Centennial History of Mason County
By Joseph Cochrane
Springfield, Ill., 1876


J. P. Walker
Page 123

Dr. Walker has been a prominent physician in Mason county for many years, noted for his skill and abilities in both medicine and surgery. He was born in Adair county, Kentucky, April 6, 1826. The family from which he descended came to Virginia, when it was a young colony, from Londonberry, Ireland. The descendants, who are numerous, are spread over many of the western and southern States.

The subject of these notes removed with his parents, Joseph C. Walker and wife, to Illinois and settled in Sangamon county in 1830, near a place now called Middletown, in Logan county. After residing there seven years he removed to Irish Grove, Menard county, where he died in 1841, aged fifty-six years. Dr. Walker then carried his mother back to Kentucky, overland, and remained there laboring at four dollars per month for means to enable him to return to Illinois. On his return he worked on a farm, taught school, and as well as he could, unaided, pursued the study of medicine. In 1846 he enlisted in Company F, Fourth Illinois Volunteers, under Col. Ed. Baker, and was at the seige of Vera Cruz and the battle of Cerro Gordo; was a second Sergeant in his company. On his return to Menard county he was elected Assessor and Treasurer, and was then enabled again to resume the studies so congenial to his taste. So sanguine was he in the pursuit of the knowledge requisite to the profession of medicine, that he carried medical books in his knapsack during his service in the Mexican war. His acquirements were finally reduced to system under Dr. J. G. Rogers, of Petersburg, Ill.

He began the practice of medicine in Athens, Illinois in March 1849, but in July, the same year, removed to Walker’s Grove, Mason county.

On July 3d, 1849, he married Miss Martha E. Towne, who died in 1853. In 1854 he again married. The lady was Miss M.A. Walker, daughter of W. H. Walker, of Lancaster, Iowa. In 1857 he joined with others in laying out Mason City, and in 1859 made this his permanent home. In 1861, under the first call for volunteers, he enlisted, and was made Captain of Company K, 17th Illinois Infantry, for which see roster of the 17th Infantry, in the military department of this work. He was in the battles of Fredricktown, Ft. Donaldson and Shiloh. He then resigned and assisted in raising the 85th Illinois Infantry, of which he was appointed Surgeon, and afterwards, Lieuntenant-Colonel, in which capacity he served till the battle of Chicamauga, when he returned to Mason City and resumed his practice. In 1865 it was proposed to erect a monument to departed soldiers, and Dr. Walker was made President of the building association.

Contributed by: Jeanie Lowe


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