Isaac J. Walker was born on January 27, 1815, in Steuben County, New York, the son of Joseph (1783-1840) and Abi (Lamkin, b. 1787).
New Jersey native Joseph married Connecicut-born Abi sometime before 1809 when they were living in Woodhouse, Ontario, Canada. Joseph was a professor of religion for some thirty years (as well as an Elder in the Free Will baptist Church), and taught in Woodhouse for many years. They eventually settled in Steuben County, New York, but at some point they probably returned to Canada: Joseph would die there in 1840 and Abi is buried there in the Woodhouse United Church cemetery (section 1 row V).
Isaac was possibly living in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada when he married his first wife Margaret Louise Disbrow (1818-1844?) on March 4, 1835, in Woodhouse, Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada, and they had at least four children: Charles Gilbert (b. 1836), Russell L. (b. 1838), Charlotte Matilda (b. 1839) and Isaac James (b. 1841) . They were still living in Ontario by late 1836. (According to one family historian, Isaac James changed his name to James Disbrow sometime after the Civil War, and all of his descendants were thus known by Disbrow. The reasons for this remain unclear. One might conclude that it was to dishonor his father’s name who may have abandoned and/or divorced Isaac James’ mother Margaret.)
He soon moved back to the United States and was living in Steuben County, Indiana when he married his second wife Betsey Pierson on June 9, 1844, in Steuben County. (It is unclear as to what became of Margaret. )
Isaac was married a third time to a Michigan woman by the name of Lena (b. 1818). By 1848 he had moved to Michigan and in 1850 was working as a farmer and living with Lena and two children in Vienna, Genesee County: Isaac (b. 1848) and James (b. 1849).
He was still living in Genesee County when he married his fourth wife Ontario native Harriet Sines (1827-1892) on October 13, 1851, and they had at least two children: Herly (b. 1853) and Marilla (b. 1858).
Isaac stood 5’9” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was a 46-year-old farmer probably living in Barry County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was present for duty from July of 1861 through August, on picket duty sometime in September and October, present in November and December of 1861 through April of 1862 and subsequently absent sick in the hospital in Yorktown, Virginia. He was in the convalescent camp at Alexandria, Virginia, from May of 1862 through November, and dropped from the company rolls on December 30, 1862, in compliance with G.O. no. 92 (under the assumption that he had deserted). In fact he had been hospitalized since the end of April or first of May, and at some point was transferred to Chestnut Hill hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was returned to the Regiment (“on paper”) from “desertion” on January 12, 1863, at Philadelphia.
Isaac later claimed that “During the siege of Yorktown” about May 1, 1862, “he was taken sick with a fever and sent to [the] hospital at Yorktown” where he remained for some three or four weeks “and upon his fever leaving him he found himself all crippled up with rheumatism, and after some months in Convalescent Camp at Yorktown was sent north to Philadelphia. As well as he can recollect he reached Chestnut Hill hospital” probably “in fall of 1862, and remained there until discharged by reason of said rheumatism which had become chronic.”
He was in fact discharged on February 7, 1863, for chronic rheumatism and hemorrhoids at West Philadelphia hospital.
After his discharge Isaac returned Michigan, probably to Barry County. By 1870 he was working as a laborer and living with his wife Harriet and two children in North Irving, Irving Township, Barry County. By 1880 Isaac was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Carlton, Barry County.
He may have lived for a while in Eaton County.
In any case, he was living in Hastings, Barry County in 1888, and in Carlton, Barry County in December of 1890 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. By 1894 he was residing in Wright, Ottawa County.
In 1885 he applied for and received pension no. 316701, drawing $17.00 in 1896.
Isaac died a widower in South Hastings on March 13, 1896, and was buried in Riverside cemetery in Hastings: block G-south, lot no. 43, grave northwest 1/4-2.