DR. WILLIAM SAMUEL WALKER
EARLY GRANBURY PHYSICIANContributed by Earle Marie Walker Morrow,Third Daughter of Dr. WalkerMay 1, 1993
William S. Walker was born in Bumpus Mills, Stewart County, Tennessee, July 26, 1865. At the age of 12 he entered into an apprenticeship with a Dr. Abernathey in Tennessee. For several years he worked, studied, observed, and assisted in the practice of medicine. At last, with the approval of his mentor, he entered Tulane University. A short time later he realized he was not adding to the knowledge he had already acquired, and he returned to Tennessee and enrolled in Vanderbilt University where he received his medical degree.
After being advised to investigate the possibility of settling in Texas, Dr. Walker came to Granbury. Also at this time he had marriage in mind, and to prepare for the eventuality he had built “The Honeymoon Cottage” as it is known locally. It has been very nicely restored in recent years, and it is located immediately west of the historic First Presbyterian Church on West Bridge Street. On Sunday, November 3, 1895, he carried his bride, Eunice Fitzhugh, to her new home. Her mother was Onora Daniel Fitzhugh, sister of W. B. Daniel of Granbury; her father was George Fitzhugh.
After a short time Dr. Walker felt the need for more knowledge, so for post-graduate work he spent some time in New York City at one of the large hospitals. Before returning home he purchased additional medical equipment for his office which was located over the Cherry Drug Store on the west side of the Granbury Square. One item he purchased was a very unlikely looking x-ray machine. He enjoyed teasing the “boy of all duties” saying that this machine was used to grind up bones.
After the birth of his twin daughters, Ila and Lila on September 30, 1905, Dr. Walker moved his family to a house on the corner of West Pearl and North Baker Streets. Of course with every house there was a barn and stable. The family lived there until a year or so after the birth of a third daughter, Earle Marie. Over the years some of the building was demolished, but the nucleus of the house has remained. Recently it was moved to a new location on North Crockett Street opposite the depot, completely renovated by Diane and Howard Lock to house their antique business.
Longing to live in the country, Dr. Walker purchased land and built a home on the ground where the Hood General Hospital now stands. Here his son, William S. Walker, Jr., was born on December 22, 1914. This home was referred to as “On the Hill” in those days.
For a period of time Dr. Walker served as a physician for the Frisco Railroad, but this never interfered with his dedication to his patients. He became known as a specialist in the treatment of eye, ear, nose, and throat, as well as successes in the treatment and cure of skin cancer. Dr. Walker gave of himself totally, often staying all night at the bedside of a seriously ill patient, missing meals and exposing himself to all kinds of weather. This was just part of being a country doctor. He never refused to help anyone regardless of circumstances or color.
At last there was relief in the form of the automobile. He owned one of the very first ones in Granbury! It was a Buick with brass headlights and a brass radiator. This was an exciting event for the children watching for him to pass along the way. If time allowed Dr. Walker would stop and gather them into the car for a short ride.
The disregard for his own health finally took its toll. He developed pneumonia, and without rest and care it finally turned into tuberculosis. There was no known cure for tuberculosis, but climate was considered a prime factor. Looking for a cure, he and his family traveled from Arizona to California to Colorado, but there was no cure. Dr. Walker’s life was cut short at the age of 53 when he passed away in Denver, Colorado, February 2, 1918.
Extracted from Hood County Genealogical Society Newsletter dated November 1993