Biography of Russell Walker
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WALKER, RUSSELL. The father of the subject of this sketch was also named Russell, and was born on the 9th of April, 1771. His youth was spent among the Shakers at New Lebanon, N. Y., whence he came to Shoreham, Addison county, Vt., in 1794. On the 10th of September, 1795, he was married at his new home, and was engaged in farming on the place which is now owned by Orrin Cooper. In the year 1800 or 1801 he settled in the town of Bridport, Vt., on the farm which is now owned by Selden Walker. In 1806 he exchanged his farm for real estate in the town of Schroon, N. Y., where he remained for ten years. In 1816 he returned and settled on what is now the home of his son, Russell Walker. At that time only six acres of the land were improved. A log house stood on the place, which the family occupied till 1820, when the farmhouse on the lake shore, southwest of the present dwelling, was built. In 1834 he became an inmate of the family of his eldest son, Simon Zelotes (a sketch of whose life follows this), on the place now the home of G. R. Walker. His family consisted of two sons and two daughters, as follows: Simon Z., Lovisa (died September 22, 1875), Russell (the-subject of this sketch), Almira (married Richard B. Bloomfield and died on October 14, 1878, in Bridport, Vt.). The elder Russell was a man of prominence in the community; he held the office of justice of the peace for many years, and united early with the Congregational Church. In the War of 1812 he took a conspicuous part, and commanded a company of militia from Schroon, which shared in the battle of Plattsburgh. He died on the 8th of September, 1863. His widow survived him until April 1, 1864.
Russell Walker, jr., was born in Bridport, Vt., on the 30th of October, 1805, and is a son of Russell and Anna (Chellis) Walker. His educational advantages were limited to the common schools and one term at the academy at Middlebury, Vt.; but he made the most of these advantages, and secured such an education as fitted him for teaching, which he followed in the winter of 1826-27, in the ” Wicker district,” in Bridport. In the spring of 1827 he entered the employ of Mathew Chambers as a clerk, and about a year later he accepted a similar position in the store of B. F. Haskell, in West Cornwall; remaining here a short time, he accepted a. similar position in Ticonderoga, N. Y., where he remained for about a year and a half. In the spring of the year 1830 he began mercantile business in Whiting, Vt., and six months later he returned to Bridport. On the 3d of November, 1830, he was married to Charlotte M., a daughter of Benjamin Skiff, one of the pioneers of Bridport. She was born in Bridport on July 15, 1811. Soon after his marriage Mr. Walker formed the firm of Strong & Walker, and began business in the store now occupied by I. D. Fletcher, in Bridport. Here they carried on a successful business for two years, when, on account of failing health, Mr. Walker closed out and returned to his farm, joining his brother, Simon Z., in working it. At the end of the year Mr. Walker purchased his brother’s interest, and has since given his entire attention to farming. He is now the owner of one hundred and seventy acres, which constitute one of the best farms in the county. The old home dwelling was destroyed by fire on the 19th of April, 1857. The present handsome dwelling was built the same year. Mr. and Mrs. Walker were the parents of two daughters, the eldest of whom died in infancy, and the second, Latetia A., lives at home, caring for her parents in their declining years. Mrs. Walker died suddenly on the 28th of February, 1880. She was an estimable woman, and was beloved by all who knew her.
Mr. Walker’s excellent natural qualifications and his good business judgment have been fully recognized by his townsmen. He held the office of justice of the peace for many years prior to 1860; was selectman for several terms up to 1862, when he declined further election. He was sent to the Legislature in 1862-63, and took an active part in sustaining the measures for carrying on the war. He has been a lifelong member of the Methodist Church, and is guided in all things by the strictest rules of integrity and the promptings of charity.