Indiana was decidedly a wild and wooly territory when Joseph Willard Walton invaded her borders in search of work and a career. Born in North Carolina in 1801, he left his native state in early manhood to cast his fortune with struggling pioneers of the West. He was lucky in his location, as the county he chose was Washington and the land he settled was a part of the alluvial bottoms which in later years gave fame to the White river valley. Land was cheap when this newcomer arrived from the South, and he was able to secure a full section, which at the present time is worth at least one hundred and fifty dollars an acre. It is the region of great corn crops, unsurpassed in the production of fine melons, as well as all the cereals and varieties of fruit. The old pioneer prospered as a farmer for those days, but wealth was then out of the question for a tiller of the soil, owing to lack of market and transportation facilities, which the prices of products as well as the land placed at a low level. This patriot survived until 1901, and had rounded out a full century of existence before the final summons. He left a son named Daniel R., who caught the roving fever in early manhood and decided to move farther west. He formed a satisfactory location in Clay county, Illinois, where he farmed until his death, which occurred in Harter township, north of Xenia, in 1862. After reaching Illinois he met and married Ellen Golden, who though a native of the state, was of Indiana parentage. She survived her husband fifteen years and passed away in 1877. Their five children, all living, are Samuel, who resides on grandfather Golden's place, northwest of Flora; Mrs. Maria Abel, of Santa Rosa, California; Joseph W., subject of this sketch, Marlow Walton, of North Dakota; Thomas J. Walton, of Eagle Grove, Iowa.
Joseph Willard Walton, third in order of birth in the above list of children, was born in Clay county, Illinois, July 5, 1869. As he was only seven years old when he lost his father, the struggle of this boy towards success was rendered unusually difficult. He was, however, a bright and courageous boy, obedient to his uncle, with whom he lived near Flora, and doing cheerfully the chores that fell to him, while also proving a diligent student in the district schools. After the usual elementary course, he entered as a pupil in Orchard City College at Flora, and later took a course in Austin College at Effingham. For ten years subsequent to leaving college, he taught school in his native county. He had, however, always been ambitious to become a physician, and in 1902 entered the Medical Department of St. Louis University, from which he was graduated in the class of May 1906. On July, of the same year he hung out his shingle in Clay City and has since diligently prosecuted his profession. Dr. Walton belongs to the American, State and Clay County Medical societies and is the official examiner for the New York Life, Prudential, Springfield, Woodmen, Royal Neighbors and other insurance orders. His fraternal connections are with the Odd Fellows, Woodmen and Ben Hur societies. He has a commodious office well equipped with all the modern appliances suitable for his business. The doctor has made his own way from orphanage and poverty to a commanding and prosperous condition in life.
In 1893, Dr. Walton married Miss Josie Nash, a native of Clay county, and they have had three children, Violet Evelyn, Daphney Ruth, and Charles Willard, deceased. The parents are members of the Christian church.
Extracted 27 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay & Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 311-312.