In our previous posts, we learned that Solomon Juneau settled east of the Milwaukee river, Byron Kilbourn settled west, and there was a third man who settled in the south. That leaves us to our final founding father: George Walker.
George Walker was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1811. He was 350 pounds-of-man and came to Milwaukee looking for wealth: to buy and sell land, much like the other Milwaukee Founding Fathers.
In terms of land quality, George Walker chose the best part of the city. He settled on the south side of Milwaukee, where the mouth of the river flows into Lake Michigan. Today, it is known as the revitalized Walker’s Point. Take a look at the map below for a better idea of where Walker’s Point is today.
Upon his arrival in 1834, George Walker began to make his presence known. After settling and naming the neighborhood after himself, he set up a multitude of trading posts to help the area grow.
George Walker was probably the most amiable of the men who founded Milwaukee. He was often described as portly, cheerful, and kind. He greeted many, and was helpful to all. Thanks to George’s approachable nature, he was elected to mayor twice and alderman once.
George Walker helped Milwaukee flourish. Similar to his rival and co-founding father Byron KIlbourn, his interest for the city was transportation. In addition to establishing railroads in Wisconsin, he created Milwaukee’s first street car which changed the local industry. It began at the end of East Water street, spanned north to Wisconsin, east to Jefferson, and eventually ended on Prospect and Albion. People paid at the front of the car, then sat or stood comfortably in the back.
Of all of the Founding Fathers of Milwaukee, I want to hang out with George Walker the most. Sure, he came to Milwaukee to establish trading posts and strike it rich selling land, but he also seemed like the friendliest man. In addition, he made a point to aid the Union after the Civil War broke out in 1861, despite being from Virginia. He spoke all over Milwaukee to create support for the Union. George Walker loved his city, and lead it to greatness.
Despite being a kind fellow, Walker clashed with the other two founding fathers. As a result, all out war broke out in the city of Milwaukee in 1849… well, sort of. Stay tuned to find out!