Select Walker Miscellany

Here are some Walker stories and accounts over the years:

A Walker Family at Birstall, Batley, and Nidderdale

One Walker family history in Yorkshire has an ancestry that have been traced back to 1468 and William Walker of Littletown, a hamlet near Liversedge manor in the parish of Birstall.   Several generations lived thereabouts before a move to the neighboring parish of Batley. 

In about 1714 John Walker became a Quaker so that he could marry his Quaker bride Sarah Chappell. Thus began a long line of Quaker Walkers that has continued in some cases to the present day.  His grandson Robert moved to Darley in Nidderdale around 1780.  The Walkers prospered there for the next hundred years, as gentlemen, farmers, land owners and mill owners.  

The Walker clan has since scattered.  Many of them emigrated to Canada, America, or Australia.

The Walkers of Walterclough Hall

The first recorded of these Walkers, William Walker, lived in the village of Scholes in Yorkshire and died in 1628.  His son, also named William, in 1654 acquired Walterclough Hall in the Walterclough valley southeast of Halifax.

The estate passed through three generations before John Walker became its squire and master in the mid-18th century.  He was a woollen factor of great prestige and wealth.  While he and his wife had four children, they had also adopted his nephew, an orphan Jack Sharp, into their household.  It was this Jack Sharp that later took over the Hall and brought it to ruin.

But the other Walker line at Crow Nest continued to prosper and do good.  In 1775 William Walker brought Russian timber to the Yorkshire coast, and eventually to Brighouse by canal, for the construction of the Lightcliffe church and mansions in the area.  On his death in 1809 it was said: “He was a gentleman of the strictest integrity and honor, a kind and affectionate master, and a liberal benefactor to the poor, by whom his loss will be long and severely deplored."

The Whitby Walkers

There was said to have been an old family of Walker merchants from Whitby on the Yorkshire coastline who traded between Holland and England.  Family tradition has it that these Walkers were Quakers at one time.  Subsequently three sets of Walkers could be identified, although it was not clear what the relationship with each was. 

The best known Whitby Walkers were the brothers John and Henry Walker who were shipowners and engaged in the coal trade between Newcastle and London.  John Walker was close to the famous explorer Captain Cook in his formative years at Whitby.  Cook stayed in John Walker’s house during his apprenticeship and was supported and encouraged by John during his career.  

Richard Walker was thought to be descended from another family of Whitby Walkers, but by the mid-18th century, he was living in Yarm, a market town on the Tees.  

Elizabeth Walker was the daughter of another John Walker.  She married Abel Chapman who came from another prominent Whitby family.  During succeeding generations, a number of descendants of Abel Chapman and Elizabeth Walker married descendants of James Walker

Walkers in the 1881 Census

Walkers (000's)

The largest concentration of Walkers at that time was in Leeds, where their numbers totalled 1,350.

The Rev. George Walker and the Siege of Londonderry

The Rev. George Walker led the successful defense of Londonderry during its siege by Jacobite forces in 1689.  The relief was palpable, not just in Londonderry but in the capital London, when the siege ended.  Walker became famous after his diary of the ordeal was published.

"The applause which immediately followed the publication of Walker's Diary in London was unbounded. The heroic author basked in the sunshine of royal and popular favor, seldom beaming on the head of any one man at the same time, however great his worth or important his services.”

It was said that Bishop Walker’s portrait was in every house in London.  Recollection of the siege was kept alive by the Walker and Campbell clubs of Londonderry. 

The Walker Monument, which was erected in Londonderry in 1828 by the Protestant Apprentice Boys to commemorate the siege, was blown up by republicans in 1973.

Walker Pioneers in Johnson County, Iowa

The name Robert Walker goes through this family, starting with Robert Walker who was born in Glasgow in 1610 and through at least ten of them through the generations to those now in Johnson county.  Robert Walker it was who came to Baltimore by 1725.  Another Robert Walker fought in the Revolutionary War. Walker descendants migrated to Ohio after the War before heading west again to Johnson county, Iowa in 1840.  Robert Johnson was among the first of the settlers there.  

According to family legend, the Walkers were kicked out of Portage county, Ohio for being poor.  Robert’s younger brother Henry then made a fortune in the California Gold Rush.  It was said: “He brought back so much gold that he couldn’t carry it all in one wagonload.”

The Walkers remained stalwarts of their community through the 19th and 20th centuries.  Robert Walker carried on the Walker family tradition of large families when he and his wife had 15 children. They make up a sixth generation of Walkers born in Johnson County, although only a few of them still live in the area.  

The Walkers have been buried in an old cemetery high on a hill in south Johnson county.  The four Walker brothers who first settled in Johnson county - Robert, Joseph, Samuel and James - are all buried there.  Some stones are so old that they have toppled over, the inscriptions now eroded with age.

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