John Smith Walker

Iron County Record, June 16, 1916

Old Pioneer of Cedar Goes to his Last Rest

As we are closing the forms on this issue of The Record, we learn of the death of John S. Walker, one of the early pioneers of this place, at the advanced age of 83 years, his last birthday having been on the 10th of last February.

It is too late to obtain particulars for a biographical sketch of his life this week, but we will obtain same for our next issue.

Iron County Record, Friday, June 30, 1916

A Very Interesting Biographical Sketch - C. J. Arthur Reviews Career of John Smith Walker, Pioneer, Who Died on the 16th Inst.

John Smith Walker was born on the 10th day of April 1834 in the iron district of Low Moor, near Bradford, Yorkshire, England. The oldest son of Joseph Walker and Betty Smith Walker. And after 82 years of mortal experience, John departed to the vast unknown on the 16th day of June 1916.

He was baptized in his native town, and when 15 years of age, emigrated with his parents and two brothers--William and Thomas--to Utah, under the presidency of Elder Orson Spencer, arriving in Salt Lake City in the early fall of 1849.

Father Walker bought a farm on Mill Creek, Salt Lake County, adjoining Jos. Wright's farm, who emigrated from Low Moor and was an old friend and fellow workman in the iron works of that place.

In the fall of 1850 Father Walker, subject to counsel of the Church authorities, left his wife and children on the farm and made a home in Parowan, Iron County. The following spring he sold his farm and moved his family to Parowan. Again directed by counsel of President George A. Smith, he pioneered with a small company and located a fort northwest of Cedar City cemetery. Matthew Carruthers, presiding, and President Geo. A. Smith, visiting the fort, counseled and advised a move to the south of the fort and surveyed a site for a city; this occurred in the spring of 1853. That fall a call was made by the presidency at the October conference for 100 families to strengthen Cedar City and labor at the iron works, located one-half mile above the walled city. In 1854, the month of May, President Young and company visited Cedar City, organized a stake, with Isaac C. Haight as president and Phillip K. Smith as bishop. He told the people they were in danger from the flood waters of Coal Creek, called a few brethren to follow him, directed his teamster, and stopped on the present site of Cedar City. Placing the point of his staff on the northwest corner of the old I. C. Haight lot, he said, "Build west and south, but go no farther north."

Up to this time, our friend John S. did a boy's part in the building up of the colony. He was then in his twenties, strong, hale, and hearty. John was not an idler, and his father and mother being industrious people found him something to do, which he did cheerfully. About this time, he was ordained an elder and took an active part in the meetings of the quorum. The building up of a new town and surrounding the half-mile square of the second town with a ten-foot wall took every hand to the pick, shovel, and ax.

The Legislature of 1853-54 granted Cedar City's charter, with Isaac C. Haight the first mayor.

To build homes, lumber, shingles, and lath were necessary. Father Walker and his son John were to the job and continued in the lumber business for many years. Father Walker, who had been a furnace man in Low Moor, took hold and worked faithfully at the same kind of work for the Deseret Iron Company. The furnace, costing three thousand dollars, was located a few rods east of the present north bridge. The works shut down in the fall of 1857. The Walkers then turned to logging, lumbering, and hauling to town.

On the 9th of August 1864, our John took a wife, the lady we now call Aunt Maggie--her proper name, Margaret Augusta Pucell--and they were the parents of eleven children, six sons and five daughters. Sister Maggie, four sons, four daughters, 47 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren survive the deceased.

While logging one morning, John was caught by a falling timber and received a dislocated hip and broken leg, and during the past eight years he has suffered more or less from that accident; he has also had two paralytic strokes, all of which tended to weaken his once strong body.

For 52 years Sister Maggie was a true, devoted helpmate, and during his sickness was a comfort and consoler.

With all his strength he did not accumulate wealth, always satisfied with fair compensation for his work. He was a factor in pioneering Iron County, especially Cedar City. At the services held in the tabernacle, his friends of long ago spoke in kind remarks of the departed.

submitted by Kathie Marynik