Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Allen Walker (b. 1835 - d. ?)
MSA SC 5496-51514
Maryland State Colonization Society Emigrant to Liberia from Caroline County, 1835


Allen Walker was the freeborn son of Luke and Ann Walker, manumitted slaves from Caroline County. Allen had eight brothers and sisters; the two eldest, Thomas and Laura Ann, had had their freedom purchased by their father. The remaining siblings--George, Mahalah, William, Mary Adeline, Joseph, and Elizabeth--were all free born.1

On December 24 1835, the entire Walker family, as well as Allen's fourteen-month old nephew John Smith, emigrated to Liberia, where Luke hoped to set up a saw mill.2 The Walkers sailed from Baltimore on the brig Fortune, arriving at Cape Palmas, Liberia on February 4, 1836. Adjusting to the climate and diseases of the new land was often difficult, if not fatal, for colonists. Children of Allen's age were especially vulnerable.4 However, by the time that the colony's first census was conducted in 1837, Allen and the rest of the Walkers had successfully acclimated.5 Luke worked as a carpenter and was soon appointed to the position of Measurer of Lumber and Inspector of Shingles for the colony.6 However, the family did not remain in Liberia for long. Luke became disillusioned by the frequent material shortages and lack of opportunities in the new colony.7 In June 1837, the family returned to the United States on the Niobe. Colonial officials welcomed Luke's departure, believing that his attitude demoralized the colonists as well as dissuaded potential settlers from coming to Liberia.8

By December 1837, the family probably lived in Baltimore where Luke owned a grocery store in the Fell's Point area.9 In 1850, Allen and much of his family were living in New York City in the home of Lewis Walker, who was probably a relative. Allen's older brothers, Thomas, William, George, were working as porters while his mother and sisters, Elizabeth and Mahala, had no occupation listed.10

After 1850, records that definitively connect to this Allen Walker are less clear. He may be the same Allen Walker who lived in Worcester, Massachusetts with his wife, Elizabeth, and eight-month old son, Gilbert, in 1860. Although he worked as a barber, Allen had amassed a personal estate valued at $900.11 In 1863 in the midst of the Civil War, Allen registered for the draft but it does not appear that he was called to serve.12 By 1870, Allen was a clergyman while his wife kept house. Although their son Gilbert no longer appeared in the household, they now had two daughters, eight-year old daughter Allena and three year-old Ida.13 By 1900, Allen Walker was still a minister. He may have been widowed since he had apparently remarried in 1870 to a woman named Mary Walker.14

1. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Papers of the Maryland State Colonization Society), Manumission Lists, 1832-1839, MSA SC 5977, Film Number M 13248-1, Emigrants, Lines 279-285, 286-289.

2.  Hall, Richard L. On Africís Shore: A History of Maryland in Liberia, 1834-1857. (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 2003), 156.

3. Ibid, 453.

4. Ibid, 60.

5. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Papers of the Maryland State Colonization Society), Subscribers Reports Census, 1817-1902, MSA SC 5977, Film Number M 13247-1, 1837 Census.

6. Hall, 453.

7. Ibid, 156.

8. "Luke Walker." Maryland Colonization Journal, December 1837, Vol. 1, No. 13, p. 54.

9. Ibid.

10. U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, NY) for Ann Walker, 1850, New York County, 1st District, 8th Ward New York City, Page 235a, Lines 37-42. Page 235b, Line 1.

11. U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MA) for Allen Walker, 1860, Worcester County, 9th Ward, City of Worcester, Page 12, Lines 16-18.

12. RECORDS OF THE PROVOST MARSHAL GENERALíS BUREAU (Civil War), Record Group 110. National Archives and Records Administration. Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registrations, 1863-1865. NM-65.

13. U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, MA) for Allen Walker, 1870, Worcester County, 2nd Ward, City of Worcester, Page 12, Lines 38-40. Page 12, Line 1.

14. U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Census Record, NY) for Allen Walker, 1900, Nassau County, Enumeriation District No. 696, Village of Hampstead, Page 67B, Lines 66-68.

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