Isham M. Walker

General History of Macon County Missouri:
1910 Henry Taylor & Co., Chicago, IL pp 858-860.

Le Ann Fisher

Isham M. Walker

Isham M. Walker, Narrows township, Macon county, who is well and favorably known as a successful and progressive farmer and excellent citizen, is a native of the county and was reared and educated almost wholly within its border. He was born on October 15, 1853, and if not himself exactly a child of the frontier, inherited from his parents its sturdy independence, self-reliance and capacity for any task that might properly be laid before him.

Mr. Walker's parents, Isham and Mahitable (Murphy) Waker, were dwellers in this state in its pioneer days and experienced all the hardships and privations and felt all the alarms of such a state of existence. The father was born in Kentucky in 1816, and came with his parents to this state when he was a small boy. His father, Johnson Walker, was also a native of Kentucky and born into being there while it, too, was a wilderness. He grew to manhood on or beyond the border of civilization and was prepared by his experience there for the more exacting ones that awaited him in the new home still farther from the centers of cultivated life to which, as a young man, he brought his little family at a very early day in the history of what is now the rich, populous and influential state of Missouri. The family located in Howard county, and the son, Isham, Sr., who had come to that section as a child, remained at home until he reached the age of nineteen. In 1835, taking his father's example as his incitement and guide, he sought a new home in an undeveloped region, determined to make his own way in the work and build a name and reputation for himself without the aid of parental influence or family standing. He came to Macon county and entered land on which he determined to found a home and develop a citizenship of usefulness. Macon county that extended all the way to the Iowa line and was sparsely peopled.

On the land on which he thus became possess the elder Mr. Walker passed the remainder of his days, developing and improving his property and adding to it until he owned 800 acres. On this farm also he reared his family and rose to prominence and influence as one of the leading landholders of the county and one of its most judicious, progressive and serviceable citizens. During the whole of his residence in the county he was actively engaged in extensive general farming and raising superior live stock, and in all his undertakings he was eminently successful. He took an active interest, also, in the public affairs of the county, helping to give proper trend and enterprise to its forces of development and improvement, and to guide its political and moral agencies along lines of wholesome and elevating potency.

The father's death occurred in 1877l. His first marriage was with Miss Mahitable Murphy, of Macon county. They became the parents of seven children and five of them are living: Elizabeth, the widow of L. E. Hope, of Christianburg, Kentucky; Gabriel M., who lives in Macon county; Sarah J., the wife of Jacob Albright, of Joplin, Missouri; Andrew B., who is one of the prosperous citizens of St. Louis; and Isham M. The mother of these children died in 1855, and in 1860 the father married a second time, on this occasion being united with Miss Malinda Andrews, of Howard county, in this state. Of their two children only one is living, Anna D., the wife of George Wisdom, of Macon county. His father was a Democrat in politics and a Baptist in religious connections. He took an active part in the work of both his party and his church. Second wife died in 1897.

Isham M. Walker, like nearly all the children of his day and locality, obtained his education in the district schools in large measure. But unlike most of the other he had the benefit of a finishing course at Mount Pleasant College, in Huntsville, Missouri. He passed his early life assisting his parents on the farm, working on it even after leaving college, and remaining at home until 1876. He then started a farming enterprise of his own on 100 acres of land which his father gave him, and has continued it energetically and profitably to the present time. He now owns 210 acres of good land and has the greater part of it under skillful and productive cultivation.

Mr. Walker has not, however, devoted himself wholly to his own interests. He has been zealously serviceable to the community as a member of the school board and in many other ways, aiding in every worthy project for the improvement of the region around him, and contributing essentially and substantially to the welfare of its people. He was married on November 19, 1876, to Miss Mary J. McGrew, a daughter of Clinton and Angeline (Spencer) McGrew, prominent citizens of Macon county. They have five children, all living in Macon county but one. They are: Susan Luella, the wife of Alfred Purdy; Melville C., whose home is at Rockyford, Colorado; Hubert E., of this county; Henry F., also of this county; and Victor T., who is still at home. The father is a Democrat in politics and he and his wife are Baptists in religion, and both active workers in the church in which they belong. They stand well in the county, being reckoned among its most prosperous and influential citizens and most active factors for good to the whole people. They are generous in social life, making their home a center of refined and considerate hospitality, and contributing liberally to everything that ministers to the enjoyment of their hosts of friends, who hold them in cordial admiration as all the rest of the population does in high respect.

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Ernie Miles