Morgan Wailes Walker, Sr.
|Morgan Wailes Walker, Sr.|
|File:Alexandria, LA, industrialist Morgan W. Walker, Sr.jpg |
|Born||August 20, 1893|
Dodson, Winn Parish, Louisiana, USA
|💀Died||February 20, 1983 (aged 89)|
Alexandria, Rapides Parish, LouisianaFebruary 20, 1983 (aged 89)
|Resting place||Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville, Louisiana|
|🏛️ Political party||Democratic|
|👩 Spouse(s)||Genevieve James Walker (1900-1960, married 1922-her death)|
|👶 Children||Morgan W. Walker Jr. (1928–2008)|
Mrs. E.C. Hall Jr., of Sumter, South Carolina
Morgan Wailes Walker, Sr. (August 20, 1893 – February 20, 1983), was a businessman from Alexandria, Louisiana, who was involved in dairying, farming, bus transportation, hotels, banking, and education.
Walker was a director of the Trans-Continental Bus system, which operated in time in more than forty states. Walker introduced Guernsey cattle into Louisiana as the founder of Cloverland Dairies. He was a past president and founder of Roemer Dairy Processing. He was chairman of the former Guaranty Bank and Trust Company of Alexandria. Walker served on the Louisiana State Mineral Board during the administration of Governor Jimmie Davis.
Walker was born in Dodson in Winn Parish to Ezriah Walker and the former Frances Marian Stovall. When he was nine years of age, young Morgan stepped on a thorn, which resulted in persistent pain in a lower leg. At the age of eighteen, he had the leg amputated at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, but the problem persisted as "phantom pain", later believed to have been caused by a pinched nerve. Walker swore that he would not allow his disability to hold him back from success in life.
He graduated from both Dodson High School and Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, where he procured a degree in business. He was a classmate of future Governor Earl Kemp Long of Winnfield though he was part of the anti-Long faction in Louisiana's then all-encompassing Democratic politics.
In 1916, Walker moved to McNary in Rapides Parish to work at a large lumber company. Thereafter, he moved north to Alexandria, the seat of government of Rapides Parish and the largest city in Central Louisiana, where during World War I, he organized a taxi service to transport soldiers from Camp Beauregard in Pineville to nearby Alexandria. He later obtained a bus and founded the Interurban Transportation Company. Walker hired as his bookkeeper Joe D. Smith Sr., a native of East Texas who had moved to Grant Parish. Smith's son, Joe D. Smith Jr., later married into the family which owned the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, and through his role as publisher and chief executive officer of the newspaper, Smith Jr. worked to promote the development of downtown Alexandria.
Walker met his wife, the former Genevieve James (September 19, 1900 – March 8, 1960), when she was a passenger on one of his bus routes. Genevieve was the youngest of fourteen children born to William Calvit James and the former Ella Elizabeth Robinson (died 1922). The Jameses lived in the house called "Eagle's Nest" in Boyce in northern Rapides Parish.
Thereafter, Walker merged a group of bus companies into Southern Bus Lines. He became a director of the renamed Trans-Continental Bus system, which operated in time in more than forty states and became a forerunner of Continental Trailways, later absorbed by Greyhound Lines.
In the 1930s, Walker and his wife launched a dairy with one cow. They first sold milk in their neighborhood. Walker introduced Guernseys into Louisiana and founded Cloverland Dairies. He was a past president and founder of Roemer Dairy Processing. Walker Farms were dissolved in 1978, but the family retained an interest in Walker-Roemer Dairies in New Orleans. Genevieve Walker, meanwhile, like son Morgan W. Walker Jr., became an expert at horsemanship. The Walkers lived in a plantation house off Horseshoe Drive near the South Traffic Circle in Alexandria.
Walker was the director of TCO Industries, a subsidiary of Holiday Inn. He was chairman of the board from 1970 to 1978 of the former Guaranty Bank and Trust Company of Alexandria, which was located on Third Street across from City Hall in the tallest building in Alexandria. Guaranty eventually became part of Capital One.
Walker's main community interests were in public education and the Boy Scouts of America. He was a member and for a time the president of the elected Rapides Parish School Board. He was called "the father of Scouting in Louisiana" because of his work during the 1930s in reorganizing the group. His older son, Morgan Jr., was an Eagle Scout. Walker was a past president of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, and he held membership in the American Dairy Science Association, the Masonic lodge, and the Shriners.
Walker died at Rapides General Hospital in Alexandria. Services were held on February 22, 1983, at St. James Episcopal Church in Alexandria. Interment was at Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville. Walker was survived by a second son, Edgar Walker, two daughters, twenty-six grandchildren, and twenty-two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife and two other daughters.
He was also survived by a nephew, Dr. J. Paul Peters of Winnfield. Among his cousins was the retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel William Stewart Walker, also of Winnfield, who was a pioneer in the development of the Republican Party in Louisiana. Stewart Walker made a strong but losing race in 1964 for the former Eighth Congressional District seat in the United States House of Representatives. He was defeated by the Democratic nominee, former State Senator Speedy O. Long of La Salle Parish. Still another cousin, George T. Walker, was from 1958 to 1976 the president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Walker is commemorated through the naming of the Morgan W. Walker Scholarship in the field of dairy science at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The student center at Louisiana College in Pineville, now the Hixson Center, was formerly named in Walker's honor.
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- The Winn Parish Enterprise News, February 23, 1983
- Fredrick Marcel Spletstoser (2005). Talk of the Town: The Rise of Alexandria, Louisiana, and the Daily Town Talk. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0-8071-2934-8. Retrieved January 29, 2015. Search this book on
- "Deep Roots and High Branches: Walker Family History". longrootshighbranches.blogspot.com. August 12, 2006. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
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