Walker’s six generations have made their mark on Ohio history for 160 years!
Joseph Walker – The 1st Generation
Joseph immigrated over the National Trail from Tanneytown, Maryland to Somerset, Ohio with his parents. There he found employment with a cobbler and leather worker Jacob Walters, (nicknamed “Leather Britches”). Joseph married, and started a shoemaker shop on the town square in 1836.
William Henry – The 2nd Generation
Joseph’s son, William, expanded the business to Rushville before the Civil War. In 1862, he married Mariah Russell and left for the war the next day. By 1890 the shops employed 12 shoemakers.
Philip Grant – The 3rd Generation
William’s son, Phillip Grant, guided the business through the change from hand made to factory manufactured shoes. Philip and Sophia had three sons and four daughters, who all worked in the business. He created the slogan, “Quality footwear for over 100 years”, but didn’t live to see it used.
Joseph Daniel – The 4th Generation
The ownership passed to Joseph, Phillips’s oldest son, in 1936. Joe weathered the depression and WWII’s shoe rationing by emphasizing shoe repair. Going to Chicago to study under Dr. Scholl enabled hum to treat minor foot problems and add another emphasis, foot comfort.
Robert Phillip – The 5th Generation
After being discharged from the Navy, Joe’s oldest son, came to the store in 1955. He expanded into Lancaster where Phil Walker’s Shoe Center opened in 1960. The Shoe Center was jointly managed with P.G.Walker’s in Somerset until 1968.
The 6th Generation
As teenagers, Phil and Marilyn’s five daughters all learned shoe fitting and the shoe business. The youngest, Melissa Walker, returned to Walkers in 1987 after managing two shoe stores in other cities. She has since become active in the management of the store. Currently, we have the seventh generation helping out in the store.