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People Histories

Thomas R. Walker
 (24 Oct 18461 - 10 Apr 1912)

-As transcribed from the "COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF THE UPPER LAKES REGION"

by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, IL, 1905

pages 532 - 533


Thomas R. Walker, a well-known citizen of Shell Lake, was born Oct. 24, 1846, in Pomeroy, Meigs Co., Ohio, son of Samuel and Sarah (Sloan) Walker.

Grandfather Adam Walker came from County Tyrone, Ireland, and settled in Pennsylvania, where his son, Samuel, was born.  In early life Samuel Walker went to Ohio where he learned the trade of blacksmith, following that calling most of his life.  In 1855 he came to Monroe county, Wis., clearing a farm on which he passed the remainder of his life.  For some years he carried on a blacksmith shop at Elroy, being one of the pioneers of that industry in Wisconsin.  In July, 1861, he enlisted in Company I, 6th Wis. V. I., and was discharged on account of disability, in February, 1862.  He was in the battle of Bull Run, where he lost his sight, being blind for six months after his discharge, and never fully recovering.  His death occurred at Ontario, Wis., in 1887, when he was eighty-two years of age.  He was a Universalist in religious faith.  His widow survived him until 1897, when she died at the age of eighty-seven.  Her father, Joseph Sloan, was of Scotch descent, and built the first distillery at Dayton, Ohio, near which city his daughter, Mrs. Walker, was born.  Joseph Sloan died in Athens county, Ohio, when over ninety years old.

Thomas R. Walker spent most of his boyhood on the farm in Monroe county, and when he was twenty-one began farming in Vernon county.  In 1882 he went to Cumberland, Wis., where he was employed in a sawmill, and two years later came to Shell Lake, where he was employed by the Shell Lake Lumber Company for about 20 years.  He began work in the machine shop, and from 1895 has been in charge of the pumping station supplying water for the mill (until it was permanently closed in 1903) and for the village, and furnishing power for other industrial purposes.  Mr. Walker has an enviable reputation for faithfulness and punctuality in business.

On Nov. 4, 1865, Mr. Walker married Miss Miza Curtis, a native of Rome, N. Y., daughter of Alfred and Mary Curtis, who were pioneers of Ontario, Wis., having moved to this State in 1862.  Alfred Curtis died at Shell Lake Jan. 4, 1892, aged sixty-eight years.  He was long prominent in the Masonic fraternity and I. O. O. F.  His widow now lives at Lowell, Wash.  Her father, Elisha Harrington, is still living at Geneseo, Ill., aged ninety-eight years.  Mr. and Mrs. Walker have five living children, as follows:  Leonora, Mrs. Edward Burgen, of Shell Lake; Leslie, a farmer in Burnett county, Wis.; Raymond; Pearl, and Grace, the latter born in Cumberland, Wis., the others all natives of Vernon county.  There were two other children, Herbert, who died when thirteen months old, and Mary, Mrs. V. E. Covey, who died in 1899, at Vashon, Wash.  There are twelve grandchildren.  The family is connected with the M. E. Church, of which Mr. Walker is a trustee.  He has been a life long Republican.  He is a charter member of Shell Lake Lodge, No. 67, I. O. O. F., and of Shell Lake Encampment, No. 55, and has filled all the chairs in both organizations.



1 - Editorial Note - The transcription of Thomas R. Walker's tombstone states that he was born 24 Oct 1847 rather than the 1846 date shown in this biography.  Burial was in the Shell Lake Memorial Cemetery.



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