Doctor Ezra Walker, the first resident physician of Ames township, was born December 9, 1776, at Killingly, Connecticut, in which state he studied his profession, and practiced for some years. Removing from Connecticut he settled in Poultney, Vermont, about the year 1800, and from thence migrated with his family to Marietta, in the autumn of 18 to. He remained on the Muskingum till the spring of 1811, when he came with his family, consisting of wife and seven children, into Ames township, and immediately resumed the practice of medicine. He pursued a general practice for more than twenty years, and, in a few families who would never excuse him, he continued to practice for almost forty years, or till near the close of his life. When he began to practice medicine in the county, and for many years later, what with bad roads or no roads at all, absence of bridges, sparse and scattered settlements, etc., his long rides, frequently of fifteen or twenty miles, were always attended with difficulties and sometimes with dangers. In one instance he had to cross the country from where the present town of Plymouth, Washington county, is situated, to another settlement at Barrows’ mill, in Rome township, which took him till far in the evening, when he found himself followed by wolves. As their numbers increased the animals were emboldened to contract their circle around him, till he was obliged to climb into a tree for safety; and there he spent the night, keeping a sharp lookout for his horse beneath, and trying to frighten away the wolves, by beating with a club against the body of the tree in which he was perched. When day dawned his hungry enemies gradually drew off, and the doctor proceeded on his journey. When he reached the first cabin, not very far distant, and situated just below the present site of Big Run station, he found the wolves had taken this man’s premises in their retreat, and killed a calf near his house for their breakfast.
Doctor Walker taught school in Ames, for one or two quarters in 1811-12, always holding himself ready, however, to attend the sick. By means of his profession, and by farming some, he gained for himself and family a comfortable subsistence, living to see his children all creditably settled in life. He died January 9, 1852.
His eldest daughter was married to John Brown (now General Brown), in 1811, and his second daughter to the late James J. Fuller, of Athens, in 181 S. Mrs. Brown died in 1853, and Mrs. Fuller in 1864. His sons, William R. Walker, Archibald B. Walker, Ezra Walker, and Ralph M. Walker, were natives of East Poultney, Vermont, but were reared from boyhood in Athens county. William R., though a man of fine native talent and much refinement of character, was oppressed by self-distrust and timidity. He lived for a short time, during the early portion of his adult life, in Lancaster, Ohio, where he was highly respected for his integrity, business talent, and literary culture. Among those whose friendship he acquired at that time and always retained, was Mr. Hocking H. Hunter, who recently stated to the writer that, he “had never in all his life, seen any person who recited and acted the part of Hamlet so perfectly, in his opinion, as Wm. R. Walker.” At that time fine business prospects were opened to him, and for awhile he revolved “enterprises of great pith and moment.” But melancholy overcame him. He abandoned active business and the wide fields of usefulness that were opening before him, returned to the paternal farm, and there passed the rest of his life, remote from the society which he was so well calculated to adorn. An amiable christian gentleman, he lived and died respected by the whole community. His death took place in 1855.