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Walnut Township History

 1885 Walnut Township History
[Source: History of Bureau County Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor, Chicago Publishing Company 1885, Page 427-428]

Walnut and Red Oak Groves are in this township and are about all the timber land it has. Walnut Creek is the only stream in the limits of the county that runs west. This stream does until it passes into Greenville, when it turns southwest.

The Aments came and made a claim in this township at Red Oak Grove in 1828. Their improvement was afterward owned by O. Denham. Ament's house was one of entertainment when the Peoria and Galena stage road passed through the Grove. No other house after Ament's was built in the township for twelve years. In 1831 James Magby purchased the property and in 1833 he sold to James Claypoll. In 1836 Luther Denham became the possessor of it and he resided here some years.

A man made a claim immediately south of the grove and in 1837 Greenbury Triplett and A. H. Jaynes "jumped" his claim. They lived here some time and sold to Truman Culver. In 1843 Oliver Jaynes settled on the south side of Walnut Grove, Richard Brewer on the north side and Peter McNitt on the east side.

In 1845 Richard Langford came here and soon Thomas Landers, E. Kelly, Thomas Fisher and George Smith came in 1847. Richard Brewer, J. and P. Van Arman, L. D. Hodges, R. D. Axtell, Bohanen and the Wolfs were among the prominent early settlers. Deacan Jaynes is now a resident of Greenville Township and E. Kelly lives in Walnut. Thomas Sanders was an early settler at the grove.

Thomas Fisher settled at Red Oak Grove in 1842 on the Denham place and was for a while the only settler. Mr. Fisher was then only sixteen years of age.

Village of Walnut
Finneus Wolfe started the first store on the east of Main Street in the village of Walnut. Wolfe and Kelly formed a partnership, opened a small store, which is now owned by James Byers and used for a furniture store. In 1845 there were but six families in the village of Walnut: Richard Brewer, E. Kelly, Edward Triplett, Truman Culver, Thomas Sanders, Greenbury Triplett and James Bartlett.

January 29, 1871, the Cilton Branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad was completed to Walnut Grove. At that time there were three general stores and a grocery and drug store. Reeve, Phillip & Co started a bank here in 1876. They sold to Ferris & Knight, who continued running a private bank until it was made a national bank in 1882, Marion Knight, President, N. L. Trimble, Cashier.

Richard Brewer platted the village and called it Brewerville. It ws changed to Walnut when it was made a post office. Curtz & Williams ship more horses from Walnut than are shipped from any other point in the county. As high as 300 car-loads have been shipped in a season.

1906 Walnut History

The first house in Walnut was built at Red Oak Grove in 1828, by the Ament brothers. There was no other settlement in the township for about ten years. This old landmark was like an oasis in the dessert, for it furnished shelter food and rest for the weary traveler on the old Peoria and Galena stage road, when there was no other house within a radius of many miles. This property was afterwards owned by O. Denham and in 1831 by James Magby. In 1833 James Magby. In 1833 James Claypoll became the owner and in 1836 sold it to Luther Denham, who lived there for a term of years.

This is the history of that early claim, which was the sign of civilization in that part of the country until about 1837. In this last named year a claim was made just south of Walnut Grove and Greenbury Triplett and A. H. Jaynes "jumped" it. They afterwards sold it to Truman Culver. In 1843 Oliver Jaynes settled on the south side of the grove; Richard Brewer, on the north side and Peter McNitt on the east side. Soon after Richard Langford, (Page 114) Thomas Landers, E. Kelley, Thomas Fisher and other came.

The Village of Walnut

Phineas Wolfe started the first store in the village of Walnut. There were but six families in Walnut in 1845, Richard Brewer, E. Kelly, Edward Triplett, Truman Culver, Thomas Sanders, Greenbury Triplett and James Bartlett. The Fulton branch of the Burlington was completed in 1871. At that time there were three general stores, a grocery and a drug store. The town was platted by Richard Brewer and for a time it was called Brewerville, but was changed to Walnut. The village was incorporated October 26, 1876, and by the census of 1900 had a population of seven hundred and ninety-one.

On July 31, 1890, a very destructive fire swept over the village and a large part of the business portion was destroyed. Again in August, 1900, the flames spread over the fated village, both of the fires left Walnut in a desolate condition; the accumulations and improvements of years were swept away in a few short hours. People from the adjoining country flocked there to see the ruins and many predicted that Walnut would never recover from her misfortune. Not so with her citizens. While the loss was keenly felt, there was but one thought among the citizens and that thought was the slogan, "Walnut shall rise again, better, safer and fairer than before," and with this determination in mind they heroically went to work and Phoenix-like Walnut rose from her ashes and stood out before the world, newer and richer than ever before, and is today an example of what grit and push can do.

Walnut is one of the best business points in the. county. It is noted for its large shipments of grain and livestock. Her business enterprise is worthy of imitation. The population by the census of 1900, including the village of Walnut, was one thousand five hundred and one. Walnut village was seven hundred and ninety-one. The following named gentlemen have served as supervisors :

Greenbury Triplett, 1851.

Christopher Wolf, 1852.

Richard Brewer, 1853-1855.

Mark Shirk, 1856.

D. M. Reed, 1857.

William C. Willey, 1858.

O. E. Chapman, 1859.

D. M. Reed, 1860-1861.

Mark Shirk, 1862-1864.

D. M. Reed, 1865.

G. W. Garwood, 1866-1867.

D. M. Reed, 1868-1870.

O. E. Chapman, 1871.

O. L. Bearss, 1872-1881.

L. K. Thompson, 1882-1885

L. Bass, 1886-1889.

S. M. Oakford, 1890.

G. G. Murdock, 1891-1896

G. F. Clayton, 1897-1898.

John H. Knight, 1899.

J. M. Ennis, 1900-1905.  (*Note:  This is a misspell - should be J. M. Ennes (James Marland Ennes) - information provided by great-grandson James M. Ennes, Jr.) 

E. A. Wooly, 1905.


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