Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
LEONARD WALKER. The name of Leonard Walker is entitled to a high position in the list of Springfield's successful attorneys-at-law, as those conversant with his record will readily attest, for he possesses the personal characteristics that should always enter the make-up of the man who essays a legal career. In addressing the jury or the court he is interesting, forcible and decisively natural-natural in his native conceptions of the law—forcible in his scrutinizing of it, direct, lucid and concentrative in his presentations, employing and using in a remarkable measure the language of the law, if not by actual quotation, in a vocabulary of his own, highly comparative with its best standards of legal and literary expression He easily obtains the understanding of the court, and uniformly places himself in such relations to it that he will not be misunderstood. His powers with a jury is well known. His arguments come from the sources upon which decisions are based, radiate the light of his judgment and investigation, and his words are but the echo of the law with which courts are disposed to co-ordinate themselves.
Mr. Walker was born near Ozark, Christian county, Missouri, on March 1, 1866. He is a son of Leonard and Nancy M. (Adamson) Walker. The father was born in Wilson county, Tennessee, on July 12, 1812, and was a son of William J. and Polly (Adams) Walker. William J. Walker was born near Dublin, Ireland, and he emigrated to America when a boy, just after the close of the Revolutionary war. He first located in North Carolina, later lived in Virginia and Tennessee, and was a resident of the latter state during the war of 1812 and joined Gen. Andrew Jackson's force and fought with the famous Tennessee Riflemen at the memorable battle of New Orleans. After the war he returned to Tennessee and accumulated a handsome fortune, owning six hundred and forty acres of rich bottom land, also a large whisky distillery. He owned many slaves, but sold them after the death of his wife, and began trading in live stock, buying up large herds and driving them to the far South and selling them, and while on one of these trips he contracted a fever in northern Alabama and died there about 1827. Politically he was a Whig, and was a great personal friend of both Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson. Religiously he was a Baptist. Leonard Walker, Sr., was reared on the home plantation in Tennessee, and received a limited education in the schools of his native locality. His mother died when he was ten years of age and he was reared by an old negro mammy, who did not accord him very tender treatment. He was fifteen years of age when his father died. The estate was all squandered and he was left practically pennyless. When young in years he began his career as a general farmers also engaged in the tinware business, remaining in Tennessee until 1842, when he made the tedious overland journey to Missouri, stopping first near Bolivar, Polk county, and farmed there for three years, then moved to the Finley Creek bottoms near Ozark, Christian county, where he purchased a farm of two hundred and five acres, which he developed and operated in a fairly successful manner until his death, which occurred on January 18, 1896. He was regarded as one of the substantial, useful and worthy citizens of that county and was more or less influential in public matters. Politically he was first a Whig, later a Republican and was a stanch Union man during the Civil war period. He belonged to the Baptist church. He and Nancy M. Adamson were married in September, 1842. She was born in DeKalb county, Tennessee, on July 24, 1826, and was a daughter of Wells Adamson and wife, pioneers of that state and there Mrs. Walker grew to womanhood and was educated in the old-time log cabin schools. Her death occurred on October 15, 1901. Twelve children were born to the parents of the subject of this sketch, ten of whom are still living at this writing. One son, W. J. Walker, was a soldier in the Civil war.
Leonard Walker, of this review, grew to manhood on his father's farm and assisted with the general work during the crop seasons, and he had the advantages of a good education, attending the district schools in his home community, and later was a student in Drury College, Springfield, but was compelled to leave his studies on account of failing health. When only sixteen years of age he was deputy assessor of Christian county. He has remained a close student and has become a well educated man, not only keeping fully abreast of the times in his chosen profession, but is familiar with the world's best literature and well informed on current topics. He began studying law when quite young and made rapid progress in the same. However, ill health interrupted his studies and he underwent an operation in a hospital in St. Louis in 1890. He studied in the law offices of Harrington & Pepperdine, a well-known firm in Springfield, in 1891, and was admitted to the bar in February, 1892, and ever since he has been successfully engaged in the practice of his profession in Springfield, enjoying a constantly growing and satisfactory business and ranking among the leading lawyers of Greene county.
Mr. Walker was married in August, 1892, to Lucy Jania Robertson, of Ozark, Missouri, where her birth occurred on December 25, 1866, and there she grew to womanhood and was educated. She is a daughter of J. W. and Martha Robertson, a well-known and highly respected family of Christian county. To Mr. and Mrs. Walker two children have been born, namely: Harold M., born on November 2, 1895, is at this writing a junior in Drury College; Helen A., born on October 26, 1896, is now a sophomore in Drury College; they are both making excellent records in scholarship.
Fraternally Mr. Walker is a member of the Masonic Order and the Knights of Pythias, being past chancellor of the latter lodge in Springfield and a member of the Grand Lodge of Missouri. He is a member of the Congregational church.
His Americanism and Republicanism, neither give nor take quarter from any faction, junta or party. Practically self-educated, self-qualified for the exercise of his civic duties, fortified in his political views by the confirming theories and opinions of the most brilliant and powerful leaders of the Republican party, Mr. Walker stands nobly erect in the ranks of the gigantic national political organization to which he belongs. The principles that gave birth to it, that vitalized it in infancy nurtured its growing years, and in its maturity impart to it, its dominant and beneficent character, are those that he advocated in the days of Grant, Garfield and Blaine, for even when a boy he had pronounced views on national questions, and he has ever been in straight and uniform alignment with the Republican party and its policies, and he has been one of the local leaders in the same for many years. He was elected city attorney of Springfield in 1896 and re-nominated in 1898, but went down in defeat with the entire ticket in Greene county. Again in 1912 he was elected city attorney. As a public servant his record was eminently satisfactory to his constituents and all concerned, being marked with fidelity to duty, honesty and ability of a high order.
Springfield-Greene County Library