by Gayle Stuart
On May 7, 2022, we are celebrating 25 years of being the Walnut Genealogy Society with an open house at the Walnut Public Library from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. We are hoping for a good attendance.
Pastor Paul Hutchins, an avid genealogist himself, was instrumental in organizing the society. He helped with the paper work, by-laws, and website and started our first newsletter. Although he recently moved to Wisconsin, he is still maintaining and updating our website. Paul served as our first president, and I have been president since he left Walnut.
Many of our older members served as our historians as they remembered families and businesses and their locations. The memories of Mabel Drake Buboltz, Don Walter, Ron Paasch, and Bob Goeken were all very helpful.
Ruby Andersen spent countless hours in the genealogy room at the library. She printed obituaries from The Walnut Bureau microfilm, trimmed them and put them in our notebooks. She also spent time at Layton Township Cemetery, made indexes of where people are buried, and recorded much additional information.
More recently Erika Lees took photos of the tombstones at both Walnut cemeteries and made databases of the information on the stones. She then added memorials to findagrave.com. Her database was updated and used for the directory at the Layton Township Cemetery.
Betty Griffith saved obits for us from several different newspapers for many years. We are currently saving obits for Avoca, Atlantic, Harlan, Oakland, Lincoln Township, Marne (Brighton Township), Monroe Township, Shelby, Walnut Layton Township and St Patricks Cemeteries.
Bob Greenwall worked hard on Walnut’s history, including weddings, businesses, houses, the railroad, the River to River Road, and took photos of barns still standing in backyards. He also researched country churches in the area.
Bob Martens photographed buildings and activities around town and Mariann Martens also helped with our work. Rick Blum has helped with articles on the history of Walnut for our newsletter and we have helped with some projects for the Walnut Creek Historical Museum.