The town was a steamboat stop that began sometime in the mid-1820s. Mr. Van Deusen sold his claim to Mr. Nimrod Phillips, many of whose descendants are still residents of Pike County. By 1832, the site was referred to as Phillips' Ferry.
|Steamboat at Griggsville Landing. Photograph by O.W. Taylor 1915.|
Griggsville (4 miles to the west) was platted by David R. Griggs in 1832-33. Phillips' Ferry was used by Hyrum Smith and his family during the Mormon migration from Missouri eastward to Illinois in 1838-1839.
|Griggsville Landing Lime Kiln was built around 1850.|
The Griggsville Landing Lime Kiln was built around 1850. Local traditions hold that English stonemason William Hobson used the Griggsville Landing kiln. It is said Hobson used the kiln in conjunction with the construction of homes, barns and stone arch bridges in the area during the 19th century.
The first and only church ever built in the township was erected at Griggsville landing in 1871 and was known as Union Church.
Griggsville Landing was eventually abandoned by the late 1870s.
The little village of Valley City, the only one in Flint township, was founded close to Phillips' Ferry by Wallace Parker in the year 1877. Wallace Parker also ran steamboat ferries from where Griggsville Landing used to be. The post office at Griggsville Landing changed its name to Valley City. The village of Valley City contained one store and post office. Valley City was incorporated in April 1956.
The book "Past and Present of Pike County, Illinois" (1906) states that "Valley City is the only town in the township and is on the Wabash Railroad."
The town was eventually abandoned, rendering it a ghost town due in part because, by Congressional mandate, the United States Army Corps of Engineers constructed levees along the Illinois River, leading to flooding of lower elevation settlements along the river. The annual floods were due to the levees wreaking havoc on Valley City, leading to the decimation of the town's businesses, abandonment of homes, and the eventual death of the town.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.
I am told the library in Griggsville has a collection of images of steamboats calling at Griggsville Landing. There are a few on the wall in their Historical Society home. My dad and his were born in Valley City. Milburn Emmett and Emmett Fay Biddle respectively. I was last there in 2012. Was unable to find the landing site.ReplyDelete
I’m a maritime historian and ship model builder. Thanks very much for posting this capsule history.