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James Barr Walker

James Barr Walker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 29, 1805. His father died when James was a child, and he and his widowed mother resided near Pittsburgh. Here Walker worked in a factory, was errand-boy in a country store, and then labored four years in a printing-office. At the age of twenty he walked to New York, where he became clerk in the office of Mordecai M. Noah, and he was afterward a teacher in New Durham, New Jersey.

Walker then studied law in Ravenna, Ohio, was graduated at Western Reserve college in 1831. He later edited the Ohio Observer at Hudson, the Watchman of the Valley at Cincinnati, and the Watchman of the Prairies at Chicago (later the Advance). He also engaged in the publication and sale of books, but abandoned it for the ministry. While in Cincinnati Walker was associated with Lane Theological Seminary and likely met Jonathan Blanchard at this time. In 1841 was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Chicago.

After his ordination he lived in Mansfield, Ohio, where he established a private asylum for orphans, and he was for some time acting pastor of a church in Sandusky. He was lecturer on the harmony between science and revealed religion at Oberlin College and Chicago Theological Seminary. Western Reserve College gave him the degree of D.D. Walker was professor of of  Belles Lettres and Intellectual Philosophy at Wheaton College from 1870-1887. He also served on the Board of Trustees from 1876-1885.


Dr. Walker was the author of The Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation, published anonymously under the editorship of Professor Calvin E. Stowe (Boston, 1855), which went through several editions in England, and has been translated into five foreign languages, including Hindustanee. He also wrote A Short and Easy Method with the Universalists (Cincinnati, 1842); American slavery and British Christians (London, 1854); God revealed in Nature and in Christ [in opposition to theories of evolution] (1855); Philosophy of Scepticism and Ultraism (1857) ; Philosophy of the Divine Operation in the Redemption of Man (London, 1862); Poems (1862) ; Living Questions of the Age (Chicago, 1869); Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (1870); Poetry of Reason and Conscience (Chicago, 1871); The Bible in School (Chicago, 1876); Experiences of Pioneer Life in the Early Settlements and Cities of the West (Chicago, 1881); and Jerusalem and Bethlehem (Cairo, 1918).

Walker died in Wheaton, Illinois, March 6, 1887.

(adapted from Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography)
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