The Life of Abraham Walter in America

Tuesday, 3 May 2011 09:16 PM BST

Contributed by: Jerry Green

The letters from Frances Green to her brother are easier to understand if the American side of the story is told. This article is about the life of her nephew, Abraham Walter, in America. It is extracted from "Portrait and biographical album of Branch County, Mich" written in 1888. Read Online

ABRAHAM WALTER. M. D., a successful
physician, is also a prominent agriculturist
of Branch County, and a leading citizen of
Kinderhook Township, where he owns one
of the largest and most desirable farms in that
vicinity. He is an Englishman by birth, born in
Northamptonshire, England, March 26, 1831, but
may well be claimed as a citizen of the United
States, as, with the exception of the first year, almost
his entire life has been passed in this country. His
father, Abraham Walter, was, it is supposed, born
in the same shire, and was there reared and married
to Charlotte Mears, also a native of Northampton-
shire, born in the town of Kittery, and a daughter
of Thomas Mears. In the year 1832, Mr. Walter,
accompanied by his wife and six children, set sail
for America, and after his arrival here settled in
Jefferson County, N. Y., where he rented land for
seven years. In 1839 he migrated with his family
to Steuben County, Ind., going by way of Lake
Erie to Toledo, Ohio, which was then an important

landing-place for tho pioneers from the Eastern
States, and consisted of a few log houses. From
there he proceeded to his destination with an ox-team,
and bought a tract of land in what is now Fremont
Township. At the time of his removal, the only
railway in this part of the country was the primi-
tive one from Toledo to Adrian with wooden rails,
and Adrian was his nearest market for some years.
He built a log cabin on his land, covered with shakes
which were held in place by poles. He had no
horses, and for years did all his marketing and farm
work with oxen. The country round about his
place was in a very wild and uncultivated condi-
tion; forests with trees of many centuries' growth
predominated in every direction, in which the In-
dians still lingered, and deer, wild turkeys and
other game were very abundant. Mr. Walter was
a shrewd, far-seeing, capable man, and during his
residence of nearly forty years in Steuben County
he improved a good farm, and there his life closed
Dec. 28, l876, he having rounded out the long
period of eighty-seven years. His good wife had
passed away many years previously, dying on the
old homestead, Aug. 23, 1863, in her seventy-fifth
year. Their union had been blessed to them by the
birth of eight children, as follows: Sarah, wife of
Peter Grice, who lives in California Township, this
county ; Robert died in Jackson County, Mich. ; Ann
married Edwin Witherington, of California Town-
ship; John lives on the old homestead; Francis
married Angelow Dobson, and they live in Quincy ;
our subject; Charlotte married J. White, and lived
in Kansas, but is now deceased ; William lives in
Ottawa County, this State.

Dr. Walter was eight years old when his parents
settled in the wilderness of Indiana, and the rudi-
ments of his education were obtained in the primi-
tive log school-house in which the children of the
early settlers learned their "a-b abs;" a dirt and
stick chimney with a huge fireplace heated the room ;
it was furnished with homemade furniture, the
seats being made of puncheon, and the floor was of
the same material, while the roof was covered with
shakes, held in place by eight poles. Our subject
lived with his parents and assisted on the farm until
he had grown up. His chief diversion was hunting
and trapping, which he commenced when quite

young, and he became very expert in the use of the
rifle, was skillful and very successful as a trapper,
and used to make much money from the sale of pelts
and wild game. In 1848 he entered into the em-
ploy of the builders of the Michigan Central Rail-
way, which was then in process of construction, and
was engaged in laying rails for four years. In
1852 the Doctor turned his attention to farming,
and bought a tract of land with his brother in this
county, on sections 13 and 24, Kinderhook Town-
ship. It was beautifully located, and forty acres of
it were broken, but the trees were still standing, and
the remainder was timber openings. The brothers
energetically commenced its improvement and re-
mained in company until 1859, when our subject
brought his brother's interest in the place, and has
since managed it alone. He built a log house on
his land, the entire cost of which, excepting his
labor, was $2, and in that humble abode he and his
bride commenced their wedded life. It presented
a marked contrast to the elegant and commodious
residence in which they are spending their declining
years. Our subject has been very prosperous finan-
cially, and from his valuable farm, comprising 280
acres under the highest state of cultivation, he de-
rives a good annual income. He has erected two
sets of substantial frame buildings, and has amply
provided his farm with the best and most approved
machinery for conducting farming successfully.

Dr. Walter was married to the amiable and
gracious woman who presides over their attractive
home, March 5, 1854. Her maiden name was Dru-
silla Ent, and she was born in New Jersey, Aug. 7,
1834. Her father, Enoch Ent, was, it is thought,
born in the same State, and married a native of the
same State, Susan Gordon. In 1824 Mr. Ent went
to New York and bought land in Cayuga County,
where he was engaged in farming until his removal
to Livingston County, where he resided until 1835.
In that year he started for Ohio, with the intention
of settling in Sandusky County, but changed his
mind and came to Michigan, and located in Wayne
County, where he entered Government land. There
being no house on his land, he rented land in Wash-
tenaw County for a time. In 1838 he removed to
Lenawee County, and settled in the town of Ridge-
way of which he thus became a pioneer, and

there his death occurred in July, 1840. In 1842
his wife removed to Branch County to make her
home with her sons in this township, and resided
here until her death at the remarkable old age of
ninety-eight years. The Doctor and his wife have
four children: William, who married Mattie Stone,
and lives in California; Frank, who married Lucy
Bovee, lives in Kinderhook Township; Fred A.,
who married Della Baker, lives in Fremont, Ind. ;
Dora married Albert T. Michael, and lives on the

Both in his business and professional life, Dr.
Walter has shown himself to be a man of progres-
sive views, sagacious, practical, and high-minded.

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