Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 118] has for many years held an enviable position among the first farmers of Mahoning township, and indeed of Lawrence County. The high repute in which he is held comes not only from his being the worthy son of good ancestors, but also from the admirable manner in which he has been living out his pre-eminently useful and busy life.

Mr. Walter is a grandson of Anthony Walter, who years ago was one of the first mill-owners of Western Pennsylvania, owning and operating mills first at Turtle Creek, Allegheny County, and later at a point in Columbiana County, Ohio. Anthony Walter followed the milling business for many years with success. Finally, desiring to change his occupation, he sold his mill interests, moved to Crawford County, Ohio, and bought a good farm, which he thereafter cultivated. He had in youth married a Miss Hawks, and they both lived to an advanced age, following peaceful agricultural pursuits. Their children were: Conrad, William, John, Anthony, Joseph, Daniel, Elizabeth, Sarah, Susan, Jacob, David and George.

William, the second son and the father of our subject, was born in Westmoreland County, and when still a lad had learned the milling business; after working at his trade at home for some years, he went to Lowell, Ohio, where he found a good position in his line of work. Saving money by exercising good judgment and rigid economy in his business affairs, he purchased with his savings in 1833 the Angel mills and a farm in Mahoning township, both of which he continued to hold and operate until his retirement from active pursuits in 1856. He died at Boardman, Ohio, at the age of seventy-nine. His wife, whom he had married years before, and who before her marriage was known as Miss Elizabeth Boggs Simpson, was a native of Kentucky; she reached the age of sixty-four and bore to her husband five children, named: Lewis I.; John W.; Joseph T.; William F.; and Caroline S.

Our subject, true to the inclination of his race, in boyhood learned to turn the golden grain into life-giving flour, and became a master of all the intricate details and the small points of the craft, which are often so necessary for success. Of a studious turn, he had at the same time assimilated a goodly amount of book knowledge, so that at nineteen years of age, he not only was competent for assuming control of and running well any flouring mill in the land, but was also qualified to manage an educational mill. This he did, and for seven years was a most competent and successful teacher, his school experience taking him into many of the then far-Western States and Territories. Loving the State of his nativity, and having prospered in his work, he purchased, in 1865, the William Stanley farm in Mahoning township, the place where he now resides. This farm of eighty-four acres was only in fair shape, when he bought it, but since he came into possession new barns and a house have sprung up, acres of orchards and lines of shade trees have been set out, and a large amount of tiling has been put in where needed for under-draining the land. Mr. Walter's ideas are nothing if not progressive, and he seems to be continually improving his surroundings, and bringing his property into a finished state of perfection. It is no more than fair to say that he has to-day one of the best farms to be seen in a section of country which is everywhere noted for the excellence of its agricultural resources. Mr. Walter has a fine dairy, and is also a stockholder in the Creamery Association. He has a keen eye for a good horse, and has raised many of them, which command a good price because of their training and bringing-up; he invariably has a fine team or two at his command.

Mr. Walter was born in Mahoning township near the western line of Lawrence County, and also of the State, March 17, 1833. He was married to Agnes J. Welsh, daughter of John B. and Martha (Erwin) Welsh. John B. Welsh was born in Bedford Co., Pa., Feb. 19, 1800, and was a son of James C. Welsh, who came as a pioneer into that part of the State in 1794, and took up four hundred acres of land. The elder Welsh suffered all the privations that fall to the lot of the early settler, living for weeks at a time in the open air, or in a covered wagon. He settled on his tract of land, built a log-cabin, and lived a happy life, which extended until May 21, 1810, his death resulting from a cold contracted from exposure, while going to a distant market in the dead of winter. The home was on the place, now owned by William A. Welsh, which adjoins the farm of the subject of this sketch. The wife of the old pioneer was Agnes, a descendant of Lieut. James W. McLean of Revolutionary renown. She died April 18, 1855, at the age of ninety-five. The children were: John B., Benjamin, William and Eliza.

John B. Welsh, the father-in-law of Mr. Walter, took charge of the home farm at his father's death, and ably assisted his mother in caring for the place and in raising the other juvenile members of the family. He finally came into the possession of the estate, and in 1862 erected a fine brick house. On June 10, 1834, he married Martha Ewing, daughter of Thomas and Margaret Ewing, and their children were: Agnes, Margaret, James A., Samuel, Eliza J., and William A.

To Joseph T. Walter and his wife Agnes have, been given ten children: Ernest J., now a carpenter in Youngstown, Ohio, was married first to Anna Van Valkenburg, now deceased, who made him the parent of two children Georgie G. and Myrtie; his present wife, a Miss Tirza White, has borne him one child—Kenneth; George W., a farmer of the State of Missouri, married Miss Mamie Mungrave, and they have had three children, two of whom, Joseph A., and an infant, are now living; John S. is a farmer in the State of Washington; Guy T., a lawyer of New York City, married Miss Delia Smith; Samuel F., a farmer at Hazeltlon, Pa., is the husband of Pearl Roup, and the father of two innocent little daughters—Agnes and Ruth; Eliza A.; Ivanette and Rolla D. came in order named, and live at home. A son and daughter each died in infancy.

Our subject, as this history shows, comes from, a family that has had much to do in the building up of the Keystone State, and he married into a family no less distinguished. His early attainments in the school of travel and experience have been more than those of the ordinary man, and he has in the course of his life been thrown in close contract[sic] with many phases of life and with many kinds of men. This has so developed his judgment and understanding, that he wields a large amount of influence wherever he is known. In politics, his fortunes were early cast with the Democratic party, of which he has always been a faithful and reliable member. He is a prominent member of the Knights of Pythias, and the Grand Lodge, having filled chairs in both. Several offices to which he has been elected by the suffrage of his fellow-townsmen testify to his popularity. He is that stamp of a man and a citizen, who, wherever their lines may fall, are ever a positive force, making toward good government and stability. Before he reaches the allotted three score and ten, the twentieth century will have dawned, and his hundreds of friends, who have come to love and respect him, hope that his life will be spared them many years after he has rounded that honorable mark.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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