Tag Archives: sheep

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,
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);

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;

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.

Old WALKER papers – Disposition of William Walker, tenant in Hiddlefolds, 1763

This is the second blog post in a series about some old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. I will compile a list of these papers HERE.


Below is one of several documents from an envelope labeled “Old Wills etc. of the Walker family”, which is part of a box full of family papers that I received from my aunt at a family gathering in January 2014. The contents of this envelope all date from the 1700’s. This one is the “Disposition” (Will) of William Walker, whose marriage contract (from 1728) I have already posted -> HERE.

IMG_9490-croppedPlease click on the images to see the scans at full resolution. Transcribed text appears in a Maroon colour below each scanned image. At the bottom I’ve made some notes of my own about the document.

Cover; Wm-Walker-Disposition-cover_300dpiPage 1; William Walker - Disposition - 1763 - page-1-ed_300dpiTranscription of Page 1;

Be it known to all men by #
these presant me William Walker tennant Hiddelfold #
and also tennant in Overtoun of Kirkneuton for the love favour #
and afection that I have and bear to my Children James #
and Thomas, Jannet and Isobel Walker and to the Effect #
ther may be no Despute or Devision betuixt them at or after #
my Decease when the same in Providance shall happen therefor #
[wit] ye me to have [asigned] and disponed as I [Do] hearby asign and #
and make over and dispond to in favours of my said sons James and #
Thomas Walkers first I asigne and make over and dispond to James #
my oldest son his heirs and asigness all and sundrey my whole stocking #
Corns Cattle hors nout sheep labouring Instruments out sight and #
insight houshold plenishing and furniter of whosoever quality #
sort or Denomination that pertain and belong to me this presant #
day and date Janury the twenty eight one thousand sevin hun- #
-dred sixty three in or about Hiddlefolds and to fulfill the premices #
of the Tack together with [all] sundrie debts and sums of money #
reasting and adebted unto me this time aforesaid by whatever per- #
-son or persons upon whatsoever acoumpt – and second – #
I dispone and mak over to Thomas my youngest son his heirs #
and asigness the whole Stocking Corns Cattle hors nout sheep #
labouring Instrumints out sight and insight houshold plenishing #
whatsoever quality sort or denomination that is in or about #
the farm Overtoun of Kirkneuton and likwise he binds and #
obledg himself to pay the yearly rent and Tack Duty of Overtoun #
for this year and [crop] one thousand seven hundred and sixty two #
and every year during the tack and also he binds and oblidges #
himself to give me his father and his two sisters an equall half along #
with his brother James which shall be after mentioned. James #
and Thomas Walkers binds and obliges themselves to pay to their #
father each of them for themselves [fiftinth] pound sterling #

William Lin, witness
James Brown, witness

William Walker
James Walker
Thomas Walker

Page 2; William Walker - Disposition - 1763 - page-2-ed_300dpiTranscription of Page 2;

which is thirty pound to both and if our father require #
not the moniey nou mentoned in his life the one half #
shall be to Thomas and the other to James after his Decease #
and likwise I bind and oblige my sons James and Thomas #
with ther own consent therto to give to ther two sisters Isoble and Jannet #
Walkers portions as followeth – [Vis] to Isoble twenty five pounds #
sterling James and Thomas each one for himself paying twelve pounds #
ten shillings sterling and likwise to Jannet twenty five pounds sterling #
James for himself paying twelve pounds ten shillings sterling and #
Thomas for himself paying twelve pounds ten shillings and in case #
any of them should marrye it shall be given unto them upon Demand #
but if otherwayes they remain unmaried ther portions shall not be #
due to them or the first term martimess or whitsundy after ther fathers #
Decease and if any of them dye ther portion shall be equaly divided #
among the survivors – – I heirby have resigned given up and #
made over in favours of my two sons as is afore mentioned to James #
the farm of Hiddlefolds and all goods and effects in or about #
that farm with full pour to dispone or dispose thereof at [plisoure] #
and also with pour to him to receive the debts generaly asigned and #
to discharge the same and if need be pursue therfore as accords and #
every thing Compelant in law —-
and als[o] to Thomas the farm of Overtoun of Kirkneuton as is afore #
mentioned and all goods and effects in or about that farm or any #
ways beloning therto with full poure to dispon or dispose thereon #
at plesure and also with power to him to receive and discharge the #
debts generaly asigned and if need be pursue therefor as accords #
every thing Compelant in law —-
and we bind and oblige ourselves James for himself and Thomas #
for himself not Conjunctly but [sveraly] to fullfile our oblegations #
to our Father and sisters as is above mentioned —-
[we] all Conjunctly and unanimasly agree to what is hear insear- #
-ted in this and the other preceding page of stampt papper and willingly #
consent to the Regerstration herof in the boks of Council and Session #
or other Competant therin to remain and Constitute —-

William Lin, witness
James Brown, witness

William Walker
James Walker
Thomas Walker

Page 3; William Walker - Disposition - 1763 - page-3_bk-of-cover_300dpiTranscription of Page 3;

 – – – in witness thereof written upon stamped #
papper by James Walker I have subscribed ther presance #
at Hiddlefolds the twenty eight day of January one thousand #
seven hundred and sixty three years before these witness #
William Lin of Lins millin and James Brown #
tennant in Bromfilet

William Lin, witness
James Brown, witness

William Walker
James Walker
Thomas Walker


Terms used in the text;


Hiddlefold (or Hiddlefaulds) lay S.E. of Kilpunt, between Kilpunt and Birds Mill.

I believe that “Bromfilet” is Broomflat, and “Lins millin” is Lin’s Mill (which is the place where the Union Canal crosses the River Almond). Both sites lay to the south of Hiddlefaulds, on opposite sides of the River Almond.

Walker family;

“Here lies the dust of William Walker late Tennant in Hiddle-fold… who died Jan~ 1st 1768 aged 73 years”

William Walker’s tombstone, in the churchyard of Kirkliston Parish Church, records that “William Walker, late tennant in Hiddle-fold … died Jan.1st 1768, aged 73 years“.

Note; GravestonePhotos.com has mis-transcribed William’s age as “75”! Having seen and photographed the stone myself, I am certain that it reads “aged 73”, and  other publications of “Monumental Inscriptions” that I’ve seen, agree.

Notes written by my Grandfather in the late 1950’s say that the Walkers moved from Puncheonlaw (N.E. of Kirkliston) to Hiddlefolds in 1745, and that William had inherited the tenancy at “Overtoun of Kirknewton … from his brother, David Walker, who had died, it seems, without issue“. I have not yet confirmed either of these statements from original sources!

From Kirkliston parish records I know that William Walker, and his wife Elizabeth Barron, had 5 children; “Isabell” and Janet were twins, christened on 24th August 1729, James was christened on 8th August 1731, and Thomas on 26th October 1735 (all named in William’s Disposition, above).

A third son, “William” is recorded; christened on 2nd February 1739. I have seen trees posted on-line which claim to link this christening to a marriage at Kirkliston in 1774, between another “William Walker” and Catherine Muir (see HERE ). But I believe this connection to be wrong due to the details in the Disposition above which clearly mention only 2 sons; James and Thomas (also note in that link, the supposed birth year of the father; “1706”, which does not fit with the record on his tombstone!). It is my assumption that the third son “William” (b.1739) had died sometime in childhood; before his father wrote the Disposition above.

Also the lack of any mention of William’s wife, Elizabeth Barron, in this Disposition suggests to me that she had died before it was written. I have not yet found any record of Elizabeth’s death.

If anyone has evidence that can prove (or disprove) my assumptions here, I would be very interested to see it. If you do, please leave a comment below, or use the Contact Page to get in touch. Thanks.