Ohio Biographies

Capt. George W. Walker

Joseph Walker was a native of the isle of Guernsey, born in 1774 of an English-French family. Hettie Stibbs was born in New Jersey, United States, 1780, of Holland stock. She became Mrs. Walker after the immigration of her husband to New York city in 1806 - probably about 1807 or 1808. He labored as a house carpenter, and also, under the direction of his friend the renowned Robert Fulton, he shaped at his shop by night, after the labors of the day were over, the model for the Clermont, the first steamer to navigate the Hudson river The family, comprising then but two children, with the parents left the Atlantic coast in 1811, prompted thereto by the prospect of war with Great Britain and the consequent danger to him as still a British subject, and started for Cincinnati. From New York to Philadelphia they journeyed by ocean vessel, thence three weeks' travel took them by. wagon across the mountains to Pittsburgh, where they embarked upon a flatboat for the river trip. Arriving at the young Queen City he reentered upon the pursuits of his trade, and in a short time became a prominent builder, being much in the employ of John H. Piatt, the enterprising speculator of that day. After a useful and honorable career Mr. Walker died in Cincinnati in June, 1838, and his wife in December, 1859, at the age of seventy-nine. Five children were born to them in the city, among them the subject of this sketch. George W. Walker was the fifth child and fourth son, born January 28, 1817, near the corner of Third and Sycamore streets, which neighborhood was then mainly devoted to dwellings. His father's house was just at the brow of the "Hill," which had not then been graded down. George was educated in the city schools, which were then almost exclusively private, and somewhat costly. Among his early teachers were Caleb Kemper, Mrs. Williamson, Mr. Wringlet, and other well-known early pedagogues. Following the example of his father and an elder brother, he learned the business of house-carpentering, to which he afterwards added the trades of ship-carpenter and steamboat-joiner, and practiced them all for some years. When about twenty-three years old his savings enabled him to invest in a steamer, the Mail, jointly with Captain Thomas J. Haldeman. - Thus early, in 1840, did the business association of these two gentlemen begin, which continued almost unbroken in steamboating and paper manufacturing until the death of Captain Haldeman in October, 1874. The company with which Captain Walker is now connected, still bears from him the name of the Haldeman Paper company. On their first venture with the Mail, Mr. Haldeman went out as captain and Mr. Walker as carpenter. Selling this vessel at the end of a year, they, with others, built a fine new steamer called the Express Mail, for the New Orleans trade. It proved a profitable investment, and was run by its owners four years, when they sold it to build the more costly steamer Yorktown - a powerful vessel built for the rapid transit of passengers rather than for freight, and bearing also on the wheel-house the designation of "Fast Mail." Captain Walker continued to serve as carpenter of the steamers; but when Captain Haldeman retired to take the post of inspector of steamboats at Cincinnati - the first appointment there under a law of Congress which he had been largely instrumental in securing - Mr. Walker assumed the captaincy of another vessel purchased by them - the Norma. In a short time this became a total wreck by snagging at Choctaw Bend, on the Mississippi, the cargo, worth about three hundred thousand dollars, being mostly saved. For a year he was then engaged at Cincinnati and Madison in superintending the lengthening of steamers for the People's Line to Louisville, of which Captain Haldeman was president. He then engaged in real estate operations and house-building in the city, also making purchase of a farm in Clermont county and taking stock in a National bank in New Richmond. In 1866 he removed to his farm, nine miles from that place, but was called away from it in three years to accept a superior opportunity for investment in the paper-making business at Lockland. A reconstruction of the company of Decamp, Haldeman & Parker had become necessary by the death of Mr. Parker, who was killed in one of the mills January 31, 1867. It became the Haldeman Paper company, with Captain Haldeman as president, who invited his old friend and associate to an interest in the new company. For a time Captain Walker employed his mechanical talent in the improvement and repair of the mills, and superintended the construction of the new mill in the summer of 1877, upon the site of the old mill where Mr. Parker was killed. Upon the death of Captain Haldeman, Mr. J. C. Richardson was promoted from the vice-presidency to the vacant place, and Captain Walker became vice president, in which capacity he has since served the company He has made his home in Lockland ever since his connection with the mills; is a member and trustee of the Presbyterian church at that place, which holds the faith of his fathers; and an uncompromising Republican since the outbreak of the late war.

In 1858, February 28th, Captain Walker was married to Margaret, daughter of Judge Robert Haines, of New Richmond, Clermont county. She is still living. They have two children, daughters - Hettie May, born May 10, 1859, in Cincinnati, now at home with her parents; and Alice Quinlin, born in Newport, Kentucky, December 28, 1863, and residing at home.


From History of Hamilton County, Ohio, Henry & Kate Ford, L. A. Williams & Co., Publishers, 1881