Madison County




By Herman A. Mueller, 1915


          The old Town of Peru was laid out on the 18th day of April, 1855, by Simmons Rutty, surveyor, for Aaron Hiatt, and for some time was quite a busy little trading point, having a couple of general stores, a blacksmith shop and school and church close by. Nothing now remains but the schoolhouse and a few dwellings, as the hamlet was forsaken, for business purposes, when the railroad was built a mile south of it and the new town of East Peru was founded.

            East Peru was laid out December 6, 1887, by Robert A. Patterson, surveyor, for William H. See, owner of the land, and is located on the north half of section 11, in Walnut Township. It stands on the north bank of Clanton Creek, on the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City (Chicago Great Western) Railroad, and to the north is a stretch of superb farming lands, under a high state of cultivation.  Peru is one of the best shipping points in the county, and has a good graded school and two churches. Close by, to which a spur of his railroad extends, is a splendid quarry, equipped with machinery and appliances of the latest devices, from which is taken vast quantities of stones for building and other purposes.  The town has several general stores, hardware, furniture, drug and meat establishments, a blacksmith shop, livery stable, hotel, garage, cement and tile works, implement and harness stores, telephone exchange, restaurant, elevator, lumberyard and a very neat and comfortable depot.

          East Peru was duly incorporated and now has a population of about 400.  When it was laid out there were three houses on the site. It is said that James Harwood was the first one to engage in business, having a stock of general merchandise. Hiram C. Wright opened a general store soon after. The school building a frame -- as erected about the year 1900. The school is graded and employs three teachers.

            For a new town, East Peru is quite advanced. In the summer of 1913, F. A. Herwehe established and built an electric light plant, which he sold to E. F. Clifton in October, 1914. This utility was a small affair, costing about $1,500, and built as an experiment. The present owner is convinced the improvement can be made permanent and profitable, and with this view in mind has made expensive additions and alterations to the machinery.

           The Peru Savings Bank is a solid financial institution, which came into being when the Bank of East Peru, a private concern, was established in 1899, by William Fennimore, Joseph S. Emerson and William Painter. About 1900 Painter sold his interest to his remaining partners and a year later, or two or three years later, Fennimore sold to Emerson, who continued operations until December 1, 1910, when the Peru Savings Bank was organized and established under the laws of the State of Iowa, by William Deardorff, Elmer. C. Zimmerman, Fred M. Beeler, William A. Harwood, Joseph P. Harwood, John Schoenenberger, Edgar Harrell, Noah W. Oglesbee and Robert E, Phillips. The officials are: President, William H. Deardorff; vice president, Joseph L. Harwood; cashier. Elmer C. Zimmerman; assistant cashier, Laweyel M. Delaplain. Capital, $l0,000; undivided profits, $4,500; deposits, $82,275.

            Hazel Lodge, No. 573, A. F. & A. M., was organized June 6, 1901, with Robert A. Greene, worshipful master; John F. Deardorff, senior warden; Amos C. Creger, junior warden. Maple Leaf Lodge, No. 577, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized in October, 1903, by Henry Smith, P. S. Todhunter, Warren P. Benge, George W. Finley, John J, Spurgin, who were also the first officials, Modern Woodmen, Walnut Camp No. 2091, was established on the 19th of

          January, 1895, with fifteen members, and the Woodmen of the World, East Peru Camp, No. 380, was organized January 6, 1911, with eleven members. An auxiliary lodge, the Woodmen Circle, Walnut Grove, No. 111, was organized July 7, I911, by Emma L. Foster, Hattie M. Lilley, Cora Inez Dowler, Augusta L. Thomsen, Ila Hiatt, Martha Ergenbright, Anna Gillian, Velma M. White, Anna White, Lena Garst, Josie Johnson and John W . Garver.


Transcribed by Judy Wight Branson

Edited by Kent Transier


Maintained by the County Coordinator

This page was last updated Thursday, 13-Apr-2017 16:53:19 EDT .