Page 490-492, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


J. C. Walker, a Kansas pioneer, who was one of that great army of patroits[sic] who defended the Union in the early sixties, and whose ranks are now rapidly thinning, is living retired at his comfortable home at Augusta. J. C. Walker was born at Nelson, Shelby county, Illinois, in April, 1844, and is a son of Isaac and Mary (Elder) Walker, natives of North Carolina and Tennessee, respectively. J. C. Walker was one of a family of three children, and is the only one known to be living now. He received his education in the common schools of Shelby county, Illinois, and when seventeen years of age enlisted in Company B, Forty-first regiment Illinois infantry, and served until after the close of the war. He was discharged at Louisville, Ky., in July, 1865. During his term of service he participated in many hard fought battles and skirmishes. He was at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth and was at the siege of Vicksburg, being present when the city was surrendered. He was with Sherman on his memorable march to the sea and after the surrender


of Lee marched to Washington and was later mustered out of the service and discharged as above stated.

At the close of the war he located in Moultrie county, Illinois, remaining there until the fall of 1872, when he came to Butler county, Kansas, and after spending about two years at El Dorado, he returned to Illinois. After remaining in that State until 1882, he came to Butler county again, this time locating at Leon, where he lived three years on a farm. He then went to St. Joseph, Mo., and shortly afterwards came to Augusta, where he engaged in farming. When he first came to Butler county, the country was one broad, unfenced range that stretched in every direction as far as the eye could see, without an object in view but plain prairie everywhere. The roads, or trails as they were then called, were laid out on the principle that "a nearly straight line is about the shortest distance between two points." Mr. Walker has been thrice married, his first wife being Sarah Cornwell, of Sullivan, Ill., and to this union four children were born, three of whom are living: W. S., Kansas City, Mo.; Mrs. Zoda Suits, Augusta, and C. A., a grocer at Wichita, Kan. The wife, and mother of these children, died in March, 1884. He was married a second time to Mrs. Margaret Reeder, October 8, 1891. She died in March, 1901. In 1903 Mr. Walker married Mrs. Louisa Payton, widow of Thomas Payton. She bore the maiden name of Louisa Oldberry and was a daughter of George and Matilda (Venard) Oldberry, the former a native of England, and the latter of Indiana. The Oldberry family were very early settlers in Kansas, locating in Chase county about a mile east of Cottonwood Falls, in the fall of 1858. Prior to coming to Kansas they had lived in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri, and when they came to Chase county they drove through from Missouri with ox teams. Mrs. Walker was a real pioneer girl of the plains, and says when her people located in Chase county that there were only five girls in the county, and she relates, with much amusement, many of the early day social events. She says it was not an uncommon occurrence to drive ten miles to a dance with ox teams, and that they often had to start in the middle of the day to get there on time, and then, after dancing until about midnight, that they usually reached home after daylight the next morning. When her people came to Kansas, they wanted to stop at Emporia for some purpose or other, and as they were driving along the trail, they were on the lookout for the town. After driving by a house that stood by the wayside, they inquired of someone, whom they met, where Emporia was, and he told them that the house that they had just passed was "it," that being the postoffice and only house in town.

Mrs. Walker was first married September 21, 1862, to Thomas Payton at Cottonwood Falls, the marriage ceremony taking place in a primitive cabin, with a dirt floor, that her father had built in 1859. To this union were born ten children, five of whom are living, as follows: Mrs. Lucy Pennybaker, Strawn, Kan.; Mrs. Mary Lowe, Seton, Col.; Mrs.


Jennie Cochran, Hartford, Kan.; Edward Payton, Augusta, Kan., and Weaver Payton, near Augusta. Mr. and Mrs. Walker are among the honored pioneers of Butler county, and are highly respected by their friends and acquaintances.

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