From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Walker, Edward

(born: 1837  -  died: 1913) 

Edward Walker was one of the wealthiest African Americans in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He had been a slave, born on the Hayden Nelson Plantation in Kenton County, KY, owned by Nelson's son Thomas.

When Walker's uncle and family ran away to Canada, Walker feared that he would be sold. Thomas Nelson's son had taught Walker to read and write, and Walker was a whiz at math. His quick intelligence had caused his master to keep a watchful eye on him.

When Walker's family members escaped to Canada, it was perceived as a mistrust of Walker, and he was offered to a slave trader. The sale was voided, but fearing that he could be sold at any time, in 1858 Walker escaped along with his brother, sister-in-law, and their baby. They had been assisted by Underground Railroad conductors from Covington to Cincinnati to Canada.

In Windsor, Walker earned his wealth as the owner of a grocery store, a hotel, and a farm. He is included in the 1861-1891 Ontario Census records [souce: FamilySearch]. By 1891, Edward Walker had turned his grocery over to his son William Edward Walker, who had completed a business course in Detroit, MI. The Freeman, an African American newspaper from Indianapolis, IN, was sold at the store. Edward Walker died February 22, 1913 in Windsor, Ontario [source: Ontario Deaths, Windsor, Essex, Ontario, yr 1913 certificate # 13599, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,854,933 (online at FamilySearch)].

For more see "Smart Edward Walker" entry in Slave Testimony, by J. W. Blassingame, pp. 516-519; and "Sentenced to prison. Happenings of Canadian Afro-Americans," Freeman, 4/18/1891, p. 5.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Kenton County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Covington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Freeman [Indianapolis Freeman] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Slave testimony : two centuries of letters, speeches, interviews, and autobiographies
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“Walker, Edward,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-09-21 16:24:40