Biography of Oliver D. Walker, M.D.

Oliver D. Walker, M. D. By reason of his active service as a member of the Kansas State Board of Health, of which he was president in 1912, and the honor conferred upon him in his election as president of the Kansas State Medical Society in 1915, Doctor Walker, of Salina, is one of the best known physicians and surgeons in Kansas.

At the doctor’s home in Salina resided his venerable father, George M. Walker, whose long experience and active service identifies him with a number of pioneer things in the State of Kansas.

George M. Walker was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, September 16, 1830, a son of David O. Walker, a native of the same state. When he was twenty-seven years of age, in 1857, he came out to the Territory of Kansas. He made his home in Lyons County, then a frontier community. He took charge and until the outbreak of the Civil war operated the first overland mail and package line between Lawrence and Emporia.

He saw a long and active career as a soldier during the Civil war. Enlisting in the Eleventh Kansas Cavalry, commanded by Preston B. Plumb, who later rose to distinction as one of the great Kansans of his generation, he served as a private for a year and then was made first lieutenant. He was one of the capable and gallant officers of his company until the close of the war. Much of his service was in the States of Missouri and Arkansas. He fought in the battle of Prairie Grove and other well known engagements in that section. During a considerable part of the war he was assigned to duty in the commissary office of Olathe, Kansas. Just before the close of hostilities his regiment took part in a campaign against the hostile Indians in the far West.

By profession George M. Walker was a civil engineer. After the war he began practicing that profession in the capacity of locating engineer for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad. His work in selecting and laying out the route from Junction City, Kansas, to Dennison, Texas, kept him busy from 1867 to 1872, when the road was completed south of Red River. It will be recalled that this was the first railroad line to cross the Indian Territory, and as the Indian Territory was then populated almost exclusively by Indians and by a number of bad white men, the work of the engineers was attended not only with great hardships and many difficulties but also with much hazard because of the hostile country in which they worked.

After his task had been completed with the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, Mr. Walker found almost constant employment as a locating engineer with various railroad lines. An achievement which deserves to be especially associated with his name was laying out the original railroad yards at the first Union station in Kansas City, Missouri. He did that work in 1877, and it was singularly appropriate that he should have been called in after a lapse of thirty-seven years, in 1914, to plot the yards for the present magnificent union station in that city. Many of the western railroad companies have employed his services as a locating engineer. He practically retired from active business in 1907, and had since made his home with his son, Doctor Walker, at Salina.

On November 10, 1857, at Crawfordsville, Iowa, George M. Walker married Miss Ziporah Maxwell. She was born in Ohio, August 11, 1834, and died at Washington, Iowa, June 9, 1910. To their union were born seven children, five sons and two daughters: John Maxwell Walker, who was born September 2, 1858, and died in old Mexico December 10, 1904, while employed in that country as a civil engineer; Dr. Oliver D. Walker, who is second in age; George Morton Walker, who was born August 17, 1862, and is now employed as a civil engineer with the United States Inter-State Commerce Commission; Jane Orr, born October 14, 1865, the widow of Douglas Hamilton, whom she married in 1884, and who died in 1893; May, born December 28, 1868, was married December 3, 1892, to James A. Kenyon, who died in 1914; William Thomas, born June 28, 1874, is now a civil and construction engineer at Minneapolis; James Herron Walker was born July 30, 1877, and is now a dental surgeon in practice at Salina.

Dr. Oliver D. Walker was born in the home of his parents on a farm in Lyons County, Kansas, December 3, 1860. A few months after his birth the Civil war broke out and his father entered the army. In the meantime his mother removed with her family to the home of her father, Mr. Maxwell, at Crawfordsville, Iowa, but in 1866 returned to Kansas. The family then located at Lawrence, where Doctor Walker received his first schooling. In 1879 he entered the University of Kansas, where he was graduated in the literary department with the class of 1883. He had some inclination toward the profession of his father, and for one year worked in civil engineering, but then definitely decided upon medicine as his real vocation. He began the study of medicine with Dr. Thomas J. Maxwell, an uncle, at Keokuk, Iowa. While in that city he also attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and gained his M. D. degree in 1886.

Thus Doctor Walker had had an active experience in his profession covering fully thirty years. In 1894 he took post-graduate work in the Polyclinic and post-graduate schools of New York City. His first practice was done in Blue Mound, Kansas, later for one year he was at Lawrence, and in 1888 was appointed physician to the Haskell Institute, a Government Indian school at Lawrence. He filled that office four years. Resigning his position, Doctor Walker then returned to Keokuk, Iowa, where he was in active practice until 1905. He filled the chair of physiology and nervous diseases in the Keokuk Medical College, and was also secretary of the college faculty.

Since 1905 Doctor Walker had attended a large practice in and around Salina, and it was his recognized talents as a physician that brought him the special distinction in the profession noted at the beginning of this article.

Throughout his residence in Salina he had been active in educational and religious work. He was elected a member of the Board of Education at Salina in 1909 and re-elected in 1911 and 1913, and in 1914 became president of the board. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Presbyterian Church.

On December 22, 1890, Mr. Walker married for his first wife Mary L. Simpson, who was born August 11, 1861, at Lawrence, Kansas, a daughter of Henry and Mary E. (McCollum) Simpson. Mrs. Walker died at her home in Salina August 22, 1906. She is survived by two children. Genevieve, born April 1, 1892, was married June 9, 1916, to Leland C. Angerine. Margaret, the younger daughter, was born August 15, 1897. On October 9, 1913, at Salina, Doctor Walker married Miss Margaret Moore, who was born February 22, 1875, a daughter of George A. and Frances Moore, both natives of Pennsylvania.



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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