Walker, James (of Cook Co., IL)

Born: 1793-10-12 North Carolina

Died: 1850-08-27 Plainfield, Illinois

Flourished: Cook County, Illinois

Walker migrated from Tennessee to Ottawa, Illinois after the War of 1812. In 1817, he met and married Jane Walker, a teacher in her father Jesse Walker's mission to the Potawatomi. The mission ended in 1828, and Walker settled on the DuPage River in 1829 and constructed a saw mill in an area known as Walker's Grove, later Plainfield. In 1831, he was one of the first three county commissioners for Cook County, Illinois. He served as a captain of a company in David Bailey's Odd Battlion of Cook County Volunteers during the Black Hawk War. In 1833, President Andrew Jackson appointed Walker as the first postmaster of the new post office at Walker's Grove. He lobbied for the creation of Will County, and voters elected him as one of the first three commissioners for the new county. Voters elected him to represent Cook County and newly formed Will County in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1836 to 1838. He also served as a county commissioner from 1845 to 1849. He was a member of the Methodist Church. In 1850, Walker was a farmer in Plainfield with $1,000 in real property.

U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Plainfield, Will County, IL, 35; A. T. Andreas, History of Cook County, Illinois: The Earliest Period to the Present (Chicago: A.T. Andreas, 1884), 116, 353; The Encyclopedia of Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 612;John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 206; History of Will County, Illinois (Chicago: William Le Baron Jr., 1878), 235-36, 288-91, 358; Ellen M. Whitney, comp., The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832: Illinois Volunteers, 2 vols., vol. 35 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1970), 1:453-54, 477-78; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, St. Clair County, 13 December 1817, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Miles V. Hartong, "The Historical Record of James Walker, Walker's Grove, and Walker's Saw Mill at Plainfield, Illinois," unpublished typescript (1946), Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, IL; Gravestone, Plainfield Township Cemetery, Plainfield, IL.