Dr. Thomas Walker (1714 - 1794)
Thomas Walker was born in King and Queen County, the son of Dr. Thomas Walker, Sr. and Susanna Peachy Walker. He studied medicine at William and Mary and was one of the most prominent physicians in Albemarle County. In 1741, he married Mildred Thornton Meriwether, the widow of Nicholas Meriwether, II, and through her, obtained the property known as “Castle Hill,” an estate of 15,000 acres. In the 1742 Personal Property Tax List of Albemarle County, Thomas Walker is listed as having 86 slaves, 93 cattle, 22 cattle, and two carriages. (Cappon) In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Walker explored portions of Southwest Virginia and into Kentucky, naming the Cumberland Mountains and River. He served as commissary of Virginia troops under General Braddock during the French and Indian War and later was asked to negotiate with Native Americans of New York and Pennsylvania. He was elected to the House of Burgesses for Hanover, Louisa, and Albemarle County (Albemarle and Louisa Counties were formed from parts of Hanover County) and surveyed the Virginia-North Carolina border. Dr. Walker was a trustee for Albemarle County in 1763, charged with the task of selling lots in the new county seat, Charlottesville. He was appointed guardian to the young Thomas Jefferson after the death of his father, Peter Jefferson. (Anderson, p. 222-223; The Magazine of Albemarle County History, Vol. 52, p. 40)
His wife, Mildred Thornton Meriwether (1721-1778), was the widow of Nicholas Meriwether (1699-1739), a man of great wealth and much older than she was. Upon his death, she inherited a large amount of land. Two years later, she married Dr. Thomas Walker. They had twelve children. Their eldest daughter, Mary, married Nicholas Lewis who had inherited “The Farm” from his grandfather, Nicholas Meriwether II. Their eldest son, John, inherited “Belvoir”. John also was an aide to Gen. Washington during the Revolution, was a member of the House of Burgesses, and later was a U. S. Senator. Daughter Lucy, married Dr. George Gilmer, a prominent physician, of “Pen Park” and daughter Elizabeth married Rev. Matthew Maury, a well-respected minister and educator.
Patricia Zontine, April 2009