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Walker Family Fonds (P110)

1804-1975. - 750 cm of textual records. - about 200 photographs. - 30 maps.

Administrative History - Biographical Sketch:

The first member of this particular branch of the Walker family to arrive in Quebec from Scotland in 1815 was William Walker (1793-1863?), a merchant. He became a partner of Forsyth Richardson & Co., later to become Forsyth Walker & Co. He was made a member of the Special Council in 1838 and of the Legislative Assembly in 1842.

William Walker (1813-1890) was assignee for the Province of Quebec. He married Harriet Fletcher. William's son, James R. Walker (1850-1932) was President of J. R. Walker & Co. Ltd., dealers in builders' and upholsterers' hardware who provided furnishings for some of Montreal's most famous buildings of the time. He married Agnes Earle.

Gustavus Wicksteed (1799-1898), civil servant and poet, and his son Henry Wicksteed (b. 1855), locating engineer, CNR, were related to the Walkers through the Fletcher family, Harriet Fletcher being the wife of William Walker. They carried on an active correspondence with their Walker relatives.

Frank Earle Walker was the son of James Robert Walker and worked for his father. He eventually took over the Montreal Blanket Co. and the paper products operations of the business. He and his wife had six daughters and one son. James Robert (Jimmy) Walker (1905-1991) was the son of Frank Earle Walker. At this time the family interests expanded to take in the Back River Power Project and Norlake, a gold mining company. In 1954 the Montreal Blanket Company ceased operations. By the 1960s most of the family's business activities had been discontinued.

Scope and Content:

The Walker family fonds reflects typical activities surrounding the building of Canadian enterprises from about 1850 to 1950. We see the cooperation between father and son as the business grows, including international trade. We see the effects of World War I on production and later post-war expansion. The personal records in the fonds document the Walker family members' religious, educational, financial, social and leisure activities and, to a lesser extent, provide information on the Benson, Fletcher and Wicksteed families.

Through personal, financial, accounting and legal records, the fonds retraces the lives of five generations of Walkers. The records help us understand the family's milieu. More unusually, the records include reports from the farmer in charge of the family's summer property on Lac Brulé in the 1920s as well as letters from author Hugh MacLennan and his wife commenting on political developments in Quebec in the 1960s.

The fonds is divided into two major series: business records and family records. The business series includes the Back River Power Company, the Montreal Blanket Company Limited, the Norlake Mining Company and the James Robert Walker Company. The family series is broken down into subseries for individual members of the Walker family as well as other related individuals.