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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 desert, 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.

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 791.

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 is today an example of what grit and push can do.