Let me know if any of this rings a bell. I am trying to fill in blanks. Jennifer Sanders
This has been typed word for word from a typed copy of a handwritten letter written in 1918 by Georgia Walker Thomas to her cousin Augustus Johnson.
COPY Portland, OR
August 24, 1918
My dear Gus:
Indeed I am surprised to receive your letter and also I am greatly pleased.
Aunt Nobia is mistaken; I have not written the genealogy of the Qalker family. Several years ago, I attempted to get data to do so, but I could not get sufficient information to complete the genealogies of the Walker and duBois families. Aunt Eliza sent me what she had, but, either she did not know very much of the coming of the two families to North Carolina, or she had forgotten. Most of my data came from our splendid relative, cousin Julius Walker of Columbia, SC (who died about three years ago) and the Ravenells and deRossets- our relatives on the French side, James Walker Osborne, a prominent attorney of NYC, and cousin Louise Walker Swift, a granddaughter of General Joseph Gardner Swift, an Officer of the U.S. Army in the War of 1812, who was one of the first graduates of West Point and the second superintendent of West Point. He was a very distinguished Officer of the Engineering Corps. It was he who erected the fortifications and defenses of NYC, Boston and other important points of the War of 1812. His wife was our great-great aunt, Madeline dubois Walker. General Swift and our grandfather were great friends and it was through Gen. Swift’s influence grandfather Walker entered West Point, but he ran away and joined the Army. Being too young to serve, his father secured his release.
Our Walker relatives were Royalists during the War of 1776. Our great-great grandfather was an Officer of the King; so you see we could never join the sons and the daughters of the American Revolution through that side of the family.
We are of French descent through our grandmothers. It was a sort of tradition for this branch of the Walkers to marry into the French Huguenots families (that is the Protestant French) through that branch of the family. We are direct descendants of the noble Chevalier Bayard, who was knighted by King Henry IV of France. The duBois, de Rossets, Ravenells and Bayards are all our relatives. Our old great-great grandfather duBois, whose wife was the beautiful Helena Bayard, was sent over by the Classes of Holland to New Amsterdam, now NYC, to preach. I have a picture of this early New York Church. Granddfather duBois is buried in old Trinity Churchyard, New York, on Broadway at the head of Wall Street. There is a very beautiful portrait of him in the Dutch Reformed Church, New York, 5th Avenue. The family had to leave France and went to Holland on account of religious persecution by the Catholics, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. They were associated with Admiral Coligny and some were murdered at the Massacre of St. Bartholomew in Paris.
The duBois were a noble family, one of the oldest in France. Cousin Julius Walker sent me a photograph of our grandfather duBois taken from a portrait.
You must write your son of his French ancestry, for in our veins there is much French blood and we have eevery reason to feel proud of it. Tell him to read the story of the intrepid Chevalier Bayard-the Knight-without reproach and without fear, “sans reproche et sans peur”, as the French put it. He died fighting for his beloved Country, la Belle France. The duBois are very prominent in the social and business lif of Philadelphia. The late Dr. Matthew duBois of NYC was a well known and brilliant surgeon and physician. He gave me much data of the duBois, Bayards and Ravenells while I was in France; and also some of the duBois family while I was in Amsterdam.
I have mentioned that some of them left Paris and La Rochelle to get away from religious persecution by the Catholics. One of them was Gaulthems (or Gualtherus) duBois, who came to New Amsterdam, now the City of New York. While in England, I followed up the ancestry of our Walker family. They came from York, Yorkshire, England. George Walker was appointed Bishop of Londonderry, Ireland, by King William. He was known as, “The Fighting Bishop”. He was killed on the battlefield of Bogue (Boyne). It was during the war of the Catholics-Stuarts and of the Protestants under King William for the throne of England. So you see our relatives, on our grandfather’s side, have always been Protestants and have fought for their cause. The Walkers were always, after the establishment by Henry VIII, members of the Church of England-the Episcopal Church. Iii do not know how they happened too fall away after coming to this country. Of course, my mother was an Episcopalian and through her I have, or was, schooled from the beginning in that faith. Cousin Julius Walker’s branch always remained Episcopalians. Although our ancestor, George Walker, was appointed Bishop of Londonderry, Ireland, he was an Englishman from York and the family is connected with the Lord Chesterfield family.
Now, about the post card Eliza showed you. This monument was erected on the Royal Bastion at Londonderry in honor of George Walker, the “fighting Bishop”, who was killed at the Battle of Boyne. The Cathedral where he preached is a magnificent structure, and there are several memorials to him. I visited this Church while in Londonderry.
On our grandfather Walker’s side of the family we are of a very pure strain of English and French blood, without any mixture of other nationalities. There is no drop of German oor Irish blood in our veins through the Walkers. I, on my mother’s side, have Scotch and French blood. Her ancestors came from Edinburgh and Aberdeen, Scotland. Her mother’s people from Paris and Loivre, and, thank God, they too, are Protestants. George Walker’s body was taken back to York, England.
I may have an extra post card of his monument at Londonderry. If Ii have, it is stored with my things in NYC. All of my data of our Walker ancestry is also there. When I go back sometime, Ii will be delighted to send you the postcard and also a copy of the data. I have always intended to give Eliza all these things, as she seems more interested in her family than any of the others. I believe children should know who they are. We can trace our duBois ancestry back, and also the Bayards, to the 10th century.
If you get any pictures of your son from the front, do send me one. My whole heart and soul are in this war for the triumph of France. Her spirit and courage are sublime. Never in the history of the World has there been anything to equal it. Our American boys are so splendid. We must and will win! Be sure to write your boy that he is fighting over the same ground over which so many of his ancestors fought for France.
I also love dear old Columbus, AR! You know I, too, was born there. I love dear Aunt Nobia so much and sweet Aunt Annie Williamson was a great favorite of mine. Aunt Nobia is very wonderful; do you not think so? Is cousin Lula still living? Most of those, whom I knew, have passed beyond the “golden stile”. Matie Wilson still lives there Ii believe. Are you the only one of your family living? Do you ever see Adele Beller? She is a dear girl. Do give her my love and tell her I often think of her. I presume Aunt Cannon and cousin Dora and cousin Josephine Battle are all gone.
I have lived my life so apart from you all but there has never been a time when all of you were not very near and dear to me. I recall so pleasantly my visit to Little Rock and my beloved cousin Mildred was with me and everyone was so kind to me. I love you all.
I have written you so lengthily, I am afraid you will be bored but, as you seemed interested, I wanted to give you a brief outline of our ancestry- particularly of the French- since your son is in the Army and fighting fro the land of his ancestors. Give me his address and I will write him.
Love for yourself, wife and daughters,
Affectionately, Your cousin,
(she was Georgia Walker Thomas)
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