Dr. Thomas Walker, of "Castle Hill", Albemarle County, VA
Facts and Events
||Dr. Thomas Walker, of "Castle Hill", Albemarle County, VA
||15 January, 1715
||"Rye Field", Walkerton, King and Queen County, Virginia
||to Mildred Thornton
||Kentucky, USAthis is the year that Walker explored Kentucky
||to Elizabeth Thornton or Elizabeth Gregory
||9 November, 1794
||Castle Hill, Albemarle County, Virginia
- Wikipedia:Thomas Walker (explorer)
- Biographical Sketch of Dr. Thomas Walker in Woods, 1901
Thomas Walker (January 25, 1715 – November 9, 1794) was a distinguished physician and explorer from Virginia; in the mid-18th century, he was part of an expedition to the region beyond the Allegheny Mountains and the unsettled area of British North America. Walker and fellow Virginian, Indian agent, explorer for Patrick Henry, legislator of three states, surveyor of KY/VA & TN/NC borders, and later Revolutionary war general, Joseph Martin, were some of the first colonialists to travel in this area. Martin's son, Revolutionary War officer Col. William Martin, describes the naming of the area and river in a letter to historian Lyman Draper, "A treaty with the Cherokees was held at Fort Chiswell on New River, then a frontier. On the return of the chiefs home, Dr. [Thomas] Walker, a gentleman of distinction, and my father, [General] Joseph Martin, accompanied them. The Indians being guides, they passed through the place now called Cumberland Gap, where they discovered a fine spring. They still had a little rum remaining, and they drank to the health of the Duke of Cumberland. This gave rise to the name of Cumberland Mountain and Cumberland River."
Prince William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, was a hero of the time. Walker explored Kentucky in 1750, 19 years before the arrival of Daniel Boone.
Two of Walker's sons, John and Francis Walker, became Congressmen in the new United States.
- the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
Early Days Thomas Walker was born at "Rye Field", Walkerton, King and Queen County, Virginia He was raised as Englishman in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Walker's first profession was that of a physician after he attended the College of William and Mary and studied under his brother-in-law Dr. George Gilmer. Even though he never actually received a medical degree, Walker is thought to have been the first to have trephined bone for suppurative osteomyelitis as early as 1757.
Walker became a man of status in the county when he married Mildred Thornton (widow of Nicholas Meriwether) in 1741, and acquires a large portion of land from her late husband’s estate. Here, Walker would set his roots and build his home known as Castle Hill, and have 12 children, who would become prominent Albemarle citizens in their own rights. He began his path to establishing his status by becoming a vestryman in April 1744, a position he would hold until 1785. He served Virginia proudly as a delegate to the House of Burgesses from Albemarle County, a trustee to the newly formed town of Charlottesville.
Exploration On July 12, 1749, the Loyal Land Company was founded with Walker as a leading member. After receiving a grant of 800,000 acres (3,200 km²) in what is now southeastern Kentucky, the company appointed Walker to lead an expedition to explore and survey the region in 1750. Walker was named head of the Loyal Land Company in 1752.
During the expedition, Walker gave names to many topographical features including the Cumberland Gap. His party built the first non-Indian house (a cabin) in Kentucky (today's Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site). Walker kept a daily journal of the trip.
At the age of 64, Walker again journeyed to the western areas of Kentucky and Tennessee to extend the border between Virginia and North Carolina westward. This controversial mapped border would forever bear the title of the "Walker Line" and today stands as the separating point between the two states.
Among those who benefited from their close ties to Walker was Joseph Martin (general), an Indian fighter and explorer and native of Albemarle County who was chosen by Walker to lead one of his expeditions into the Powell Valley region of Western Virginia and Kentucky.
He also had great influence in dealing with Indian affairs. Walker represented Virginia at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix and Treaty of Lochaber (1770) and dealt with the peace negotiations after the Battle of Point Pleasant. In 1775, Walker served as a Virginia commissioner in negotiations with representatives of the Six Nations in Pittsburgh at Fort Pitt.
Walker is also credited as the first American to discover and use coal found in Kentucky 
Final Days After the death of his first wife, Walker would marry another lady with a famous name in 1781, Elizabeth Thorton (official marriage contract). Thomas Walker died on November 9, 1794 at Castle Hill, Albemarle County, Virginia. At the time of his death Walker was noted as the fourth wealthiest citizen of Albemarle County.
George Rogers Clark
- Source Americian Antiquiarian
Dr. Thomas Walker was a subject in the following suits in Augusta County, VA records (from Chalkley's):
- Vol. 2 - Christopher Acklin vs. Francis Walker--O. S. 17; N. S. 6--Bill filed 1802--Settlement of Wolf Hill tract in Washington County belonging to Thomas Walker, deceased, father of Francis. Other settlers were Saml. Biggs, James Craig, Saml. Evans, David Getgood, John Vance. John Vance deposes, 19th August, 1803, at house of John McCormick in Abingdon, that between 1773 and 1775 he and Christopher Acklin settled on the Wolf Hill tract, deponent having purchased a settlement of John Huston; Daniel Smith was Dr. Walker's agent. James Crow settled on the Wolf Hill tract in 1778; James Piper was also a settler. Francis Walker went to school to Daniel Smith, the agent. Josiah Gamble deposes in Blount County, Tennessee, 10th March, 1803, that he and Daniel Smith were the agents of Walker, and Acklin was the first settler on the land in dispute. Daniel Smith deposes at his own house in Sumner County, Tennessee, 12th March, 1804. Robert Doaek (Doak) was Walker's agent before Smith, in years 1770-72. Alexander Brackenridge deposes in Bourbon County, 10th June, 1803: In 1769?1776 a certain Robert Doak said he was agent for Dr. Thos. Walker and induced Alexr. to take a part of the lands, and he, in November of same year, went there and built a cabin, and in September, 1770, he moved there. In 1772 Doak came and laid off the lands to the settlers. In 1773 settlers were advertised to meet at the house of Samuel Briggs.
- John Vance vs. Walker--O. S. 16; N. S. 6--Similar to above. John Campbell deposes at house of John McCormick in Abingdon, 25th June, 1803, that in fall of 1768 he came for the first time to western part of Virginia, and on his way overtook a number of persons, who informed him they were coming to settle on a tract owned by Dr. Thos. Walker, known as Wolf Hill tract. Andrew Vance, in 1802, was son of John. Alexander Brackenridge testifies as before (but the transaction took place in 1769, instead of 1776, as above). Josiah Gamble deposes as John Campbell above; in 1769, he was going to Holstein and overtook the party to Wolf Hill vtract. Deposition of Wm. Y. Conn (?): That about 1785 he came to Abingdon. Joseph Acklin, son of Christopher, deposes. Joseph Black deposes.
Students of Dr. Thomas Walker
Dr. Thomas Walker took in several students for private instruction. Among them were Thomas English, after he was freed from Indian captivity, and Senator Daniel Smith.
- Castle Hill Cider Dr. Walker's historic estate is currently a cidery and venue for weddings
- Dr Thomas Walker, in Find A Grave.
- Thomas Walker (explorer), in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
- ↑ Hamilton, Emory L. Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers of Southwest Virginia, 1773-1794. (Unpublished).
Seven Harman brothers emigrated from Germany together, Jacob, Valentine, Mathias, George, Daniel, John, and Heinrich Adam. They first stopped off in Pennsylvania, then emigrated to the Shenandoah Valley and some on into North Carolina. At least three of these brothers settled in Southwest Virginia, namely, Heinrich Adam, Valentin and Jacob. They were living in the New River German settlement, the first settlement ever made west of the Alleghenies on the "Western Waters", and were living there prior to 1745. In 1749 Moravian Missionaries conducted the first recorded religious services in Southwest Virginia in the home of Jacob Harman, and Dr. Thomas Walker mentions stopping at the home of Harman on his memorable exploration trip in 1750.
- Page, Richard Channing Moore. Genealogy of the Page family in Virginia: also a condensed account of the Nelson, Walker, Pendleton and Randolph families; with references to the Byrd, Carter, Cary, Duke, Gilmer, Harrison, Rives, Thornton, Wellford, Washington and other distinguished families in Virginia. (New York: Jenkins & Thomas, 1883), Pages 179 thru 214.
- HMdb.org The Historical Marker Database.
- Bagby, Alfred. King and Queen County, Virginia. (New York: Neale Pub. Co., 1908), Page 378.
This from Col. Fleet of Culver: Thos. Walker, ancestor of the distinguished Dr. Thos. Walker, and Riveses of Albemarle (see Thomas Walker (explorer)
), and Gov. Thos. Walker Gilmer (see Thomas Walker Gilmer
), was from K. & Q." - Semple, John and James S., were sons of Rev. James Semple of England. John settled in King and Queen, marrying a Miss Walker. There son, Robert B.A. Croghan[sic] Semple[recte] married Lucy Clark, and their son, Major Croghan, then a mere youth, held the fort at Sandusky against Gen. Proctor (see Henry Procter (British Army officer)
) with a large force of Indians and whites. He also distinguished himself at Tippecanoe (see Battle of Tippecanoe
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