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Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879

Page 96


Among the many prominent citizens of Macoupin county, none deserves better mention in a book of this character, than he whose name heads this biographical sketch. Mr. Walker may be regarded as one of the pioneers of the county, if an active life of nearly half a century within its borders entitles him to that honor. He was born in Nashville, Tenn., and emigrated to Illinois in 1830, with his father, Abram S. Walker, who was a blacksmith by trade, but subsequently became engaged in active mercantile pursuits. He married Miss Rosina Phelphs, who was a native of North Caroline. Mr. Walker is of English and German extraction. The subject of our sketch spent his boyhood at work on his father's farm, attending the country schools during the winter months. Compared with the present, the educational facilities of those days were limited. To supply this deficiency, and qualify himself for business life, he, in 1848, entered Shurtleff College, at Upper Alton. When the gold fever of California broke out, Mr. Walker, becoming imbued with the popular excitement of the day, and being fitted by his vigorous constitution to enjoy the chances of an overland trip through a wild and unexplored country, in company with two others, set out with an ox team for the distant Colorado. There for two years, he was engaged in mining and trading, when he returned to Carlinville. About two years after his return he married Permelia, daughter of Daniel and Susan Dick. He was engaged in general business from this time until he commenced the practice of law, which was in 1858, having studied in the law office of Judge S. S. Gilbert and Gen. John I. Rinaker. In the profession of law, Mr. Walker found his proper sphere and true field of usefulness, where he is still actively engaged. He is a man of fine natural endowments, which have been developed by thorough discipline and extensive research. He is a clear thinker, a logical reasoner, and a good judge of human nature. To these necessary requisites of a good lawyer, are untiring industry and a large share of common sense. In the possession of these qualities the problem of success is easily solved, and it is no evidence of unusual foresight to predict for the possessor of them a successful career. Mr. Walker is a wide-awake, public-spirited citizen. He is fully imbued with Western push and enterprise. Every movement having for its object the increase of the wealth and prosperity of his town or county, receives his cordial and substantial support, but he is the foe to everything that has not for its object the greatest good to the greatest number; this is notably so in his connection with the building of the new courthouse. At the inception of the building he was in favor of the erection of a courthouse that in size would meet the demands of the county, and be suitable for the wants of the people. No sooner did he discover the plans and purposes of the commissioners, and their determination to erect a building exceeding the wants of the people for many generations to come - creating a debt that would weigh them down with taxation, did he promptly declare his opposition, both publicly and privately, endeavoring by every possible means to defeat their plans, and compel them to pay attention to the voice of the people. By his outspoken views and prominent position, he became at once the leader in a fierce opposition to the perpetration of that stupendous wrong, as he has always insisted it was. Having then defined his position, he has rigidly adhered to it to the present time. To him, perhaps, more than to any other man, have the people looked to have justice done them, and it is not too much for us to say, that in him they have found a faithful, honest, and competent leader and adviser. In politics Mr. Walker is the staunch supporter of the Democratic party, and is most soundly indoctrinated in its political creeds, and has followed its varied fortunes through all the stirring campaigns of his manhood. He has done good service for his party, and his forcible and persuasive words, as delivered from the hustings, have inspired courage and hope in the hearts of its friends. In 1862 his services and fidelity to the principles of his party received recognition from an appreciative people. He was nominated and elected to the position of member of the legislature. In 1872 he was elected mayor of the city of Carlinville. In 1876 he was one of the democratic state electors, and canvassed his district in that capacity. In these positions he discharged his trusts in a manner that justified the wisdom of the people who gave him their suffrages.

In his intercourse with men. Mr. Walker is a pleasant, affable and courteous gentleman, and is ever mindful of the wants of others. This, in brief, is an outline of the life of Charles A. Walker - the sequel of his own history tells the story. Industry and indomitable will wins success, and success is the standard by which the world measures a man. It is the measure of Mr. Walker's ability as a lawyer and a man. It admirably illustrates the wisdom of the adage, "Man is the architect of his own fortune."

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