Sunday, September 2, 2012

'Tis the Season . . . for Politics

Taken 1932 - Democratic Nat'l Conv.
Fa, la, la, la, la . . . la, la, la, la. With the Republican and Democratic National Conventions taking place, the political season is heating up to bonfire levels.  And since it only reaches this fever pitch once every four years, I thought this was the perfect time for a post about a politically inclined ancestor. . . my grandfather, Carroll Walker.

Carroll showed an interest in politics early in life.  He attended Kansas State Agricultural College, later to be Kansas State,  majoring in electrical engineering.  He had a passion for football that began when he was a member of the Frankfort high school team and continued through his college career.  These were the days of leather helmets and a wee bit of extra padding.   Although not the largest team member,  his passion and commitment were instrumental in his choice as captain of the Kansas Aggies 1906 team.

Click to enlarge and read content.

The College Annual for his senior year, tells us that politics was already part of his plan for the future.  It proclaimed, "The height of his ambition is to become United States Senator and in this we wish him well"

After his graduation in 1907, he returned to his hometown of Frankfort, Kansas and while working studied for the bar.  The day he passed the bar, he was appointed city attorney.  Do you think he had connections?  Can you still pass the bar without going to law school?  To the best of my knowledge, he never used his Electrical Engineering degree except for a brief employment with the Edison Light and Power Company in Wichita.

Grandfather Walker was a staunch Democrat and was chairman of the Democratic party of Marshall County for six years.  He started attending the state party conventions in 1912 - only five years after graduation.  Then in 1924 he was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in New York. 

Source: Kansas and Kansans pg. 1487

While I haven't yet found out about the 1928 election (The operative word is YET!), the Emporia Gazette, Monday evening, May 16, 1932 lists Carroll Walker, 5th district, Frankfort, as a delegate to the 1932 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  This time he backed a winner in Franklin D. Roosevelt.  On January 13, 1933, the Hutchinson News printed the names of individuals selected for the Kansas State Inaugural Committee.  Carroll Walker was on that list

 In politics, loyalty often results in opportunities . . . if your candidate is the winner.  It seems this was the case for Carroll.  Sometime between 1933 and 1934, my grandfather was offered a position as a federal attorney working for the Internal Revenue.  He moved from Frankfort to Washington D. C. and then to St. Louis and Chicago before returning home to Frankfort. The 1940 census shows the Walker family living in University City, St. Louis, and Carroll lists his occupation as Chief Counsel for the Office of Internal Revenue.

The opportunity he dreamed of as a college senior to run for United States Senator never presented itself.  But . . . politics was a habit he couldn't shake.   So after returning to his hometown, and at the age of 69, when other men were collecting Social Security, fishing with grandchildren, and taking an occasional afternoon nap, Carroll Walker decided to run for city attorney . . . as a Democrat, of course.

We'll never know if he would have won, because on July 29, 1952 on a rain soaked road, his car collided with a truck, and Grandfather Walker died of a crushed chest. 

I don't remember my grandfather. . . not even a little bit.  From these records and articles, I have constructed his political life.  I expect more detail to emerge as I continue my family history journey.

Do you have a politician among your ancestors?  Please share.  After all . . . 'tis the season.


  1. Hi Margel,
    I thoroughly enjoyed this history of your grandfather. He was definitely a mover and shaker in his era -- and it's the same era my parents were in their teen years -- so he was older than they. Playing football at that time was probably even more dangerous than today. He was an all-around sort of guy -- and quite handsome to boot! Sorry you can't remember him. I have zero politicians in my family background. I think this is a nationally historic post! If only historians could find all our genealogy blogs. It's a treasure of the people who made our country. You're and excellent writer as well, making your posts a pleasure to read!

  2. Margel, just want to mention that I had to enter the captcha code at least 15 times before it would accept it -- and I know many I entered were exactly right. You may want to check with the site to see what's up with that.