MARION COUNTY BIOGRAPHIES

"W"


Walker, Robert Bruce

 

Robert Bruce Walker came to Jefferson as a young man, having lived his early life in Pittsburg, Texas. He was born in Clarksville, Texas, July 20, 1854, and was the son of William C. Walker, who reportedly came from Tennessee, and Eliza Jane Walker. His father was born January 12, 1821, and died February 26, 1891. His mother, born September 27, 1832, died March 22, 1911, and was the daugther of A. D. Duncan and M. D. Jarman (married January 10, 1831). His mother and father are buried in OakWood Cemetery next to the graves of his brother John C. Walker, born September 5, 1859, died 1922, and John's wife, Ade~la Walker, born 1868, died 1942.

     R. B.   Walker had t:wo other brothers and two sisters: William A. Walker, born January 3, 1852, died in early childhood on July 27, 1856; the second youngest son Walter Scott, was born January 25, 1859, but his date of death is unknown. He moved to Dallas and was in the furniture business; the oldest sister was Mary E. (Mollie) who was born September 3, 1849, died November 10, 1906; the youngest member of the family was Una Nina who was born May 10, 1871, and died July 3, 1964, in Pittsburg. Mollie Walker narried Edwin C. Northen, January 29, 1868 (see "The Northen Family). Una Walker married R. B. (Burt) Lockhart on April 12, 1896. Burt Lockhart had inherited the Pittsburg Gazette from his father and continued to build this publication into one of the leading newspapers of that era. (the paper continues today under the leadership of Thomas Richard (Dick) White who inherited the reins from his father, the late T. J. White. Burt and Una had one daughter, Mary Ruth, who lives today in Pittsburg. Ruth White recalls that her father and R. B. Walker were great friends and avid fishermen. She describes Mr. Walker as "elegant", "very beloved", and "quite a gentleman". R. B. Married Anna Tarpley Northen on January 5, 1881, in Jefferson. Anna had come to Jefferson during the early days of the Civil War (see "The Northen Family") with her mother Martha Ann Lockett Northen. Anna was a beautiful woman who never had a harsh word for anyone. She was proud of her heritage and of her family. Gardening was one of her enjoyable pastimes, but she was also a sensitive poet. One of her writings is reproduced within this family history as evidence of her deep belief and unfailing faith in God. In her last years she spent six years in a wheelchair as a result of a fractured hip. She never complained of her demise, but spent many hours reading her Bible even though her eyesight was poor. "Nanny", as she was affectionately called by her children and grandchildren, epitomized southern culture in its finest form.

     Robert Walker was quite an entrepreneur. He owned several buildings in downtown Jefferson during his lifetime, one of which was the old Rogers National Bank, later to become the First National Bank, situated on the corner of the same property now housing the present bank. He went into the mercantile business with P. Schluter and William Clark. Their store was called "Schluter, Walker & Clark", dealing in staples and fancy dry goods, books, shoes, hats, caps and notions, located at No. 17 Polk Street. R. B. was the in buyer for this very successful business and used to make trips to New York and to St. Louis to purchase goods. R. B. was active in civic affairs and was mayor of Jefferson, his term expiring April. 15, 1901. He was also President of the Commercial National Bank.                 In those days Jefferson had three thriving banks. R. B. and Anna lived in their first home just south of the First Baptist Church for many years. Their first child, E. Walker, born September 16, 1881, lived longer than any of his brothers and sisters. As a young man, he worked in his father's mercantile store, later became a United States Marshal and in later life, operated a cotton seed oil mill in Jefferson. He worked within a few short years of his death in February 1977. (He is buried in Atlanta, Texas.) He married Gladys Johnson (one of twin sisters) and they had one child, a daughter, Anna Martha. (She married Charles Ballowe and they live today in Dallas as do their children, Bridges and Jane.)

     Rupert Karl Walker was the next oldest child. He was born September 8, 1883, and died September 10, 19fJO. He lived all his life in Jefferson and was an accountant by profession. He had a great love for baseball after playing it as a young man. He was quite active in Christ Episcopal Church in his later years as is his wife, Alley Bell (Perkins) today. Rupert and Alley Bell lived for years in the second home that R. B. and Anna Walker built in approximately 1911. It stands today across the street from the First Baptist Church and was known for years as the "Walker Place". This white, two-story colonial is still quite stately and reminds all who see it of the grandeur of an era past.

     The oldest daughter was Irma o. Walker, born November 19, 1886, died July 15, 1961. Irma never married but was a beautiful young girl who in her later years cared for her invalid mother unselfishly. She enjoyed books, did needlework, and was an active member of the First Methodist Church.

     Edwin Bruce Walker, born May 3, 1890, died October 14, 1946, was the youngest son. He was handsome, even in his later years and served with the United States Army in France during World War I. He invested in the stock market successfully and worked for a number of years at Rains-Talley Funeral Home in Marshall. He never married.

     Vera Ethel Walker, born February 10, 1898, was the youngest child. She, like her brothers and susters, grew up in Jefferson. She possessed a lovely soprano voice, sung at many weddings, and was an active member of both the First Methodist Church and Christ Episcopal Church. She was also a pretty girl, quite tall, and married Thomas Gadsden (Gad) Jenkins on December 20, 1923. "Gad" Jenkins was born April 1, 1893, in Tyler, Texas. Vera and Gad lived in several cities in their early marriage (McKinney, Abilene and Breckenridge). His work as a civil engineer took him to many locations building highways for the State of Texas. (He was also County Surveyor for Marion County). Gad attended the University of Texas and served in France in World War I as an infantry man. He saw many weeks of combat in the front lines. (He often spoke of the hardships the American solder faced, especially in gas warfare, but never complained for having to help defend his country). Around 1943, after working for the war effort at Karnack, he became Cfty Engineer at Marshall. In 1948, he became City Engineer in Midland, Texas, where he served until 1964 when he retired. Vera and Gad had two children. Their oldest child is Betty Jane, born July 23, 1926, and married November 1, 1952, to Symmes Chadwock Oliver, son of Symmes Francis Oliver and Winona Neuman Oliver. Chad Oliver is presently a professor and Chairman of the Anthropology Department at the University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Oliver is also a writer of science-fiction and western novels with over 100 published works. He has won two literary awards. "B.J." or "Beje", as her husband calls her, grew up in Jefferson and, like her husband, graduated from U.T. She raises Arabian horses. The Olivers have one daughter, Kimberley Frances (Snyder), age 26, who lives in Austin with her husband Michael and a l4-year old son, Glen Chadwick, whose pursuits are piano and baseball.

     The youngest child is a son, Robert Gadsden (Bob) Jenkins, born May 29, 1933, and married June 8, 1963, to Mary Ann Martin, daughter of James D. Martin, Jr., and Helen Boyett Martin of Midland, Texas. Bob and Ann Jenkins live in Dallas and have two daughters, Alison DeAnn, 17, and Andrew Leigh, 15 years of age. They are both flutists in their senior and junior high schools. Bob also spent his learly life in Jefferson. He moved to Midland in 1948 with his parents and is a graduate of Texas Tech University and is a banker in Richardson, Texas, today.

     Vera Walker died on September 1, 1958, and her husband, Gad, died May 24, 1968, both in Midland. They are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Jefferson along with the other Robert Bruce Walker family members, with the exception of Alvin who is buried in Atlanta, Texas. R. B. Walker had no grandson to carry on the Walker name, but his dedication, his vision, and his wisdom endeared him to the community in which he lived and to his peers. He was a gentleman"s "Gentle man" to all who knew him. He died in 1930.

"We Are Passing Away"

by Anna Northen

Every minute, and moment of our lives, we are reminded by the changes, that take place in nature, that we are passing away. The beauties of the seasons fade, and their bounties soon perish, the loveliest scenes of nature lose their power to charm and a few revolving years forcibly remind us, that we are passing away. While we are contemplating these melancholy changes, and the chill of disappointment is going through our hearts, the feeling comes upon us, and in all its bitterness, that the mournful ravages which time has wrought upon the object of our attachment can not be repaired by time in any of his future rounds.

We behold the stately oak, that has stretched forth its giant arms over many generations at last fall to decall; we see the fashion of things passing away in which the proudest efforts of human power have been displayed.

Even the earth we inhabit undergoes many changes, and has been moulded into different forms. Hills have been sunk beneath the depths of the sea, and the depths have been laid bare, or thrown up into supendous mountains.

It is God by whom these mighty works are done; it is He alone, that never changes that fainteth not, nor is weary. His laws require that we and all that is around us should change, and pass away. Those laws govern us and will ever do so. Then let us yield a prompt and perpetual obedience, and remember that we are passing away.

(Believed to have been written after the end of the Civil War and befofe her marriage to R. B. Walker in January 1881)

Compiled by:

Robert Gadsden Jenkins

Dallas, TX

May 1982


Williams, Andrew Jackson and Arazella "Arah" Ferguson
Early pioneers in the Berea community
Information provided by Larry Wilson

 


ANDREW JACKSON WILLIAMS
(February 5, 1854 – January 26, 1935)

ARAZELLA HASELTINE FERGUSON
(July 7, 1853 – January 6, 1921)
More Photos
Andrew Jackson Williams married January 5, 1873, one month before his nineteenth birthday. The wedding took place in the home of his parents. He was married to Arahzella “Arah” Haseltine Ferguson, who lived with her family near Carrollton, Alabama. She was seven months older than Andrew, born July 7, 1853. According to family lore, Arah was a Southern Belle who lived on a plantation. When she fell in love with Andrew her family tried to stop her from seeing him. The story is that her grandmother even locked her in her room to prevent the couple from associating. But, love prevailed and the young couple were married. Going against the wishes of her family resulted in Arah being disowned by her family. It is believed that they had no contact following the marriage.

Arah Ferguson was the second child of Ewell Crawford Ferguson and Elsay A. Ferguson. The 1860 Census of Pickens County lists the value of her father’s real estate at 1,100. This suggests that he owned a great deal of land, which was sold for $1-$2 per acre in those days. In 1860, Arah had an older sister named Alice and two younger brothers named James and John. In 1870, the Ferguson family is found in Noxubee County, Mississippi. If Crawford Ferguson was a plantation owner, it is possible that the property was seized, looted and possibly destroyed during the Civil War.

On September 25, 1873, Isaac Walter Williams was born to Andrew and Arah. Over the next 17 years, the Williams family had a total of 13 children, including one set of twins. Beginning with Walter and ending with J.D. in 1882, the first eight children were born in Alabama.

Andrew and Arah Williams brought their family to Texas in 1883. The family first settled in Bell County. After their arrival in Texas, the remaining five children were born. In 1888, the twins Clara and Clarence were born near Adhall, Texas, in Milam County. U.S. Census records of 1900 and 1910, indicate that they lived near Cameron City in Milam County.

James Benjamin “Jim” Williams was the third son. According to a story in the family, he and his brother Ernest had an argument over a comment Jim had made about a meal not being ready. The story states that everyone had been working real hard in the fields all day. Jim walked in and said something like, “Williams house on Williams street, and nothing to eat.” That made Ernest very mad and a bad argument ensued. Jim packed his belongings, left home, and was never seen again. A family portrait taken December 1893 has all family members except Jim. He would have been 17; Ernest was 15.

Andrew and Arah Williams and their daughters became affiliated with the Seven Day Adventist Church, probably during the time they lived in Milam County. Most of the boys were grown, married and had moved away from home before 1900. The family desired to live in a colony with believers of like mind where they could start an academy for the purpose of schooling their children in the Adventist faith. Adventists observe the Ten Commandments as set forth in Jewish Law of the Old Testament in addition to the New Testament. Saturday was their Sabbath, and they did no work, including cooking, between sundown Friday and dawn on Sunday.

Around 1916, the Andrew Jackson Williams family left Milam County, moving to Marion County, Texas, west of Jefferson. The Williams family farm was originally 177 acres from the Antonio De Los Santos Coy headright survey (Gi, pp 450, 451, 452, Marion County Deeds records) The farm land was purchased from G.B. Douglass Jones and Mamie G. Jones) October 27, 1913. The deed was filed December 2, 1913. Part of the farm was sold to M.C. Brown in 1929 (page 538).

Arah Williams became ill with a disease that eventually resulted in the loss of her mind - similar to Alzheimer’s Disease. The entire family gathered at the Williams’ home in the summer of 1919 for a reunion and to bid good-by to grandma. Following the reunion, she was taken to Kansas City, Missouri, by her daughter Mary Madison, likely because better medical treatment was available there. She died in Kansas City January 6, 1921, at the age of 68. Andrew J. Williams died January 26, 1935, at the age of 81, in Marion County, Texas. Both are buried in the Seven Day Adventist Colony Cemetery just west of Jefferson, Texas. His tombstone has A. J. Williams with the date of birth and death. Her tombstone says Arah H. Williams with the dates of birth and death. Other records indicate that her given name was Arazella (spelling may be incorrect). After the death of Arah, Andrew Williams married Martha Grandon, a woman he met while attending a church camp meeting in Keene, Texas.

A copy of Arah’s Will is on file in the Marion County Court House at Jefferson. When the will was probated, a son, Eugene Richard Williams of Mosby, Missouri, born November 6, 1891 (according to court records), appeared and protested the Will because he was dissatisfied with the division of property. The Judge did not rule in his favor.

 


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