I had already an intense email contact with Brenda (Walker) Kearns and with Gena (Trant) Schantz establishing the link with their closest relatives in Germany, Wilma (Walker) Hipp in Wannweil when their was a chance to visit my cousins of 5th degree in Hartford City, IN.
Brenda is the great-granddaughter of Johann Friedrich Walker, born Aug 23, 1851 and Maria Agnes Walker, born Aug 20, 1863 in Wankheim, Wuerttemberg. Gena is the great-grand-daughter of Johann Friedrich’s brother, Johann Jacob Walker, born Feb 4, 1859. Friedrich emigrated in 1865, his later wife came 1872 to the U.S. His brother Jacob followed him in Oct 1874. Both settled in Hartford City, IN and ran farms. The third of the emigrated brothers, Johann Georg Walker, born Jan 5, 1854, who came to the U.S. in or after, settled in Springfield, OH. Unfortunately I didn’t find to much of information on that branch of the family.
Brenda, her husband John and Gena picked me up at the airport in Indianapolis. It took us about an hour to get to Brenda’s home in Muncie. The reception was extremely warm, but just the small edition of what should follow in the evening.
Then we drove to Hartford City and were visiting Johann Friedrich “Fred” Walkers tombstone. In the direct neighborhood I found some tombstones with German names on it, which have been familiar to be from my hometown. Big surprise for me.
Next was the farm of Lloyd Walker. He is the uncle of Brenda and as he was not feeling well, he couldn’t join us for the reunion, but wanted to meet me.
Around 5:00 pm Brenda had reserved the meeting room in the Lutheran Church in Hartford City for a Walker reunion, which was announced on a very short notice. More than 50 persons were attending the reunion. The oldest descendants of the Walker brothers have been far over 80 and had to travel more than two hours to join the meeting.
The enthusiam about my visit was overwhelming. Everybody was so kind and friendly to me. Nearly everyone brought some memorial items with him which were presented together on multiple tables. On the other side a huge buffet was erected by all the good stuff evreyone brought with him.
During ther reunion I had to give a overview about the home of their ancestors and answer tons of questions. Charles and his brother Lawrence had a special interest as they were planning to come to Germany in August.
I will never forget these wonderful weekend and the beginn of a great friendship.