Walpole, Illinois (From "Hamilton County Illinois Celebrating 175 Years"




Hamilton County Illinois

Celebrating 175 Years (by permission of the Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce)

At its height, Walpole in the southwest quarter of section 4 of South Twigg Township, had two stores, a Masonic lodge, a bank, post office, blacksmith, two grist mills, and several houses. But the settlement was originally named Griswald, after Gilbert Griswald, who opened a post office there on April 16, 1832.

In March 1857, he plotted a village of 60 lots around it, naming it Walpole in honor of Lord Walpole, the Earl of Oxford. The Griswald post office was closed April 1, 1869 and reopened July 15. Its name was changed to Walpole on September 22, 1869, and it was closed for good in the 1950s.

During the village's time of prosperity, Omar Wooldridge ran a general store in the first floor of a two-story frame building, and the Masonic Hall was on the second floor. To the south was the bank building, which also housed the post office. Palmer Lasswell was both banker and postmaster. Across from the bank, Homer Jones ran a small store. The blacksmith was Frank Lewis, and two grist mill operators were Edgar Thomas and Louis Essery.

When Wooldridge's wooden store began to deteriorate, he built a concreate block structure across the street to the east. The Masonic Lodge purchased it when he died.

In 1960, the population was 60; it had declined to about 25 by the mid-1970s.