An ancestral blog by Terrell Ledbetter the 10th g-grandson of Samuel Thomas Walker and 21st g-grandson of Sir John Thomas Walker (born 1285 Devon, England)

membury, england

picture of Membury, Devon, England

The first Walker in my tree, and countless others worldwide, was Robert Le Walker born about 1260 in England.  After the Normans conquered England in 1066, the French custom of using surnames began to be used throughout England.  In 1285 a son was born to Robert Le Walker in Membury, Devon, England named John Thomas Walker.  This was the first use of the Walker surname in our line.  Traditionally Walkers were found in middle to northern England but in this line, the Walkers were from southeast England, a rare occurance.  John Thomas was dubbed a knight for his deeds and took the name Sir Thomas Walker before his death.  England during this time was ruled by Edward I Longshanks, the monarch featured in the film “Braveheart” as it related to the battles with Scotland and the capture and torturing of William Wallace.  King Edward I went on a Crusade to Acre in 1270 with about 1000 knights and the king found many battles with the Scots with William Wallace being captured in 1305.

A knight could be dubbed by another knight but usually was dubbed by a monarch.  Once a knight, he proudly wore a white belt and golden spurs. In the middle ages, a knight was synonymous with warrior or nobleman.  There were a strict set of rules for the knights.

   mercy-humility-honor-sacrifice-fear of God-faithfulness-courage-civility

Considering the events of the time, I imagine John Thomas Walker earned his knighthood fighting for his monarch against the Scots.


Devon, England (Membury is near the south coast)

During this time the Court of the King’s Bench began to hear petitions for justice instead of the King himself.  Also, Edward I Longshanks started using drawing and quartering for punishment of traitors.

This Walker line went as follows for two hundred fifty years:

Sir John Thomas Walker born 1285; William John Walker 1305; Sir Simon Walker 1325; William Walker 1355; Sir William Walker 1400; Sir William Walker 1424; Sir William Walker 1454; Sir George Townshend Walker 1490; Ruddington Walker 1513 and Thomas Walker 1538.

Thomas Walker born in 1538 had several sons, two of which are in my family ancestral line.  Gervase Walker was born in 1556 in Ruddington, England, married Ealfie May and gave birth to a son Rev. George Walker who became the patriarch of my mother’s Walker ancestors.  See my blog about Col. John Walker (1728-1796) about this family and the immigration to America in 1720 and the impact on America.

Thomas Walker also had a another son, Samuel Thomas Walker, born in 1570.  It has been shown on Geni and Wiki trees that this Samuel Thomas Walker immigrated to America, was killed by Indians at the infamous massacre at the James City Colony in March 22, 1622.  This was the Walker line to my father.

Oddly enough, the leader of the Pamunkey Indian attack on March 22, 1622 was Chief Opchanconough (1554-1646) who was the leader of the Indian Federation of tribes.  Chief Opchanconough was my 11th great grandfather whose decendants were Cordells who married into my Reese tree.  The Chief was captured twenty-four years later and was killed by guards while in captivity.  The Pamunkey tribe was only about 1000 strong and spoke Algonquin language.

Little is known of Samuel Thomas Walker other than he was a Presbyterian Minister at the Mongegy Chapel in Ruddington. He married Elizabeth Serrell in 1605 and had a son, William Alexander Walker born in 1610 in Ruddington.  A rootsweb source stated that Thomas Walker was listed as an adventurer by the Virginia Company of London on June 22, 1620.  According to some trees and information, Thomas Walker was listed as killed at Martin’s Hundred on that fateful day of March 22, 1622 along with the other 346 killed that day.

Son William Alexander Walker has been often listed as a Captain; he married Elizabeth Warren who also had been born in England (1612).  Ins some trees and information, William Alexander and Elizabeth had a daughter, Elizabeth Sarah (1657), who married Edward Johnson in 1677.  Elizabeth and Edward gave birth to a son in 1697 who would be called Lord William Johnson, a Burgess who married into the family of Burgess Larkin Chew.  This is the line to my father. William Alexander Walker and Elizabeth Warren lived in Kent, Virginia their entire lives.

However, it is most likely Elizabeth Sarah Walker and her supposedly father William Alexander Walker were from the Scottish line and not the English line.  Looking at birthdates, William Alexander Walker would be forty-five when Elizabeth Sarah Walker was born.

So, in summary, a son of Gervase Walker immigrated to Virginia in 1620 (my Dad’s ancestors) and a great-grandson of Gervase Walker immigrated to Delaware in 1720 (my Mother’s ancestors).

The mystery:

  1. Why did Samuel Thomas Walker immigrate to a colony suffering with disease, hunger and Indian threats? Was he disgusted with Protestant treatment in England at the time?
  2.  Why wasn’t his wife and son listed among living or dead in the Virginia Colony? Was he without his wife in America?  Did the family arrive at a later year?
  3.  What was Samuel Thomas doing at Martin’s Hundred that fateful day ?
  4.  How did son William Alexander Walker become a Captain if that was his indeed his child ?
  5.  Are researchers confusing the Alexander Walkers from Scotland with the Walkers from England, after all, the Scotland Walkers were often listed as Captains.
  6.  Did Samuel Thomas Walker die without leaving children?
  7.  Is there a missing generation between William Alexander Walker and Elizabeth Sarah Walker ?
  8.  Have trees just been combined without factual data ?

Any credible information to the unraveling of the above mystery will be appreciated.

It also must be said that the William Alexander Walker and the Sarah Elizabeth Walker line is in error as well.

Most importantly, this is a strong example of how trees can be so incorrect and how people can blindly use someone else’s tree when there are errors present.  These type of errors abound.

Just for information purposes for my own relatives, the following trees from Thomas Walker born 1538 to me are as follows (at least prior to unraveling of the mystery) :

My Dad side:

Samuel Thomas Walker

William Alexander Walker

Elizabeth Sarah Walker

Burgess Lord William Johnson

Ann Nancy Johnson

Millie Bellard

Reuben Searcy

David Searcy

William Bryson Searcy

LaFaria Viola Searcy

James Lancaster Ledbetter

Frank Wilson Ledbetter


My Mother’s side:

Gervase Walker

Rev. George Walker

D. D. George Walker

John Walker I

John Walker II

Col. John Walker

Lt. William Walker

William Daniel Walker

Jonathan Young Walker

James Washington Walker

Albert Washington Walker

Bertha Lillian Walker

Mary Reese


posted September 24, 2019