To present in detail the salient facts in the life career of one of Greenfield’s busy men of affairs and throw light upon some of his more important characteristics is the task in hand in order to place before the reader the following brief biography of Mr. J. Ward Walker, proprietor of the "Mammoth Store" at Greenfield. Mr. Walker was born March 11, 1836, and is the son of John Wood Walker. The latter was a native of Monroe county, Virginia, and was a farmer by occupation. In 1833 he left Virginia and came to Madison county, Indiana, conducting a blacksmith shop from 1846 to 1852, and in 1853 he started in the mercantile business at Pendleton, that county, keeping for sale a stock of general merchandise. In 1858 he came to Greenfield and opened a general store, which he conducted until his death in 1883. Up to 1864 the mercantile business was conducted under the firm name of G. H. & J. Ward Walker; from 1864 until 1868 it was J. Ward Walker & Company and from 1868 to 1871 it was Walker & Edwards, Dr. O. M. Edwards having been admitted to the partnership. In 1871 the subject helped to organize the Greenfield Banking Company, of which the following were the officers: Nelson Bradley, president; J. Ward Walker, cashier, and M. Chandler, assistant cashier. Mr. Walker remained in the bank until 1876, having sold out the store in the meantime. In the latter year he started a gents’ furnishing and clothing store under the firm name of J. Ward Walker & Company. In 1882 he located his business in the Randall block, remaining there until 1892, when he occupied nearly all of the Dudding & Moore block. In September, 1896, he removed to the Masonic Temple, where he has since remained. That he has prospered in his business is evidenced by the fact that he carries a stock valued at between forty-five thousand and fifty thousand dollars and employs sixteen to twenty persons. He is the leading dealer in his line of goods in the county and has justly earned the liberal patronage which the public accords him. His sister, Sarah M. Walker, also has an interest in the business. In 1876 the business was started on a basis of a four-thousand-dollar stock of clothing and gents’ furnishing good. Now the stock includes a general line of dry goods, notions, clothing, shoes, hats, gent’s furnishings, ladies’ furnishings, carpets, lace curtains, furniture and queensware. The annual sales are about eighty thousand to eighty-five thousand dollars. The store is on two floors 60 x 132 feet, and so well lighted as to make it one of the best arranged stores in the state. Having choice real estate that proved valuable when natural gas was struck, it was platted as Walker’s addition to Greenfield, the capital invested being added to the mercantile business.

Mr. Walker was married in Madison county, Indian, to Miss Mary J. Todd, a native of Chester county, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Rev. Miles and Judith (Zeublin) Todd, natives of the same county. Her mother was of Swiss descent and the father was of Scotch-English. They left the Keystone state in 1852 and came to Madison county, Indiana. He was for a time a druggist and later a dealer in general merchandise at Pendleton. He died July 14, 1902, aged ninety-0tow, his wife having passed away in 1896. To the subject of this sketch and his wife have been born the following children: Luella, who died unmarried at the age of twenty-two years; Arthur R., who acts in the capacity of buyer for the J. Ward Walker & Company, married Caroline Bacon and they are the parents of seven children; Allie E., is the wife of W. W. cook, a lawyer at Greenfield, and they are the parents of three children; Wood L.., who is a bookkeeper for J. Ward Walker & Company, married Nellie Whitesell and is the father of three children; Nannie B. is the wife of Edward P. Wilson and is the mother of two children; and one who died in infancy. All of these children have been well reared and have received the advantage of good common school educations, the two sons being members of the firm.

Religiously Mr. Walker is a faithful and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church and is active in advancing the interests of that society. Fraternally he is a Mason, holding membership in Blue Lodge No., 101, Chapter No. 96, Greenfield Council, and Commandery No. 39. His methods are in keeping with the progressive ideas of the twentieth century and his present commercial standing is a monument to his thrift and well-directed efforts. He is a man of broad humanitarian principles, of earnest purpose and upright life, and does all in his power for the uplifting of his fellow men and the promotion of the moral welfare of the community. He is widely known and is esteemed by all for his genuine worth.

Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 260-261.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI July 9, 2002.

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Tom & Carolyn Ward / Columbus, Kansas / tcward@columbus-ks.com

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Tom & Carolyn Ward