Biography - D. Esco Walker

D. Esco WALKER. The rapid advance of the realty interests of Southern Illinois during the past decade has effected the organization of some of the largest land corporations in the history of the state, and has brought to the front men of vastly more than ordinary business talents, who have had the welfare of their community at heart and have bent every energy in the development of this section of the country. Prominent among these public-spirited citizens may be mentioned D. Esco Walker, of Vienna, Illinois, president of the Egyptian Land and Loan Company and of the Johnson County Abstract Company, senior member of the leading fire insurance agency firm of Johnson county, Walker, Mills & Whitehead, and a man whose success in business may be said to have been achieved by his consummate business methods and sound principles. Mr. Walker was born August 30, 1883, on a farm five and one-half miles east of Vienna, and is a son of George W. and Mahalya (DePoyster) Walker.

William Walker, the great-grandfather of D. Esco Walker, was a native of Virginia, of Scotch-Irish descent, who migrated to Tennessee, and during the 'fifties came to Johnson county, Illinois, where he filed government land and spent the remainder of his life in agricultural pursuits. His son, N. J. Walker, was born in Tennessee and came with the family to Johnson county, but some time later went to Texas, where he resided for three years, returning to Johnson county in 1862 in order to escape conscription in the Confederate service, the Walkers being Union sympathizers. Settling on a farm in Grantsburg township, he engaged in farming, and there resided until his death, which occurred in 1897. He married Rebecca Clay, and among their children was George W. Walker, who was born in Texas in 1859, and spent his life in farming, and at the time of his death, which occurred February 14, 1908, he was the owner of one hundred and forty-eight and one-third acres. He was first married to Mahalya DePoyster, daughter of Thomas and Rebecca (Farless) DePoyster, who came from Tennessee at an early day and settled in Johnson county, Illinois, and to this union there were born two children: D. Esco and Mrs. Parmelia Clark, of Peoria, Illinois. Mr. Walker's first wife died in 1888, and in 1891 he was married to Martha Arabella Stout, of Johnson county, daughter of Park A. and Nancy Ellen (Stockdale) Stout, and three of the eight children born to this union are now living: Cove, Beulah and Beatrice. The Stout family came originally from Tennessee, migrated thence to Kentucky, and came to Illinois during the 'fifties. Mrs. Stout belonged to the Kentucky Stockdales.

D. Esco Walker was educated in the district schools of his native township and in the Southern Illinois State Normal University at Carbondale, and began teaching school in 1901. He taught three years, his last being in the Vienna High School, and during 1904 and 1905 served as assistant postmaster of Vienna. On January 1st of the latter year he became business manager and associate editor of the Vienna Times, also retaining his position of assistant postmaster until August 1, 1906. On August 29th following, on account of poor health, he resigned his position with the newspaper, and engaged in the Abstract, Real Estate, Insurance and Loan business, incorporating his abstract business March 10, 1911, under the corporate name of the Johnson County Abstract Company. This company possesses the only complete set of abstract books in Johnson county. In addition to being president of this concern, he serves in a like capacity with the Egyptian Land and Loan Company, a firm capitalized at fifty thousand dollars, of which C. W. Mills is secretary and Noel Whitehead, treasurer, and is senior member of the firm of Walker, Mills & Whitehead, the heaviest fire insurance agency in Johnson county, representing ten companies. Mr. Walker finds time from his other duties to manage a farm of one hundred and sixty acres owned by the Egyptian Land and Loan Company, has owned and operated several other farms in Johnson county; owns one-fifth interest in the farm of one hundred and forty-eight and one-third acres left by his father, in addition to a dwelling and four city lots in Charleston, Coles county, Illinois, and a residence lot in Afruitland, Texas, and is interested in Doyles Consolidated Mines Company, of Colorado. His politics are those of the Republican party, and fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias, No. 651, Vienna, Romeo Lodge; and American Council, No. 77, Jr. 0. U. A. M., of Vienna. He is a deeply religious man and is regularly ordained minister of the Missionary Baptist church.

On December 25, 1906, Mr. Walker was married to Eva Simmons, of Johnson county, daughter of C. R. and Mahalya (Benson) Simmons. C. R. Simmons was a son of Wiley Simmons, who died in July, 1911, at the age of seventy-four years, the latter being the son of Wiley Simmons, Sr., who came to Johnson county from Tennessee during the early forties, entering land in Bloomfield township. Mr. and Mrs. Walker have three children: Frances Mahalya, who was born October 17, 1907; D. Esco, Jr., born September 12, 1909; and Evalyn Majenta, born January 7, 1912.

Throughout his entire business career Mr. Walker has associated himself only with those enterprises which proved themselves thoroughly legitimate in every way, and his own business dealings have stamped him as a man of the highest integrity, on whose career there is not the slightest stain or blemish. He can look back over a career of usefulness to his community and his fellow citizens, and taking his past as a criterion the future holds much in store for him.

Extracted 14 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 718-719.

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