Albert G. Walden, chief of the fire department of Wichita, Kan., and known as one of the most successful department heads in the United States, was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, Dec. 29, 1849, a son of Baltzer and Julia A. (Streeter) Walden. Baltzer Walden was a native of New York state, but became a resident of Ohio when a young man. He became a shipbuilder and dealt extensively in lumber, his shipyard being at Fulton, Hamilton county. In 1855 he removed to Dayton, Ky., opposite his former home, and during the same year he met his death in an accident in Cincinnati, Ohio, through the falling of a cornice from the Ohio Trust Building, five others losing their lives through the same occurrence. He was forty-two years old at the time of his death. His widow died at the age of seventy-six.
Albert G. Walden received his early education in the public schools of Anderson, Ind. In 1862, when a boy of only thirteen years, he joined his brother, Adolphus P., who was then a soldier in the Union army, stationed at Milliken's Bend, Miss. During General Grant's expedition and the first advance on Vicksburg, Albert was captured by the Confederates near Raymond, Miss., and again near Vermilion, La., being made a prisoner twice before reaching the age of fourteen. He remained with his brother's regiment, the Eighth Indiana infantry, until 1864, having enlisted as a private in Company K, but was later transferred to Company B, One Hundred and Fifty-sixth Indiana infantry, and remained in the service until the close of the war, in 1865, serving as a musician. Mr. Walden was in the battles of Champion's Hill, Black River, the siege of Vicksburg and many other engagements. He accompanied General Banks' Red River expedition and was captured by the Confederates, but three days later was recaptured by the Union forces. On being mustered out he returned to his mother's home, at Anderson, Ind., where he remained until 1868, when he enlisted in the regular army, in which he served for five years. In 1873 he located in St. Louis, Mo., and engaged in the stock business with a brother. In 1880 he removed to St. Joseph, Mo., and assisted in building the city waterworks plant. Subsequently he became a traveling salesman, and while in this line of employ became impressed with the commercial possibilities of Wichita, Kan. In 1884 he opened in this city a sample room for a Philadelphia notion and hosiery house. Two years later he was appointed chief of the Wichita fire department. During his administration he has given the department a vigorous, systematic and business-like management, building it up into one of the most effective fire fighting organizations of any city in the country. Mr. Walden organized the paid fire department and became its first chief; traveled extensively, studying the methods in force in all the larger cities of the United States, as well as those of London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, and has given Wichita the benefit of his observations. He organized the American District Telegraph Company of Wichita, which gave the city a fine fire alarm system, and was its first superintendent. For twenty-three years he has been a member of the International Association of Fire Engineers, and has served as vice-president of that organization; is a member of the National Fire Brigades Union of Great Britain, and the National Association of Fire Chiefs; is a member of Warwick Lodge, No. 44, Knights of Pythias, Wichita Division, No. 2, Uniformed Rank, Knights of Pythias, of which he has been commander for several years; the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
On Dec. 6, 1882, Mr. Walden married Miss Malvina A. Dreschaux, a daughter of Edward and Albertine Dreschaux. Mrs. Walden is a talented singer and a leading instructor in music. Her musical qualifications have attracted wide attention, both in America and foreign lands. She is of French-German descent, and was born at sea, on board the vessel "Prince of Wales." As the ship crossed the equator the Union Jack was hoisted and she was christened, thus making her a subject of the British Empire. She was four months old when the ship reached London, and was then taken to Norway, where she lived until seven years of age. Her musical education was begun in Norway, and when her parents removed to Vicksburg, Miss., it was continued under Prof. Fischer, a graduate of Leipsic. She next went to St. Louis, where she studied under Prof. Ernst. She soon began giving lessons on the piano and sang in the choir of Grace Church. Later she studied in Wichita, and in 1889 accompanied her mother to Europe, where she entered the Royal Conservatory, at Munich, next to Milan, where she continued her studies under the famous Master Lamperti. Her other instructors were Mme. Lemair and Maestro Pontecchi. After her return to Wichita she appeared frequently in concerts, her popularity extending to the cities of the Pacific coast. Mrs. Walden has also contributed a number of articles to musical magazines.Pages 1211-1213 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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