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Walnut Grove, Mississippi is a town in southern Leake County. The community began in a nearby location, now known as Old Walnut Grove, which began as cotton plantations during the period before the American Civil War. A post office was established in 1854, and the town was incorporated in 1884. Electricity and street lights were installed in the early 1900s. However, the Jackson and Eastern Railway came through to an area, missing the town by a short distance, so a town was surveyed at the current location in 1923, and the town center moved to its current location. The town hall, post office and library have remained in Old Walnut Grove. Two canals were built in the late 1920s, and the town received telephone service in 1927. A sewer and water system was installed in 1962, and natural gas became available in 1966. The town organized a volunteer fire department in 1970, although a fire truck was not purchased until 1974. In 1981, William Grady Sims was elected mayor, and served until 2012. Under his leadership, the town annexed the property of the privately operated Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, and Sims was appointed warden of the facility in 2009. The facility became the largest youth facility in the nation, but it was also rated among the ten worst prisons in the country. During his first year as warden, Sims took a female prisoner to a motel and raped her. He was indicted on federal charges, and the prison was closed in 2016. Nearby communities include Good Hope, Hays, Horseshoe, Lena, Madden, Piggtown, Sebastopol, Standing Pine, and Tuscola. Carthage, Mississippi is about ten miles north of Walnut Grove.



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