Walker, Martin O.
Born: 1809-06-09 Vermont
Died: 1874-05-29 Chicago, Illinois
Flourished: Chicago, Illinois
As a youngster, M. O. Walker worked at a dry goods store before moving from his native state to Albany, New York, where he found employment in the stage line office of Baker & Walbridge. When Walbridge died, Walker purchased his share of the business. In 1838, he sold his interest in the business to Baker, and moved to Chicago, where he entered into a partnership with John Frink in the mail delivery business. As early as February 1840 and perhaps earlier, Walker became a principal, though silent, partner in the stage company of Frink, Bingham & Company. In June 1840, Charles H. Bingham left the partnership, and Walker and Frink continued the mail and stagecoach business under the name Frink, Walker & Co. In addition to mail contracting and stagecoaches, Walker invested in real estate in Chicago, and purchased a farm of several hundred acres in Kendall County, Illinois, where he raised horses. He also started a brick-making business. In 1849, Waker again became a silent partner in Frick, Walker & Co., and the name of the firm reverted back to John Frink & Company. In 1850, he was living with his wife in Chicago's First Ward and owned $40,000 worth of real estate. The partnership of Frink & Walker began to deteriorate in 1853 and ended in 1856. In 1855 and 1856, Walker and his brother Samuel B. Walker began operating horse-drawn omnibuses in Chicago. In 1860, he was working as a mail contractor and owned real estate valued at $300,000 and had a personal estate of $25,000. Abraham Lincoln and his partners represented clients in cases against Frink, Walker & Company in six cases in the 1840s and 1850s.
U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Ward 1 Chicago, Cook County, IL, 148; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 1 Chicago, Cook County, IL, 31; Chicago Daily Tribune (IL), 29 May 1874, 2:1; Roger A. Matile, By Trace and Trail: The Stagecoach Era in Northern Illinois (Oswego, IL: Little White School Museum Press, 2010), 32-34; Roger Matile, "John Frink and Martin Walker: Stagecoach Kings of the Old Northwest," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 95 2 (Summer 2002), 122-23, 124, 125-27; Daniel W. Stowel, et. al., The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 2:307; For Lincoln's cases involving Walker, search "Walker, Martin O," Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org; Sam Fink, comp. Sam Fink's Chicago Marriage and Death Index (Chicago).