s house, who had over 40 years of history on the “Grasshopper”. Roger is a graphic design and web artist. Mike Mason is a man who grew up in Port William who farms some 1,000 acres, and who had grandparents who had mills on the old “Grasshopper” railroad! Mike had been wanting to do a book for the past 40 years on the “Grasshopper”.
Roger and Mike teamed-up to write the book and in May of this year, their book called “The Story of the Waynesville, Port William and Jeffersonville Railroad” was printed and published! The line was called the “Grasshopper” because one of the first engines on the line was a used “Grasshopper” type engine as shown on the cover of the book (photographed at Carillon Park in Dayton, Ohio). The name stuck!
The book tells the story about a short rail line that began in 1875 and continued in part through 1941. It ran from Claysville Junction north of Waynesville, to Jeffersonville. Then later from South Kingman to Sedalia/Midway in Ohio. It was part of the DT&I that crossed in Jeffersonville, Ohio. It was also owned by Mr. Henry Ford at one time.
Books and certificates are available online at the Braughler Books site (plus packaging and shipping). You can also read more about the book on our Facebook page. We are also working on a web page too at grasshopperrailroad.com.
- Books are $19.95 and re-production stock certificates are just $2 each.
The bigger part of the book is to ensure that a bit of Ohio history is not lost. Most crossings and old roadbed is nearly lost to most residents. But if you know what to look for (like we did) there are still many signs of this old line out there. The book has old station maps – including Mt. Pleasant station across from Raymond and Sabrina’s house – it also has modern maps of the entire line and photos of old crossings with GPS coordinates.
If you plan to be in the area of Wilmington, Ohio, let Roger know and if you want books or certificates, he can set you up!