Walnut Township History

Excerpt from The History of Dallas County, Iowa, published in 1879 by the Union Historical Company of Des Moines, Iowa

This township is the second one from the south in the east tier of townships in Dallas county, and is known in the government surveys as congressional township 79, range 26, west of the  5th principal meridian.

By the general division of the county into precincts, in March, 1850, the territory now included in Walnut formed part of Penoach precinct, and in the general division into townships, February 2, 1857, it was constituted as a township, including its present territory, and that of Grant township, and was then first called Walnut. October 5, 1857, a strip two miles wide and six miles-long was cut off the north end of Walnut and added to Des Moines, by order of the court.

After this no other important change in its boundaries seems to have occurred, until in September, 1868, when Grant Township was organized, which cut Walnut down to its present form, as bounded by the congressional township lines, and no record appears of any important change in its boundaries since that date.

It has no river passing through it but Walnut Creek, with its two branches flowing in a winding course through different localities on the east side, and meeting a short distance before passing out through the east line about two miles north of the southeast corner, water and drain all that portion of the township.

The thickest settlements are along the east side and in the vicinity of the above mentioned streams, and some good and well improved farms are found throughout that locality.

In the eastern and northern portions are found a good many small ponds, which, while they are sometimes convenient for stock water, are rather too thick in certain localities to be profitable for farming and good road purposes.

There is still some unimproved prairie land in Walnut, and being situated so near Des Moines, farming land of all classes command a a good price and ready sale when there is any market for land.

Walnut has one town, Waukee, situated near the center of the south row of sections, a station on the Des Moines & Ft. Dodge R. R., about fifteen miles from Des Moines. The railroad crosses the southwest corner of the township, entering the south side on section 34, and passing out at the west on section 18, leaving about five sections of land in the township southwest of the railroad; and has also one post office, Waukee.

Walnut is an independent school district, and has eight good schoolhouses, beside the public school of Waukee.

Among the early settlers in Walnut Twp were John Betts, Henry Young, Paul Hoff; Lyman Ellis, Lafayette Ellis, Frank Strahl, Loren Bingham and others, some of whom came at quite an early day. T. K. Duncan is, perhaps, the oldest settler now in the township. He settled in this vicinity about twenty years ago, and still continues as an honored and. highly respected citizen of the township.

In some parts of Walnut settlements were made at quite an early day, especially in the southwest portion, in what is known as the 'Coon settlement, in the vicinity of the North Raccoon river, and in that portion of the township there is some excellent, rolling farming land, and some large, well-improved farms. Also, northeast of Waukee, there is quite an old settlement, in a good locality, and now has so the good improvements, and extensive, well-arranged farms. Considerable stock is being raised in the township, and the gradual growth and prosperity is very perceptible.

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