Claudius D. Walker, one of the best known attorneys of eastern Kansas, and the present mayor of the city of Atchison, is a native of the Keystone State, having been born at Greenville, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, March 29, 1851. His ancestry is a mixture of Irish and English. Some years before the beginning of the Revolutionary war three brothers named Walker emigrated from County Tyrone to America, and they were the founders in this country of that branch of the Walker family to which the subject of this sketch belongs. They first settled in Boston, Mass., but one of them, the great-grandfather of the subject of this review, removed to Mercer county, Pennsylvania. Here his son, Harvey, the grandfather of Claudius D., was born, grew to manhood and married Elizabeth Carr, who was born at Mile End, England. Their son, Harvey, the father of Claudius D., was also born in Mercer county and married Anna Maria Nelson, a native of County Tyrone, Ireland, who came to this county when only eight years old with a brother. Her father was an Englishman who went to County Tyrone to look after the management of an estate and married there. Anna M. Nelson received a good education, and prior to her marriage to Harvey Walker, was a teacher in the public schools. She was several years younger than her husband and lived to a good old age. For several generations the Walkers were manufacturers of carriages and wagons. A few years ago a genealogy of the Walker family was compiled and published by one of themthe late United States attorney for the district of Missouri. In 1857 Harvey Walker came with his family to Kansas and bought a claim in Bourbon county and engaged in business as an Indian trader, which avocation he followed until 1861. In 1861 he joined a colony of emigrants bound for Oregon, but when they reached Atchison they were so favorably impressed with the country that they proceeded no farther on their journey. Harvey Walker was a steadfast Union man at the beginning of the Civil war, but was physically unable for military service. After remaining in Atchison county for a year he removed to Jefferson county, having bought a tract of land near Winchester, and here he developed a fine farm, It was on this farm that he and his wife passed the remainder of their lives, leaving ten childrenall of whom are yet living.
Claudius D. Walker, after finishing the common school, first attended Baker University at Baldwin, Kan., then took a literary course of four years at the State Agricultural College at Manhattan, after which he taught school for a time. He then read law with Boyce & Boyd in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated in law at the University of Michigan with the class of 1878. Upon completing his course there he returned to Atchison, without a penny, and borrowed two hundred dollars from his father to establish himself in practice. His progress was rapid, how ever, and in a short time he came to be recognized as one of the able lawyers of the Atchison bar. In 1882 he formed a partnership with W. D. Gilbert, under the firm name of Gilbert & Walker, and this association lasted until Mr. Gilbert was elected district judge in 1887, since which time Mr. Walker has practiced alone. He has a large clientage and a lucrative business and has been identified with some of the most important cases ever tried in the local courts. He owns considerable land in Atchison county and has assisted in the promotion of a number of large financial enterprises, where his legal knowledge and sound business judgment have been of incalculable assistance to his associates. In his political affiliations Mr. Walker has always been an unswerving Republican. From 1887 to 1889 he was auditor of the county; was county attorney from 1892 to 1896; has served several terms in the city council, and in 1911 was elected mayor of the city. In 1898 he was a candidate before the convention for congressman, his opponents being Case Broderick, W. J. Bailey and Charles Curtis, and after a deadlock, which resulted in more than 1,000 ballots, Charles Curtis was agreed upon as a compromise candidate. His party has several times selected him for the important position of chairman of the county central committee, and in every campaign for years he has made speeches for the Republican cause all over eastern Kansas. He is a prominent figure in fraternal circles, being a member of the Masonic fraternity, the Knights of Pythias, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Moose, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Knights of the Maccabees, the Knights and Ladies of Security, and the Royal Arcanum.
On June 7, 1881, Mr. Walker was united in marriage with Miss Lizzie E. Auld, a native of Brownsville, Pa., but a resident of the city of Atchison at the time of the marriage. She is a daughter of W. W. Auld, one of the pioneer business men of Atchison, and for years a member of the well known firm of Blair & Auld. Mr. and Mrs. Walker have one daughter, Isabelle, who is an accomplished young lady. In whatever walk of life Mr. Walker's lot has been cast he has made the best use of his talents to accomplish the tasks assigned him. As a lawyer he is conscientious and energetic in behalf of his clients; as chairman of his party committee he has used every honorable means to win victories at the polls; as a citizen he has shown public spirit and a desire to promote the interests of the community, and as mayor of the city he is doing his best to give the city a clean, business administration. Such a man naturally commands the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens. Mr. Walker has a high standing in the city where he has passed the greater portion of his life.Pages 903-904 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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