Rolla Walker

Rolla Finley Walker was a younger brother of my great-grandfather. His biography appeared on pages 660-661 of History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana, published in 1914 by B. F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis.


Clearly defined purpose and consecutive effort in the affairs of life will inevitably result in the attaining of a due measure of success, but in following out the career of one who has attained success by his own efforts there comes into view the intrinsic individuality which made such accomplishment possible, and thus there is granted an objective incentive and inspiration, while at the same time there is enkindled a feeling of respect and admiration. The qualities which have made Mr. Walker one of the prominent and successful men of Bloomington have also brought him the esteem of his fellow townsmen, for his career has been one of well-directed energy, strong determination and honorable methods.

The present efficient and popular trustee of Bloomington township, Monroe county, Indiana, was born in Bloomington on May 23, 1861, and is the son of John F. and Sarah (Green) Walker, the father a native of Kentucky and the mother of Lawrence county, Indiana. The father was a man of enterprise and industry and, as publisher of the Bloomington Republican, he wielded a wide influence in this community for many years. He and his wife are both deceased. The subject of this sketch received a common school education, after which he entered the employ of Showers Brothers, with whom he remained for twenty-eight years. He was employed in practically all departments of their business and enjoyed the fullest measure of confidence on the part of his employers, being placed in many positions of trust and responsibility, the duties of which he discharged with efficiency and to the entire satisfaction of his employers. In 1908, in recognition of his sterling qualities and his ability, his fellow citizens elected him trustee of Bloomington township, in which position he is now serving to the entire satisfacton of all concerned. He is a man of good business ability and has given to the administration of his office the benefit of his experience and sound judgment. He is a man of high ideals, and in the public life of the community he has long been prominent, having been an ardent supporter of every movement looking to the advancement of the public welfare in any way. His life has been characterized by persistent industry, for even during his boyhood days his vacation periods were occupied by employment of some kind.

In 1896 Mr. Walker was united in marriage with Margaret Bell Ward, the daughter of Jefferson and Margaret (Thompson) Ward, a lady of splendid qualities of character who has endeared herself to all who know her.

Politically a Republican, Mr. Walker has long been active in the ranks of his party's workers, having served on many committees. Fraternally, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias and Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while his religious membership is with the Methodist Episcopal church. He is also a valued member of the Commercial Oub. By persistent industry, wise economy and sound judgment, Mr. Walker lias been enabled to acquire a beautiful and attractive home adjoining the corporation limits, his place comprising fifty-one acres of splendid land, on which is as good a sugar grove as can be found in this section of the country. The home is surrounded by a well-kept lawn, and the general appearance of the place indicates the owner to be a man of splendid taste. In every avenue of life's activities in which he has engaged he has been true to every trust and he justly merits the high regard in which he is universally held throughout the community.

The Bloomington newspapers frequently mentioned Rolla Walker's performance of duty, either as a trustee, or as member of a fraternal organization. From the Bloomington Weekly Telephone, 26 Apr 1892, page 1:

The Knights of Pythias have closed a contract with John Waldron to have their present quarters extended north to the alley. The room now used as a hall will be for a reception room, and the addition will be occupied by anti-rooms and rooms for degree rooms, one of which will be in charge of Rolla Walker in his role as Pluto in his wild domain. The work is now in progress and will be completed within ten days. The rent is to be $170.00 per year.

The Bloomington Daily Telephone, 12 Nov 1909, reported on page 4:

To The Poor Farm

Over the hills to the poor farm, was the fate this morning of Lena Moore, age 32, a native of Stinesville. Homeless, friendless, and without money, the woman applied to Trustee Rolla Walker for aid and after hearing her story the trustee gave her an order for admittance to the asylum for the poor...

In the Bloomington Daily Telephone, 20 Jan 1910, page 1:

Trustee Rolla Walker: "There is no possible law to bury the dead that die without means for this purpose, and there are many in this community that are absolutely depending on the county for this last opportunity. It is my opinion that if the public does not respond better to subscriptions that the pickling vats at the University will be overcrowded. In the last few days a three months old baby died, whose parents are on the county and the undertaker asked me what to do. I ordered him to bury the babe and depended on a subscription paper, but $3.50 was all that was collected, consequently I am obliged to settle the remaining $6.50 personally, unless some reader of this article could respond."

Book 9, page 101 of the IN marriage index lists a marriage of Rolla F. Walker to Belle N. Ward on 2 Feb 1896.According to the 1900 census, Belle was born in Indiana in December 1862. Rolla died 13 Jul 1923 in Bloomington. There is a scrap of paper in the Walker Bible on which somebody, possibly Rolla's sister-in-law Sarah (Voss) Walker, wrote "Mrs. Margret Bell Walker wife of Rolla Walker passed away January 25 1932 aged 68 years of age." Rolla and Margaret are buried in Rose Hill cemetery.

This page was last updated 12 Mar 2010.