Samuel Hamilton Walker
Samuel Hamilton Walker, circa 1846
Samuel Hamilton Walker
February 24, 1817
|Died||October 9, 1847 (aged 30)|
|Occupation||Army Captain, Texas Ranger|
Samuel Hamilton Walker (February 24, 1817 – October 9, 1847) was a Texas Ranger captain and military officer of the Republic of Texas and the United States armies. Walker served in several armed conflicts, including the American Indian Wars and the Mexican-American wars.
Walker enlisted in the Washington City Volunteers for the Creek Indian Campaign in Alabama in 1836. The following year he mustered out and worked as a scout in Florida until 1841. He arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1842 and served under Captain Jesse Billingsley against a Mexican invasion led by General Adrian Woll. Walker was captured on December 26, 1842 and marched to Mexico City as a prisoner of war. He survived what became known as the Black Bean Episode and was held prisoner for two years before he escaped to Louisiana and returned to Texas.
He joined the Texas Rangers in 1844 under the command of Captain John Coffee Hays. Promoted to captain, he led a Ranger company during the Mexican–American War, serving with General Zachary Taylor and General Winfield Scott's armies.
Walker is best known as the co-inventor of the famous Walker Colt revolver, along with arms manufacturer Samuel Colt. Walker is said to have self-funded a trip to New York City to meet with Colt and proposed to him the concept of a weapon based on the then-popular five-shot Colt Paterson revolver, with many enhancements such as adding a sixth round, being powerful enough to kill either a man or a horse with a single shot and quicker to reload.
Colt's firearms company was no longer in business, but the large order allowed Colt to establish a new company. He hired Eli Whitney, Junior, already in the arms business, to make his new revolvers. Colt asked Samuel Walker, who happened to be temporarily stationed in Washington, to help him with the design.
Colt used his prototype and Walker's improvements to create a new design. Blake produced the first thousand-piece order, known as the Colt Walker. The company then received an order for an additional one thousand more. Colt's share of the profits was $10.
By 1847, the new revolver was available. The United States Army's mounted rifle companies were issued them, and they proved extremely effective.
Walker was killed on October 9, 1847, at Huamantla, in Tlaxcala, while leading his troops in the Battle of Huamantla during the Mexican–American War. He was struck down by a shotgun (escopeta) fired from a balcony, although popular legend claim he was killed by a lance.
The following year, his remains were moved to San Antonio. On April 21, 1856, as part of a battle of San Jacinto anniversary memorial, Walker was reburied in the Odd Fellows' Cemetery at San Antonio.
- Charles D. Spurlin. "WALKER, SAMUEL HAMILTON". Handbook of Texas Online (See "Notes" section). Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
- Glasrud, Bruce A.; Weiss, Harold J. (2012). Tracking the Texas Rangers: The Nineteenth Century. University of North Texas Press. pp. 90–92. ISBN 978-1-57441-465-3.
- Herrera-Sobek, María (2012). Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions. ABC-CLIO. p. 722. ISBN 978-0-313-34339-1.
- Bauer, K. Jack (1 August 1993). Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest. LSU Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-8071-1851-1.
- Rick Sapp (2007). Standard Catalog of Colt Firearms. F+W Media, Inc. pp. 35–40. ISBN 978-0-89689-534-8.
- Adler, Dennis (2008). Colt Single Action: From Patersons to Peacemakers. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-7858-2305-6.
- Gwynne, S.C. (2010). Empire of the Summer Moon. New York, NY: Scribner. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-4165-9105-4.
- "New pistols" (PDF). Texas Ranger Museum.
- "Walker's Walkers: The Colt Walker Revolvers of Captain Samuel H. Walker, Texas Ranger" (PDF).
- Franscell, Ron (9 November 2010). Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Texas. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7627-7493-7.
- Cox, Mike (7 September 2015). Gunfights & Sites in Texas Ranger History. Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-62585-487-2.
- K. Jack Bauer, The Mexican War, 1846–1848 (New York: Macmillan, 1974).
- Albert Gallatin Brackett, General Lane's Brigade in Central Mexico (Cincinnati and New York: Derby, 1854).
- Edmund L. Dana, "Incidents in the Life of Capt. Samuel H. Walker, Texan Ranger," Proceedings of the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society (1882).
- "Reminiscences of the War with Mexico, As Told by Col. Thos. Claiborne," Vedette 7 (April 1886). Marilyn M. Sibley, ed., Samuel H. Walker's Account of the Mier Expedition (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1978).
- Charles D. Spurlin, "Ranger Walker in the Mexican War," Military History of Texas and the Southwest 9 (1971).