CHARLES A. WALKER, supervising editor of this history of Macoupin county, is one of the patriarchs of the county and has long been recognized as one of its ablest and most progressive citizens. He is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, born August 21, 1826, a son of Abraham S. and Rosina (Phelps) Walker, the former of whom was born in Kentucky and the latter in North Carolina. There were four children in their family, all of whom grew to maturity except James L.: Caroline, who married William Phelps and is now deceased; Charles A.; Tennessee V., who became the wife of Ferdinand Taggard and is also deceased; and James L., who died after reaching his twentieth year. All fo the children of Mr. and Mrs. Walker were pioneers at Carlinville, which became their permanent home.
Abraham S. Walker, the father of our subject, was reared in Kentucky and married in Tennessee. He was one of the early pioneers of Macoupin county and built the third house in Carlinville. In 1836 he entered the mercantile business in this place, continuing until 1868, when he removed to Hamburg, Iowa, and died there in 1875, being then past his seventy-third year. His wife died the same year at the age of seventy-six. They were both consistent members of the Methodist church. Mr. Walker took a prominent part in public affairs and held various offices during his residence in Macoupin county. Charles Walker, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was of English descent. He was born in Rowan county, North Carolina, in 1765. He removed to Logan county, Kentucky, and was there married to Caroline Matilda Stephens. They were the parents of three children. The maternal grandfather was Joseph Phelps and his wife was Sallie Ainslee. They were of German parentage and were born in Pennsylvania. Mr. Phelps was a farmer and died in Madison county, Illinois, leaving a large family.
Charles A. Walker removed with his parents to Madison county, Illinois, in 1828, and two years later came with them to Carlinville, which has since been his home - a period of eighty-one years. He clearly remembers the deep snow of the winter of 1830-31 and the sol-called "falling of the stars" in 1833. He attended the old seminary conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Orin Cooley and later became a student of Shurtleff College at Upper Alton. In 1849, yielding to the gold excitement, he crossed the plains to California by ox team with the Alton Company and engaged in mining and packing goods into the mountains. He returned to Carlinville in 1851 and became connected with the mercantile business with his father-in-law, Daniel Dick, under the title of Walker & Dick. Later he engaged with Walker, Phelps & co., the firm consisting of his father and his brothers-in-law, William Phelps and F. Taggard, in the wholesale dry goods, clothing and grocery business in Alton. He returned to Carlinville in 1854 and again entered the mercantile business with Walker, Phelps & Company. Being attracted to professional life, he began the study of law in 1856 in the offices of Judge S. S. gilbert and General John I. Rinaker. He was admitted to the bar in August, 1858, and has ever since practiced at Carlinville, occupying the same office since 1862. He has devoted himself with marked success to general practice and has also served very acceptably as a public official. He was elected police magistrate in 1856; to the lower house of the state legislature in 1862; was master in chancery for sixteen years, from 1862; and was mayor of Carlinville in 1872. In 1880 he was elected state senator and served his constituents to their entire satisfaction for four years. He has served as president of the Old Settlers' Association of Macoupin county for twenty years and has built that organization up so that at each annual reunion there is an attendance of over ten thousand persons. During the courthouse troubles he was actively engaged with General John I. Rinaker as one of the county's lawyers in the case of the people against the courthouse commissioners, which was one of the most important causes in which he has taken an active part.
On the 16th of November, 1852, Mr. Walker was married to Miss Permelia A. Dick, a daughter of Daniel and Susan (Gates) Dick, and to this union two children were born, Lolah and Mae. Lolah married Dr. William H. Woods and became the mother of one son, Charles H., who is now engaged in the practice of law in partnership with his grandfather. Mae, the youngest daughter, was married to Colonel Charles McClure, of the United States Army, and now resides in Washington, D. C. They have one son, Lieutenant Charles W. McClure, of the United States Army, who is now in the Philippine Islands. Mrs. Walker was born in Sangamon county, Illinois. Her parents were natives of Kentucky. Her paternal grandfather was John Dick and he married Mary Donner. The maternal grandfather of Mrs. Walker was George Gates, a native of Pennsylvania, and his wife was a Miss Grove.
Charles A. Walker is a self-made man and his success at the bar indicates that he is an able lawyer. He is a man of positive character, strong convictions, and yet tender-hearted, kind, affable and courteous. He possesses fine natural endowments which have been developed through discipline, observation, study and many years of varied experience. He is a clear thinker, a logical reasoner and a good judge of human nature. He is known as a wide-awake, public spirited citizen and has always been friendly to those principles that aim to secure the greatest good for the greatest number. He was favorable to the erection of a courthouse suitable to the wants of the people, but he promptly declared his opposition when he discerned the purposes of the county commissioners in erecting a building far exceeding the needs of the county, and endeavored by every possible means to defeat their plans, becoming the leader in opposition to what he considered a stupendous wrong. To him, perhaps, more than to any other man in the county have the people looked for justice in times of emergency, and in him they have found a faithful honest and competent friend and adviser. In politics Mr. Walker has always been a stanch supporter of the democratic party.