William Anderson Walker was born on 8 August 1863 in Chorlton,1 Lancashire, England, son of William Walker (b. circa 1812/1813) and Mary (--?--) (b. circa 1822/1823).2 In 1871, William lived with his parents and sisters Frances, Elizabeth R., and Mary H.; and two servants, in Chorlton Upon Medlock, Lancashire, England. In 1881, William lived with his parents, his sister “My Haywood” [probably Mary], and a servant, Winifred Orden at 31 Cecil Street in Chorlton Upon Medlock. William was working as a commercial clerk.
William was married in December 1889 in Altrincham, Cheshire, England to Frances Maria (Moorhouse) Ridgeway. Frances was born in May 1868 in England. The couple immigrated to the United States in 1890. During her life she went by “Frankie.” The couple would not have any children.
On 14 June 1900, William and Frances and a female servant, Harriet Allport, rented a home at 253 Park Avenue in Orange, Essex County, New Jersey. William owned a water proof manufacturing business.
Ship passenger lists indicate that the couple made frequent trips back to England to visit family members and probably for William to conduct business. The couple traveled to Old Colwyn, Wales in 1907. On 7 September 1907, they sailed from Liverpool on the Lucania, arriving in New York City on 14 September 1907 on their way back to East Orange.
William and Frances traveled to England in 1908, returning to the United States separately. William had been in Cambridge visiting his sister Elizabeth L. Allen, prior to boarding the Caronia at Liverpool on 2 September 1908, arriving in New York City on 10 September 1908. Frances traveled to Old Colwyn to visit her aunt Eliza Ridgeway. She arrived in New York City on 25 September 1908 aboard the Carmania.
William sailed from Glasgow aboard the S.S. Caledonia on 4 September 1909, arriving in New York City on 12 September 1909. On another trip, William returned to the United States aboard the S. S. Mauretania, sailing from Liverpool and arriving in New York City on 8 April 1910. He was a resident at 72 E. Park Street in East Orange at the time. William had brown hair and brown eyes. On 30 April 1910, the couple lived at 72 Park Street in East Orange. They had two servants, a cook, Charlotte Strandberg, and a maid, Olga Johnson.
Frances made another visit with her aunt Eliza Ridgeway to Old Colwyn, North Wales, returning from Liverpool on 6 September 1910 and arriving in New York City aboard the Carmania on 14 September 1910.
In December 1910, William’s first cousins John Patterson and Kathleen Patterson came for a three-month-long visit with the couple, traveling to the United States aboard the Carmania. Kathleen kept a diary and she reported” I remember arriving on a clear and very frosty and cold day and going to the Walkers. I had a blue coat with a fur lining and big grey squirrel collar and a fur hat much the same shape as the present day ones. I was terribly nervous as I had never met Frankie and she was the same. We had tea upstairs in her room and we both ended by spilling our tea and were the best friends after that! She and cousin Will must have been in their forties and were terribly good to me. Being the 12th of the family I had never had much spoiling and I grew to love Frankie and cousin Will dearly and my three months with them flew past. I was taught to ride and used to go out with them every morning before breakfast and loved my white horse Sheik.” The Walkers were apparently members of the East Orange Riding and Driving Club.
William sailed from Liverpool on 15 April 1911 aboard the S.S. Campania, arriving in New York City on 22 April 1911. During either this trip or the next, he visited with the Kathleen Patterson in Liverpool.
Sailing from Liverpool on 2 September 1911, the couple arrived in New York City on 8 September 1911 aboard the Mauretania. They were living at 72 E. First Park in East Orange and William was working as a merchant.
William was “active in Masonic circles, having been elected last December master of Hope Lodge, F. and A. M.” He served as ‘Worshipful Master” on the lodge.
William sailed for England on the Olympic, leaving New York on 27 March 1912. He was on a business trip “to the firm of rain goods manufacturers in this city, whose representative he has been for the past eighteen years in New York.” The manufacturer was the J. Mandelberg & Co.
William boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger (ticket number 36967) and occupied cabin D-46. His activities on board the ship are not known.
After the sinking, it was reported that “Mrs. W. Anderson Walker, whose husband was on the ship, had heard nothing up to noon that would either confirm her fears or give her hope that he had been among the saved. She was in a state of nervous collapse, and would not let visitors see her.” After it became clear he had not been rescued, the Hope Lodge No. 124, F. and A. M. of East Orange had a special meeting. Walker had taken a special interest in a friend’s son, and Theodore Bomeisler was to take the Masonic degree with Walker presiding.
Frances was executrix of William’s estate and was one of the first of the victims to file their will in court. She received his entire estate. Shortly afterward, the Grace Episcopal Church in Orange held a memorial service for William on 28 April 1912. “The Rev. Charles T. Walkey, rector, made a short address dwelling principally on the tragedy.” The Hope Lodge then held a memorial service on 1 May 1912, with East Orange city councilman Frank Bliss Colton giving an address, “Mr. Walker the Man.”
Frances filed suit on 13 January 1913 with the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, against the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, claiming that William had been carrying “wearing apparel, gold watch and chain, jewelry, money and other effects which he carried on his person and of the wearing apparel and other personal effects which were contained in two trunks, a suit case, and a hand bag.” She demanded $1,000 for the effects and $25,000 for the damage suffered by his loss.
Frances Walker returned to England “and bought a house in Totteridge…She brought two horses with her and also her Irish groom.”