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Madison Old Cemetery


A Great Georgia Gone

Col. John Byne Walker Dies Peacefully at his Home in this City. Prominent Points in thE Life of the Distinguished Deceased.

Co. John Byne Walker, the eminent subject of this brief sketch, was born in Burke County, GA., Feb. 22, 1805. When deceased was quite a lad, his father moved into this county, and ever since he attained majority, the name of Walker has been identified with every progressive move that has been made in the county. He married Miss Eliza Fannin, in this city, with whom he lived happily for many years, and by whom he raised a large family of children. He built the Georgia Female College of this city at his own expense and for years was President of the Board of Trustees of that once famous institution. He also superintended the building of the Madison Baptist Church (in which fund he was the leading contributor), a structure that remains as an enduring monument to his unstinted enterprise, and indomitable Christian zeal. The present courthouse, one of the most substantial buildings in the State, was built under his supervision. "Pro bono publico" was his watchword and no move for the public good was ever made in the county, that did not receive his hearty cooperation.

He was a member of the first railroad convention ever held in the United States, and made a memorable speech in which he predicted that he would live to see the day when these mighty monarchs of commerce would stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The meeting was held in Eatonton, Ga. Being one of the leading directors of the Georgia Railroad when the corporation was first created, Col. Walker was the author of the annual convention system, which is observed to this day by that corporation. He built the depot at this place, it being the first brick depot that was built on the Georgia road.

For years Col. Walker was leader of the Democratic party in this county, and in 1840, during the memorable Polk campaign, headed the largest delegation that ever left Morgan County, and attended the Democratic convention at Macon. This was immediately after the meeting of the Whig convention in this county -- and this unswerving and enthusistic Democrat marshalled his forces to show that the Democracy of old Morgan was still alive. The Morgan delegation, with its undaunted leader was received with great enthusiasm by that convention. The Morgan leader was afterwards chairman of the State convention that put forth Hon. Joseph E. Brown for Governor. In this convention, he showed his eminent executive ability, and at that time was the acknowledged leader of his party in Georgia. He was freely spoken of as the "coming Governor of Georgia" and doubtless would have filled this office of honor and trust, had he desired political preferment -- but he always felt that he could better serve his people by remaining in private life.

He was, for a number of years, a member of the Board of Trustees of Mercer University, and was the third man in the endowment subscription of that institution. Before the war he was one of the wealthiest men in the State, his estate being valued a considerabley over a half million. He did more real good with his money, perhaps than any man that ever lived in the State. But his property was swept away, and the last years of his life were passed in poverty.

Col. Walker was one of the few great men. A gentleman of the olden times, he possessed that affability of character and goodness of heart, which endeared him to everyone he met. The name of John B. Walker will always be respected by our people, and his noble deeds will long live to commemorate a nobler dead. Peace to his ashes.

As we go to press, Rev. S.A. Burney is preaching the funeral sermon, at the Baptist Church, to a large audience, and every store is closed in honor of his distinguished deceased.


From: The Madisonian April 1, 1976 "The following column was taken from a January, 1885, issue of the Madisonian and was  Linked to:                                                                         written by John W. Burney."

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