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Margaret Isabella Walker

(1824-1904)

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At a Glance

Margaret Isabella Walker attended the Burwell School briefly in the spring of 1841, and excelled in arithmetic [1].

Story

Margaret Isabella Walker had a far more romantic and picturesque life than most of the girls at the Burwell School. She was the daughter of Carleton Walker and his third wife, Caroline Mary Mallett Walker, and the granddaughter of such early colonial figures as Peter Mallett, Robinson Mumford, and the Woodhouse and Walker families of Northumberland, England. Her father, Carleton Walker, had been born in Northumberland, England near Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland, England but emigrated to America at an early age with his mother, Mrs. Jane Woodhouse Walker. Handsome Carleton Walker had the reputation for marrying beautiful wives, and making and losing fortunes. His first wife, Maria(h) Moseley, brought him a son, John 1 Moseley Walker, and the valuable Moseley Hall in Lenoir County, NC estate of 3,000 acres on Cape Fear. His second wife, Sabina T. Legare of Charleston, SC, lived but a short time. His third, Caroline Mary Mallett of Fayetteville, NC, brought him eleven children and the old Mallett property on Margaret Lane in Hillsborough where the Carleton Walkers lived for nearly twenty years.

Margaret Isabella was one of twins born on December 27, 1824, at the Old Mallett Home at Haymount in Fayetteville, NC. Her twin was named John 2 Moseley Walker, to replace the first much-loved John 1 Moseley Walker of Moseley Hall in Lenoir County, NC who had died, at the age of twenty-two, two months before, on October 28 in Hillsborough, NC.

In or about 1823 the Carleton Walkers, in depleted financial circumstances, returned to Hillsborough, NC and built the charming little Walker-Palmer house still standing on Lot 19 on W. Margaret Lane. Carleton Walker lived well, and the family brought two valued cooks and a collection of other indoor and outdoor servants from Moseley Hall as well as valuable family silver.

In her eightieth year, Margaret Isabella Walker wrote her  "Reminiscences."  In it she tells of going to three schools in Hillsborough, NC: Miss Mary Burke's School, where as a  "quaint little figure"  (five years old) in a bib she took a prize for reading Beatty's Hermit with long a's; Hillsborough Female Academy on Tryon Street, where she fell quite in love with the gentle Maria L. Spears; and the Burwell School, which she attended briefly in the spring of 1841.

"The girls of the first class had completed algebra, but being more fond of arithmetic than any other study, I gladly joined the class. One day after our class had been sent to their seats for failing to solve several problems, I worked at them until I saw  "light,"  and promptly showed my class-mates my solution. When Dr. Burwell (Robert Burwell) gave me the highest mark, and the other members complained of their lower marks, he said,  "you all asked to go to Mag Walker's desk to be shown."  Dear children, you must excuse Grandma for relating this incident as this was the proudest day of my life."

In 1842 Mrs. Caroline Mary Mallett Walker and her children left Hillsborough, NC permanently. Buried  "near the wall"  of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Hillsborough, NC were Carleton Walker, his mother, Mrs. Jane Woodhouse Walker, John 1 Moseley Walker of Moseley Hall in Lenoir County, NC, and an infant Sophia Woodhouse Walker.

In 1852 Margaret Isabella Walker married as his second wife a German teacher Johann Heinrich David Carl Friedrich Weber, and they removed to Tennessee. Her  "Reminiscences"  mention her children and grandchildren. Prof. Weber died on May 17, 1878, but Margaret Isabella Walker Weber died at age eighty in 1904 [1].

Biographical Data

Important Dates

Margaret Isabella Walker was born on December 27, 1824, in Old Mallett Home at Haymount in Fayetteville, NC. She died in 1904.

Places of Residence

Schools Attended

Relatives

References

  1. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).