LaSalle County Sheriff George E. Walker

GeorgeWalker_sm1831 – 1834

George E. Walker, son of Dr. David Walker, came here from the East in 1827. His wife was Margaret Thomas of St. Clair county. She died in 1848. Mr. Walker became a very prominent character in the affairs of Ottawa.

When he first came he traded with the Indians; he was a captain of scouts in the Blackhawk war, and was the first sheriff of La Salle county.

He passed away in 1874, after a successful career as a merchant. Mr. Walker left four children–Mary Ann, who married Edward Coleman and moved to Maryland; Augustus E., who went to Chicago; Margaret, who was the wife of Charles Gossage, of Chicago, and died in that city, and Samuel, a member of the La Salle county bar, who died in Ottawa in 1869.

Joseph E. Shaw, a stepson of Enos Pembrock, came to Ottawa from Whitestown, N. Y., in 1827. He became the husband of Rosanna Test, and died here in 1875. He had one son and two daughters.

It was in this year also that Reuben Reed, of Monroe county, N. Y., arrived in Ottawa. He started West in 1822, and settled in Kentucky. Two years later he moved to Cincinnnati, where his wife died leaving him with six children. He then married a Miss Hibbard, and soon afterward, with the Hibbard family, numbering fifteen persons, went to Chicago. They remained there, however, only two months; then came to Ottawa, and wintered with Col. Sayers in his cabin. In 1828 Mr. Reed leased the widow Pembrock farm, and later made a claim on what came to be known as the William Moore farm.
Death of George E. Walker

The following item is taken from the Ottawa Republican (November, 1874):

“George E. Walker, so well known to the old settlers of La Salle county, died at his residence in Chicago, and his remains were brought to Ottawa for interment. The services took place at the Methodist Episcopal church, and were conducted by Rev. James Baum, pastor. The funeral was attended by a large number of the older citizens of Ottawa and vicinity.

“Mr. Walker was born in Nashville, Tennessee, November 4, 1803, and was consequently 81 years of age at the time of his death. In 1812 his father’s family settled in St. Clair county, this state, and about ten years thereafter he came to Ottawa, where he settled and engaged in trade with the Indians. He was a conspicuous character in the Blackhawk war, during which his knowledge of the Indian dialects was of great use to Gen. Scott. He was captain of a company of friendly Indians during that struggle, and was looked upon by the white settlers for miles around as their leader and protector when hostile Indians threatened, which was quite often. In later days he became associated in business with William Hickling, and the old firm name of Walker & Hickling was known far and near in the West and in the South, where they made heavy purchases of sugar and molasses on the plantations and shipped them direct to Ottawa by steamboat. He was the first Sheriff of La Salle county.

“Mr. Walker amassed a goodly fortune in Ottawa by active business, from which he retired many years ago to open a fruit farm near Carbondale. He was one of the first men to develop fruit culture as a specialty in that part of the state. For many years he has made his home in Chicago, where he had large property interests, being the owner of the Oriental block and other buildings. He was a man of great energy and business integrity, and will long be remembered by the old citizens of Ottawa and La Salle county. His only surviving children are Evans E. Walker and Mrs. A. Coleman.”

Article furnished by the LaSalle County Genealogy Guild