Walker was a founding member of the Chicago Board of Trade and served as vice president at its launch. He held membership in several exchanges besides the Chicago Board of Trade including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the New York Produce Exchange, the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, the Duluth Board of Trade and the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce.
Walker was born in Plainfield, New York in February of 1802. He went to work in the milling business before moving into cattle, grain, cheese, butter and pork. He first came to Chicago in 1835 and moved there permanently in 1845. He became one of the largest grain dealers of the time and in 1847 was elected one of the directors of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad.
The Chicago Board of Trade passed the following resolutions on the day Walker's death was reported to it:
"Whereas, this board has learned of the decease, on yesterday, of Charles Walker, one of our oldest and most highly respected citizens, and who was long largely identified with the commercial interests, not only of this city, but of the whole country, and who was among the founders of this board, and one of its first presidents; and
"Whereas, we deem it due to his memory that this body should give expression to its sense of the general loss felt in the demise of one so well, so long and so favorably known; therefore
"Resolved, that in the death of Charles Walker we recognize the loss to the city of Chicago of one of her purest and best citizens, one, who by his sagacity and foresight was among the first to claim for it that future which we now recognize as its destiny, and who was ever foremost in all enterprises that tended to contribute to its highest prosperity.
"Resolved, that while we bow with reverence to the decrees of that God whom he so long and faithfully served and who has now called him to that rest which remains for those who put their trust in Him, we claim the privilege of pointing to his record of life and his character as worthy of imitation by all who would attain to that place in the affections of their fellowmen that will cause their memories to be held in high regard and who would desire for their epitaph: 'Well done, good and faithful servant and brother.'
"Resolved, that to the bereaved family and friends of the deceased we tender our heartfelt condolence and sympathy; but we rejoice that in their hour of affliction they are not called to mourn as those who have no hope in the future for him who has been called away from their midst.
"Resolved, that these resolutions be engrossed on the records of this board, and a duly certified copy of the same be transmitted to the family of the deceased.
"Resolved, that as a mark of respect to the memory of our brother, this board do now adjourn."
Walker was educated in a log school built by local farmer in Otsego County, New York. He was also instructed at home by his parents. At age fifteen, he was educated enough to begin teaching in school. When he turned eighteen, he began studying law, but later gave this up after health problems surfaced.
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