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The Waltons

                James T Walton (1809 – 1891) is noted as an early settler in the writings of WB Carlock. He was a saddle and harness maker who came to Bloomington in 1836.  When he came to Bloomington he was married, but after his wife died, he remarried in 1843 to Amelia Orpha Hayes (sister to Samuel Hayes). His son John apprenticed to Abram Brokaw as a wagon maker (1850 census) and later headed Walton Plow Manufacturing of Bloomington (1857 - 1899). Before dissolving the company in 1899, Walton subdivided and sold off a parcel of land he owned, comprising most of the block between Douglas and Market at East Street, which was for a time part of the Walton Plow factories. Prior to that the factory was located on West Washington, where the Arnold Hotel was  in the 1890’s. John Walton built the first brick dwelling in Bloomington at 213 E Washington.


                The Walton family had risen to some heights, for in 1881, Ora Walton, one of James Walton’s daughters, was married to Edward B. Gridley, the son of James’ past employer. That marriage however, ended in divorce. At the time of Edward Gridley’s death the terms of that divorce became common knowledge. Ora Gridley would receive $1800 per year in alimony and was to share in the distribution of the Gridley land, but that process was a long drawn out one due to family disputes. No children resulted from that marriage.


                A brother of James, Thomas Walton, was a farmer west of Bloomington on Market Road. After his death in 1902, his widow and daughters moved to Bloomington and lived at 1215 E Grove Street, where they took their place amongst the idle well to do.  Neither of his daughters married and his only son died at the age of four.

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