township is bounded on the north by Scott township, on the south
by Clarke county, on the east by Ohio township, and on the west by
township is thoroughly well drained by the two branches of Clanton
creek which unite within its limits. Along these streams there is
plenty of timber and a large supply of limestone. The surface is
rough and uneven in places, but the first and second bottoms of
Clanton creek furnish unsurpassed farming land. The soil is a rich
dark loam, and yields luxuriantly.
first white settlers in Walnut Township in 1849 were John Mars and Tom Carr, who, it is said, furnished to
settlers who came later on, meat from hogs running wild here at the
time. It was claimed the hogs got away from the Mormon emigrants
passing through Union County
on their way to Salt Lake and strayed to this locality. Among the next, and we might say
permanent settlers, were
Samuel Peters, A. J. Stark, George W. Teague, Aaron
and Jesse Hiatt, Ben and Jacob Brown, who built the first water mill
across Clanton; James Emerson, the John Marshalls, Rhynos, William J. Guthrie,
John Guiberson, McClures,
Drakes, Burdicks, the five brothers, Elijah, Job, Thomas, John and
William Smith, and their venerable parents.
the old settlers, a few of them are still living in Walnut Township
(1908) in the enjoyment of well earned fortunes they founded in the
early times but the greater part of them have passed away, and
others, in the nature of things, will not long survive. Several are
in the South and West, where they are all playing the part of
pioneers. But wherever they may be, and whatever fate may betide
them, it is but truth to say that they were excellent men and women
as a class, and have left deep and enduring impression on Walnut Township
and Madison County.
built better than they knew; they were men and women of energy and
activity, invariably poor, but brave-hearted, and few long remained
poor, doubtless owing to the fact they lived within their means,
however limited, and the result was prosperity and contentment. With
always a cordial welcome to their fireside and table for the
stranger, yet for several years these pioneers lived under great
privations and discouragement. In years gone it was noticeable with
what affection the pioneers spoke of their log cabins, and it may be
doubted whether palaces ever sheltered happier hearts than those
lonely cabins. They were made of logs, notched together at the
corners, ribbed with poles and covered with clapboards. A puncheon
floor was then laid down, a hole cut in the end of the structure and
a stick chimney run up. A clapboard door was built, and a window was
made by cutting a hole in the side or end, about sixteen or eighteen
inches square and finished without glass. Logs were then chinked
with mud made of top soil.
and Grandmother Walker, as they were familiarly called, with their
three sons, S. M., William and James Vance Walker, Ben Roberts, Alex
Lorimor, who built the first steam sawmill in the township; the
Hiltons, Fivecoats, Flanigans, McGuires, Paul Jones, Levi Mease,
Tiltons, Fowlers, Isaac Reager, Dan Baker, were also among the early
first county bridge in Walnut Township, across Clanton, was built in 1863 or 1864, near where Austin Reed
now lives. There had been a number of so-called bridges of logs
constructed across this stream. They were covered with poles and had
puncheon floors. When the freshets came they were certain to be
washed away. But at that time the streams were much narrower than
now and we had no difficulty in securing trees along the banks to
reach across them. And
that calls to mind the majestic trees which at that time graced each
side or bank of our water courses, black and white walnut, three
kinds of elms, hard and soft maple, hackberry, hickory, ash and the
stately white and yellow cottonwood; linn, commonly called basswood,
and also the buckeyes, which caused the early settler any amount of
grief, both in early spring and fall, as the cattle while browsing
in the fall would eat the buckeyes and founder on them, and not
infrequently the result would prove fatal.
township is now well settled and has good churches and schools.
The village of Peru is located in this township.
is situated on Clanton creek, about a mile and a half east of
Peru, a peculiar shaped hill or high piece of ground, which is
known as Hog's Back, and is quite a curiosity; in shape and form
not widely different from "Devil's Back Bone." spoken of
elsewhere in this history. It is a steep bluff about one hundred
and twenty-five feet high, and about three-quarters of a mile in
length. On the top of the ridge, for a distance of about half a
mile, there is barely room sufficient for a wagon track. Clanton
creek courses along on one side of the ridge, and a small stream
on the other. This high ridge is composed mostly of limestone
rock, and a peculiar greasy, reddish clay. The clay is supposed to
be what is known in many places as "paint clay."
present officers of the township are: Justices - Fred. Beeler, Z.
F. Burt; Trustees - J. W. Smith, S. R. Young, William Jahn;
Constables - W. M. Travis, Phillip J. Rose; Assessor - T. Y.
McKee; Clerk - J. D. Hillman.
below is Walnut Township as it appeared in 1875. The township
population consisted of about 160 families at the time the map was
made. Clantons Creek, Deer Creek, and South Clantons Creek join
together in Section 15 and form the watershed for the township.
Both cemeteries shown were on the original 1875 map.