Friday, May 29, 2015

William H. and Anna Walker Photos

William Hicks Walker
A while back I put out an open-ended request for any old photographs that anyone might have that pertained to people or places connected to Mill Creek Hundred. Since that time (although in a few cases not necessarily because of the plea) I've been fortunate enough to have had several people forward some old pictures to me. In some cases they relate to prior posts, and in some cases they don't. Where there are pre-existing posts that the photos are connected to, I'll add the new pictures to the old posts. If the subject is a new one, I'll put up at least a short new post about the pictures.

However, since I think all of these photographs are fascinating in their own rights, I want to at least give a very short post to even the photos going onto old posts, just to make sure everyone is aware of the new additions. I'll be putting some of these up over the next week or two, starting now. The first new pictures we'll take a look at are of folks mentioned (or at least, he was) in a post from three years ago, about a family that was the source of an unusual place name in MCH.

The Walkers of Little Baltimore told the story of the Walker family, which began to establish itself between Corner Ketch and Hockessin around 1800. To differentiate them from another, unrelated Walker clan already established down in the Mermaid area, and since an earlier ancestor had lived for a time in the Maryland city, they became known as the Baltimore Walkers. The area in which they settled, and later the road that ran through, acquired the name Little Baltimore. The pictures we have are of one of those Baltimore Walkers and his wife.

William Hicks Walker was born on March 21, 1828, the son of John (1773-1860) and Edith Sharpless Walker (1790-1859). John's lineage is noted in the Little Baltimore post; Edith was the daughter of Caleb Sharpless and sister of the Amos Sharpless who owned the property that is now the Ashland Nature Center. Edith's nephews, then, were the Jehu D. and Amos Sharpless who purchased the Ashland Mill in 1862. (That makes them William Walker's cousins, if you're trying to follow along.) William was educated "in the public schools of Mill Creek Hundred", as Runk says, which in this case would likely mean the nearby #30 North Star School.

William H. Walker House
He grew up on his father's farm, and possibly in the house seen above. It's not clear just how old this house is -- it may have been constructed later on by William himself. The fact that there are stone foundations of a very old barn behind it seems to indicate that if this is not John Walker's home, then it's in about the same location. William was a farmer his whole life, and an active citizen. One source states that he organized the first grange in Delaware and was a founder of the Kennett Grange, the first in Chester County. He (or possibly his son of the same name) was one of the founders of something called the Dairy Protective Association of Delaware, in 1891. He was also active in the early days of the founding of the Republican Party in the 1850's.

Anna Phebe Shortlidge Walker

More importantly, though, on November 25, 1858 William married Anna Phebe Shortlidge in Philadelphia. Anna was born on April 10, 1834 in New Garden Township, PA, to George and Martha Shortlidge. Hers was a prominent family in their area, with several members taking an interest in education as well as politics. Anna's brother Joseph Shortlidge was the founder and principal of the Maplewood Institute, a boarding school in Concordville, PA. In 1880 he was selected as the president of the Pennsylvania State College (Penn State), a post he held for a year before returning to Maplewood. (Their cousin Evan Pugh was the first president of the Farmers High School, which would become a college under Pugh and would soon after become the Pennsylvania State College.) Another of Anna's brothers, Evan G. Shortlidge, was a Civil War veteran, physician, president of the Wilmington Board of Education, and mayor of Wilmington. The #30 school on Concord Ave. and Baynard Blvd., and the Evan G. Shortlidge Academy on 18th Street were both named for him.

William and Anna Walker would have nine children, the sixth of whom was also named William Hicks Walker. He happens to be the grandfather of Helen Martin, who was kind enough to contact me and forward the photos of her great-grandparents. Thank you, Helen!

William died in March 1913, Anna in April 1919. Both were laid to rest at the New Garden (Friends) Meeting Cemetery. Although they were both mentioned in the earlier post about the Walker family, I think it's wonderful to now be able to see the faces of these 19th and early 20th Century Mill Creek Hundred residents.

1 comment:

  1. Post is wonderful i like it so much Thanks for your great post