1rst Lt. JOHN CRAWFORD WALKER, 63rd USCT
(1839 OH-1898 IL)
Original Member of the IL Commandery of MOLLUS


IL MOLLUS War Papers Collection, Vol.6, c1901, p.398

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Lieutenant and Brevet Captain John Crawford Walker died at Chicago, December 12, 1898. John Crawford Walker was born in Highland County, Ohio, the 14th day of February, 1839. His parents, John Howell and Margaret Bay Walker, were both born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and moved to Ohio about the year 1814. Captain Walker was one of a family of thirteen, having had six brothers and six sisters; he had the unusual record of having four brothers in the War of the Rebellion.

Our deceased Comrade was reared on a farm and had the advantage of only a common school education, such as was to be obtained in the country districts of Ohio during the middle of the present century. He was of a happy and hopeful disposition, industrious and cheerful, and his obliging nature made him very popular and attached to him many warm friends; neutrality was never a faculty in the mental equations of our deceased brother.

At the age of twenty-two, he enlisted on the 26th of July, 1861. The company into which he entered became Company H, Twenty-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This regiment was organized at Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio, in August, 1861, was immediately ordered to Missouri, and entered at once into active service. Our Comrade was identified with this famous regiment until the fall of 1863. He participated in the battles of New Madrid and Island Number Ten, under General Pope, was in General Thomas's Division in the siege of Corinth in the spring of 1862, and participated in the battles of luka and Corinth in the fall of the same year, under General Rosecrans. He was with his regiment in the winter of 1862, in General Grant's attempt to capture Vicksburg by way of Jackson, Mississippi. On this campaign, when separated from all hospital accommodations, he suffered a severe attack of typhoid fever and was subjected to much suffering and many hardships, having been moved in an ambulance more than twelve miles the day after he had passed through the crisis. When the brigade to which his regiment be-longed-the Ohio Brigade-was ordered back to Jack-son, Tennessee, to repel Generals Forrest and Rody, he was still lying at the point of death, and when our line was cut at Holly Springs by General Van Dorn, our Comrade was sent to the hospital at Corinth.

Our brother never recovered from the hardships of this campaign and was sent home on sick leave, but returned to his regiment determined to sacrifice his life, if need be, for his country. October 2, 1863, he was appointed Second Lieutenant Ninth Louisiana Infantry, and, September 26, 1864, was commissioned First Lieutenant, Company G, Sixty-third United States Colored Infantry, at which time he was detached from his regiment and appointed Assistant Superintendent of Freedmen, District of Memphis, Tennessee. Later, Lieutenant Walker was appointed Superintendent of President's Island, and April 24, 1865, was commissioned Captain of the Sixty-third United States Colored Infantry. October 4, 1865, he was discharged on account of physical disability, not having been mustered as Captain. In every position he was called to fill he was efficient, faithful and capable, enjoying the confidence and respect of his superior officers. Captain Walker made an army record that any man might be proud of. But, after an army service of more than four years, when peace was declared he became reticent and would not talk upon the subject of his own personal experiences, saying: " The thoughts of war fill me with horror; let us build up the reunited country and make it great, but let us never forget that we were eternally right."

In 1866 Captain Walker came to Illinois, locating in Tuscola, where he was married, May 7, 1867, to Miss Kate Ammen, who survives him. Two children were born of that marriage, the younger of whom, Charles R., preceded his father to the Spirit Land; the older son Jo. M. Walker, is a successful lawyer, residing at Tuscola, Illinois, and with him the widow of our dear brother makes her home. To them we extend our sympathy, when those we love have come and gone. After coming to Illinois, Captain Walker engaged in secular pursuits and few men have passed through more diversified experiences than he, not all of them being satisfactory; yet he had what forms the basis of all great characters-energy; and by his indomitable perseverance succeeded in laying by a competency, notwith-standing the vicissitudes of army life had laid the foundation for years of suffering, and finally caused his death.

Before disease had undermined his system, Captain Walker was a man of good physique and strong individuality; he was a great reader, a student of past events, thoroughly posted on current literature, and had the faculty of expressing himself with clearness and firmness. The history of our political parties was as familiar to him as was the Pentateuch to the ancient Hebrew. At the period of his greatest activity he appeared to be acquainted with nearly all the prominent politicians of the country, especially with those of Illinois; was related to many of them either by consanguinity or marriage, and also to men of distinction in the army and navy.

Socially our brother was a fine conversationalist; he welcomed his friends to his pleasant home in that courtly manner characteristic of the affable gentleman. He loved his friends and loved to love them, and would de-fend them from aspersions from any and all sources. He was fortunate in having a kind, noble and patriotic wife, to whom he was greatly attached; a wife who, when the sunshine of prosperity shone brightly along their pathway, was his companion and counsellor, and when affliction came, imposed upon herself the arduous task of nurse, and whether at the vesper or matin or in the silent vigil of the midnight hour, the faithful watcher was at her post, deeming the trust too sacred to delegate to another, notwithstanding hosts of friends stood ready to render all possible assistance.

Our brother was a firm believer in revealed religion; a member of the Methodist Church and, while in his younger days inclined to be a fatalist, yet for many years he had been in full sympathy with the grand truth that whosoever feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of Him. The last roll call on this side the River of Life has been answered, and we, the surviving Comrades say, all Farewell, brave soldier, comrade, friend, until we greet you in the Elysian Fields. For this mortal must put on immortality.

John Crawford Walker, 1st Lt., 63rd USCT, IL#12391, was an original member of the IL Commandery of MOLLUS. While he was Assistant Superintendent of Freedmen and Abandoned Lands at President's Island (Memphis) his brother Col. T. A. Walker was the Superintendent. Some of his family have also been members of MOLLUS honoring Lt. Walker's memory.
Children:
1) Jo Mitchell Walker, IL#12525.
1.1) Jo Mitchell Walker, Jr., died in childhood, bur. township cemetery at Tuscola, IL.
1.2) Lt. John C. Walker, m. Kate Ammen, both bur. township cemetery at Tuscola, IL.
2) Walter Butler Walker.
2.1) Walter B. Walker, MO#21828 of Little Rock, AR.
2.2) ?(female) Walker, m.? Phillips.
2.2.1) Maurice Norwood (Tripp) Phillips III, IL#21829 of New York City.

Sources:
1) IL MOLLUS War Papers Collection, Vol.6, c1901, p.398-402
2) Membership Records of the MO Commandery of MOLLUS

Copyright (c) 2001 Douglas Niermeyer, MO Commandery of the MOLLUS