Biography of O. F. Walke

O. F. Walke who has spent most of his life in Kansas has developed a very substantial business career, and for several years has been proprietor of the Independent Laundry, one of the best equipped establishments of its kind in the southern section of the state.

He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and his great-grandfather came from the North of Ireland, and was an early farmer in Ohio. Mr. Walke’s grandfather, William Walke, was born in Ohio in 1840, came to Kansas about a quarter of a century ago, and was an active farmer until he retired and died at Columbus, Kansas, in 1912. He made a record as a soldier during the Civil war, enlisting in an Ohio regiment of infantry in 1862 and serving until the close of hostilities. He was a member of the Christian Church, and was a stanch republican of the old school. He was also affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America. His wife, Caroline Walke, was born in Ohio in 1843 and died in Columbus, Kansas, in 1911.

Mr. O. F. Walks was born at Woodstock, Champaign County, Ohio, April 2, 1888. His father is W. H. Walke, who was born in Ohio in 1856. He was reared in Ohio, where he married Miss Rella McDougal, who was born in that state in 1862. They have two sons: O. F. and D. E., the latter a traveling salesman living at Oklahoma City. In 1890 W. H. Walke came to Kansas and for a time was employed in the Kansas Steam Laundry at Wichita. From there in 1895 he moved to Leavenworth, and operated the first steam laundry in that city. Selling out three years later he returned in 1897 to Wiehita, was again in the employ of a laundry, and later became a commission salesman. In 1908 he removed to Independence and in partnership with Will Owens owned the Independent Laundry until the early part of July, 1912, when his son bought him out. Since his removal to Columbus, Kansas, W. H. Walke has owned the greenhouses of that city and does an extensive business as a truck gardener. He is a member of the Christian Church, and has a life membership in Wichita Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. His certificate is No. 2, but his is really the first life membership since he paid for his certificate, while No. 1 was complimentary. He is also affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Modern Woodmen of America at Wichita.

O. F. Walke gained his common school education at Wichita and in 1904 completed a course in the Wichita Commercial College. From there he went to Kansas City, Missouri, and his first regular business experience was gained in the offices of the Rock Island Railroad, where he remained three years and eight months. Returning to Wichita he spent one year managing his father’s moving picture theater, which was the second institution of the kind established in Wichita. Following that came three years of employment in the sales department of the Cudahy packing house. On June 3, 1912, he identified himself permanently with the City of Independence, and after four weeks bought his father’s interest in the laundry and is now sole proprietor. This is one of the best equipped laundries of Montgomery County and has all the modern appliances and machinery for first-class work. It has a large share of the city business and outside business already averages $75 a week and the trade is constantly growing. The Independence laundry was established about 1900 by Will Owens. It is situated at 212 West Main Street.

Mr. Walke is independent in politics, and with his wife is a member of the Catholic Church. He is a member and carries insurance in Independence Council of the Knights of Columbus, is a member of the Commercial Club, of the Duck Club, a hunting and shooting organization, and is also affiliated with Independent Lodge No. 780, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the local organization of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

At Providence, Rhode Island, October 26, 1911, Mr. Walke married Miss Fannie Gertrude Mahan, daughter of Thomas and Sarah Mahan, and granddaughter of Anna Mahan, who is now living at the extreme age of eighty-nine at Wichita, Kansas. She came to this country from Ireland. Mrs. Walke’s father was the founder of the Mahan Mercantile Company at Wichita, and is now deceased. Mrs. Walke’s mother is now living at Providence, Rhode Island.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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