Transcribed by Patty Gaddis
WALKER, ANDREW - It is difficult to do full justice to the veterans of the Civil War, for no mere words can ever repay them for what they endured or risked in their brace defense of their country. Many of the bravest soldiers were foreign born, but, having come to the United States in search of the liberty not found in their native land, were willing to go out in defense of their adopted country. An honored veteran of Springfield who belongs to this class is Andrew Walker, born on the Isle of Man, August 12, 1840, a son of John W and Margaret (Gibson) Walker. The father was born in Scotland, and by occupation was a soap manufacturer. Not satisfied with conditions on the Isle of Man, he came to the United States, settling in New York State, where he resided for many years. Later he came west to Chicago, where he engaged in manufacturing soap, living there until his death. The mother died when Andrew Walker was but an infant, so the latter has no recollection of her.
Andrew Walker went to school in Elmira, N.Y., where the family resided, and did his first work on a farm in that vicinity, leaving home when twelve years of age. Upon coming west, he stopped in Chicago, and then went south to New Orleans, in 1856. There he worked at odd jobs, finally securing employment on a steamboat, where he learned to be an engineer. For three years he was on a boat that ran from New Orleans to Memphis. In 1858 he came to Springfield, at first working on a farm. During the famous Douglas-Lincoln campaign, he heard much of the talk of the times, and was greatly interested in it. Going to New Orleans again, at the end of a year, he worked on the Mississippi Central Railroad as a fireman, continuing with this company until the outbreak of the war, when he came back to Springfield. There he obtained employment with the Illinois Central Railroad Company as fireman, but a short time later went to Missouri, where he was fireman on the Missouri and Northern Railroad. A year later he returned to Springfield for the third time, and enlisted in the Twenty-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, being mustered in at Natchez, Miss. He participated in the battles of Pittsburg Landing and Forts Henry and Donelson, serving under General John A Logan. He was honorably discharged at the close of his service. Coming back from the war, he farmed for a year, then entered the Illinois Foundry as engineer, leaving there after a year to become engineer at the State House, which position he held for seventeen years. For a year he was in Spokane, Wash, but since his retirement from active duties, has elected to make Springfield his home. Needless to say, he is a stanch Republican, and has represented his party in the City Council as Alderman from the First Ward for five years, and did his full duty in that body, as he always has, whether in private life or on the battlefield. Fraternally he is an Odd Fellow, having joined that order twenty-five years ago, and belonging to Springfield Lodge No. 6, and is also a member of the Modern Woodmen. Since Stephenson Post, No. 30, G.A.R. was established, he has been one of its most enthusiastic members. The Third Presbyterian Church, of Springfield, holds his membership and has his hearty support.
Mr. Walker was born in Springfield (probably should read was married in .....), April 7, 1863, to Nancy Simmon, born and reared in Springfield. Her parents were natives of Ireland and died when she was a small child. Two daughters were born to Mr. and Mrs. Walker: Emma, deceased, and Anna E, wife of Cyrus Chinkee, foreman of the plate department of the Illinois Watch Company. Mr. and Mrs. Chinkee have three sons: Harry, Walter and Robert, all employe(e)s of the Illinois Watch Company. Mr. Walker owns his beautiful residence, one of the finest in Springfield, at No. 1110 North Thirteenth Street, and other pieces of city realty, as well as rich farming land in the vicinity of Springfield. He is widely known, his association with the State House having brought him into contact with men from all over the State, and all who know him like the pleasant, genial man, who has seen so much and has been so closely identified with the earlier history of Springfield.