George Ralph Walker, Sr., Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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George Ralph Walker Sr.

The Chosen Land: Barber County, Kansas, page 469.

Olive W. Salazar

Three Walker brothers, Henry, Tom, and Charley, from Cloverport, Kentucky, trailed cattle up the Chisholm Trail from Texas in 1871 and wintered them on Turkey Creek. They were attracted to the valley along the Medicine River and built a dugout in a bank about seven miles northwest of Sun City. Younger, sixteen-year-old brother, George arrived in December, 1873, and about this time a cedar log cabin was built near the dugout. Henry went back to Kentucky to bring the parents, Ralph and Judith, to the new land along the river, where each of the boys and their father staked out claims.

When Henry returned to Kentucky, a wagon was loaded with all the family possessions, and he drove it back in three months to Sun City. The parents came by train to Hutchinson, then by stage to Sun City, where they lived until the cabin was finished and extra rooms added. Grandmother was able to hire a woman to scrub her floor (on hands and knees) for 10 cents. Grand-mother cooked with buffalo tallow for grease; and it smelled so strongly, it made her sick - so she would put meat on to cook and then go outside until it needed turning. Ralph and Judith were in their sixties when they came to Barber County.

There was fear of Indians; and whenever the boys went to draw water from the well, they always buckled on their gunbelts before leaving the house. George laughed about the time he and Cousin Levi Taul were riding out in the pasture when they saw rider coming over a distant hill. Immediately they started running their mounts for the Sun City stockade. The riders pursued them. They ran the seven miles telling everyone at the fort Indian had chased them. Later a cavalry unit came riding in saying they had seen two men riding and tried to talk to them, but the men rode too fast. George always said an Indian 'War Whoop' was enough to curdle one's blood.

Henry, Tom, Charley, George, and a friend Bid Cochran, were hunting buffalo north of Wellsford on Rattlesnake Creek when Indian came riding into view. Tom and Bid were in the wagon, and while they were turned around looking to see what the Indians were doing, the horses and wagon ran over a ten foot bank, tearing the wagon to pieces.

George enlarged his holdings through the years by buying out a number of claims and properties near him, both from relatives and others, including Clawson, Cornish, DeMoss and Sherrill.

The Walkers early became involved in community affairs. Charley was the first elected sheriff of Barber County, and later Henry served as County Commissioner. They supported the early schools and on one occasion drove a wagon to Hutchinson (it was the end of the rail line) to bring back a load of lumber for the Elm Grove School. Through the years three generations of Walker children attended District No. 15 schools.

In January 1892 Geroge R. Walker married Olive Rowley, daughter of Newell G. and Linda Rowley, who had come from Fabius, New York, and purchased a ranch just south of Sun City, now known as the Dickerson Ranch. Ralph, born in 1893, never married and always lived on the home place. Ruby, born in 1894, married A.D. Rogers and moved to Walla Walla, Washington. Albert, born in 1890, married Evaline Barnard and lived many years in Barber County. Olgie, born in 1899, married neighbor Fred Knowles, and later moved to Walla Walla. Mary, born in 1903, married scientist Dr. Ervin Bramhall, who was a member of Byrd's second expedition to the South Pole. Beatrice, born in 1905, married Albert Crane. Alice, born in 1907, taught school for a number of years before marrying Allen Hull, and after his death married Joseph Koellen. John, born in 1909, married Elviria Gaddis and operated the home ranch most of his life. Charles, born in 1913, was killed in action in France in World War II. Olive, born in 1916, taught school most of her life, first married William Eccles, and following his death, later married Justo Paul Salazar, and now lives in Chantilly, Virginia.


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