J. H. Christopher has been credited with founding Pertle Springs. In reality he was a business entrepreneur who dabbled in real estate and owned a chain of dry goods stores. He was born in Jessamine County Kentucky on September 11, 1848, and he came to Missouri with his parents in 1850 and settled in Cass County. His brother, J. C. Christopher, was borrn in Cass County on December 12, 1850.
Christopher married Cena Jackson and the couple had one son, Marion Jackson Christopher. Cena died in 1891 and Christopher married Lila Briss, who had two children, Byran and George.
J. H. opened a dry goods store at Pleasant Hill in Cass County in 1865 and married Cena Jackson from Cass County on January 17, 1870. He opened another dry goods store in Harrisonville in 1873 and in 1875 he came to Warrensburg where he opened a store on March 22, 1875.
Around 1885 he acquired the land that became known as Pertle Springs and developed a resort centered around the springs that included a lodge that came to be known as Hotel Minnewawa and a large tabernacle or pavillion, which was used to host religious, political, business, theatrical, and chautaqua events. He developed a series of man made lakes to attract visitors and guests used the lakes for fishing, canoeing, and swimming.
In 1890 Christopher constructed a rail line that connected the Missouri Pacific depot in Warrensburg to Pertle Springs and he even became part owner of the Estes Hotel, which was located in Warrensburg, which also served guests who visited Pertle Springs. He worked diligently with Union Pacific to market Pertle Springs as a destination point and developed combination excursion ticket prices for people who purchased the train fare to travel to Warrensburg and then purchased a fare to travel along the Dummy Line from the Warrensburg depot to the springs.