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Chapter 39 - The Town of Walnut Grove

The town was laid out by William J. Edie, county surveyor, under the direction of D. B. Keith, in 1870. It is located on the southeast quarter of section 1, on the line of the St. Louis division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad, the plat covering about three acres. The surrounding country is thickly settled and well improved, affording a lucrative business for the few enterprises here. There are two grain elevators, one feed mill, one general store, two blacksmith shops, postoffice, station, a town hall and five dwelling houses in the plat.

The iron for the railroad was laid into what is now the station of Walnut Grove, in August, 1869, and depot grounds laid out, but no building was erected until later in the fall.

The first store at Walnut Grove station was erected by S. P. King, in the fall of 1870, who put in a general stock of merchandise. He afterward disposed of the business to Henry Livingston, who has been succeeded by Dr. Cowgill, and S. A. Hendee, of Bushnell. The latter gentleman removed the stock to the building now occupied by G. F. Fairman.


A postoffice was established a number of years ago. The succession of postmasters are as follows: S. P. King, H. Livingston, H. M. Harrington, J. W. Darneille, D. B. Keith and G. H. Fairman.


The Burtis elevator was constructed in 1877, having been torn down and removed from Neponset to this place, and rebuilt by Hendee & Dole, of Bushnell. The main building, or elevator proper, is 30x50 feet in ground area. Besides this, there is a horse power room 16x20 feet in size. Lewis Russell was the first to operate the elevator for the firm, and was succeeded in 1878, by Harry Benson. It was afterward managed by Robert Russell, Joseph Sanders, Samuel M. Burtis, James Garretson and Philip Fairman. August 4, 1884, Samuel M. Burtis purchased the interest of Mr. Hendee, and the exclusive ownership of all fixtures, scales, horse power, etc., while Mr. Dole retains an interest in the elevator proper, and under this management the business of the elevator is now carried on. It has a capacity of about 15,000 bushels, besides an additional ware room.

The elevaotr owed by George W. McMahill, was erected by that gentleman in the fall of 1882, and is 24x30 feet in ground area, with a horse power room 20x20 feet in size. There is also a driveway 12 feet in width, with a dump attachment, and a wind mill, Eclipse pattern and Beloit construction, for the grinding of feed. The mill has a 20-foot wheel and is 70 feet in height. Mr. McMahill and Simon Raymond ran the elevator for about one month, when Samuel M. Burtis took Mr. Raymond's place in the firm and it continued under this management about one year. At the expiration of that time Mr. Burtis leased the entire concern and operated it until March, 1885, since which time it has been idle. The elevator has a capacity of about 10,000 bushels of grain.


Grange No. 119, Patrons of Husbandry, was organized by dispensation October 6, 1873. The date of the charter, which was granted, is October 6, of that year.

Source: The History of McDonough County, together with sketches of the towns, villages and townships, educational, civil, military and political history; portraits of prominent individuals, and biographies of the representative citizens, 1885, pages 1041-1042. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen

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