William Henry Walker. A veteran newspaper man, with forty years of active experience comprising all the details of the newspaper profession, ranging from office boy and typesetter to editor and manager, William Henry Walker spent the first fourteen years of his professional career in Missouri, but for the past quarter of a century has been located at Purcell, where he is now secretary of the Register Company and editor of the Purcell Register.
Of old Southern stock, the Walkers having been a mingling of Scotch, Welsh and Irish lines, and emigrating from Wales to North Carolina in colonial days, William Henry Walker was born at Yanceyville, North Carolina, March 25, 1854. His father, Wyatt Walker, who was born in North Carolina in 1811 was reared in that state and married there Miss Permelia Gilchrist. She was born in North Carolina, in 1818 and died at Windsor, Missouri, in 1881. Wyatt Walker was a wagon maker by trade, but for many years effectively preached the Gospel under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1859 he moved his family to Whitmell, Virginia, and in 1869 moved to Windsor, Missouri, where he died in 1885. He was a democrat and an active member of the Masonic Fraternity. He and his wife had the following children: Mary, deceased; Newton, deceased; Fannie, who lived at Slater, Missouri, the widow of Sylvester Calvert, who was a farmer; Theodore, deceased; Ellen, a dressmaker at Windsor; Reginald, deceased; Nannie, who is with her sister Ellen at Windsor; Alice, who died in 1911 near Windsor, as the wife of W. A. Garrett, a farmer near Windsor; and William H.
The youngest in this large family of children, William II. Walker had a fairly comfortable home in his youth, but early assumed the responsibilities of his own self support and advancement. The first schools he attended were in Whitmell, Virginia, and he continued his education at Windsor, Missouri, until the age of sixteen. His first regular employment was in a tinshop at Windsor, where he remained several years. In 1876 he started the Windsor Review, and was associated with the destinies of that Missouri paper until 1890.
In 1890, just a year after the original opening of Oklahoma Territory, Mr. Walker identified himself with the town of Purcell, Indian Territory. After nine months as an employe with the Purcell Topic, he bought an interest in the Purcell Register and for fully a quarter of a century has been its editor. The Register was established in 1887, and it is now owned by a stock company of which R. H. Parham is president, with Mr. Walker as secretary. What the Register has accomplished in the way of influence and general business success is largely due to Mr. Walker’s experience and energetic management. He is personally familiar with all phases of Southern Oklahoma’s life and development, knows all the big men of the state, in polities or business, and has made the Register a forceful factor in community life. It is a democratic paper and has a large circulation in Cleveland, McClain and surrounding counties. the offices of the plant are situated on Canadian street at the corner of Main street in the Crawford Building.
Mr. Walker is himself a democrat and served several years as a member of the city council at Purcell. He is a vestryman in the Episcopal Church. He is past chancellor commander of Purcell Lodge No. 108, Knights of Pythias, and also past grand chancellor of the state, and is a member of Purcell Lodge No. 1260, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He formerly belonged to the Oklahoma Press Association.
In 1883 at Windsor, Missouri, Mr. Walker married Miss Lelia D. Smith, whose father, the late Dr. B. F. Smith, was for many years a physician and surgeon at Windsor. To their marriage were born three children: Frank, who is now a pressman at the Agricultural and Mechanical College in Stillwater; Bonnie, who is unmarried and is employed in an abstract office, making her home with her parents; Oscar, who died in 1910 at Purcell at the age of twenty-two.