His accomplishments are a matter of record and he was an active scout for many years. Truly it was men like Mr. Walker that helped to establish the West into a productive part of the great union we are today !
Photograph of Joseph Walker. (Credit: Public Domain)
Like Jedidiah Smith, Tennessee native Joseph Walker was a born explorer who pursued fur trapping and scouting as a way of financing his wanderlust. He first ventured west in 1820 as part of an illegal trapping expedition to Spanish-controlled New Mexico territory, and later served as a guide for the likes of Benjamin Bonneville and John C. Frémont. While working for Bonneville in 1833, Walker led an expedition that bushwhacked its way from Wyoming to California across the Sierra Nevada. His party was forced to eat their horses just to survive, but after exiting the mountains they became the first white men to encounter giant sequoia trees and the wonders of the Yosemite Valley. It was a sight Walker would never forget. He even had the words “Camped at Yosemite” inscribed on his tombstone.
Walker later worked as trapper, scout, wagon train guide and ranch owner, but he continued to explore the blank spots on the map at every opportunity. In 1861, at the age of 62, he set off on a two-year prospecting expedition across New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. By the time his failing eyesight forced him to retire in 1867, he had spent some five decades on the frontier and served as a guide for hundreds of soldiers and pilgrims. Amazingly, during all of Walker’s years blazing new trails and traveling through hazardous territory, only one man is reported to have died under his command.
His isn't a name that I'm familiar with, but I'm gonna see if I can read some more information on Mr. Walker.
Coffee out on the patio this morning. All went well at the heart check-up so we'll celebrate !