Tag Archives: John Johnston Walker

John Johnston WALKER, 1848 – 1891

This is one in a series of blog posts about some old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. You can see a list of these papers HERE.

John Johnston WALKER
Photo of John Johnston WALKER, taken (I think) shortly before he left for New Zealand in 1869.

Having mentioned him, and included his photo, in a previous piece, I want to post a bit more about this 2x Gt-Uncle, John Johnston WALKER. To my present knowledge, at least on the WALKER side of my family, John is the closest relative to my direct ancestry (i.e. a son/daughter, brother/sister, uncle/aunt) to have emigrated from the British Isles.

What little I know about him is mostly contained in the WALKER family history, first written by my Granddad (John’s nephew) in the 1950’s. I copy the little section written about John, here;

John Johnston Walker was born 21st January 1848. He went to New Zealand in 1869 [aged 21] and was manager of a large Sheep Station at Edendale until 1877, when he decided to start on his own, and took up a virgin block of land on the Otamakapua Block. In 1891 he went to Feilding to have treatment for a severe attack of fever and was treated by a Doctor Charlton without success, and died on 19th November 1891. On his retirement from the sheep station, where he was most popular, he was presented with a very handsome gold watch and chain.

I’m not 100% sure about the locations mentioned, particularly “Edendale”, of which I can find 3 identified places with that name, around New Zealand! (Search for “Edendale”, HERE)

On a trip to New Zealand in 2013, my uncle, David, visited Feilding and took the following photos (note; these are scans of the prints I have from him);

The gravestone at Feilding cemetery reads;

“In Memory of
John J. Walker,
born at Kilpunt, Linlithgowshire,
Scotland.
Died at Feilding, N.Z., 19th Nov. 1891,
Aged 44 Years”

scan0003John’s death is also recorded on a gravestone in Kirkliston churchyard, West Lothian, Scotland, along with his parents, infant brother, and 3 of his sisters.

I have found just one document about John Johnston WALKER among the WALKER family papers; a letter home from him, responding to news of his father’s death in 1881. (See below for transcription and notes).

Page 1; letter-home-from-john-j-walker_july-1881_p1_300dpiTranscription of Page 1 (right side);

Lyndhurst*
July 15th 1881
My Dear Mother,
I am in receipt of ~ Tom’s letter conveying the ~ sad news of my Father’s death. ~ It is certainly a very solemn ~ [invitation] we have received ~ from Him with whom we ~ have to do. I feel the loss ~ very much for your sake ~ & for mine but we must ~ bow ourselves submissively ~ before Almighty God and ~ say ‘Thy will be done’.

Regarding the estate of ~ my late Father, I do not ^[think] it ~ would be prudent to advise ~ you, as I lack a knowledge ~ of circumstances. One thing ~

Page 1 (left side);

and that is ? would Kilpunt ~ be worth keeping seeing so ~ much money has been lost ~ by farming it of late years. ~ So far as I am concerned ~[treat] me as if I was not, at ~ the same time if I can help ~ you in any way depend upon ~ me. I too have lost [heavily] ~ at farming. two years ago – ~ £800 went. but what of ~ that.

If Tom is inclined to farm the ~old place so as to keep the ~ family together let him do ~ so. But before [signing] any ~ lease, don’t forget to be pre~pared against foreign com~petition.

Now Tom*, I as your elder ~ brother would kindly advise

Page 2; letter-home-from-john-j-walker_july-1881_p2_300dpiTranscription of Page 2 (left side);

to look well to our Mother’s ~ ## comfort & happiness & ~ also to that of our sisters. ~ Don’t go hunting, or pleasure ~ seeking, but seldom: remem~ber we must try to discharge ~ our late Father’s debts, for ~ I think it is a duty of ours ~ if we com by [God’s] help ~ perform.

Some one here sent word ~ I was ill. He was mistaken ~ I kindly bid you ad[..] ~ [m…le_] Am writing in ~ haste to post for mail_

Yours Aff-ly
J. Walker
P.S. Will write next mail
for sure___
put in [p…ite] for me

Page 2 (right side);

address as formerly-

*Notes; I’m not sure of the location given at the top of the letter! There is a “Lyndhurst” west of Christchurch, on the east side of South Island. (See NZ Topo Map ).

* “Tom” – was John’s youngest brother; Thomas George WALKER (my Great-Grandfather).

Searching the internet, I have found two other documents of interest;

First; a newspaper report of John Johnston WALKER’s death, from The Feilding Star newspaper, Thurs, 19th November 1891 (via Past Papers; National Library of New Zealand);

Report in the Feilding Star newspaper, NZ, 19 Nov 1891
Newspaper report

This morning there died at Buckingham Palace, (Mr Worsfold’s boardinghouse). a settler named John Johnston Walker, who was one of the first selectors on the Otamakapua Block. Some months ago he came to Feilding for medical treatment as he was suffering from fever. Dr Charlton was unremitting in his attention and managed to cure his patient so far, but Mr Walker suffered a relapse, and lung disease rapidly developed. From the beginning Dr Charlton held ont no hopes of recovery, and the deceased was quite prepared for the fatal termination of his complaint. Mr and Mrs Worsfold showed every possible kindness and provided all that was necessary to insure the most perfect comfort of the invalid. The funeral will take place tomorrow at 10:30 am.

Second; in just the last few days (Dec. 2016) I’ve found details of John Johnston WALKER’s Will in New Zealand’s Probate records, available through FamilySearch.org. (I am unsure of FamilySearch’s copyright policy, so I won’t copy the images here! But I will add links to the page images – please click on the numbers – and I type up my own transcription of the text);

Image no. 154;

38290 ~ Dated 24 Sep 1891 ~ WILL ~ of ~ Mr John. J. Walker ~ John Prior ~ Solicitor ~ Feilding

Image 155;

A
This is the last Will and Testament of me ~ John Johnston Walker of Otamakapua in the ~ Provincial District of Wellington and Colony of ~ New Zealand. Farmer. I appoint Ernest Albert ~ Barton of Feilding in the Provincial District of ~ Wellington, Bank Agent (hereafter called “my ~ Trustee”) to be the Executer and Trustee of this ~ my will. I give devise and bequeath the ~ whole of my Real and personal property of ~ whatsoever nature or kind and wheresoever ~ situate including amongst other things my ~ interest in a perpetual Lease, moneys at the ~ Bank on deposit and open account into my ~ Trustee Upon trust that my Trustee shall sell ~ call in and convert into money the same or such ~ part thereof as shall not consist of money and ~ shall with and out of the monies produced by ~ such sale calling in and conversion and with ~ and out of such part of my personal Estate as ~ shall consist of money pay my funeral and ~ testamentary expenses and debts and shall stand ~ possessed of the residue of the said monies in ~ [burial] for my Uncle Thomas Johnston* of No.25 ~ Athol Gardens*, Glasgow, Scotland absolutely.

In Witness whereof I have to this my last Will ~ and Testament – set my hand this twenty fourth ~ day of September one Thousand Eight hundred ~ and ninety one.

Signed by the above named John ~ Johnston Walker as his last Will ~ and Testimony in the presence of ~ us both being present at the ~ same time who at his request ~ in his presence and in the ~ presence of Each other have ~ here[unto] subscribed our names ~ as witnesses.

John. J. Walker (signature)

[Clifton] [Chaelton] MB. [Clu.] […] ~ Feilding (signature)

John Prior ~ Solicitor, Feilding. (signature)

Note on Left side of the page (img.155), at 90°.;

This is the paper [w…] marked “a” referred [to] in the ~ Affidavit of Ernest Albert Barton […] this 29th day of ~ December 1891 Before me ~ […(signature)…] ~ A Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.

In addition to the Will, there are 7 further images of related Supreme Court documents, which are worth a look at, but which I won’t transcribe here because they seem to yield few additional details of note!

See; Image 156; Image 157; Image 158; Image 159; Image 160; Image 161; & Image 162.

*Note; “John JOHNSTON” was a brother of John Johnston WALKER’s mother, Margaret. I think that “Athol Gardens” might be “Athole Gardens, Glasgow, G12 9BQ

I would be interested to find more details about John Johnston WALKER; like where he lived/travelled in New Zealand, and the passenger records for when he moved out there in 1869 (which I’ve started having a little look for, but not yet found anything!).

If you know of anything more about John Johnston WALKER, that you could direct me towards, then please leave a comment below, or use the Contact Page to get in touch. Thanks.

Advertisements

Some old photos of the WALKER family

This is one in a series of blog posts about some old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. See a list of these papers HERE.

Here are a few photos that I have, of members of my WALKER family. These are currently the oldest photos that I know about, of members of this branch of my family. I found this group of photos together inside a plain blue envelope, aprox- A6 sized. The images are all about 2⅛ x 3¾” (54 x 95mm).

Although the photos of James WALKER and Margaret JOHNSTON are not dated, the details on the back, naming the studio where they were taken, can give us some indication of a date range. It seems clear that these 3 photos were all taken at the same time, during the same studio sitting.

The backs of these 3 Photos are all labled “ROSS & THOMSON, PHOTOGRAPHERS, 90 Princes Street, Edniburgh”. Websites with information about early photographers (for example HERE) indicate that this studio opperated at this address between 1848 and 1864, which suggests that the photos must be from this date range. I suspect that they date from fairly soon after James and Margaret’s marriage, at Bathgate in February 1847 (so earlier rather than later in the possible date-range).

The 4th photo in this group is of James and Margaret’s oldest son; John Johnston WALKER. John was born in January 1848, and went to New Zealand in 1869 where he was manager of a large Sheep Station at Edendale until 1877, when he decided to start on his own, and took up a virgin block of land on the Otamakapua Block, North Island. He died at Feilding, Manawatu District, NZ, in November 1891.

The back of this photo is labled; “J Horsburgh, PHOTOGRAPHER, 131 Princes Street, Edinburgh”. This photograhper’s name, at this address, appears to suggest a date between 1868 and 1898 (not earlier than 1868) (see HERE). So the year written on the reverse, “1869”, is probably accurate, suggesting that the photo was taken shortly before John left Scotland, for New Zealand.

In the envelope, along with these photos, there is a hand-written list of all the members of this generation of the Walker family (including the children’s birth dates). (I have shared this note previously). This is on the back of an old envelope addressed to James and Margaret’s youngest son (and my Gt-Grandfather), Thomas George WALKER, in 1891. I believe this list to have been written down by Thomas George Walker.

Transcription of note (with added details);

James Walker b. 24/1/1818, d. 6/5/1881. and
Margaret Johnston b. btw. Apr & Sept. 1818, d. 15/9/1890. married
23rd Feb. 1847 at Bathgate.

John Johnston Walker, born 21st Jan. 1848 d. 19/11/1891 – aged 43 – in N.Z.
Margaret Young “} and
d. 13/ 5/1891 – aged 41.
James (twins) “} 19 Oct. 1849 d.   4/ 5/1851 – aged 18 mths.
Isa(bella) Neill 3 May 1852 d.  8/11/1916 – aged 64. Married
Jemima Janet 30 Mar 1854 d. 24/12/1892 – aged 38.
Mary 9 Feb 1856 d. 25/ 6/1903 – aged 47. Married
Thomas George 4 Mar 1858 d. 19/10/1951 – aged 93. Married
Elizabeth Barron 7 Oct 1860 d. 14/10/1882 – aged 22

Note that several of these children have middle names which are the surnames of their Mother, Grandmothers, and Gt-Gt-Grandmother. This was common with many of the earliest recorded middle names, which can sometimes cause confusion knowing just who is being referred to. It is to avoid such confusion that on this site I tend to write SURNAMEs in CAPITALS, to distinguish actual Surnames from this kind of middle name.

Of these 8 children, only 2 have any descendants; Mary WALKER married John BRASH, and had 1 daughter. Thomas George WALKER married Helen Black CADZOW, and had 7 children.

For futher details please see A history of the WALKER family.

A history of the WALKER family

The following history was originally compiled and written by T.G.A. WALKER, circa 1957. The versions of this history that I’ve seen don’t contain any notes as to his sources for the information. And while some sources must be from old family papers (which I have seen, and which remain in the family), others remain a mystery.

This history was retyped, with minor edits and corrections, and with some additional information/details inserted in italics, by M. WALKER in 2004, with further additions/editing in response to further research at several subsequent dates. I endeavour to explain my edits to the text, and my sources, at the end.

foot-cA history of the WALKER family

By tradition, the Walker family came originally from the district around PERTH and at some date not known moved to a farm, now no longer in existence, called PUNCHEONLAW [or Punchinlaw] which lay north-east of the village of KIRKLISTON, on a back road towards Cramond, just west of Edinburgh.[i]

William Walker of Punchin Law moved to the farm of HIDDLEFAULDS [or Hiddlefolds] now in the parish of Broxburn, but historically in Kirkliston parish, in the year 1745, being a tenant of the Earl of HOPETOUN; he also farmed for a time at OVERTOUN of KIRKNEUTON, which he had taken over from his brother, David Walker, who had died, it seems, without issue.

William married Elizabeth BARRON (or BARON) of Corstorphine on 14th June 1728 and they had two daughters, twins, Isabell and Janet, born 23rd August 1729 and three sons, James born 5th August 1731, Thomas born about 20th October 1735, and William, born 27th January 1739,[ii] of whom James took over the farm on the death of his father in 1768. James married Janet Flint in May 1766 and they had a son, John, born on 13th Jan 1772 along with two daughters; Mary, born 23rd June 1767, and Elisabeth on 1st October 1769.[iii] John was “irregularly” married to Isabel Neil in May 1816.[iv] She was born in February 1788. John took over the farm on the death of his farther in 1817. James died 4th April 1817, aged 85, and Janet Flint died 12th Dec. 1817, aged 79.[v]

At about this date the family took over the lease of the adjoining farm of Kilpunt (or Kilpont), also on the Hopetoun Estate, making the two farms into one. In the course of time the farm buildings of Hiddlefaulds were used for other purposes, and a row of farm cottages were put up with the stones. [Records indicate that the Walker family was still living at Hiddlefaulds in 1842, but were living at Kilpunt by the time of the 1851 census.]

An anecdote of the times with it’s general lawlessness is the story of a Walker of about these times who had a horse stolen during the night and when daylight came, tracked the thief and came upon him in a wood some miles away. They fell to with their swords, and the thief was run through, and Walker came back with his horse.

There are more details of the family of John Walker than previous generations. He had two sons and four daughters;

  • Janet   .  . b. 19 Aug. 1816  .  married William HUNTER, baker, of Broxburn.
  • James .  . b. 24 Jan. 1818  .  married Margaret JOHNSTON in 1847.
  • John .  .  . b. 29 Oct 1820   .   d. 15 Nov. 1825
  • Isbel  .  .  . b. 26 Mar 1822
  • Mary  .  .  . b. 15 Dec 1824   .  [married John KERR]
  • Barbara  . b. 21 Feb 1827   .  [married David BARTHOLOMEW]

    kilpunt-composite1
    Photo of Kilpunt from the south (composite of two photos)
    taken on 28th June 2005

John Walker died in [Aug.] 1840 and James carried on the farm at Kilpunt. [Isbel MacNeil died in about 1860]. James married Margaret Johnston at Bathgate in 1847. She came of a family of much distinction, they owning the newspaper ‘The Falkirk Herald’ and who had brothers who were prominent Bankers in Glasgow.

The sister of James [i.e. Janet] who married Wm. Hunter of Broxburn had a son who went to Natal, [South] Africa as an engineer, who planned and built the railway there [was manager of the Natal Railway, abt. 1880’s.].

James was well known in Edinburgh, where he had a house, and did much entertaining, among his guests was a Mr Necker, an International Banker and important in his day, who came from Switzerland.

He [James] had family as follows;

  • John Johnston .  .   b. 21 Jan 1848        d. 19 Nov 1891 in N.Z.
  • Margaret Young (twin)                                d. 13 May 1891
  • James   .  .  (twin)  .  b. 19 Oct 1849        d.  4 May 1851
  • Isabella Neill .  .  .  .  b. 3 May 1851        m. Thomas ALLAN
  • Jemima Janet .  .  .  b. 30 Mar 1854
  • Mary .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  b. 9 Feb 1856         m. John BRASH
  • Thomas George   .  b. 4 Mar 1858        m. Helen Black CADZOW
  • Elizabeth Barron  .  b. 7 Oct 1860         d. 14 Oct 1882

John [Johnston] Walker went to New Zealand in 1869 and was manager of a large Sheep Station at Edendale until 1877, when he decided to start on his own, and took up a virgin block of land on the Otamakapua Block. In 1891 he went to Feilding to have treatment for a severe attack of fever and was treated by a Doctor Charlton without success, and died on 19th November 1891. On his retirement from the sheep station, where he was most popular, he was presented with a very handsome gold watch and chain.

On the death of James Walker in 1881 the farm at Kilpunt was carried on by Thomas George Walker, who married Helen Black Cadzow at Bangour [just north of Livingston, West Lothian], on the 19th June 1894.

Their family;

Born at Kilpunt         ( up until 1898)

  • Helen Cadzow WALKER  b. 31 May 1895           m. Jeremiah INNS
  • James Hope          “             b. 3 July 1896              d. 16 Mar 1917
  • Isobel MacNeil     “             b. 22 Feb 1898            m. Henry W. GEORGE

Born at Hyde Hall, Buntingford, Hertfordshire (1898 – 1904)

  • Beatrice Margaret             b. 3 Aug 1900              d. Feb. 1972
  • Mary Winifred                     b. 14 Feb 1903            d. 18 Apr 1996

Born at Symonds Hyde, Hatfield, Hertfordshire (1904 – .)

  • Ethel Marian                         b. 4 Nov 1905             m. Lyle STEWART
  • Thomas George Allan     b. 24 June 1908        m. Linnaea C. ELLIOTT
 Notes;

[i] T. G. A. Walker writes of “a farm called PUNCHIN LAW (spelling doubtful) which lay close to the farm of THREE-MILE-TOWN on the Linlithgow to Edinburgh road, about three miles from Linlithgow.” But viewing old maps of ‘Linlithgowshire’ (West Lothian) online at www.nls.uk/maps (at July 2005), two maps (dated 1818 and 1820) identify a farm of ‘Puncheon Law’ laying in the parish of Kirkliston, north-east of Kirkliston village (quite some distance east of Three-Mile-Town). No other locations of a similar name are evident on these maps.

[ii] These dates and the names of Elizabeth Barron and Isabell, Janet & William Walker, come from OPR 667/1; Kirkliston parish records on microfilm. Viewed 29th June 2005 at the Scottish Genealogy Society; Family History Library, 15 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh.

[iii] Dates and the daughters’ names come from OPR 667/1; Kirkliston parish records on microfilm. (as note 2).

[iv]John Walker and Isabel Neil, both of this parish (Kirkliston) were irregularly married and had their marriage confirmed by the session.” Entry dated 25th May 1816 from OPR 667/1; Kirkliston parish records on microfilm. (as note 2). The fact that their 1st daughter, Janet, was born less than 3 months later is a hint at what was going on! Looking into the Kirk Session records might provide additional information of interest about this.

[v] Dates of death for James and Janet taken from a tombstone in Kirkliston kirkyard on 28th June 2005.

 Additional notes/comments;

IMG_7620-edSince first re-typing the above history, I have discovered the original family papers which must have been the source for much of the history – particularly the early parts. (I plan to post images and transcriptions of those documents onto this site in future). So the following notes have a lot to do with the extra details that I have so far gleaned from these documents.

I remain unclear about where the idea comes from, of the WALKER family “coming originally from the district around Perth“. I have yet to see any evidence for that!

My suspicion is that my WALKER family is connected to WALKERs who lived in the neighbouring parish of Corstorphine for at least 2 or 3 generations prior to the family that I have firm details for. A lot of work into WALKERs in Corstorphine has been done by Norman WALKER, from Australia, who traces his WALKER family back to Corstorphine in the early 1600s.

I have seen no evidence for William’s brother, “David“, who is supposed to have farmed at Overtoun of Kirknewton! But among the family papers, William’s disposition shows that he left the farm at Overtoun to “Thomas, my youngest son“. This suggests that William and Elizabeth’s third son (also called William, b.1739) had died at a young age – as he is not mentioned in his father’s disposition.

On-line I have seen someone making a connection between William Walker (b. 1739) and a marriage in 1774 between a William Walker and Catherine Muir. But based on the family documents that I’ve seen, particularly the disposition of William WALKER (Snr.), I see no evidence for such a link to be made. (If anyone can provide me with clear evidence of that link, I will happily revise my assumptions. This site is all about sharing evidence.).

WALKER family gathering – Jan 2014

We had a good time in the Cotswolds at the weekend. On Saturday we had a party with about 35 relatives from the WALKER and ELLIOTT families – the biggest gathering that I can think of, on that side of my family, in quite some time – both in size and breadth.

Gathering of the extended WALKER and ELLIOTT family, in the Cotswolds in January 2014.
Gathering of the extended WALKER and ELLIOTT family, in the Cotswolds in January 2014.
Family looking through old WALKER family documents, photos, etc.
Family looking through old WALKER family documents, photos, etc.

I spent a lot of time looking through family documents, after my aunt handed me an old wooden box stuffed full of old papers, including the ones I mentioned in an earlier post, that I previously had transcriptions of. I’ve brought that box home to have the time to really go through it, and I hope to be posting images and transcriptions of many interesting family documents from that box onto this site in due course.

IMG_7613-crop2
The wooden box from my aunt, full of WALKER family papers. The green book on top contains writings by members of the FRY family (also from my aunt).
IMG_7620-ed
WALKER family papers, inside the box.

Discussing family history with others in the WALKER family, it was clear that there is a great deal of interest in a couple of particular individuals in the WALKER family tree.

  • James Hope WALKER (my great-uncle) was a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), no. 38 (Reserve) Squadron, who died in a flying accident at Rendcomb airfield, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, aboard a Bristol Fighter – F2A A3311, on 16th March 1917.
  • John Johnston WALKER (one generation further back) went out to New Zealand in 1869 where he was manager of a large sheep station at Edendale, near the southern tip of South Island. In 1877 he decided to start on his own and took up a virgin block on the Otamakapua Block, North Island. In 1891 he went to Feilding for treatment of a severe attack of fever, and died at Feilding, on 19th November 1891.

So these might be the subjects of some future blog posts here, either by me, or by other family members. We certainly have quite a few photos of James Hope WALKER, and of what appears to be his crashed plane, which I plan to scan and add to this site.