Looking Back: Family's ancestry goes back to 1811

December 28, 2003|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

Everhart Walker knows a lot about his African American and Cherokee Indian heritage. The retired minister has helped compile a family history and gathered photographs about his family that came to Boyle County in the 1870s from Mercer County.

He talked at a recent Boyle County Genealogy Association meeting about his early Walker ancestors who were born into slavery, and continued through the generations who were able to gain freedom.

Walker lives on the same land his ancestors purchased in the Wilsonville community in western Boyle County. His niece, Laverne Tibbs of Detroit, has done much of the research, Walker said.

They have traced their ancestry back to 1811, when the Walkers were located in Woodford County. Walker's great-great-grandfather, Thomas Walker Sr., was born in 1811 into slavery. He married Lucinda Walker, who also was born to slave parents. They don't have any other information about her.


Thomas and Lucinda's children were: Thomas Jr., born 1836; Horace, born 1838 (Everhart's great-grandfather); Willis, born 1840; Emaline, 1842; Smully, born 1844; Ali, born 1848; Sarah, born 1850; and Delilah, born 1852.

Horace Walker, the second child, was a house slave and also worked for a small amount of money. He married Mariah White, also born in 1838 in slavery. She was the daughter of Davis P. White, and was half Cherokee Indian and half white.

Horace and Mariah had nine children: Thornton, born 1851; Cato, born 1853; Joshua "Judge," born 1855; Elizabeth, born 1857; Thomas, born 1861; Lewis, born 1863; Johnson, born 1866 (grandfather of Everhart Walker); Lucy, born 1867; and George, born 1869.

Horace moved to Mercer County before 1860. After living there 10 years and losing most of his children to typhoid fever, he moved to a three-fourths acre of land between Junction City and Parksville, now known as the Wilsonville community. He paid $30 in 1883 for the land that still belongs to the Walkers.

Horace died in 1882 when he was 44 years old.

Johnson began working at the age of 4 to help his mother out.

"He wasn't too fond of work, said Everhart Walker. "His nickname was Lazy."

Johnson married Mary Andrews, daughter of George Washington Andrews, who was born into slavery on the Pittman farm across the road from the Walker family. George was a son of Robert Pittman, the slave owner.

After George was freed by the Pittman family, he was given an acre of land by the Pittmans. He later bought another 10 acres in the same area, then another 10 acres adjoining the land. He gave Everhart Walker's grandmother 4 acres for taking care of him until his death. All the Walker land remains in the family.

"Robert Pittman, a slave owner, who owned a large tract of land where Frank Durrett lives now, appointed George Washington Andrews as administrator over certain portions of his estate," said his grandson.

"We have a copy of the will and what he owned when George Washington (Andrews) was appointed. He had several slaves, horses and wagons. The 70 acres we own there came off the 1,000-acre Pittman farm."

In later years, Walker's grandfather, father and uncle bought small tracts off the Pittman land. His grandfather also purchased 16 acres of land for $3.40 in 1920 on Persimmon Knob Road. The Walkers still own that land.

Johnson and Mary Walker, a teacher at the old Wilsonville School, had four children: Johnson C. (1886-1911); Lillian, (1888-1913); Lucien (1873-1953), Everhart's father; and Hubert (1896-1973).

"Grandfather and my uncle were fearful that when they reached 25 years old, they would die like the younger two children," Walker said.

Lillian left three young girls, who were raised by grandfather, Walker said.

Lucien served in the Army during World War I.

Walker and most of his family attended the old Wilsonville School, which is slated for renovation.

"Hopefully we can see that come about," he said.

Lucien's wife, Mary Elizabeth Fitzgerald, was born in Russell County, Va. Her grandfather came to America from Scotland. She came to Boyle County when she was 8 years old. Her grandfather bought the land on Persimmon Knob Road and they built a house there. It is still standing. He operated a sawmill.

Lucien and Mary Walker had five children: Dorothy, who currently lives across the road from Walker; Gertrude, Clara, Theora and Everhart, the youngest.

"I live at the old someplace where I can sit and see the farm where my grandfather slaved on," said Walker.

He recalled stories about his ancestors. "Dad talked about grandpa owning the farm after old man Pittman passed on. Pittman had several other children and when they would have a disagreement, Robert Pittman's wife would call Grandpa to settle the boys down."

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