The great work of this noted man accomplished in the city of New Orleans caused his name to become a household word almost throughout the state of Louisiana. The veteran whose life and deeds we attempt to depict was known for his sterling qualities beyond the confines of his state. He was a skilled mechanic and held the position of engineer at the shipper's Cotton Press, New Orleans, La.
After his conversion he united with the First African Baptist Church, New Orleans, La., under the pastorate of Elder Nelson Sanders. In the year of 1819 he was born at Pulaski, Tenn., and at the time of his death, December, 1892, was 73 years old. The greater part of these years was spent in unselfish service to God and humanity.
Soon after his conversion he felt divinely called to preach the Gospel of Christ, and after relating his call was ordained to the ministry by Bishop Nelson Sanders and others. In almost middle life and about the time of his entrance into the work of the ministry, he married Miss Martha Jane Wright, of Norfolk, Va., who was a great source of inspiration to him in his Divinely appointed profession. While working at his trade as an engineer he gathered together a faithful band of followers and began worshipping God at a little church within the confines of the old Delechaise Brick Yard. His effectiveness as a gospel preacher and his ability to attract and hold men became so pronounced that the congregation outgrew its small house and he was compelled to purchase larger quarters on Austerlitz street, upon which was erected a commodious building. Hundreds of souls were born of the Spirit through the plain but effective Gospel which was preached from the sacred desk of the new church edifice. Soon this structure became too small to accommodate the large and increasing membership and congregation that would gather to hear this gifted gospel preacher.
Seeing the need of a larger house, his trustees and members joined him in purchasing the lot whereon stands today an edifice which is a monument to his memory, his far-sightedness and ability as both a preacher and a church house builder. Funds were readily raised by various kinds of entertainments and liberal private subscriptions. Upon the completion of the building, and the entry of the congregation into it, his ministry was blessed with many more souls; and because of his ability to influence and persuade men to come to Christ there are scattered here and there throughout these United States hundreds of men and women who delight to call him "Pappy George," and who attribute their conversion to his plain, thoughtful and convincing gospel.
He was an intense lover of education and encouraged the young members of his church to attend school. During his pastorate at the Austerlitz Street Baptist Church more College students heard his sermons and connected themselves with his church than with any other Baptist church in the city. Elder Walker possessed wonderful power in prayer. At a meeting held in Washington Artillery Hall he prayed so much like Paul anl Silas in the Philippian jail that the Holy Ghost came and set that vast audience on hallowed fire, and moved them to uncontrolable tears of rejoicing.
In the dark days of slavery, this veteran preacher learned to read and write, and also to add, subtract and multiply. He accumulated a large theological library which he studied and which was made manifest through his intelligent and able expositions of God's Word. He was a trustee of Leland University as long as he lived; was a life member of the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, the first interstate organization among Negro Baptists, organized at Montgomery, Ala., in 1880. He was Treasurer of the old Louisiana Southern Association, Treasurer of the Louisiana Baptist State Convention, and one of the founders and Treasurer of the Old Folks Home at New Orleans, La. His ability to handle wisely the finances of his people, and his honesty of purpose was demonstrated by the fact that he accumulated little for himself, but left at least $20,000 worth of property for his members.
His sainted wife preceded him to glory, and after the cares and turmoils of life had begun to make successful inroads upon his physical frame, he departed this life December, 1892. The esteem in which he was held was clearly demonstrated, for he had one of, if not the largest funeral pageants that ever approached a cemetery. His children are Mattie E. Walker, noted teacher, Thaddeus Walker, A. M., M. D., a scholar and one of the leading physicians of the United States, and George H. Walker, a printer.
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