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Rutherfordiana/Source Material Extracts/Eulogy by a "Former Pastor"

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The following is from White, 1902 pp169-171, and appears to be a eulogy written shortly after the death of James Alexander Walker (1822-1897) by "a former pastor". The eulogy contains details that could have only been provided by immediate family members. Some of those details are at odds with what is known about the family as given elsewhere in White, 1902.


Captain James A. Walker, the senior elder of New Providence Church, in the county of Rockbridge, Va, died on the 9th day of April 1897. He was born on the 8th day of August, 1822...He was the second child of Thomas Walker and Betsey Culton, his wife....The family came into the Valley of Virginia from the North of Ireland, whither they had emigrated from Scotland in the year 1680, [1] among the earliest settlers in the year 1734 [2], and helped to build the first log church which, iin memory of the Providence Church in Ireland from which they had come, they called New Providence. There were two families of Walkers among the first settlers; they were closely related, but not of the same household. The heads of these families were an Uncle and nephew, and both named John; they were distinguished as "Gun-maker" John and "Gunstocker" John....Gunmaker John built the locks and barrels of the rifles on the anvil of his shop, and Gunstocker John made the wood-work. James A. Walker was a descendant of Gunstocker John whose wife was Katherine Rutherford, daughter of Rev. John Rutherford of Scotland, and was born borne and spent his long life on the lands taken up by his ancestor, and held intact by successive genertions of his fathers.



There are a number of points in the above presentation that are at severe odds with what is said elsewhere in White 1902 concerning the family line, or inconsistent with known facts. The following assumes that the discussion of the family as present by White at the front of her work (ie, prefatory material roughly through p. 6) is correct. It might be that the description presented in the eulogy is the more accurate of the two. However, it seems likely that the eulogy reflects a combination of data, with family relationships indistinctly understood and mis-presented by the "former Pastor".

1. White, 1902:2 suggests that the family migrated from Scotland to Ireland sometime after the marriage of John Walker II to Katherine Rutherford in 1702. This could have been anywhere between 1702 and perhaps 1715, based on DOB/POB of children as given by White, 1902. However, the Rutherfords are said by some (without primary evidence it seems) to have settled in Ireland sometime prior to 1700. John is said to have received land for his service in the Willamite Wars, and the Battle of the Boyne in 1693. Some have indicated [need source] that they may have been in Ireland as early as 1680. If so, it seems plausible that John II might have immigrated to Ireland prior to his marriage to Katherine Rutherford. Under this interpretation the marriage presumably occurred in Ireland (contrary to White 1902:2, but it is conceivable that the couple returned to Scotland for the marriage in Wigton.
2. Some of the Walkers may have moved to the Valley of Virginia in 1734. Elsewhere White tells us that John II "contemplated such a move" about 1734, but died before the move was made. His son, John III is said to have completed the move, probably settling near Staunton in 1734. John II and Katherine are said by White to have died in 1734 and 1738 respectively, and both are buried in the cemetery of the Nottingham MH outside of Rising Sun, Cecil Co, MD. it is also worth noting that these families would not have settled on Walkers Creek this early. As far as is known there were no settlements made in this area until 1738. The area immeidately SW of Staunton, on Beverly's Grant, however, was settled beginning about 1734.
3. The idea that "Gunmaker John" and "Gunstocker John" both settled on Walkers Creek is frequently noted in family genealogies. The identity of Gunstocker John is well understood as the nephew of John Walker II. However, since John Walker II is believed to have died in Pennsylvania, the idea of the uncle and nephew working side by side in the Valley of Virginia is unlikely. If John II was in fact a "gunmaker", then he practiced that craft in the area now known as Rising Sun. Cecil Co. MD. If there were indeed two John Walkers, one a gunmaker and the other a gunstocker, working together in the Valley of Virginia, then the one known Gunmaker was not John II. It is conceivable that he was John Walker III, who would have been the same age as his cousin "Gunstocker John". This would explain the occassional reference to John III as "Gunmaker". No independent evidence of John III practicing the Gunamkers craft has been located, though it is certainly possible.

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