This subdivision of Adair county is found among the northern tier of townships, and consists of a full congressional township, comprising about 23/040 acres. Within its limits are found two main streams of water, Turkey creek and Middle river, besides numerous small branches of minor importance, although they tend greatly to make it a well-proportioned watered township. Middle river enters at the northern line of section 3, takes a winding course in an easterly direction, passing out of the township at the northern line of section 2. It enters, the township again at the extreme northwest corner of section 1, flows in a southeasterly direction, makes its final exit into Jefferson township on section 12. Turkey creek has for its source sections 15 and 16, passing through sections 14, 23 and 25, into Jefferson township. Walnut township is bounded upon the north by Guthrie county, and on the east, south, and west by Jefferson, Prussia, and Summit townships. The soil is a dark, sandy loam. The surface is rolling, and timber is found in limited quantities along Middle river. The land is nearly all occupied, and in the township are many desirable farms, well improved and under a good state of cultivation.
EARLY SETTLEMENT. Charles Smith, one of the pioneer settlers of Walnut township, emigrated with his family from Marion county, Indiana, to his present residence on section 4, in October, 1855. Charles Smith is a native of Chatham county, North Carolina, having been born on the 11th of December, 1821, and is the son of Eli and Rebecca (Stinson) Smith, In 1851 he moved to Marion county, Indiana, and in 1855 he moved to Adair county, Iowa, and in 1856 moved to his present location on section 4, Walnut township. He owns eighty acres in Guthrie county, Iowa, which are under cultivation and excellently improved. He was united in marriage September 5, 1844, to Miss Spiry Thompson, a daughter of James and Mary (Mann) Thompson. They have four children living—Amanda, James Taylor, John T. and Joseph W. Mr. Smith has been school director and treasurer. His son, John T. Smith, was married on the 4th of January, 1882, to Miss Mary A. Moore, a daughter of D. 0. and Olive E. (Brockway) Moore. Mrs. Smith died on the 28th of April, 1884, leaving two children— Pearl E. and an infant. John now lives with his parents, having moved there soon after his wife’s death.
Lewis Underwood came to Walnut township with his family in April, 1854, from Henry county, this state. He was a native of South Carolina, but had lived for some years in Randolph county, Indiana, and had come to Iowa from there in 1855. He settled upon section 12, where he built a cabin, which is still standing, being used as a granary on the farm, which is owned by Gow brothers. Mr. Underwood died on this place in 1867, and was buried near Middle river. He left a widow and four children—Axiom, Andrew, Lucinda and Elizabeth. The widow died some year and a half ago, at the residence of Stover Rinard, in Jefferson township.
A. G. Weeks, a Mormon preacher, who is a native of Polk county, Indiana, settled upon section 3, during the year of 1855. He remained here until the year 1863, when he disposed of his property to R. H. Marshall. His present residence is in Missouri. James Thompson, a pioneer of this township, came in the year of 1855. James Thompson is a native of Chatham county, North Carolina, having been born on January 12, 1812. He came to Walnut township, Adair county, in March, 1855, and was one of the first settlers of that township. He was united in marriage in May, 1876, to Polly Mann, who departed from her home and cares in 1862, leaving her husband and seven children in sorrow and loneliness. The children are—Spicey Smith, Samuel, John, Sallie, Andrew, Cornelia and Margaret.
Isaac Arledge was also among the pioneer settlers of Walnut township, arriving shortly after the settlement of A. G. Weeks, during the year of 1856.
In 1863 R. H. Marshall emigrated to Walnut township, purchasing forty acres of land on section 3 of A. G. Weeks, and settling thereon. A biography of this gentleman appears in the history of Casey, Guthrie county.
Among the early settlers of Walnut township was Abram Rutt, who came in 1866, and entered land on section 16.
Another early settlement was made in this township by Moses Stockwellin 1868. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, May 12, 1839, and removed to Ohio when quite a small boy. He emigrated to Illinois, in 1845, where he remained until 1863, when he came to Iowa and located in Guthrie county. As above stated, he came to this township in 1868, where he entered land on section 4, his present residence.
PROMINENT CITIZENS Among the enterprising people who have so materially assisted in developing this beautiful township, are many who may now be justly ranked among its most prominent men. The following are among the most intelligent and enterprising.
Robert H. West was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, having been born on the 29th of April, 1830. When about twenty-six years of age he moved to Kentucky, where he lived for years. And on the 25th of February, 1850, removed to Illinois. In 1855, to Adair county, and settled in Washington township. In 1876 he came to his present location in Walnut township, and bought two hundred and forty acres of land, all under cultivation; has a large grove and beautiful evergreens around his house. He has some fine cattle and horses, and is known as a fine stock-raiser. He was united in marriage in Campbell county, Kentucky, November 20, 1855, to Miss Nancy Gosney, by whom be has had six children—John L., Mary A., William W., Harvey E., Addie position of road supervisor, and school director.
Norris Keeney, a farmer and stockraiser on section 8. He was born on the 14th of February, 1824, in Connecticut, and in 1850 moved to Massachusetts, and there worked at the paper-making trade until 1856, when he came to Wisconsin, and in 1871 came to Iowa, settling on his present location in Walnut township, where he owns one hundred and sixty acres of land under cultivation. He has a large barn and an excellent house, several beautiful groves and a large and bearing orchard. He has some fine Hereford and shorthorn cattle and Poland- China hogs, and from his place has a fine view of Adair and of the surrounding country. In 1870 and ‘71 there were deer roaming over the wild prairie, which is now covered with groves and meadows. Mr. Keeney was married on the 31st of August, 1851, to Miss Anna Lord. By this union they have had four children— Vesta A., Ella A., Charles F. and George A.
John Burr was born in Sullivan county, New York, on the 21st day of March, 1827. He moved to Muscatine county, Iowa, in 1854, and to his present location in Adair county in 1876, where he owns three hundred and twenty acres of land on sections 6 and 7, Walnut township. His farm is all under cultivation, and he has a good grove and excellent barn, and deals in fine cattle, having over sixty head of cattle and several Clydesdale horses. Mr. Burr was married on the 8th of March, 1854, to Miss Martha Hill, a daughter of Philo Hill. They have six children living—William, Edward B., Frank E., Hattie May, Elida P. and Clara Belle.
William P. Utts, born on the 5th of April, 1840, is a native of Lewis county, New York. He is the son of John J. and Catharine (Myers) Utts, an old family of New York. William came to Wayne county, Ohio, in September, 1858, and in 1862 he came to Scott county, Iowa, where, after some years a resident of that county, he came to Guthrie county and purchased a farm in Penn township. After a short stay there he came to Fontanelle, in 1876. He then came to his present location on section 22, Walnut township, where he now owns a large .farm and follows general farming and stock-raising, having some fine Norman and Clydesdale horses, Poland-China hogs and some fine cattle. He has a large number of Hereford and shorthorn cattle. He has a large and well-improved farm, and is in a good locality for a farming country. Mr. Utts was married in Scott county, Iowa, in July, 1870, to Miss Alice D., a daughter of John and Scotte (Kelso) Porter. They have eight children— Thomas, Charley, William, Franklin, Katy, Emma, Lizzie and Jimmie. He is township trustee.
William Hopkins, one of the oldest settlers in Walnut township, was born in Logan county, Ohio, on the 10th of December, 1837. On the 17th of July, 1854, he moved to Winterset, Madison county, Iowa. After wandering from Winterset to Council Bluffs and several other places he came to Casey in 1868, and has lived in that vicinity ever since. He was married in Madison county, Iowa, on the 6th of August, 1863, to Miss Margaret Ralston, a daughter of Samuel Ralston. Mr. Hopkins has been trustee and clerk of the township for eight years, and has been school director for nearly twelve years.
John Roper was born on the 30th of October, 1830, in Yorkshire, England. He came to America in September, 1852, being just one month on the sea, and coming to Brooklyn, New York, he made that his home for two years, when he came to Illinois, first settling in Mercer county, and then in Geneseo, where he remained until 1874, when became to Adair county, Iowa, and bought a farm in Walnut township, where he has since remained. When his house was first erected a storm approached, and did considerable damage to his building, which was of great loss to Mr. Roper. He is a general farmer and stock-raiser, has a fine grove, and some of the finest Clydesdale stock in the county, and many fine cattle and hogs. He has a splendid view of the surrounding country, having a distinct view of the towns Adair, Greenfield and Fontanelle, and has some land in three or four townships in the county. Mr. Roper was married in 1851, in England, to Miss Myrara Stephenson. They have been blessed with eight children— John W., Mary, George, Sarah, Charles, Prank, Minnie and Fred. He is one of the most prominent men in the township, and greatly rewards the prominence given him. In the early part of his life he learned the carpenter trade, and in England and in this country followed it as a mode of livelihood, until coming to Adair county.
Jesse R. Comly, a son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Thompson) Comly, was born in Elk county, Pennsylvania, January 26, 1844. With his parents he moved to Center county, in the same state, and remained, there until he was twenty-two years of age, when he went to Powesheik county, Iowa, and from there came to Adair county, then going to Casey, and in February, 1878, came to present location in Walnut township, on section 29, where he bought one hundred and twenty acres, all of which he has under cultivation. He has a comfortable residence, good stables, a large crib, and stock yards. He has a grove started, and has an orchard which has just commenced to bear, and has the best location in the township for a farm. He follows farming and stockraising, and has some graded shorthorn cattle, and is also turning his attention to the Duroc hogs, having a nice bunch of them on hand. He was married in September, 1873, to Miss Alice M. Buck, a daughter of William and Mary (Patterson) Buck, in Powesheik county. They have two children—Ardon B. and Troy F. Mr. Comly is a member of the Friends’ church.
John D. Keeney, son of Ira and Betsey Keeney, was born December 7, 1832, in South Manchester, Hartford county, Connecticut. In March, 1859, he removed to Beloit, Wisconsin, and from there went to Pike’s Peak, returning to Wisconsin in August, 1859. He then entered a papermill as superintendent of machinery, which position he held for four years, then taking the foremanship of the mill, holding the same eight years. In 1872 he, in connection with two brothers, built a paper-mill in Rockford, Illinois, and after running it for eight years sold his interest to his brothers. April 1, 1881, he came to Walnut township, Adair county, settling on the southwest quarter of section 5, and owns the northwest quarter of section 6, and the southwest forty acres of the same section, and has seven acres of timber in Guthrie county. He is a general farmer and the owner of three pedigreed stallions—one Norman-Clydesdale, and Consternation and Black Hawk, all being fast horses. His herd of shorthorns is headed by the registered thoroughbred Prince Jerry. His residence makes a fine appearance, and is so situated as to give a splendid view of the surrounding country. The town of Adair can be seen from there, and Casey is just three miles distant. His barn, like his house, is in good condition, the main part being 42x42, and has large additions. He uses all the modern improvements for farming, including hayforks. His first marriage was solemnized December 4, 1859. He has four children by that marriage—Walter, Jennie, Hattie and Marble. He was married June 20, 1875, to Miss Sarah Winn, a daughter of Chester and Harriet (Shaffer) Winn. Mr. Keeney is a member of the A. 0. U. W., and of Ellis lodge No. 166, of Rockford, Illinois. R. C. Hollenbeak, a son of Armont N. and Permelia (Decker) Hollenbeak, was born in DeKalb county, Illinois, June 14, 1851. He came to Walnut township, Adair county, May 17, 1876, and settled on section 7, owning the south half of the same, which he has improved. He has a good frame residence, from which a good view of the surrounding country can be had. He has a large grove and an orchard, a good barn, granaries, and suitable machinery for running the farm. He was married in DeKalb county, Illinois, December 16,1874, to Miss Emma R. Brown, a daughter of Jeremiah L. and Eliza A. (Jackman) Brown. He is a farmer and stock-raiser, having Poland-China hogs and a herd of graded shorthorns, at the head of which is the imported Hereford, Gordon, which was shipped from England some six months ago.
Philip Nolan (Noland) is a native of Highland county, Ohio, and was born May 7, 1843, his parents being Philip and Eva (Funk) Nolan. In January, 1868, he removed to Marion county, Iowa, from there to Jasper county, and from Jasper county came to Walnut township, Adair county, October 22, 1882, and settled on the southeast quarter of section 17, which he bought of Nathan Workman. He has a grove, a good residence, granaries, etc., and, in fact, his farm is well improved, and he carries on general farming. His first marriage took place in Ohio on the 17th day of April, 1865, to Miss Martha J. Young, a daughter of Lewis and Barbara (Workman) Young, and she died July 8, 1873. He was again married in Jasper county, Iowa, on the 17th of September, 1877, to Miss Christine Johnson, a daughter of Morris and Elizabeth Johnson. His residence is located so as to obtain a good view of the surrounding country.
James D, Baker, a son of Jacob and Ann (Doris) Baker, was born November 26, 1834, in Ohio. He was married in Ohio, January 7, 1858, to Miss Margaret Hoskins, a daughter of Seth and Catharine Hoskins. They have nine children —Zura, Alvin, Allen, Warren, Ross, Laura, James, Myrtle M. and Drusilla. He removed to Piatt county, Illinois, November 12, 1864, and to Washington county, Iowa, December 10, 1880. In March, 1883, he came to Walnut town-ship and settled on section 23. He owns two acres of timber in Guthrie county, and has one hundred and forty acres of land under cultivation in Adair county. He has a neat frame residence and has started a nice maple grove. Mr. Baker follows farming and stock-raising, and has some good graded Herefords, and some Poland-China hogs.
CEMETERY, A cemetery was laid out in 1860 on section 2. The first interment which occurred was that of the body of Mary Thompson, March 16, 1860.
EDUCATIONAL. School district No. 1, which embraces sections 1, 2, 11 and 12, has its building of instruction on the southeast corner of section 2. It is 16x24 in size, and was erected at a cost of $500 during the year of 1878. School district No. 2 embraces sections 3, 4, 9, 10. Mary Thompson, of Winterset, is credited with being the first teacher in this district, teaching the winter term of 1862-3. In the summer of 1884, George Pratt was teacher. School district No. 3, consists of sections 5, 6, 7 and 8, and has a building on the northeast quarter of section 7. William Armstrong was the first teacher, and Michael Bagain taught the summer terra of 1884. John D. Keeney is school director. School district No. 4, includes sections 17, 18, 19 and 20. The building is situated on the northeast corner of section 19. School district No. 5 embraces section 15, 16, 21 and 22. The school-house is located on the northeast corner of section 21. The last to teach in this district was Sallie Rutt. William Utts is the present director of the district. The first term of school in this district was taught by Joseph Lesher, during the summer of 1870. School district No. 6, including sections 13, 14, 23 and 24, has a school-house on the southeast corner of section 14, 20x24 in dimensions, and erected at a cost of $600. Annie Sheltins taught the first term of school in the district, in the fall of 1869 or spring of 1870. The last term was taught by Miss Ina Marshall. The first director of the district was George Crabb, while James Wilson was last elected to that position. School district No 7 has its school building located on the southeast quarter of section 26. The district embraces sections 25, 26, 35 and 36. School district No. 8 comprises sections 27, 28, 33 and 34. The school-house of this district stands on the southwest corner of section 27, and was erected in 1877. Prior to its erection two terms of school were taught by William Armstrong, in the granary of Robert West, on section 34, during the fall and winter of 1876-7. C. D. Slinker was the last teacher in this district. School district No. 9 has for its territory sections 29, 30, 31 and 32. The school-house is located on the southeast corner of section 30. Mary Duncan was the teacher in this district during the summer term of 1884. Walnut township has the honor of sustaining one of the best school-houses in Adair county, located upon section 4.
HISTORICAL ITEMS, The first marriage within the borders of Walnut township was that of Joseph Betts and Cornelia Thompson, by Squire Root, in August, 1856. The first death was that of Mrs. Mary Thompson, which occurred March 15,1860. The first log cabin was built by Lewis Underwood during the winter 1854. In 1855, James Thompson erected the second cabin. The first frame building erected in the township was that of a school-house. Moses Stockwell erected the second frame house in the township. In the spring of 1855 James Thompson planted the first corn. Charles Smith sowed the first wheat in the spring of 1856.
transcribed from "History of Guthrie and Adair Counties, Iowa" 1884
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