JAMES WALKER. One of the oldest citizens of Scottville is James Walker, who has passed the seventy-seventy anniversary of his birth, which occurred in Greene county, in the vicinity of Athensville, Illinois, on the 4th of November, 1833. His parents were John A. and Nancy (Hall) Walker, both natives of Nelson county, Kentucky. The father was born on the 15th of January, 1804, and the mother on the 11th of April, 1811. In the paternal line the family is descended from one of three brothers who emigrated to America from Scotland during colonial days. One went west, another settled in the east and the third disappeared and was never head from. Joseph Walker, the paternal grandfather of our subject, was born in Maryland in 1765, whence he migrated to Kentucky about 1780, where he took up government land, settling in the vicinity of Bardstown, in Nelson county, Kentucky. He married Sarah Coons about 1789, both spending the remainder of their lives in the Blue Grass State, where they passed away about 1840. Their son John A. Walker, came to Illinois, settling on Mova Star creek, six miles east of Jacksonville. He remained there until 1831 and then removed to Greene county, where he entered one hundred and twenty acres of government land. In 1866 he came to Scottville, Macoupin county, and there lived retired until his death on the 15th of May, 1885, at the age of eighty-two years. He was twice married, his first union being with Miss Nancy Hall in 1825, while residing in Kentucky. She passed away in Greene county, this state, on the 15th of February, 1838, having become the mother of five children: Henry, Nathaniel, Jane, Sarah and James. In 1839 Mr. Walker married Miss Elizabeth Sears, a daughter of Samuel Sears, a farmer of Macoupin county, and one of the pioneer settlers. She also died on the homestead in Greene county, on the 7th of November, 1857. Of this marriage there were born four children: Mary, Samuel, Isabella and Christina. Henry and Nathaniel Walker served in the Mexican war and Nathaniel and Samuel took part in the Civil war.
Upon James Walker devolved all the hardships which fall to the lot of pioneer farmer lads. At the age of nine years he began assisting in the work of the fields, his summers thereafter being devoted to agricultural pursuits, while in winter he attended a subscription school near by until he had mastered the common branches. In 1852 he left home and went to California in search of gold. The three years there spent in prospecting, however, were not altogether fruitless as upon his return he had sufficient means to become associated with J. J. Sears in the purchase of four hundred and eighteen acres of land, for which they paid eighteen dollars per acre. In 1856 he bought what was known as the Redfern farm and there he has ever since resided. He engages in general farming and stock raising, while for over forty-five years he has been feeding both cattle and hogs for the market. He is one of the most extensive feeders in the country, using annually from fifteen to twenty-five bushels of corn for this purpose. His shipments each year average one hundred head of cattle and four hundred hogs, most of which go to the Chicago markets but some are sent to New York and Boston. Unusual success has attended his efforts and Mr. Walker is regarded as one of the most successful and prosperous agriculturists of Scottville township, where he owns five hundred and eighty acres of land.
On the 4th of January, 1858, in Scottville, the Rev. J. W. Austin made James Walker and Miss China M. Owens man and wife. Mrs. Walker is a daughter of James and Hannah (Van Bebber) Owens. Her father was born in Overton county, Tennessee, his natal day being the 11th of April, 1800, and the mother in Claiborne county, the same state, on the 30th of January, 1802. They came to Illinois in 1837, locating in Sangamon county, where they spent a year and then went to Greene county. After six years' residence in the latter place they came to Macoupin county, purchasing land in Scottville township. Here they both passed away, the mother's death occurring on the 17th of August, 1877, and that of the father on the 26th of December, 1878. During the entire period of his active life Mr. Owens devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits.
To Mr. and Mrs. Walker there were born six children: Eugene E., who was the eldest of the family, died on the 15th of July, 1874, at Scottville. Nancy A. married Samuel Hettick, a farmer and stock raiser in Scottville township and they have eight children. Dora A. was married on the 8th of November, 1880, to Albert Ogg, who at that time was farming in Scottville township but is now deceased. He left six children. Fannie M. became the wife of Samuel Hawkins, who died on the 15th of June, 1905, and by whom she had five children, two now deceased. James A., who is farming in Scottville township, was married on the 23d of October, 1895, to Miss Sarah Dugger. Vena Gertrude married Lee Ruyle, also a farmer of Scottville township and they have two children. Mr. and Mrs. Walker also have seven great-grandchildren, three of Mrs. Hettick's children having married, as follows: Clara, the wife of T. M. Turner, who has two daughters, Mildred and Ruth; Nellie, who married Harry Redfern and has three sons, Ralph, gilbert and John; and Ruth, the wife of John Edwards, a resident of Bird, who has two children, Samuel and a babe, not yet named. Mr. and Mrs. Walker have been married for fifty-three years and on the 4th of January, 1908, they celebrated their golden wedding.
They are both members of the Christian church, in the faith of which denomination they reared their family. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masonic order, belonging to Scottville Lodge, No. 426, A.F. & A.M. He has never taken a very prominent part in political affairs in the township, but has served as trustee and school director, giving his support to the republican party. Mr. Walker has always led an active life and commands the respect and good will of all with whom he has been associated in both a business and social way.