David Davis Walker

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David Davis Walker

David Davis "D.D." Walker (19 January 1840 – 4 October 1918), a St. Louis dry goods wholesaler, founded Ely & Walker, which remains a clothing brand to this day. Walker was a first cousin, once removed, of Senator and Supreme Court Justice David Davis. Through his son George Herbert Walker, he was the great-grandfather of President George H. W. Bush and great-great-grandfather of President George W. Bush.

Walker was the son of George E. Walker (1797–1864) and Harriet Mercer (1802–1869). His grandfather was Thomas Walker (slave trader). He was born and reared on his parents' farm near Bloomington, Illinois. At age fourteen, he was sent to the Beloit Preparatory Academy, part of Beloit College in Wisconsin.[1] In 1857, he went to St. Louis for business training with the merchandiser Crow, McCreery & Co., then the largest wholesale dry goods house in the city. He worked his way up from office boy, and became a partner after just eight years with the firm. He became ill as a result of his workaholic habits, quitting in 1878, and spent the next two years recovering. In 1880 he went back to work, forming Ely, Walker & Co. with Frank Ely and others. The business was a huge success, and in 1883 it was incorporated as the Ely & Walker Dry Goods Company. He remained President of the company until 1892, and thereafter retained the largest interest in the firm. His sons David Davis, Jr., Joseph Sidney and George Herbert all had involvement with the Ely & Walker firm, which continued as a major clothing manufacturer until it was acquired by Burlington Industries after World War II, but George went into banking.

Walker died in 1918 at Walker's Point, his son George's seaside property in Kennebunkport, Maine, the modern-day Bush compound now occupied by former President George H.W. Bush.


  1. ^ "President Bush's Roots Extend to Beloit". Beloit College Magazine. Spring 2001. Archived from the original on 2006-09-15. Retrieved 2006-11-11. 

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