Elijah Dudley Walker, the leading lawyer of Hartford, son of Richard Logan and Mahala (Harris) Walker, and a descendant of one of the families whose names embellish the early history of the state, was born in Hartford, Kentucky, January 29, 1827. He received his literary training in the private schools of his native town, and began the study of law with Robert J. Smart in Independence, Missouri, when he was sixteen years of age, remaining there about twenty months. He was admitted to the practice of law in Missouri at the age of eighteen, but returned to Kentucky and read law with John H. McHenry (see biographical sketch) and was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1846, when nineteen years of age. He began his brilliant career as a lawyer in Hartford 1849, and will soon have completed a half century of professional work, having made a name and fame that extends beyond the borders of his state.
He was elected to the State Senate in August, 1857, and was the youngest member of that body. After serving one term of four years he declined a re-election, preferring to devote himself exclusively to his profession. He has, however, given much of his time to the furtherance of the interests of the Democratic party, his most recent service in that capacity being on the platform committee in the convention of 1895, which nominated P. Wat. Hardin for Governor.
While Judge Walker’s professional career has been marked by signal success, having been prominent in hundreds of cases, many of which have been of historic interest, and, while a record of his experiences as lawyer, judge, legislator and citizen would serve as an object lesson for ambitious young men, and would be of deep interest to the legal profession in Kentucky, it is the purpose of this sketch to place on record a brief history of the families of which he and his wife are worthy and honored descendants. It has cost him an effort to keep out of politics, his name having been mentioned for Governor and United States Senator under circumstances which would have fired the ambition of almost any other man who would have grasped the opportunity, and, with only a little effort, reached fame and national distinction
Judge Walker was married August 17, 1857, to Elvira English, whose interesting, ancestry is given herewith. They have five children: Mahala Logan, Lizzie Crutcher, Lulu Dix, Lida and
Robert Dudley. Of these Mahala Logan married J. Edwin Rowe, Commonwealth Attorney of Owensboro, and they have three children: Ella Walker, Bessie R. and Lula E.
Lida Walker married A. J. Casey of Owensboro, April 17, 1894, and has one child, named Walker.
Robert Dudley Walker is studying law with his father. The other children are at home.
Lizzie Walker has attracted attention as a writer of verse, whose songs are adding so much to the literary treasure of the south. Following literature for the love of it, she has become an inspiration, not only to her own circle of friends and the people of her locality, but also to a wide circle of admiring readers. She inherits her literary talent directly from her mother, who is accomplished, brilliant and versatile, and whose literary ambition is merged with all the mother’s pride in her daughter. Her ancestors were people of culture, some of whom possessed marked talent in literature. Her talent shone forth brightly even in early girlhood, and in school she was first and brightest, and she won the medal of honor in the Latin class in one of the best colleges in the south. Returning to her home in the freshness and enthusiasm of young womanhood she took to song as the form of literary expression best suited to her genius. Her poems at once rose to public notice and favor and were much admired. In every line of her work there is a delicacy and refinement and a sort of natural classicism that appeals strongly to the sympathy and admiration of the reader. The following lines are selected at random as an illustration of her work, in which the reflective element enters rather more than would be expected of one so young and joyous:
” ‘Tis well that life hath much of gladness, Knoweth something, too, of sadness, Bringeth hope for each to-morrow, Sendeth comfort, oft, for sorrow; Giveth while it taketh pleasure, Teacheth man his soul to treasure; Showeth as the days go by How to live, how to die.’Tis well—’tis well.”
Miss Walker is a beautiful young lady of medium stature, an open eye and a spiritual face, large blue eyes as clear as the lake or the sky above it; dark hair, easy address, with perfect self-possession and a dignity of carriage that impresses her friends with the sense of
“A soul at ease and beautiful.”
The Walker home at Hartford, which has long been in the possession of the family, is the ideal and type of that “Southern home where social and domestic virtues have so grown, flourished and blossomed as to make the name redolent with all the memories and musings which cluster around the word home in its best and most elegant estate.” The above quotation is from the pen of the distinguished historian. Dr. John Clark Ridpath, in his review of Miss Walker’s poems.
JUDGE WALKER’S ANTECEDENTS—THE WALKERS.
Richard Logan Walker (father) was a native of Washington County, Kentucky, and was educated in the schools of that county. He removed to Hartford about the year 1820 and engaged in merchandising and farming, shipping the product of his farm and that of others to the Ohio River in wagons and thence by flatboat to the New Orleans market. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was sheriff of Ohio County from 1820 to 1827, and for one term subsequently. The date of his marriage to Mahala Harris is not given. He died in 1857, and she survived him until 1860 and died, and is buried by his side at Hartford. They had five children: Nathan Harris, Richard Logan, Sallie Ann, Elijah Dudley and William L. D.
William Walker (grandfather) was a native of Fairfax County, Virginia, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He married Polly Logan, a member of a distinguished family of Virginia.
MRS. ELVIRA ENGLISH WALKER’S ANCESTRY—THE HYNES FAMILY.
William Hynes came from Coleraine, Ireland, Londonderry County. When he came to America he worked in the printing office with Dr. Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia in 1745. Thomas Hynes, son of William, came from Maryland to Kentucky in 1779. A younger brother, Colonel Andrew Hynes, came with him.
Thomas Hynes’ wife’s name was Abigail. They came down the Ohio River, and landed where Louisville now stands. There was only one house there, the fort built by General George Rogers Clark in the spring of 1779, after he had captured a number of British forts in the summer of 1778 and spring of 1779. Clark had but one hundred and seventy-five men, and for seventeen days they were up to their waists and chins in water at Vincennes in February, 1779.
Thomas Hynes and his wife, Abigail, and five children passed in a short time from the fort to the falls of the Ohio to a fort on the north bank of Salt River, about three-fourths of a mile above Shepherdsville. They had nine children: Hannah, Andrew, William R., Sally, Polly, Nancy, Thomas, Rachel and Elizabeth. Thomas Hynes, the father of the above named children, fought in the Revolutionary war, and was a captain under General George Washington.
After Thomas Hynes moved into the fort on Salt River he bought, in 1785, of Jacob Myers the upper half of said Myers’ four hundred acre pre-emption on Salt River, including the site of the fort. The deed from Myers to Thomas Hynes is recorded in deed book No.1 in the clerk’s office of Jefferson County. In 1788 he moved to Nelson County, on Lick Creek, about four miles from Boston. Thomas Hynes died in 1796 in the thirty-fifth year of his age at the above mentioned place. Abigail Hynes died in Nelson County December 4, 1821, in the seventy-fifth year of her age.
The children of Thomas and Abigail Hynes married as follows: William R. married twice ; his first wife was a Miss Lawrence, by whom he had seven children ; his second wife was a Miss Chenault, by whom he had twelve children, and among the number was Rev. Thomas W. Hynes of Bond County, Illinois.
Sally Hynes, Mrs. Walker’s grandmother, married William Crutcher, and had six children.
Polly Hynes married R. C. Slaughter.
Colonel Andrew Hynes, Jr., died in Nashville, Tennessee, January 21, 1849. Mrs. Mary J. McReary of St. Louis and Mrs. Lavinia Gay are among his children.
Colonel Andrew Hynes was one of the trustees appointed by an act of the Virginia Legislature in 1780 to lay off the town of Louisville; and in deed book No. 1, in the Jefferson County Court, will be found many deeds made by him. He was one of the delegates from Nelson County to the constitutional convention in 1792. He laid off Elizabethtown, and it was named for his wife Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Crutcher, youngest child of Sally and William Crutcher, married Robert English of Hardin County, Kentucky. She had three children,Elvira, Horace and Emma.
Many of the above facts are taken from papers written by Judge William R. Thompson, son of Polly Hynes, who married Volen Thompson. These facts were written by Judge Thompson only a short time before his death, which occurred in 1893. He was a member of the third constitutional convention of Kentucky. The original from which these extracts are taken is in the hands of Mr. Robert Duvall, Nolin, Hardin County.
Source: Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. John M. Gresham Company, Chicago, Philadelphia, 1896.