David B. Walker, a prominent Marshall county pioneer and veteran of the Civil war, is a native of Ohio. He was born December 19, 1845, and his parents were Isaac and Winifred (Barrett) Walker, natives of Harrison county, Ohio. The Walker family trace their ancestry back to colonia[sic]>o? times, Ebenezer Walker, a direct lineal ancestor, was a soldier in the Continental army during the Revolutionary war and was killed while in the service. He left a son, Aaron, who was the father of Isaac, the father of David B., whose name introduces this sketch.
Isaac Walker was a wagon-maker and for years followed that occupation in Ohio, doing an extensive business. In 1856 he came to Kansas with his family, making the trip by boat from Wheeling, W. Va., down the Ohio river and up the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to St. Joseph, Mo. They drove from St. Joseph to Marshall county, Kansas, and reached their destination May 18, 1856, settling near the forks of Vermillion creek, south of where Frankfort now stands. Here the father took a claim and built a log cabin for a home. They were the first settlers on the west fork of Vermillion creek and their nearest neighbors were at Marysville, about fourteen miles distant. They used oxen in breaking their land and did all their farm work with oxen for several years as there were few horses in the country at that time. Buffaloes were plentiful along the Blue river and they often went buffalo hunting there, and in this way obtained their meat supply. Deer and antelope also were plentiful and Mr. Walker says he has often stood in the door of his home and seen lots of deer and antelope, and at one time counted as many as eleven different herds of from three to seven deer each. At the time the Walker family settled in this section there were many Indians here and there was an Indian village located on the Walker homestead for a time. Several different tribes of Indians frequently gathered here and held regular Indian pow-wows for days at a time. Owing to the favorable location and the fact that Isaac Walker, the father, was friendly with the Indians, made this a favorite camping place for them, and for fifteen years or more there was an Indian village here. There was no serious trouble from Indians in this settlement, but there was considerable Indian trouble along the White Rock and Blue rivers on numerous occasions and several people who were massacred were well known to the Walker family. About 1857 the old town of Sylvan was located near where Winifred now is. This was the county seat of Marshall county, later changed to Marysville, and the present Walker home stands near the site of the old log court house. Isaac Walker, the father, was an ardent Free State advocate and was known as "Free Soil" Walker. He followed pioneer farming and stock raising, and for twenty-five years or more after he located here his horses and cattle ran at large over the plains, as there were no fences in those days. St. Joseph, Mo., was their nearest trading point and the trip there was made with ox teams. The Fremont trail, or the Government road, leading to the west passed eight miles north of the Walker homestead and at times miles of seemingly unbroken wagon trains of ox teams and prairie schooners could be seen winding their way westward on this trail.
David B. Walker was reared among these pioneer surroundings and remained at home until the Civil war broke out. In September, 1862, he enlisted in Company G, Thirteenth Kansas infantry, and saw service in Missouri, Arkansas and Indian Territory. He was severely wounded at Forsythe, Mo., and shortly afterwards was discharged on account of disability resulting from his wound. In fact, he was permanently disabled. The misfortunes of the war fell heavily on the Walker family. The father while in the service was severely wounded and the only brother of the subject of this sketch, who was a member of the Eighth Kansas infantry, was killed on the field of battle. In the latter part of 1863, after being discharged from the service, David B. Walker returned to Kansas. He found the old home neglected and almost desolate, being practically abandoned while the father and two only sons were in the army. He was broken in health, but set out to start life over again with the same determination that he had marched to the front during the war. In 1865 he drove an ox team to Denver, crossing what was then known as the Great American Desert, and after returning to Marshall county engaged in farming and stock raising. He took a homestead near his father's, where he farmed and also worked in a saw and grist mill at Barrett's. This mill was operated by A. G. Barrett, an uncle, and was the first mill in Marshall county. Mr. Walker has been successfully engaged in farming and stock raising since that time. He has raised Hereford cattle for many years. His original herd of Herefords was from the celebrated Morgan herd, which was the first in Kansas. He now owns his original homestead and also the one where his father settled, the old land warrant to his father being signed by President Buchanan. His place now consists of about 900 acres.
In 1880 Mr. Walker married Miss Annette, daughter of James and Martha (Chattuck) Barrett, natives of Illinois. The Barrett family removed to Iowa at an early day and in 1870 came to Kansas, settling in Marshall county, where the father followed farming. Mrs. Walker was born in Jasper county, Iowa, and was about nine years old when she came to Kansas with her parents. To Mr. and Mrs. Walker have been born four children: Carroll, who is in the grain and elevator business at Lillis, Kan.; Isaac B., also a grain and elevator man, at Winfred, Kan; Volney and Marshia, high school students at Frankfort. Mr. Walker is a public spirited man and has taken an active part in the development of his locality. In 1909, when the railroad was built through what is now the town of Winifred, he made a liberal concession of land for the railroad company and built the first houses on the new town site of Winifred. He also built several business places, including a bank building, and in 1910 organized the State Bank of Winifred with a capital of $10,000, and has been president of that institution since its organization. He was practically the founder of the town of Winifred. He is also president of the Marshall County Mutual Insurance Company and has held that office since its organization. This is one of the prosperous and well managed mutual insurance companies of the State. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Grand Army of the Republic.Pages 566-568 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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