William Burwell Walker of Aberdeen, Mississippi

photo of William Burwell Walker

William Burwell Walker

Source of photo and the following article is: Rowland, Dunbar, ed. Mississippi, Supplemental Volume, Comprising Sketches of Representative Mississippians for Whom Special Portraits Have Been Executed on Steel. [Vol. 4] Atlanta: Southern Historical Publishing Association, 1907. (pp. 299-301)

William Burwell Walker, who died in the city of Jackson, Miss., Feb. 17, 1904, while a member of the State senate, was a leading member of the bar of Monroe county and was engaged in the practice of his profession at Aberdeen until the time of his death, in the very prime of a noble and useful manhood. Senator Walker was born in Okolona, Chickasaw county, Miss., Jan. 24, 1859, and was a son of Dr. William F. and Eliza (Hill) Walker. His father, who was graduated in the New York medical college, became one of the prominent physicians and surgeons of Mississippi and represented Chickasaw county in the State legislature in 1858. The original progenitor in America came from Dublin, Ireland. Burwell Pope Hill, a maternal ancestor of the senator, was a descendant of Burwell Pope, who was an officer in the Continental line during the War of the Revolution. Dr. William F. Walker was a soldier of the Confederacy in the war between the States. The subject of this memoir was graduated in the academic department of the University of Mississippi, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and had also completed the prescribed course in the law department of the same institution, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1882. He ever maintained a deep interest in his alma mater and was a member of its board of trustees at the time of his demise. Immediately after his graduation and admission to the bar, Senator Walker engaged in the practice of his profession in Aberdeen, where he soon entered into partnership with Harvey Murphy, under the firm title of Murphy & Walker. After his term of service as district attorney he formed a partnership with C. L. Tubb, and the firm of Walker & Tubb thereafter continued in business until the death of the senior member, controlling a large and important practice in both the State and federal courts. Senator Walker was known as a man of fine professional talent and rose to distinction in his chosen profession. His political support was given to the Democratic party and he was a zealous worker in its ranks. He was presidential elector on the party ticket in 1884, when Grover Cleveland was elected president, and in 1892 he was alternate delegate from his State to the Democratic national convention. In 1887 he was elected district attorney, of which office he remained incumbent eight years, proving a most able public prosecutor. In 1903 he was elected a member of the State senate and was serving in that capacity at the time of his death, as already noted. Early in the session he was stricken with the illness which terminated in his death. He was dominated by a spirit of the most impregnable integrity and honor, and his life was one of signal purity in all its relations. No man in Monroe county was held in more unequivocal confidence and esteem, and he was known as a loyal, liberal and public-spirited citizen. His Christian faith was a very part of his life and he was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, as is also his widow. He was affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, Knights of Pythias, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Delta Kappa Epsilon college fraternity. He attained to the chivalric degrees in the Masonic order, was a member of the Aberdeen commandery, and was also identified with the Mystic Shrine. He served as deputy grand master of Masons in the State, was a member of the law committee of the Odd Fellows grand lodge, served as chancellor commander of the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias, and also held membership in the Knights and Ladies of Honor. Senator Walker attained to distinctive success in temporal affairs and made good use of his success. He was interested in farm lands in the Delta district and was a stockholder in the Aberdeen National bank. On June 7, 1888, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Dudley Sykes, daughter of Capt. Thomas and Maria H. (Jones) Sykes, of Aberdeen. Captain Sykes was born in Alabama, a son of Dr. William A. Sykes, who was one of the early settlers of Monroe county, Miss., where he practiced his profession and also became a successful planter and a large owner of slaves. Captain Sykes was a captain on the staff of General Jackson in the Civil war, and was one of the prominent and honored citizens of Monroe county at the time of his death. Senator Walker is survived by three children--Corinne, Mary Dudley and William Burwell.

photo of W. B. Walker's home in Aberdeen, MS

W. B. Walker Home
Photographed by James Butters, June 3, 1936
Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey, HABS, MISS, 48-ABDE,5-1.


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