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Early Days

Thomas Walker was raised as Englishman in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Walker’s first profession was that of a physician after he attended the College of William and Mary and studied under his uncle Dr. George Gilmer.   Even though he never actually received a medical degree, Walker is thought to have been the first to have trephined bone for supperative osteomyelitis as early as 1757 (Disbrow 7).

Early Albemarle

Walker became a man of status in the county when he marries Mildred Meriwether in 1741, and acquires a large portion of land from her late husband’s estate. Here, Walker would set his roots and build his home known as Castle Hill, and have 12 children, who would become prominent Albemarle citizens in their own rights. He began his path to establishing his status by becoming a vestryman in April 1744, a position he would hold until 1785.  (Disbrow, 6). He served Virginia proudly as a delegate to the House of Burgesses from Albemarle County, a trustee to the newly formed town of Charlottesville.

Loyal Land Company

On July 12, 1749, the Loyal Land Company was founded with Walker as a leading member.  After receiving a grant of 800,000 acres in what is now southeastern Kentucky, the company appointed Walker to lead an expedition to explore and survey the region in 1750. Walker was named head of the Loyal Land Company in 1752.

Legacy to Western Exploration

During Walker’s expedition of the Loyal Land Company’s claims, he gave names to many topographical features including the Cumberland Gap, was also part of the party that built the first Anglo-Saxon house (cabin) in Kentucky, and kept a daily journal of the trip. Walker would be named head of the Loyal Company in 1752.

At the age of 64, Walker would again journey to the western areas of Kentucky and Tennessee to extend the border between Virginia and North Carolina westward. This controversial mapped border would forever bear the title of the "Walker Line" and today stand as the separating point between the two states.

He also had great influence in dealing with Indian affairs. Walker represented Virginia at the Treaties of Fort Stanwix and Lochaber and dealt with the peace negotiations after the Battle of Great Kanawha. In 1775, Walker served as a Virginia commissioner in negotiations with representatives of the Six Indian Nations in Pittsburg. (Henderson)

Final Days

After the death of his first wife, Walker would marry another lady with a famous name in 1781, Elizabeth Thorton (official marraige contract). Thomas Walker died on November 9, 1794 at Castle Hill.  At the time of his death Walker was noted as the fourth wealthiest citizen of Albemarle County.

 

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