Image of Walker, Pinckney H.

Walker, Pinckney H.

b. June 18, 1815, in Adair County, Kentucky; d. February 7, 1885, in Rushville, Illinois. Pinckney H. Walker worked on his father’s farm until the age of seventeen, when he began clerking in a store. In 1834, he moved from Kentucky to Rushville, Illinois, where he clerked in a store for another four years . In 1838, he moved to Macomb, Illinois, to study at an academy and to commence legal studies in the office of his uncle, Cyrus Walker. After his admission to the bar in 1839, he formed a series of law partnerships with Thomas Morrison, Cyrus Walker, and Robert S. Blackwell. He married Susan McCroskey on June 2, 1840, and they had nine children. In 1853, voters elected Walker to fill a vacancy as judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, which was composed of Schuyler, Pike, Brown, McDonough, Cass, and Mason counties; voters reelected him in 1855. Governor William H. Bissell appointed Walker to the Illinois Supreme Court in April 1858 to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Onias S. Skinner. Two months later, voters elected Walker to a nine-year term on the state’s highest court, and he won reelection in 1867 and again in 1876. Abraham Lincoln appeared before Walker in the Illinois Supreme Court in twenty-seven legal cases. From January 1864 to June 1867 and from June 1879 to June 1880, Walker served as the chief justice of the court. Walker held his position on the bench until his death; he served on the court for twenty-seven years.
History of McDonough County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Continental Historical Company, 1885), 335-36; Allen Johnson, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s & Sons, 1964), 10:2:352-53; National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 76 vols. (New York: James T. White & Co., 1907), 5:513; John Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1899), 1:54-55, 2:876. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.