WALTER B. PLUMMER.
Conspicuous among the wide-awake and prosperous business men of Opdyke is Walter B. Plummer, who has built up a substantial trade as a dealer in lumber and builders' supplies. He was born in June, 1861, in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, a son of Judge William Plummer, and grandson of Benjamin Plummer, Jr., a pioneer settler of Kentucky. His great-grandfather, Benjamin Plummer, Sr., and his great, great-grandfather, James Plummer, were likewise early settlers of that state.
James Plummer spent all of his earlier life in Maryland, his native state. In 1794 he migrated to Kentucky, where he had at least one son living, going down the Ohio river on a flat boat and landing at Lewistown, now Maysville, and subsequently devoted his time to hunting. He left a fine estate in Maryland and a number of slaves, intending when he left home to go back there and settle up his affairs. On account of the many dangers then attending a trip between the two states, he kept putting off the journey, and finally abandoned his Maryland property, continuing his residence in Kentucky until his death, in 1818.
Benjamin Plummer, Sr., was born jn Maryland, and for awhile after his marriage lived in Virginia. Daring and venturesome, he accompanied the world-famed Daniel Boone on his first trip to Kentucky, and took an active part in the stirring scenes enacted during the settlement of the “Dark and Bloody Ground.”
Benjamin Plummer, Jr., born in Virginia, January 10, 1793, was but a child when he accompanied his parents to Kentucky. A typical
backwoodsman, he began hunting when too young to shoot excepting over a log, and became an expert marksman, his skill with the gun at the age of sixty years far surpassing that of most young men. During. the War of 1812 he responded to the last call for troops, enlisting in the company commanded by Captain Matthews, and was accidentally wounded while matching at the mouth of Mad river, near the present site of Dayton. He married on August 15, 1816, and settled at Plummers Mills, where he spent his remaining years, passing away January 5, 1866, at the age of seventy-three years. Nine children were born of their union, including: Mrs. W. B. Evans; Mrs. W. G. Montgomery, whose husband was a minister, died in Ohio in 1858; Mrs. T. J. Cram died September 1, 1865, in Missouri; James moved to Missouri in 1854; John settled in Texas; William; became the father of Walter B.; Dr. Henry, of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, was a prominent physician; and Franklin, who located in Missouri. Benjamin Plummer, Jr., was a miller by trade, an honest, upright citizen, and a devout member of the Methodist church. During the Civil war his sympathies were naturally with the South, and two of his sons served in the Confederate army. His death was the result of brutal treatment received from the “Home Guards.”
William Plummer was born in Fleming county, Kentucky, in 1833, and was there educated. In 1857 he began the study of law with John A. Gavan, in Flemingsburg, and two years later was admitted to the Kentucky bar. In the spring of 1859 he was elected police judge of Flemingsburg, and in 1866 was elected county judge on the Democratic ticket, and served in that position until his death, in 1870. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits for a few years after his marriage, retiring from farming after his election to the judgeship. He was a man of sterling integrity and upright character, and a valued member of the Presbyterian church. William Plummer married, October 13, 1859, Mary E. Jones, a daughter of James Jones, who came from Maryland to Kentucky with James Plummer in 1794, and who lived to the remarkable age of ninety-four years. Three children blessed their union, as follows: Walter Benjamin, the special subject of this brief biographical review; Anna Mary, who died at the age of twenty years; and Julia Fleming, now a resident of Flemingsburg, Kentucky.
Left an orphan at an early age, Walter B. Plummer was brought up by his aunt, Mrs. Amanda D. Norwood, of Peoria, Illinois, and was educated in the Peoria schools. Selecting farming as his first occupation, he was engaged in agricultural pursuits until twenty-eight years of age, when he moved to the city, where he learned the builder's trade which he followed continuously in Peoria for eight years. Migrating then, in 1899 to Mississippi, Mr. Plummer purchased land, and was there a tiller of the soil until 1906, when he traded his Mississippi property for a farm in Jefferson county, Illinois, near Opdyke. On this farm of two hundred and forty acres Mr. Plummer resided until January, 1911, in the meantime making improvements of value, including the erection of a modernly equipped house, at a cost of $2,500.00. Taking up his residence in Opdyke in January, 1911, he has since been prosperously engaged in business as a dealer in lumber and builder's supplies, and is also president of the Opdyke Bank, a flourishing financial institution. Fraternally he is a member of Jefferson Lodge, No. 168, Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons, of Opdyke; and of H. W. Hubbard Chapter, No. 160, Royal Arch Masons, of Mount Vernon. Religiously he belongs to the Methodist church.
Mr. Plummer married first, in March, 1888, Alice Ramsden, daughter of James Ramsden, who immigrated from England to the United States,
settling in Peoria, Illinois. She died, leaving one son, Harold W., born February 11, 1894. Mr. Plummer again married, January 2, 1896, Mrs. M. L. Howarth, a daughter of Jeremiah Harker, of Peoria, Illinois.