Samuel Hamilton Walker

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Samuel Walker
Hamilton-Captain-Samuel-Walker.jpg
Samuel Hamilton Walker, circa 1846
Born Samuel Hamilton Walker
(1817-02-24)February 24, 1817
Toaping Castle, Maryland, United States
Died October 9, 1847(1847-10-09) (aged 30)
Huamantla, Tlaxcala, Mexico
Occupation Army Captain, Texas Ranger
Spouse(s) Ali Walker
Children 15

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.

Biography[edit]

Samuel Hamilton Walker was born on February 24, 1817 at Toaping Castle, Maryland, to Nathan and Elizabeth (Thomas) Walker, and was the fifth of seven children.[1]

Military[edit]

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.[2][3]

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.[4]

Walker Colt[edit]

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 .[5]

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.[6]

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.[6]

By 1847, the new revolver was available. The United States Army's mounted rifle companies were issued them, and they proved extremely effective.[7]

The death of Capt. Walker

Death[edit]

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.[8]

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.[9]

Walker County, Texas, was renamed for him after the original namesake, Robert J. Walker, sided with the Union during the Civil War.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charles D. Spurlin. "WALKER, SAMUEL HAMILTON". Handbook of Texas Online (See "Notes" section). Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Herrera-Sobek, María (2012). Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions. ABC-CLIO. p. 722. ISBN 978-0-313-34339-1. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Rick Sapp (2007). Standard Catalog of Colt Firearms. F+W Media, Inc,. pp. 35–40. ISBN 978-0-89689-534-8. 
  6. ^ a b Adler, Dennis (2008). Colt Single Action: From Patersons to Peacemakers. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-7858-2305-6. 
  7. ^ "New pistols" (PDF). Texas Ranger Museum. 
  8. ^ "Walker's Walkers: The Colt Walker Revolvers of Captain Samuel H. Walker, Texas Ranger" (PDF). 
  9. ^ Franscell, Ron (9 November 2010). Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Texas. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7627-7493-7. 
  10. ^ Cox, Mike (7 September 2015). Gunfights & Sites in Texas Ranger History. Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-62585-487-2. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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).