What follows is a very insightful email received a few years ago from one of our cousins who descends from John Walker (junior) b. 1838. He is referred to as "junior" only in the context of keeping his identity clear, the "junior" is not part of his real name.
This outlines a very significant and widely overlooked part of our family history. The history of those branches who left Utah, separated themselves from the LDS church, and yet lived very infuential and good lives.
Thanks so very much for getting in touch with me! And had I not been able to painfully struggle to come up with the same answer about this part of our family, back in Sept., you would have made my day today by solving this puzzle for me. I had been "in the dark" on this one for about 20 years, and Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.com finally helped me solve it. Thank goodness for the internet, huh?
I finally found my Orin King Walker on these sites, and made the discovery that he was the older brother of my great-grandmother, Clarissa (Clara) Walker Fugate. He had died at birth, and it was the old family Bible my Grandma had, which strangely enough confused all of us. Either that, or I just misread it all those years ago. Regardless, I'm sure that in that Bible he was listed as Clara's grandfather (John Walker Jr.'s father).
I almost hate to tell you why that error could have been intentional, as I suspect it may have been. I don't want to offend you or anyone else in any way, but it has to do with the Mormon roots in the family. I've become convinced now (after finding out all about the Walkers and their early Mormon origins) that my great-great grandparents (John Jr. and Sarepta) were among those Mormons who left Utah in great distress and moved further west to get away from what they perceived to be a great "mishandling" of the church and its doctrines after the death of Joseph Smith. One thing that told me this was that NO-ONE in our family ever knew of John Walker, Sr. or the fact that he became a polygamist after his wife Lydia died. That information was kept secret from all the children and grandchildren of John and Sarepta Walker. Which tells me it caused them a great deal of distress.
The fact that they went to California and never had any more contact with the family they left behind in Utah also speaks volumes, as well as the fact that 6 of their 10 children were named after John Walker Jr's siblings. (He obviously missed them. . . and wanted to start the family over.) And the last thing was that as soon as the "Reorganization" faction of the church spread to California, our Walkers were among the first to join. I am now 4th generation R.L.D.S. because of this part of the Walker family.
There was a rumor in our family - handed down through the generations to my Mother, that the Walkers went WAY, WAY back in our church history. . . but no-one knew how far back, or what the first names of those Walker ancestors were. When I learned the truth of the matter (by discovering our ties to John Walker Sr., the polygamist) I had to call my Mom long-distance, and make sure she was sitting down before I told her about it all! (She had been the Executive Secretary to the RLDS First Presidency and Prophet -- Wallace B. Smith -- for 20 years.)
Anyway - this is all probably information you don't need or want, but I've just been fascinated by it all! And thanks for the Walker family website information. I'll be sure to look that up next time I have some internet time!
Courtesy of our cousin Ruth Vreeland.