The community of Walnut Grove began in 1870. A nation, fresh from civil war, had literally been torn apart. Its citizens sought new beginnings, far from the settled eastern states. The Homestead Act of 1862 urged pioneers, sodbusters, and immigrants to head west and make their mark on the great expanse of the Plains. It was a time of change and progress in communications and travel. A telegraph system joined the country from coast to coast in 1861. East and West were joined by rail in 1869.