Thomas M. Walker, president of the Atchison Savings Bank, the oldest state bank in Kansas, is one of the leading financiers and bankers in the state and has gained the preëminent place he holds in the business world by his own efforts. He was born in Owen county, Kentucky, and spent his boyhood days in his native state, where he received a good common school education. His parents were Delville and Lucinda (Sarks) Walker, old residents of the Blue Grass State. Like so many young men who were born and reared in the West, Mr. Walker had the restless spirit that has made possible the rapid development of the great Mississippi valley, and when twenty-five years of age went to Colorado to seek fortune for himself. He left there, in 1876, and went to St. Louis, Mo., and three years later came to Kansas and located in Osborne county, where he took up land and was one of the first men to plant alfalfa in the western part of the state. Early in life he developed marked business tendencies and did not confine his energies to farming, as he was one of the pioneer merchants of Alton, Osborne county, and was president of the First National Bank of Osborne for over fifteen years. He had shrewd business foresight, saw that the "short grass country" of western Kansas was to become valuable, and invested heavily in land in Osborne, Rooks and Graham counties, being one of the largest landed proprietors in that section of the country. From first locating in the state he has had faith in her bright future, and recent events have proved that his faith was well founded, for today the "Great American Desert" of the early '70s blossoms like the rose and produces wheat and cattle that feed countless thousands. After spending nearly a quarter of a century in the western part of the state, Mr. Walker turned his face to the east, seeking a wider field for the activities. He had gained a wide reputation as a successful business man and banker and, in 1901, came to Atchison, where he bought the interest of Mr. Fox in the McPike & Fox Drug Company, one of the extensive wholesale drug houses, now located in Kansas City, and in which he holds the positions of secretary and treasurer. Within a short time Mr. Walker invested in other commercial enterprises, in Kansas and Missouri, and at the present time is president of the Globe Surety Company of Kansas City, and a director of the Thomas Trust Company, also of Kansas City. The Atchison Savings Bank is the oldest state bank in Kansas, as it was started by R. A. Park nearly a half-century ago, at a time when the state was starting in on its second decade as a member of the Union. In addition to his banking interests in Atchison, Mr. Walker holds considerable stock in other institutions of the same character. Starting in with little equipment for the battle of life, he has won fortune by his ability, honesty, hard work, and determination to succeed. Every man has had a square deal in all business transactions with Mr. Walker, and for this reason he is held in respect by his associates and loved by his friends for his kind heart and generosity. From the time he cast his first vote, Mr. Walker has been a stanch adherent of the Republican party and has worked in its interests, but is not tied by party allegiance in local elections, as he believes in putting the man with the best qualifications into office, regardless of party, and thus securing the best local government. Fraternally he is associated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Walker married Carrie Nixon, of Chicago, Ill., and they have a daughter, Henrie. Since coming to Atchison the family has made many friends and Mr. Walker is regarded as one of the most prosperous, progressive, and substantial citizens of the city.Pages 584-585 from volume III, part 1 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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