Isaac Walls
Mary Shepley
Judge John Walls
(1800-1891)

 

Family Links

Spouses/Children:
1. Margaret Adlum Green

2. Sarah Jane Wilson

Judge John Walls 1 2 3 4

  • Born: 24 Aug 1800, Halifax, Dauphin, PA 1
  • Marriage (1): Margaret Adlum Green on 25 Sep 1832 1
  • Marriage (2): Sarah Jane Wilson
  • Died: 5 Jun 1891, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA at age 90 1 3

  Noted events in his life were:

1. Book: 1
John Walls, the son of Isaac and Mary Shepley Walls, was born in Halifax, Pennsylvania, on August 24, 1800. Originally from the Protestant community of Belfast, Ireland, Mary's father, John Shepley, served in the Revolutionary War. Isaac Walls fought in the War of 1812. Following the family tradition, John Walls devoted much of his life to public service.
Walls left home at age fourteen to attend school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Two years later, he was employed at McCleary's Mercantile in that city. In 1818 he was sent to Milton by McCleary to work under the supervision of Michael Hoff. After this training period, Walls opened his own store, McCleary & Walls, at McKee's Half Falls in 1827. He then opened two more branches, one in Muncy in 1829, and one in Lewisburg in 1831 where he also established himself as a grain dealer. Between 1827 and 1829, he held a contract with the Pennsylvania Canal Company to furnish hydraulic cement. In 1844 he joined with his brother Johnson to form J. and J. Walls in Lewisburg. The well-stocked mercantile soon became a popular gathering place for prominent members of Union County's political sphere.

On September 25, 1832, John Walls married Margaret Adlum Green, daughter of General Abbott Green. The couple had eight children. The first, Margaret, died four days after birth in 1833. Abbot Green was born on September 4, 1835; Augustus Green on September 14, 1837; Mary Ellen (Maise) on October 6, 1839; Sarah McCleary on February 26, 1842; George Washington on January 9, 1844; Margaret Green (Maggie) on September 9, 1846; John Johnson on September 9, 1849; and William Cameron on January 27, 1852. Abbot died at age 19, and Sarah at age 18, but the rest of the children lived long, prosperous lives. Mrs. Margaret Walls died on May 7, 1858. Three years later, John Walls married Sarah J. Wilson.
John Walls played a central role in the development of the Susquehanna Valley. He served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Northumberland, and was one of the founders of the Lewisburg Dimes Savings Institution, originally chartered in April 1853, and re-chartered as the Lewisburg National Bank on January 12, 1865. He was a life-long member of the bank's Board of Directors. Also a director of the Union National Bank in Lewisburg, he was on the building committee for the Union County Court House, completed in 1857.
Through his political associations, Walls was commissioned as Associate Judge for Union County on November 20, 1860, and served until his election as State Senator for Lycoming, Union and Snyder Counties where he completed the 1865-1867 term. His Democratic success in the Republican-dominated Union County was testament to his many significant contributions to the area. One of these contributions was his involvement with a project that bolstered the economic prosperity of Union County. Walls was one of several Lewisburg men who pledged $4,000 to charter the Lewisburg, Centre, and Spruce Creek Railroad in 1853. Regional trade opportunities increased substantially when Lewisburg was linked to trunk lines in Juniata County and other sections of the Susquehanna Valley in 1869.
John Walls also served in many other capacities. He was a manager of the Lewisburg and Mifflinburg Turnpike Company, reestablished by the state legislature in 1858. The Lewisburg Gas Works had begun operations in 1859. Walls was named president of the board of directors when the company was reorganized in 1866. He was a director of the Lewisburg Bridge Company that was formed to rebuild after the first bridge was lost in the flood of 1865. The new span across the river was completed in 1869.
In 1880, suffering from a cancerous growth, John Walls submitted to the amputation of his right hand. Afterward, he learned to write with his left hand, and remained well for many years until a lump developed in his throat. He traveled to Philadelphia for treatment by a noted surgeon. Although the operation had appeared to be successful, Walls collapsed while recovering at the Pennsylvania Hospital and died on June 5, 1891 at the age of 91.
Believed to be the oldest merchant in the state, well-known for his quiet generosity to customers who could not always afford to pay, John Walls was widely revered for his honor and integrity. At his funeral, the Reverend C. B. Austin praised the years of dedicated service the Honorable John Walls had devoted to the town of Lewisburg: "Mr. Walls has been so closely identified with this community that we had ownership in him as a public man."

2. Book: History of the Susquehanna & Juniata Valleys, 1886. 5
Hon. John Walls was born on the 24th of August, 1800.....A house yet standing in good repair, in Halifax, Dauphin county, Pa., was the roof-tree of a family of nine - 7 boys and 2 gilrs - born to Isaac Walls and Mary, his wife, whose maiden-name was Shepley, whose father had emigrated from Germany and settled in Lancaster County.... John Walls was married to Margaret Adlum Green, a daughter of General Abbott Green, on the 25th of September, 1832, and who died May 7, 1858, leaving a family of 8 children -

Abbott, who went to California in 1851, died there;

Augustus G. Walls, M.D., a very noted physician of Lock Haven;

Mary Ellen, who is married to Judge Joseph C. Bucher;

George W. Walls married to Irene Snyder;

John Johnson Walls;

William Walls, married to Annie, a daughter of Colonel Eli Slifer.

The latter three are engaged in business with their father in Lewisburgh. He was married a second time, April, 1861, to Sarah J. Wilson, a daughter of William Wilson, who died January 9, 1876.

When he was 79 years of age his right hand became affected with a dangerous malignant affection, and putting himself in the hospital, it was taken off by Dr. Agnew, and the indafatigable old gentleman, at the age of 80 years, learned to write with his left hand.

3. Obituary: Democrat Watchman on 11 Jun 1891 in Lewisburg, Union, PA, USA. 3 Hon. John Walls, of Lewisburg, PA., died last Friday in the University Hospital, Philadelphia in his 91st year. About three weeks ago he had an operation performed for a cancer located on his face. When he was 78 years old he was afflicated with a cancer in the right arm and the arm was amputated. He then learned to write with his left hand. The deceased was the father-in-law of Judge Bucher of Lewisburg. He was an associate Judge, for a while, of Union County, and seved a term in the State Senate.


John married Margaret Adlum Green, daughter of General Abbott Green and Unknown, on 25 Sep 1832.1 (Margaret Adlum Green died on 7 May 1858 5.)


John next married Sarah Jane Wilson, daughter of William Wilson and Ann Howard. (Sarah Jane Wilson was born on 16 Jun 1823 in Lewisburg, Union, PA, USA and died on 9 Jan 1876.)


Sources


1 <i>Bucknell University Website</i> (www.bucknell.edu), http://www.isr.bucknell.edu/Collections_and_Borrowing/Special_Collections_University_Archives/Union_County_History/jwalls.html.

2 Eisenhart, Willis W, <i>Abott-Adlum-Green Families</i> (1957. Copy obtained from Dauphin County Historical Society.), Page 32.

3 <i>Democratic Watchman</i> (Bellefonte, Centre County, Pennsylvania. Published 1855-1941.), 11 Jun 1891 edition.

4 Seattle, William H, <i>Annual Report of the American Bar Association</i> (The Lord Baltimore Press, Baltimore, MD, 1908. American Bar Association Thirty-First Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, 1908. Available online through Google Book Search.), Pages 674-676.

5 <i>History of the Susquehanna & Juniata Valleys</i> (1886), Page 1196.



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