Colonel Walker Powell, Adjutant-General of Militia at Head-Quarters, for the Dominion of Canada, is of Welsh descent on his father’s side, and English on his mother’s. His paternal grandfather, a United Empire Loyalist, was born in the then Province of New York, in 1763, and at the Revolution adhered to the side of Great Britain. Afterwards, about the year 1783, removing to New Brunswick, he married Ruth Wood, on Long Island River, St. John, in 1784, and took up his permanent residence in the County of Norfolk, Upper Canada, in 1797, where he died in 1849. Our subject is the eldest son of Israel Wood and Melinda (Boss) Powell, and was born in the county of Norfolk, May 20, 1828. His father, the seventh son of Abraham Powell (born in the same county in 1801), was a representative public man, liberal in sentiment, energetic in action, loyal to the empire, devoted to Canada, serving as Justice of the Peace, as a Member of Council, as Warden, and as a Lieut. Colonel in the Militia. He was also member for the county in the Legislative Assembly of Canada, from the union in 1840 to 1847, and died in Port Dover in 1857.
Colonel Powell was educated at Victoria College, Cobourg, and in his younger years was successfully engaged in commerce; procuring the construction of vessels; employing them upon the lakes; devoting time and means to the development of industrial resources; extending educational advantages, and ministering to the public prosperity. He was a Trustee of County Grammar School, and member and Chairman of Board of Union, Grammar and Public School Trustees, a Justice of the Peace, and for seven years a member of the County Council of Norfolk, being Warden in 1856; he also represented the county in the Legislative Assembly of Canada, during four years, 1857-1861. He has been connected with the Militia Service in Canada since 1847, in which year he received his first commission in the First Norfolk Militia. He continued in the same corps, as Company Officer and Adjutant, until the 19th of August, 1862, when, in consequence of the civil war in the United States, and the decision to increase the strength and efficiency of the active force of Canada, he was solicited to accept the position of Deputy Adjutant-General for Upper Canada. Having entered upon the discharge of the duties of that office, Colonel Powell devoted his whole energies to the work of organization and development, and assisted materially in building up a system adequate to the severe strain put upon it during that exciting period. He was promoted Deputy-Adjutant-General for the Dominion, October 1, 1868; Acting Adjutant-General, with the rank of Colonel, August, 1873, and Adjutant-General, April 21, 1875. Since his first appointment to the staff of the Militia, Colonel Powell has for various reasons been senior officer at Head-Quarters, in the discharge of the duties devolving upon the command, during about one half the whole period. His interest in the force has never flagged, and the result affords evidence of the energy with which he has ministered to its facilities for development, and means for present and future usefulness. He has written several brochures on the subject of the Militia, and been the recipient on many occasions, of written expressions, of approval and commendation from those in superior authority.
Colonel Powell has been twice married, first to Catharine Emma, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Culver, of Norfolk, in 1853; she, dying in 1855, leaving one child, Linnie Emma, now the wife of McLeod Stewart, Esq., Barrister, Ottawa. His present wife, to whom he was married in 1857, was Mary Ursule, daughter of Adam Boulby, Esq., of Norfolk. She is the mother of five children, of whom four are living, namely, Charles Berkeley, born 1858; Fred Hamilton, born 1862; Edith Elizabeth, born 1867; Laura Christina, born 1869.