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The Walker Graveyard

Located on the second rise above the Mattaponi River at Locust Grove, the Walker graveyard is on the original Walker land grant. It is not near the current house, but is situated near the site of the colonial fort, Fort Mattapony, and the first Walker home built when the Walker holding was called Rye Field. A brick wall surrounds the graves and large old trees provide shade. Few of the graves are marked. The information about the Walker ancestors and relations buried there begins with the sixth generation of Walkers at Locust Grove. Some relatives from prior generations may be buried there or close by, since the original Walker residence in which they lived was located in the same area. John Henley Walker, Sr. noted the following about those buried there:

It is a known fact that Major Humphrey Walker was buried there, and also three of his sons and two of his daughters, and their near relatives, the Turners and Hills. John Walker, oldest son of Humphrey, records in his diary that this was the burial place of the Walkers before his generation. Doubtless this was true as it was customary to bury their dead close by their homes. Atwood Cluverius Walker, Humphrey Walker’s grandson and Temple Walker’s youngest son showed the writer, John Henley Walker, Sr. Humphrey Walker’s great-grandson, where members of the Haybattle and Mt. Elba Walker families were buried. Only a few markers remain, those of Benjamin Turner and wife, George Hill and wife, and Frances Walker.

Juliet Walker Florance, great-grand-daughter of Humphrey Walker and granddaughter of Volney Walker his youngest son, had a drawing of the Walker burial ground denoting the location of the known graves and sections designated for specific branches of the family. This drawing appears to be based on her Uncle Atwood Walker’s recollections in 1918. It shows the following buried there. Humphrey Walker (1762 -1820) and his wife Frances Temple Walker (1760-1824) of Locust Grover were buried in the middle toward the front. They were first cousins. She was born and raised at Chatham Hill and he at Locust Grove. They had nine children; most likely all, but one are buried with them. Their son John may have been buried at his home, Chatham Hill. One of Humphrey’s daughters, Mary Walker Hill (1790-1851), and her husband George Hill (1782-1855) were buried in the far right corner at the back of the grounds. They were cousins through the Baylors and the Hills several generations back. She was born and raised at Locust Grove and he at Smithfield in King & Queen County. They lived in King William County after they married. The inscription on their head stones reads:

Sacred to the memory of George Hill Son of Wm and Elizabeth Hill born Sept 24 1782 died Sept 14 1855

Sacred to the memory of Mary H. wife of George Hill daughter of Major H. and F. Walker born Dec 23 1786 died May 18, 1851

Another of Humphrey’s daughters, Frances Walker Walker (1792-1854) is buried to the left and a little above Humphrey. She was born and raised at Locust Grove and married her first cousin, John Walker (?-1866), the son of Humphrey Walker’s brother Thomas who lived in King William County. After marriage she lived in King William County, and died before her husband. It is not known if he is also buried in the Walker graveyard. The inscription on her head stone reads:

To the memory of Frances A. Walker Daughter of Major Humphrey Walker of King and Queen and wife of John H. Walker of King William She died in her 63rd year 1854

The back left part of the grounds was reserved for members of Volney Walker’s family who lived at Haybattle to the northwest of Locust Grove. Volney was Humphrey Walker’s youngest son. There is no definite record of which of Volney Walker’s family are buried in the graveyard, but it is possible that as many as eight may be there. Volney was married once and had nine children. Based on John Henley Walker, Sr.’s comments above it is very possible that Volney Walker was buried there. If so, his wife Juliet Harrison Walker (1813-1874) most likely was. From Juliet Florance’s notes at least two of Volney’s children were buried there, Evert (1834-?) who was deaf and Mary Elizabeth (also called Mary Bet, 1843-?). These two never married and lived for a time with their brother William at Haybattle and later at Mt. Airy, a house Evert built on the Haybattle property. Since Fanny (1842-1913), another of Volney’s children, was blind, never married and lived with Evert and Mary Bet, it is also possible that she is buried in the graveyard. Three of Volney’s children died young: Janet Baylor (1849-1850) and Volney, Jr. (1852-1852) were small children and Albert (1850-1870) was twenty. It is probable that these three died at home and were buried in the Walker graveyard. Benjamin who died at age twenty-five while serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War may not have been buried on the grounds. The other two children of Volney and Juliet, William Humphrey Walker and Hannah Susan Walker Chichester, were buried elsewhere. A section just below Volney Walker’s was for Temple Walker’s family. Temple had four wives and eleven children that grew to adulthood. At least six members of Temple Walker’s family are buried in the graveyard. The names of three are known and the other three must be assumed. Temple Walker (1790-1868) was Humphrey Walker’s third son and built Mt. Elba on the rise just above Locust Grove and can be seen from the graveyard. He was married four times and had eleven children that grew to be adults. The Juliet Florance drawing indicates that Temple Walker, his son William, his daughter Ellen, his daughter Jane and two other women are buried there (designated as his daughters). Genealogy does not support this entirely. Temple, his son William (his first son 1812-1885), who died at Locust Grove, and his daughter Ellen Walker Vaughan (1840-1870), one of his youngest children, are buried in the graveyard. In 1918 when Juliet discussed the graveyard with Atwood, Atwood’s two remaining sisters were alive and his two half sisters had been buried elsewhere. Also, Temple had no daughters named Jane; however, his fourth wife was named Jane (1801-1875) – they were married for forty years and she died seven years after him. Therefore, the Jane named and the two unidentified “sisters of Atwood” are probably three of Temple’s wives, maybe his second wife Lucy Taliafero Walker, his third wife Elizabeth Todd Walker (?-1827), and his last wife Jane Cluverius Walker (1801-1875). His first wife Mary Hill Walker most likely died in 1819 0r 1820 and may not have been buried in the graveyard since it may not have yet been established as the “official family graveyard” for those not living at Locust Grove until Humphrey died in December 1820. Of Humphrey Walker’s nine children, three sons and two daughters were buried in the graveyard. Two sons are Volney and Temple, and the two daughters are Mary and Frances. The third son may be Robert (1795-1850), since he was the last of Humphrey’s sons to live at Locust Grove, and he died there. It is also possible that Susan (1788-1842), Humphrey’s unmarried daughter who lived and died at Locust Grove, and George (1793-1795), who died as child, were also buried there. Benjamin H. Turner (1819-1852) and his wife Jane Columbia Sale (1820-1850) were buried in the right front of the grounds. Benjamin Turner was related to the Walker’s through his great-grandfather Joseph Temple. His grandmother Hannah Temple Harrison was the sister of Humphrey Walker’s wife Frances Temple. Therefore, Frances Temple Walker was Benjamin’s great-aunt. The Turners lived in Walkerton where Benjamin was in business with his wife’s father and he was the postmaster for a number of years. He died suddenly after a fall from a horse. The inscriptions on their head stones read:

Our Friend Benjamin H. Turner Here repose his earthly remains In our heart is enshrined the memory of his moral worth and manly character. We loved him when living because we knew him. We honor his memory for though dead he still speaks. Bruised and broken by his fall he said “Oh Lord, be with me in my dying moments”. Jesus heard him and bore his spirit home. Of him we write blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Yes says the spirit, that they may rest from their labor and their works do follow them. Friendship can do no more. Aged 33 years, 3 mos, and 1 day..

Jane Columbia wife of Benjamin H. Turner whose earthly remains are here interred, was born May 11th 1820 and died July 17, 1850. She left behind a devoted husband, two interesting little daughters and many, many friends to mourn her early and irreparable loss. We hope to meet again where all tears shall be wiped away, nor parting, nor death shall evermore be known. Those who sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him.

There is no information about the graves of J. W. Caldwell and the “maid who died at the preachers home” that are noted in Juliet Florance’s drawing. There are stories that others are buried there, such as soldiers who fought in the Civil War, but these need more research. As added information: the sequence of the twenty-four burials (fourteen certain shown in bold and ten other possibilities) would have been: In 1937 John Henley Walker, Sr. wrote to Walker family members soliciting support for clearing the Walker family burial ground and enclosing it in a brick wall, approximately 100’ x 50’. The area to be enclosed most likely was chosen based on an existing perimeter of some sort, although the actual area could have been larger since all the graves were not well marked. The interest shown by family members resulted in the annual Walker Reunion at Locust Grove at which contributions were given for the construction of the wall. The enclosed graveyard was dedicated in 1954.