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Mary Walker


Mrs. Mary Walker (nee Snowden) was over 70 years old when she was buried near her parents in Ellsworth cemetery.

Ms. Mary E. E. Snowden was the second child of the Reverend John and Mrs. Margaret (Koone) Snowden. She was born in Westminster, Maryland in late summer (July 29, 1832). Both of her parents had been enslaved at birth, and she was born free due to their later manumissions. 

Her father ensured that she learned to read and write, with some difficulty as schools for African Americans did not exist in antebellum Maryland. At times, their neighbors actively interfered with the children’s education. Yet, they persevered and learned. 

As a young woman, in 1850, she was working as a servant in the household of Rev. Dabney Ball. When war came and the Methodist Church divided, Rev. Ball went South to his native Virginia. He united with the M. E. Church South and served as a chaplain on the staff of Jeb Stuart. He later returned to Baltimore. 

Ms. Snowden married Rev. Perry G. Walker in 1853. They likely met through her father, as they were all working together in the Methodist church.

The Walkers moved through Carroll and Frederick counties and down to Alexandria, Virginia. Although, notably, they did not go into Virginia until after the end of the Civil War. In 1880, she is enumerated as sick, suffering from rheumatism. 

Mrs. Walker had at least seven (7) children, four boys and three girls. One son, Adam Perry Walker, graduated from the Howard University College of Medicine in 1891. Dr. Walker served as a hospital steward during the Spanish-American War and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. One daughter, Fannie Walker, married a minister, Matthew Clair, and lived in Liberia with her husband when he was assigned as the Bishop there. 

In the late 1800s, Mrs. Walker was requested to go to San Antonio, Texas. She stayed there, helping to establish a school for the African American Women called St. Phillip’s. The college remains an HBCU to this day.

Mrs. Walker returned to Westminster where she and her husband lived quietly until her death on September 17, 1903. Her husband survived her. 

Mrs. Mary E. E. Snowden Walker is buried near her parents, and later her husband, in Ellsworth Cemetery outside of Westminster, Maryland. 

Maryland State Archives

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