James Lucas Walker, better known as “Jim Crow,” was born on July 18, 1838, at Longstreet, Bleckley County, Georgia (formerly a part of Pulaski County), and died in Cochran, Georgia, on July 31, 1913. His grandfather, George Walker, with his brother, Thomas, and his sister, Mary, and her husband, John Dallas, came directly from Ireland to America in 1750, landing in Pennsylvania. George and Thomas immigrated to Georgia, settling in Burke County. The former was a soldier with the Georgia troops in the Revolutionary War. He was the father of David Walker, who married Ann Lucas. They became the parents of James Lucas, David, Antoinette, George. Elmira, Henry, Charles, Thomas D., and Laura.
At the age of nineteen James Lucas began life as a planter, which profession he followed until the War Between the States. In 1861 he entered the service of the Confederate States as a private in Company E, Philips Legion, and was in all the leading battles fought by this celebrated detachment of the army. In many instances his clothing was pierced by Federal bullets, but he returned unhurt. He was a gallant soldier and was many times offered promotion, but preferred to remain a private in the same company with his younger brother, George. When the Federals entered Columbia, S. C., his company was in the rear of the Confederate Army that was leaving the city. He, having stopped to fill his canteen, was detained and almost overtaken by the enemy. Refusing to obey the command to halt, he dashed on amid a shower of bullets, and safely reached his company. He was the last Confederate to leave Columbia, and, looking back, he saw the Union soldiers setting fire to the cotton banked in the streets.
At the close of the war he resumed his occupation as planter, devoting much attention to the raising of fine stock, and was successful to a marked degree.
In 1873 Penelope Lamkin became his wife. Only one of the two children born to her reached maturity, Nellie (Mrs. T. J. Woodard), who died May 20, 1903. Two children survive her: James Walker, and Amanda, who was educated at Meridian, Miss., and G. S. C. W., Milledgeville, Ga., and who, on June 7, 1924, married Richard Bembry Smith, of Hawkinsville. He received his education at Davidson College, in North Carolina. In 1917 he enlisted for service in the World War in the United States Naval Reserve. They have three children: Richard Bembry, Jr., Nell Walker, and James Lamkin. Richard Bembry Smith’s father, Eldredge Cosmo Smith, prominent planter of Pulaski County, is the son of Richard T. Smith, a Confederate veteran, and Annah Bennett. His mother, Alice Bembry, is the daughter of Miles Bembry and Sarah Lancaster.