The settlement started when Civil War Veteran Napoleon Bonaparte Alley and his family hosted the first church in their dugout in 1873. It was 14 x 18 feet in size, dug in the ground four feet, then built up with logs, and had a fireplace. The seats were blocks of wood with boards on them.
Soon a log schoolhouse was built, and David Bacon was one of the first teachers. Afterward, church services moved to this building. Among the early ministers were Reverend Benny Henderson of the Lincoln Christian Church and Reverend H. C. Bradbury, an early-day circuit rider connected to the Lincoln Presbyterian Church.
In 1893 when the Methodist Protestant Church was organized.
In December 1904, construction plans for the church began. Charles Horner donated the land, and the rock was donated and quarried from J.H. Geering’s land. The cornerstone was laid on September 15, 1905. Horse teams hauled the limestone from the Geering quarry, and Mart Garrity, John McQuillian, Owen Mulloy, and Frank Heizer began the masonry work. On December 30, 1906, the Methodist Protestant Church
On December 9, 1916, a post office was established in Ash Grove.
Over the years, as the church grew, more room was needed for a Sunday School and other church activities. In 1925, the Ash Grove Church purchased the wooden frame Pottersburg Methodist Episcopal church and moved north to Ash Grove. The Pottersburg frame building was placed at the east end of the original stone building, and a basement was dug.
Ash Grove remained a sturdy community during the Great Depression. At that time, Ash Grove had a grocery store, lumber yard, blacksmith’s shop, and Rodrick’s Hardware Store.
The Ash Grove post office closed on March 31, 1944.
By 1953, when Anthony and Phyllis Cheney’s family moved to the Alley Homestead. At that time, there was the Andreason Grocery Store, a machinery repair shop, the telephone office, and an old hotel.
With the loss of membership, Ash Grove Church closed on December 24, 2007, following their Christmas Eve services. At that time, Pastor Kaye Metzler said:
“An open country church with no running water, the Ash Grove family of faith was simply a beautiful group of the faithful. The bell rang for worship every Sunday until her close, inviting the neighborhood into worship. Her doors were never locked, and it was not unusual to arrive and find brand new $2 bills placed in a circle in the offering plates. Every Christmas, the church was filled to standing room only as the whole neighborhood took part in the worship. At the close of the workshop, each family passed out gifts for the other families. It was fitting, I think, for the last worship to be held on Christmas Eve.”
The school was held in this building until 1966. Later it was given a metal roof, as was the church, by the generosity of Jenny Sowers Wright and her brother Floyd Sowers.
Afterward, Ash Grove continued to decline. Today, the remaining buildings are the school and the Methodist Church.
Area students are served by the Sylvan–Lucas USD 299 public school district.
About 3.3 miles southwest of the old town of Ash Grove is the South Fork Spillman Creek Double Arch Bridge. Built in 1908, this beautiful greenhorn fencepost limestone structure is on Highway 181 at the south fork of Spillman Creek. It was placed on the Register of Historic Kansas Places in 2004.
To the south of Ash Grove was the site of the old town of Pottersburg.
Live Lincoln County
Lupfer-Nielsen, Kathryn, “Camp Pliley, Pottersburg, and Ash Grove, Lincoln County,” Lost Kansas Communities