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Chicago, Illinois

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Edward L. Walker (1834 – 1890)

Edward L. Walker was born in Somerset County Pennsylvania on Jan 1, 1834. His parents were Josiah Walker and Rachel Miller. Josiah was a farmer in a little town referred to as Benfords Store and Edward grew up helping his family on the farm and learning valuable tools for his later endeavors. Edward chose surveying in the 1850s and married Leah M. Griffith in 1855, with whom he would have several children over the next few years. He published a very ornate and accurate map of Somerset county Pennsylvania in 1860 where he personally surveyed the land and drew the map itself. It is very beautiful and his passion for the project was clear.

Walker_zpsflaafmr8 (1)There is no record of Edward serving in the civil war, which is most likely due to an unknown illness which plagued him throughout his life. There are no direct medical records to reflect specific indications of an illness with the exception of multiple citations about his poor health in later court documents over his various patents. In 1864 Mr. Walker invents and patents a very early hay fork but due to poor health and lack of financial resources he was unable to manufacture his design. He contracted with a company in Philadelphia for the right to manufacture his hay fork and in exchange he was promised a royalty on each fork manufactured. The company then deceitfully made some subtle changes to his design and manufactured it as one of their own. They refused to pay Edward Walker the agreed upon royalties citing this was not his creation and Edward would spend the next 25 years in and out of court defending his patent and seeking retribution.

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 10.44.20 AMIn the 1870’s, Edward moves to Jefferson, Wisconsin and is listed as a dry goods dealer, he also served as a postmaster for 12 years and Justice of the peace for 8 years. According to the 1880 census he is listed as an inventor which leads us to another attempt at design. This shows his dedication and strong character and sometime in the 1880’s he began manufacturing a new design of hay carrier and was produced in Chicago, Illinois. Edward passes away August 22, 1890 in Chicago Illinois at the age of 57. He is buried in Twin Grove Wisconsin.

Biography compiled from census records and court documents by Ashara Shapiro and Clint Flack

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