JEFFERSON COUNTY ILLINOIS
BIOGRAPHIES

Walter B. Plummer


Conspicuous among the wideawake and prosperous business men of Opdyke is 
Walter B. Plummer, who has built up a substantial trade as a dealer in lumber 
and builders' supplies. He was born in June, 1861, in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, 
a son of Judge William Plummer, and grandson of Benjamin Plummer, Jr., a 
pioneer settler of Kentucky. His great-grandfather, Benjamin Plummer, Sr., and 
his great, great-grandfather, James Plummer, were likewise early settlers of 
that state. James Plummer spent all of his earlier life in Maryland, his native 
state. In 1794 he migrated to Kentucky, where he had at least one son living, 
going down the Ohio river on a flat boat and landing at Lewistown, now Maysville, 
and subsequently devoted his time to hunting. He left a fine estate in Maryland 
and a number of slaves, intending when he left home to go back there and settle 
up his affairs. On account of the many dangers then attending a trip between the 
two states, he kept putting off the journey, and finally abandoned his Maryland 
property, continuing his residence in Kentucky until his death, in 1818. Benjamin 
Plummer, Sr., was born in Maryland, and for awhile after his marriage lived in 
Virginia. Daring and venturesome, he accompanied the worldfamed Daniel Boone on 
his first trip to Kentucky, and took an active part in the stirring scenes enacted 
during the settlement of the "Dark and Bloody Ground." Benjamin Plummer, Jr., 
born in Virginia, January 10, 1793, was but a child when he accompanied his parents 
to Kentucky. A typical backwoodsman, he began hunting when too young to shoot 
excepting over a log, and became an expert marksman, his skill with the gun at 
the age of sixty years far surpassing that of most young men. During the War of 
1812 he responded to the last call for troops, enlisting in the company commanded 
by Captain Matthews, and was accidentally wounded while marching at the mouth of 
Mad river, near the present site of Dayton. He married on August 15, 1816, and 
settled at Plummers Mills, where he spent his remaining years, passing away 
January 5, 1866, at the age of seventy-three years. Nine children were born of 
their union, including: Mrs. W. B. Evans; Mrs. W. G. Montgomery, whose husband 
was a minister, died in Ohio in 1858; Mrs. T. J. Cram died September 1, 1865, 
in Missouri; James moved to Missouri in 1854; John settled in Texas; William; 
became the father of Walter B.; Dr. Henry, of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, was a 
prominent physician; and Franklin, who located in Missouri. Benjamin Plummer, Jr., 
was a miller by trade, an honest, upright citizen, and a devout member of the 
Methodist church. During the Civil war his sympathies were naturally with the 
South, and two of his sons served in the Confederate army. His death was the 
result of brutal treatment received from the "Home Guards." William Plummer 
was born in Fleming county, Kentucky, in 1833, and was there educated. In 1857 
he began the study of law with John A. Gavan, in Flemingsburg, and two years 
later was admitted to the Kentucky bar. In the spring of 1859 he was elected 
police judge of Flemingsburg, and in 1866 was elected county judge on the 
Democratic ticket, and served in that position until his death, in 1870. He 
was engaged in agricultural pursuits for a few years after his marriage, 
retiring from farming after his election to the judgeship. He was a man of 
sterling integrity and upright character, and a valued member of the Presbyterian 
church. William Plummer married, October 13, 1859, Mary E. Jones, a daughter of 
James Jones, who came from Maryland to Kentucky with James Plummer in 1794, and 
who lived to the remarkable age of ninety-four years. Three children blessed their 
union, as follows: Walter Benjamin, the special subject of this brief biographical 
review; Anna Mary, who died at the age of twenty years; and Julia Fleming, now a 
resident of Flemingsburg, Kentucky. 

Left an orphan at an early age, Walter B. Plummer was brought up by his aunt, 
Mrs. Amanda D. Norwood, of Peoria, Illinois, and was educated in the Peoria 
schools. Selecting farming as his first occupation, he was engaged in agricultural 
pursuits until twenty-eight years of age, when he moved to the city, where he 
learned the builder's trade which he followed continuously in Peoria for eight years. 
Migrating then, in 1899 to Mississippi, Mr. Plummer purchased land, and was there 
a tiller of the soil until 1906, when he traded his Mississippi property for a 
farm in Jefferson county, Illinois, near Opdyke. On this farm of two hundred and 
forty acres Mr. Plummer resided until January, 1911, in the meantime making 
improvements of value, including the erection of a modernly equipped house, at a 
cost of $2,500.00. Taking up his residence in Opdyke in January, 1911, he has since 
been prosperously engaged in business as a dealer in lumber and builder's supplies, 
and is also president of the Opdyke Bank, a flourishing financial institution. 
Fraternally he is a member of Jefferson Lodge, No. 168, Ancient Free and Accepted 
Order of Masons, of Opdyke; and of H. W. Hubbard Chapter, No. 160, Royal Arch Masons, 
of Mount Vernon. Religiously he belongs to the Methodist church. Mr. Plummer 
married first, in March, 1888, Alice Ramsden, daughter of James Ramsden, who 
immigrated from England to the United States, settling in Peoria, Illinois. 
She died, leaving one son, Harold W., born February 11, 1894. Mr. Plummer again 
married, January 2, 1896, Mrs. M. L. Howarth, a daughter of Jeremiah Harker, 
of Peoria, Illinois.



Source: History of Southern Illinois George Washington Smith, 
M. A. VOLUME I - III ILLUSTRATED 
THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY CHICAGO AND NEW YORK 1912
Page 1453 - 1455 

Submitted by Robert W. Loman 



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