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Hugh and Robert Walter in America

From Babcary, Somerset, England to Barber County, Kansas

Hugh Penny Walter and the Hagerman Family

L-R Standing: Hugh Penny Walter, Guy Herndon holding Chester, Sybil Herndon (nee Hagerman), Margaret Hagerman, 'Babe' Hagerman holding Betty, her husband Ralph Hagerman, Claude Walter.
Sitting: Susie Greer Hagerman (nee Walter), Elmer Hagerman. Photo courtesy of Jim Giles.

Hugh Penny Walter and Robert Leach Walter were sons of Walter and Ann Walter of Babcary, Somerset, England, UK. Both Hugh and Robert emigrated to the USA as had their elder brother Albert who died in the US Civil War (see Albert Walter - Illinois and the Civil War).

Hugh Penny Walter (1844-1927)

Hugh Penny Walter aged 5 was listed in the 1851 census at Greenhill Farm, Babcary. In the 1861 census he was working as a baker for Henry and Annie Priscilla Harris at Kilmington village (Mere District). Annie Priscilla was born in Foddington, Babcary and her grandmother was a Mary Walter who married Edward Ing. By the 1871 census Hugh was in Llantrisant, Glamorgan, Wales - near another brother David Walter. Hugh was working as an iron miner and lodging with Mary Ann Knight (born in Bath, Somerset), a dressmaker at Tymawr. He and brother Robert Walter had a brush with the law:

(Cardiff Times November 7 1868) - LLANTRISSANT. PETTY SESSIONS - FRIDAY.
STEALING FOWLS. - Robert Walter and Hugh Walter, both single men, living at Llantrissant, were brought up on remand. Robert Walter was charged with stealing two fowls, and Hugh Walter was charged with receiving the same knowing them to have heen stolen. It appeared, from the evidence of a little boy, aged about fourteen years, named Thomas Howell, the son of Mr. Llewellyn Howell, of Llwyna Farm, that Robert Walter had been working at the above farm as a farm labourer for the past three weeks. On Sunday, the 18th October, witness and prisoner went to see for some stray horses. When they came near to Tallygarn farm they saw some fowls, the property of Mr. William Robb, farmer, Tallygarn. Prisoner struck one of the fowls with a stone, and told wilness it was a cock pheasant. Afterwards they went to Maesevelin farm. There prisoner caught a young cock fowl, and told witness that was likewise a young cock pheasant, and gave sixpence to him to say nothing about it. On the following day prisoner told witness that he had sold the fowls to a man at Llantrissant, named John, for half-a-crown. Mrs. Robb, of Tylygan, proved losing two fowls. The wings now prduced were like those of the fowls lost.-Mr. Evans, Maesevelin, said that the wings produced were like the wings of the young cock which he had lost.- P.S. Price said he apprehended the prisoners.-The two prisoners pleaded guilty. Robert Walter was sentenced to one month's hard labour, and Hugh Walter to fourteen days' imprisonment.

He emigrated to the USA (after his brother Robert) and bought a 160 acre farm for US$50 in Deerhead Township, Kansas on 23rd May 1887. He had his difficulties with the neighbours:

(Barbour County Index January 17 1900) Hugh Walter of Deerhead was assaulted last Friday by the South boys and he came to town on that evening for the purpose of making a state case against them, but owing to the absence of the County Attorney the matter was postponed until Mr. Griffin returns. The trouble arose over the moving of a fence from South's place, which was claimed by Robt. Walter of this city, a brother to Hugh. The Walters took the fence down on Thursday, and the next day the Souths rode up to Hugh Walter's house, called him out and one of the boys sprung at him and struck him on the head with a gun while the others witnessed it. Mr. Walter was stunned for some time and when he finally recovered his senses his assailants had left. These are the facts as related to us and if they are true, the guilty parties should be brought to justice.

(Barbour County Index January 31 1900) The controversy between Hugh Walter and the South family at Deerhead was settled last Thursday. It looked like a big case but it did not even come to trial. The trouble was of long standing and the question at issue was the ownership of some improvements on a quarter section of government land lately taken by Mr. South. R. Walter, now of this city, first filed on the land and he and his brother put on some valuable improvements. .Later Mr. Walter abandoned it and Mr. South moved on and filed. The Walters claimed their improvements and South wanted to hold them. and a few weeks ago the Walters took away some of the fence. The result of that movement was an assault committed upon the person of Hugh Walter, which was related in the INDEX two weeks ago. Hugh Walter then replevied the improvements and the Souths concluded to yield and let him take them. In the meantime Mr. Walter appealed to the. County Attorney to prosecute Mr. South for assault and battery ,but that self-important piece of unjustifiable egotism refused to undertake the prosecution. Why he refused, we are not informed but we suppose it was because he has so far fallen down in nearly every case he has prosecuted without assistance, except in cases where the accused pleaded guilty, and be probably does not care to under take any more unless the offenders will kindly consent to plead guilty. The republican landslide of 98 did not give the people of Barber county an 18 k County Attorney but we are willing to be fair enough to concede that it deprived one of the Medicine Lodge livery stables of a valuable chambermaid.

Hugh subsequently sold the farm and in 1905 is shown on a Kansas atlas having a 80-acre holding in Township 31 south-west of Sun City. The Barber County Index of May 13 1903 noted: "Hugh Walter was over from the Lodge Monday to visit bis nephew, Claude, who is foreman on the Advocate". In the 1910 census and 1915 Kansas census he was in Mingona and the 1920 census listed him in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his nephew, Claude and his wife. The 1920 census (taken later that year in Kansas) also shows him in Medicine Lodge with Elmer Hagerman. He died in 1927 and was buried (with?) Robert in Highland Cemetery, Medicine Lodge (see below) on March 16, 1927.

Robert Leach Walter (1846-1919)

Robert Leach Walter, born February 8 1846 is listed in the 1861 census at Greenhill Farm. He emigrated to the USA in the late 1860s/early 1870s, landing in Philadelphia and moving to Illinois, then Missouri. He married Isobel Orina Greer (alternative spelling: Isabella Orena) (1844-1905), born Ripley, West Virginia (north of Charleston) in Montrose, Missouri* in 1878 and had four children, two of whom survived infancy: Susie Greer (1880-1966) and Claude Edward (1884-1935). In the 1880 Federal Census Robert and Isobel were in Rose Hill Township, Johnson County, Missouri with Robert listed as farming and Isobel ('Isibella') as keeping home. In the mid-1880s Robert decided to settle in Kansas (Hugh was already there). He travelled by covered wagon while Isobel and the children went by train to Kingman (NE of Medicine Lodge and west of Wichita), travelling the rest of the way by wagon. In old age Susie recalled this as very frightening because of the threat still posed by Native Americans.** In the 1895 census the family are listed as living in Medicine Lodge with their son-in-law. The Barber County Index of July 16 1902 noted: "Robert K. Foglesong, of Belmont, Kansas, was here the first of the week, visiting his uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Walter. Mr. Foglesong is section foreman of the Missouri Pacific at Belmont, but will resign his position it he can get an equallv good naving position here." In 1905 they were farming in Medicine Lodge Township. Isobel died of liver cancer at Susie's home in 1905. She had a sister Mrs T.C. Stewart (see below) also in Deerhead and a brother in Emporia (between Wichita and Kansas City).

Barber County Index May 31 1905. Isabel O., wife of Robert Walter. died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. E. E. Hagerman, in this city on Friday, May 26, 1905 at 5:30 p.m. She was ill many years but was bedfast only six weeks. A postmortem examination conducted by Drs. T. A. Coleman and C. W. Longenecker revealed cancer of the liver to be the cause of death.
The funeral services were held on Saturday afternoon at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Hagerman,conducted by Rev. W.H. Moore pastor of the M.E. church of which the deceased had long been a faithful and consistent member.
Deceased was born at Ripley, West Virginia, Jan., 30, 1844. She was married to Robert Walter at; Montrose, Mo., Jan., 30 1878, and the family came to Barber county Kansas in 1885, locating at Deerhead, but afterward removing to this city. A husband and two children - Mrs. E. E. Hagerman and Claude E. Waiter are the surviving members of the family.. Two children died in infancy. A sister, Mrs. T. C. Stewart of Deerhead,and a brother at Emporia also live to mourn her death. Mrs. Walter was 61 years, 3 months and 26 days of age.
A kind and affectionate wife and mother is gone and the community has lost a good woman. The sympathy of all goes out to those who mourn.

In 1909 Robert married Emeline R Robb 'Endina' (1845-1911) and was in Dodge City in the 1910 census. In 1900, as Emeline R. Buchanan, Endina appears to have just married Joseph H. Robb. She had had eight children, three of whom were still alive according to the census return for that year. The Barber County Index of December 4 1907 stated:

Mr. Robert Walter, brother of Hugh Walter and father of Mrs. E. E. Hagerman of this county, was married at Dodge City Nov. 21st. The following account of the wedding is from the Dodge City Globe-Republican: "The wedding of Mr. Robert Walter and Mrs. M. R. Robb last Thursday evening, was one of the largest celebrated in this city for some time, being attended by several hundred people. About half past eight the ceremony was performed by Rev. F. W. Imboden, after which congratulations were extended to the couple. The bride was becomingly gowned in blue, trimmed in white. An elaborate marriage feast furnished by the guests was served. The evening will long be remembered by all who were present. Mr. and Mrs. Walter are happily settled in the bride's home in the east part of the city." The Barber county friends of Mr. Walter send greetings. Claude E. Walter, son of the groom, is station agent for the Santa Fe at Rozel, a small town near Dodge City. We expect to hear of his marriage soon.

Emeline was buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Dodge City, her grave marker (possibly a more recent addition) gives her name as Emeline R.Robb. Records add 'Mrs Walter'. After her death Robert moved in with Hugh (on 1915 Kansas census for Mingona) and died in 1919. Robert was buried with Isobel in Highland Cemetery, Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Robert was buried on September 5, 1919. The Barber County Index of September 10 1919:

OBITUARY ROBERT L. WALTER Robert Leach Walter was born in Babcary, Somersetshire, England on February 8, 1846 and died in Medicine Lodge, Kans., Sept. 4, 1919, at the age of 73 years, 6. months and 27 days. He came to America soon after reaching his majority and lived for a time in Penna., Ohio and Illinois finally settling in Holden, Mo., where in 1878, he was maried to Isabel O. Greer. To this union were born four children, Mrs. Susie Greer Hagerman, of this city, Claude Edward Walter, of Tulsa, Okla., and two who died in infancy. He is survived also by his brother, H. P. Walter of this city, his brother Philip in Australia and three brothers and a sister in England, three grandchildren, Ralph Hagerman of Denver Col., Mrs. Sibyl J. Herndon ...

Descendants of Robert Leach Walter

Claude Edward Walter (1884-1935)

The Barber County Index of April 29 1903 noted: "Claude Walter slipped in ahead of Ellas Pelton and got a job on the Advocate. It seems that it was not Elias, but Claud who resigned his position with the Publishing company." The May 13 1903 edition stated: "Hugh Walter was over from the Lodge Monday to visit his nephew Claude, who is foreman on the Advocate."

Claude married Coy Mulvania (b. September 1885- , Mercer, Missouri) in Jackson, Missouri in 1911. Their marriage license granted on January 21 in Kansas City showed them both to be resident in Independence, Montgomery, Kansas. They had no children. Coy's name was variously Mulvana, Mulvania (her father was Lucious Mulvana or Lucius Mulvania, her brother Scott Mulvania, 1883-1958), Mulvanny and Mulvaney in different records. Her father's obituary in the Wichita Daily Eagle May 18 1917 records:

Lucius Mulvania, 60 years old, died at his home, 456 Sherman avenue, yesterday morning, of pneumonia. He was a contractor in Wichita for six years. He is survived by his wife, one son, Scott Mulvania of Wichita, and one daughter, Mrs. Claude Walters of Winfield. I.O.O.F. lodge No. 93 and Sunflower lodge, A.F. and A M., of which he was a member, will have charge of the funeral services at the home Saturday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock. The Citv Undertaking company has charge of the arrangements.

Claude's draft registration card completed in 1918 describes him as a Telegraph Operator on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad born June 30 1884. He was of medium height, stout build with brown eyes and dark hair. They lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 422 South Mountfort. Later they were at 723 North St Louis Avenue with Emmeline Mulvanny (1930 census) where Claude died in 1935. According to the Tulsa Daily World September 24 1935:

Walter Rites - Last rights for Claude E. Walter, 723 North St. Louis avenue, who fell dead of heart disease Saturday night, will be conducted from The Moore's funeral home at 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon by Rev. Carlton H. Richard of the Bethel Methodist church. Burial will be at Memorial Park.

Coy Walter was still at 723 North St Louis Avenue in the 1940 census, a widow aged 54, with her mother Emiline Mulvania, a widow aged 79 described as Head. Coy's occupation was 'alteration' at a clothing store. Both died in Tulsa between 1940 and 1955 (listed in Moore's Funeral Home index for 1927-1955).

Susie Greer Walter

Susie Greer Walter married Elmer Ellsworth Hagerman (born Winchester, Randolph County, Indiana March 27 1863) in Deerhead Township in 1894. Elmer was a teacher.

Barber County Index October 21 1908. Democratic Ticket Elmer E. Hagerman, the democratic candidate for county superintendent, has devoted all of his life to educational work and, in spite of sickness and financial reverses in consequence thereof, has worked up to a professional certificate. His twenty years of experience as a school teacher equips him in a high degree to promote the welfare of tha county's schools, if elected. You should vote for him.

Barber County Index October 28 1908. How Will You Vote? ELMER E. HAGERMAN for superintendent, has taught school in Barber county since the early '80s. He holds a professional certificate. He has no other vocation in life but school teaching, is physically incapacitated for manual labor and is deservant of support. He owns a small home, slightly incumbered, in this city and is the head of a family.

Elmer failed to unseat the incumbent.

Barber County Index July 21 1909. E. E. Hagerman had the misfortune to fall while doing some light work on his uncle's (H. P. Walter's) farm west of this city, breaking one bone in his right wrist and dislocating the other. Dr. Gilbert was called and set the injured bones. Prof. Hagerman lost one of his limbs on account of tuberculosis of the bone about twelve years ago and since that time has had a great deal of, sickness. His profession is school teaching but during vacation he does more manual labor than many able bodied men. This accident will incapacitate him for the remaining vaca tion for any kind of labor, both clerical and manual, which will be a great hardship.

Despite losing his leg he continued teaching and died February 16 1929 (buried at Highland Cemetery, Medicine Lodge). Susie ran the post office and store at Lasswell, Barber County (7 miles SW of Medicine Lodge). She died in Dumas, Texas on November 5 1966 and was buried two days later at Dumas Cemetery. They had six children, all born in Medicine Lodge. Two sons died in infancy: Francis Wallace Hagerman, born January 1903, died of measles May 6 1904 (buried at Highland Cemetery Medicine Lodge) and Norman Hagerman born November 1904. The four who reached adulthood were:

  • Chester Robert Hagerman (1895-1918) who died from a shell blast in France (letter) at the end of the First World War. He was buried at Highland Cemetery, Medicine Lodge on October 16 1921.
  • Ralph W. Hagerman (1897-1969) who married Ellen Magdalene "Babe" Case (1900-1990) between 1918 and 1920 and moved to Colorado (divorcing by 1930) where he was a locomotive fireman and subsequently Napa, California. Ralph and Magdalene had two children - Betty M. Hagerman (c.1921) and Ralph W. Hagerman (c.1925). In 1920 they lived with Magdalene's mother Bessie Case in Denver. In 1930 Ralph senior was a boarder in the household of Edward C Baker in Denver; Magdalene (recorded as Ellen M.) was with her mother (Elizabeth A.) and stepfather (Patrick J. Sweeney) and her two children, also in Denver. Ralph is buried in Willamette National Cemetery, Oregon.
  • Sibyl Juanita Hagerman (1899-1977) who married Joseph Guy Herndon (1887-1966; Prisoner of War Medal) and subsequently Myrle Fred Lake (1902-1949). She had children with Guy Herndon, including Chester Ralph Herndon (c.1921-1950) who fathered two children of his own. In 1930 Sibyl was living with Myrle Fred Lake in Syracuse Township, Hamilton County with daughters D. M. Louise Herndon (c.1924- ) and Mary Alice Lake (c. 1926-2012; obituary) and Myrle's father, Canadian-born Frederick Parker Lake. Subsequently they moved to Dumas, Texas. Sibyl died in Amarillo, Potter, Texas March 17 1977.

    Dumas, Texas
    Star-studded sky and desert calm,
    And silhouette of waving palm,
    And sleepy flowers on the hill
    And stately cactus standing still
    Against the night!
    These things can calm the weary soul.
    And teach us Heaven is our goal,
    And help our hearts to understand
    That God is here on every hand
    To guide us right.
    Oh, weary soul, forsake thy quest.
    Renounce the city's raw behest.
    "Take up thy bed" and seek the hills
    Far from the scene of clashing wills.
    And win the fight.
    (Published in The Desert Magazine
    August 1951)

    Dumas, Texas
    Silence deep and calm and soothing
    Cloaks the wondrous desert night.
    Stars, that glittering, seem to tinkle,
    Casting iridescent light.
    'Gainst the cliff, a moon-beam glancing
    Shatters like a crystal spar.
    Yet the silence is unbroken.
    Naught can ere that stillness mar
    Coyotes wailing in the distance
    Fade and blend as though a thought.
    All the magic round about us
    Whispers - See what God hath wrought.
    (Published in The Desert Magazine
    December 1950)

  • Margaret Eunice Hagerman (1906-1984) who married James William Giles (1904-1983) and remained in Medicine Lodge long enough for her son James Robert (Jim) Giles (1925-2010) to graduate from school there but subsequently moved to Amarillo, Texas. Jim Giles was a vital source of information for this page having spent many years on his genealogical research. He set an example in generously sharing his knowledge to the benefit of the family around the world. Jim Giles married Geneva Vadine Netzel (1932-2014) and had three children in Midland, Texas.

Isobel's sister married into the Stewart family from West Virginia living in Deerhead and identified in the 1895 census as Thomas Camden Stewart (1845-1903), his wife Alvira M. (1845 - ), three children aged between 12 and 15 born in West Virginia - Katie (later Mrs G.W Phillips), Charles Ross and George - plus M.F. Stewart (1859- ) possibly Thomas' brother or nephew. In 1889 this man married Annie Larkin (1862- ) from Kansas and they had two children: Sarah Z. (1892- ) and Bessie (dates unknown).

[* Montrose, Missouri did not exist until the advent of the railroad.
** The Treaty of Medicine Lodge had been concluded in 1867 between the US Government and the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche and Apache peoples.]

Background: Life in Kansas 1886-1920

The winter of 1885/6 had been bad; the summer of 1886 was very dry with numerous grass fires. The heat held until October. The first major blizzard occurred in mid-November, the second three weeks later. There was further atrocious weather for ten days in the middle of January and again at the end of the month. Many people and millions of cattle died as a result of the storms. In western Kansas, only 500 cattle from a herd of 5500 remained alive. Dodge City's Daily Globe reported in January 1887 "Within a few miles of here, no less than 500 cattle have drifted to the river, where they perished in attempting to cross, or drifted up to the fences, where they remained until frozen to death. A gentleman from a ranch south of here reports seeing cattle on his way up that were still standing on their feet frozen to death" (quoted in Dee Brown, The American West).

Conditions continued to be extremely difficult for Kansan homesteaders. The summer of 1890 saw the rise of the Farmers' Alliance; a revolutionary political movement started in Texas that also involved non-agricultural rural workers whose livelihood depended on farmers (such as teachers and doctors). The main demands were for monetary reform (including free silver coinage), regulation of large landowners and higher taxation on railroads. Leading Alliance figures from Kansas included farmer "Sockless" Jerry Simpson and former teacher and farmer's wife Mary Elizabeth Lease, a highly successful speechmaker: "The people are at bay. Let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged us thus far beware. What you farmers need is to raise less corn and more hell" (quoted in Dee Brown, The American West). In elections that year Kansans gave extensive support to candidates from the Alliance (one senator, four congressmen and 91 state legislators). These victories led to calls for establishment of a People's Party which achieved most success in Kansas in the presidential election of 1892.

By 1896 conditions were improving. "The prosperous years between 1896 and 1920 ... served not only to quieten the farmers' complaints and send the Populists into oblivion, but also to 'lay the basis for the next era of farm depression'. By the end of the First World War the farmers were again undertaking speculative expansion, and again were only too easily exposed to the destructive effects of a new period of over production and falling prices, credit restriction, and fore-closure" (Philip S. Bagwell and G.E. Mingay, Britain and America: A Study of Economic Change 1850-1939).

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