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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Lernard Walker, who resides on section 17, Smithfield Township, is the owner of a fine farm of four hundred and eighty acres composed of highly cultivated fields and excellent pastures and improved with good barns, outbuildings, fences and everything necessary to a model farm of the nineteenth century. One glance at his home and its surroundings indicates the thrift and enterprise of the owner who is known throughout the county as one of the energetic successful agriculturalists of Northeastern Iowa. He was born in the district of New Castle, County Barren, Canada West, November 4, 1827, and the family is of Scotch extraction. His grandfather, Asa Walker, lived and died in New Hampshire. At the age of sixteen he entered the Colonial army, and served throughout the entire war, after which he returned to his home and farm. John Walker, the father of our subject, was also born in the Granite State, where he spent his early boyhood, but when a lad of sixteen years he went to Canada, where he had relatives living. There he met and married Miss Polly Stanton, a native of Massachusetts, from which State her parents had emigrated to Canada, where she grew to womanhood. The country was new and the young couple settled on a tract of wild land, which in the course of time through their united efforts was transformed into a comfortable home. In 1842 they removed with their family to Illinois, settling on a farm in Kane County, where the parents spent the remainder of their lives. Mr. Walker passed away in March, 1872, and his wife was called to her final rest in April, 1884. They lived quiet and unassuming lives, content to faithfully perform the duties which came to them and the high regard which they received was well merited. Mr. Walker never aspired to public honors but gave his entire attention to the management of his farming interests. In early life he was a member of the Masonic fraternity and in politics was of the Democratic faith. Unto him and his worthy wife were born eight children, of whom mention is here made: Eldridge, deceased; Sarah Baldwin resides in Illinois; Nelson makes his home in DeKalb County; George came to this county and died in Smithfield Township; Lernard is the next younger; Mrs. Mary Walk* is living in Texas; Elizabeth resides in Kane County, Ill., and Hiram is located in Clay County, Iowa.
Upon his father's farm in Canada our subject spent the first fifteen years of his life. His opportunities for education were limited, so far as school privileges were concerned. His summers were occupied in the labors of the farm and his attendance in winter was often interrupted, but he was early inured to hard labor and thereby developed an energy and self-reliance which probably have proved of more practical benefit to him than a course of training in the common schools of that day. Removing with his parents to Illinois, among the wild scenes of pioneer life he was reared to manhood and his labors went for the support of the family until his twenty-third year when he began life for himself. He spent the two succeeding years in the Wisconsin pineries and in 1855 came to this county where he entered three hundred and twenty acres of land on sections 8 and 17, Smithfield Township, the purchase price being seventy-five cents per acre. It was entirely destitute of improvements as was the country for miles round about him. One might ride long distances across the prairie with no fence or house to impede his progress. The land was still uncultivated, settlements were few and the work of progress and civilization seemed scarcely begun. Mr. Walker cheerfully bore his share in the development and upbuilding of the county, and as the result of his labors in his own behalf he now has one of the finest farms in the community. His residence is commodious and comfortable, tastefully furnished and has every convenience and equipment upon the farm necessary for an extensive business in stock raising.
In 1870 Mr. Walker married Miss Lury A. Potter, a native of Pennsylvania, from which State her parents removed to New York when she was four years old. In 1864 the family emigrated to Iowa and two years later came to this county, locating in Smithfield Township. Their union has been blessed with three children yet living and they lost their only daughter, Samantha, who died at the age of three years. John Harvey, George Lewis and James Nelson are still with their parents. Mr. Walker cares nothing for public office, content to devote his time and attention to this business interests and his farm gives evidence of constant and competent care and management. He has usually supported the Democratic party at the polls but does not surrender his judgment on political questions to any party. He is a member of the Farmers Mutual Insurance Association of Fayette County. Positive in his convictions, free and outspoken in manner Mr. Walker commands the respect of all who know him. As a business man he is careful and active, full of life and energy and by hard work, good management and perseverance has placed himself in the front rank of Fayette County's most successful and substantial farmers.
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