Biography of Lawrence Walton
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Lawrence Walton was in Chesterfield as early as 1770, and died here November 28, 1795, aged seventy-eight years. His children were as folio Elisha, Nathaniel, Peru, Sarah, Lucretia, Margaret, Deborah, and Elijah. Nathaniel married, first, Mary, daughter of Eli Partridge, and second, Jemi daughter of John Sanderson. He lived in the “New Boston” district, on the farm now owned by Charles M. Davis, was a blacksmith by trade, and noted for his great strength. His children were Elijah, Azariah, Nathan, Polly, Lovilla and Rachel. Elijah, son of Nathaniel, married Joanna, daught of Shadrack Herrick, and died September 24, 1861. His children were Dan Stoddard, Thirza L., Lafrinda, Sophronia, Lovell M., George P., and Caroline M. David S., the first of these, married Elizabeth, daughter of Abel Eaton, April 22, 1830, who died August 22, 1850, and for his second wife, Catharine H. Brandt, of Darby, Pa., November 19, 1853, and reared seven children. He was a stone mason, and built the Episcopal church in Keene, the old jail and other prominent buildings. After the death of his first wife he engaged in building railroad bridges in Pennsylvania, but soon after his second marriage he returned to Chesterfield Factory, where he died, March. 11, 1882. Mrs. Walton now resides in Philadelphia. The daughters were May E. (Mrs. Jude S. Sargent, of Keene); Ellen 0. (Mrs. Lorenzo Stebbins, of Hinsdale); Sebette S., died in 1860; Sarah H., died 1838; Harriet A., married Proctor Roberts, of Boston; and Martha Clementine married P. Frank Amidon, of Hinsdale. His only son, David Stoddard Walton, was born at Chesterfield Factory, April 5, 1842, and spent the earlier years of his life in the immediate vicinity of his place of birth. His educational advantages were limited to regular attendance at the district school, and to one term in the Chesterfield academy. He made good use of his opportunities, readily acquiring such knowledge as tended to develop his business instincts and to fit him for that active commercial life to which he has since devoted himself. He is remembered by his schoolmates and acquaintances as a boy of a pleasant, social nature, generous alike to friend and fee, and possessing those genial qualities that made him a favorite with all who knew him.
Mr. Walton early evinced a marked taste for mechanics, and being extremely ambitious, he entered the employment at Hinsdale, of Newhall & Stebbins,. machinists, in 1859, when only seventeen years of age. He brought to the business a natural aptitude. an excellent degree of intelligence, and a conscientious determination to master every detail of his new occupation. With such qualifications he could not fail of success or of giving satisfaction to hisemployers. It was while working at his trade that the war of the Rebellion broke out, and Mr. Walton, like so many thousands of patriotic young men. felt it to be his duty to offer his services to his country. A company of sharp-shooters was being organized at West Randolph, Vermont, intended toform a part of the First Regiment U. S. Sharpshooters. Full of enthusiasm and anxious to be at “the fore front of battle,” Mr. Walton hastened to West Randolph, and enrolled himself as a private in Company F of this regiment, which was so well known during the war as Berdan’s Sharpshooters. Mr. Walton served with his regiment until after the capture of Yorktown, when his not over-strong constitution yielded to the exposure and hardships to which he had been subjected during the campaign, and he was left behind in the hospital at Yorktown. As Mr. Walton was being conveyed to the hospital, his regiment marched past, and as he saw them going to the front without him, he was overcome, and has often spoken of that moment as being themost sorrowful in his life. He soon became convalescent, and was sent home on furlough, that he might entirely recover his health. He shortly rejoined his regiment in Virginia, but his health again failing, he was sent home an soon given his final discharge.
After regaining his health a second time, in the fall of 1864, Mr. Walton determined to seek his fortunes in the west. Arriving in Chicago he found employment at his trade in the shops of the Illinois Central railroad, giving such good satisfaction that he was advanced speedily from one position responsibility to another, and given assurances of still further recognition of his merits. But a subordinate position in a large corporation was not to his taste, and finally when he was tendered the position of superintendent of large paper manufacturing establishment in Beloit, Wisconsin, he accepted Here he found himself charged with grave responsibilities for one so young having frequently as many as seventy-five workmen under his supervision, an the press of business requiring the factory to be operated night and day. During these years his business talent had been developing as well as mechanical ability, and he was on the lookout for an opportunity to become identified with some enterprise wherein his marked individuality would have full play. At this time Mr. B. E. Hale, (formerly a Congregational minister at Chesterfield), was developing a new industry in the printing of wrapping paper, and had been so successful that he determined to remove his business to New York city, where the opportunities were greater. Mr. Walton offered his services as superintendent of the new establishment. His offer was accepted, and Mr. Walton came to New York and aided in establishing the first printing establishment in that city devoted exclusively to printing wrapping paper. Since then this industry, which was an entirely new one in 1868 has grown to magnificent proportions, giving employment to millions of dollars of capital, and thousands of men and women. Mr. Walton’s service were so valuable to Mr. Hale that he was soon admitted to partnership in the firm, and when Mr. Hale died, in 1877, Mr. Walton owned a half interest in the business, the firm being known as B. E. Hale & Co. After Mr. Hale’s death, Mr. Walton continued the partnership with his widow, being the sole manager of the business. After a few years he purchased the widow’s interest, and the firm became D. S. Walton & Co. Mr. Walton has exclusive control of this immense establishment, which employs about thirty printing presses constantly, and does over a million dollars worth of business annually. The wrapping paper printed by this house is found in every city and village in the country, almost, and has become an article of necessity to merchant. There are several competitors in the business now, but none of them have been able to rival the parent house in the volume of business transacted, in the degree of success that has been achieved. Mr. Walton, more then any one else, is entitled to the honor of being the parent of this great industry, for, while Mr. Hale was the first to conceive the idea, his eyesight was so impaired as to almost unfit him for business, and it required the youth energy and rare executive ability possessed by Mr. Walton to secure for it general recognition and successful development. It is pleasant to record the fact that in this instance at least, the deserving person has met with a satisfactory reward, for Mr. Walton is not only a successful, but also a prosperous manufacturer and merchant in the great commercial metropolis of the country. With the growth of his business Mr. Walton has found it necessary to identify himself with kindred manufacturing enterprises, and he has accordingly an interest in an establishment at Petersburgh, Va., devoted to the manufacture of wood veneers, butter boxes, etc., also in a paper bag factory and a paper-mill. In connection with the latter, he has recently opened another extensive sales department in New York, where he comes in immediate competition with the most extensive manufacturers of wrapping paper in the country. Mr. Walton married Mary A. Shove, of Boloit, Wis., May 17, 1871. Their four children are David S., born July 10, 1872; Edith S., born November 2, 1876; Harold L., born November 9, 1879; and Rudolph L., born March 19, 1883. They are bright, intelligent children, and at home or elsewhere show the results of the refining influence of a Christain home. Mr. Walton is a deacon of the Munn Avenue Presbyterian church at East Orange, and is also classed among the most public spirited and enterprising residents of that place. His beautiful home, “The Beeches,” is one of the finest in that part of New Jersey. Mr. Walton’s portrait accompanying this sketch shows him to be a fine looking gentleman, with a frank, open countenance, and one in whom even a stranger would have confidence at first sight. Still in the prime of life, enjoying good health and the promise of many years of activity before him, he may honestly be said to have carved out for himself a career that illustrates what individual energy, application, and the ready tact to adapt one’s self to circumstances may do for the young men of this country.