Lake County Ohio GenWeb


Information was compiled and submitted by Michelle Gatz, Yellow Medicine County Veteran's Service Officer. Some editing was done by Cynthia Turk.

James Walker was born in Ireland Oct 1849. In 1850 he and his parents, James and Jane Riley Walker immigrated to Mentor Ohio. When the War of the Rebellion called, James joined the 23rd Ohio, Co I, recruited out of Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

An article on 10 Jan 1918 in the Granite Falls Journal tells some of his story:
Civil War Veteran is Reminescent
James Walker, Well Known Veteran here tells of incidents in the army at that time.

In our present war time it seems doubly interesting to meet a Civil War veteran and to have him become reminiscent to relate trying experiences of those days. It was recently our pleasure to visit with a well known veteran of this community, namely James Walker, who served two years in Company I of the 23rd Ohio Infantry. His service was principally under General Sheridan in the Shendenoah valley. Mr. Walker has the distinction of belonging to a regiment that produced two presidents of the United States, Rutherford Hayes and William McKinley. He knew both of them as officers of the regiment.

Speaking of the eagerness of boys of tender years to enlist, he himself being less than seventeen at the time, he said, "Of course, you had to be eighteen years of age." To illustrate his point he related a story of a father and son who wanted to enlist, the former too old and the latter too young. In order to make their statement seemingly truthful, the father placed the number forth five into his hat and the son placed the number eighteen into his shoes. When questioned as to their ages, the father affirmed that he under 45 and the son that he was over eighteen. There being in those days a shortage of men, it seems such inveracity was winked at by the officers in charge. Mr. Walker took part in many active engagements. While some of them were mere skirmishes, nevertheless hazardous, Mr. Walker was fortunate to pass thru them all unwounded. The nearest he came to being hurt was when a part of a canister struck his arm making it black and blue. He had a brother who served for four years and he also returned unwounded.

James Walker married Mary B. Thompson in 1870 and moved to Minnesota Falls, Minnesota in 1872, where they were listed together in the 1880 census. There were no children listed, but there was 16 year old Irish-born Alec Johnson, a laborer, living with them. James was a chairman of the town board.

From the Granite Falls Newspaper on Dec 29th, 1885 we find:
There was a scene that was not advertised at the GAR entertainment. A plate of cake was passed back from the front part of the hall and during its transit it became emptied and when some one threw it, hitting James Walker on the side of the head, causing a bunch to swell as big as an egg. We overheard a party sitting near, remark "If he had hit me, I think I should have found the man." An apology was certainly due.

The veteran census schedule in 1890, the Soldier, Sailor, Marine report:
PVT CO I 23rd Ohio Inf. 8 Feb. 1864 age 18, mustered out 26 July 1865.
Post Office Address: Granite Falls
Disability Incurred: Surgeon certified disability

The 1895 MN state census lists James age 49 and Clara age 37, born in Ireland and (Iowa or Louisiana?) respectively. Civil war service was indicated. They had been living 23 years in Minnesota. No children were listed. They appear to be living in the household of Lydia Foruinga, listed as age 55 and Indian; surname indexed as Fowinga.

The 1900 Census lists James as widowed and a farmer. In 1910 he is listed as a boarder in the household of William and Sadie Sherman, his neighbors in the 1905 state census. James Walker died 13 Jan 1923 of diabetes and is buried at Paulding, Paulding County Ohio. Mary Hummel was the informant on his death certificate (File No. 5606.)

His obituary, probably from the Paulding newspaper:

James Walker Dies in Ohio- Jan 1923 James walker, a veteran of the Civil War and a former resident of Granite died at Paulding Ohio, January 12th. The following account is taken from the Democrat of that city: James Walker was born in Dungall county, Ireland, in 1846. He came to this country with his parents early in life, and after a very brief residence in New Brunswick, Canada, he came with the family to Willoughy Ohio. He lived there until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he with his brother enlisted and served in the 23rd Ohio Regiment, with the late Presidents, Hayes and McKinley, and General Rosencrans. After the close of the war he went to Minnesota where he lived until about three years ago, since which time he has lived with his sister near his old home, and with his sister, Mrs. William Hummel, here. He is proceeded in death by his two wife’s. He is survived by two sisters, Mrs. William Hummel and Mrs. Rebecea Carroll and nieces, nephews and friends. Funeral service was held at the home of William Hummell, Monday, January 15th, conducted by F.S. Dowdy.

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Last updated 28 Dec 2008

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