Thomas Walker (slave trader)

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Thomas Walker
Born 1758
Henbury, Bristol, England
Died 1797
at sea
Cause of death Murder
Occupation Slave trader
Spouse(s) Catherine McLelland
Children 2 sons, 1 daughter, including George E. Walker
Relatives David Davis Walker (grandson)
George Herbert Walker (great-grandson)
George Herbert Walker, Jr. (great-great-grandson)

Thomas Walker (1758–1797) (a.k.a. Beau Walker) was a British slave trader.


Early life

Thomas Walker was born 1758 in Henbury, now a suburb of Bristol, England. [1] [2]

Henbury suburb of Bristol in the United Kingdom

Henbury is a suburb of Bristol, England, approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) north west of the city centre. It was formerly a village in Gloucestershire and is now bordered by Westbury-on-Trym to the south; Brentry to the east and the Blaise Castle estate, Blaise Hamlet and Lawrence Weston to the west. To the north lie the South Gloucestershire village of Hallen and the entertainment/retail park Cribbs Causeway.

Bristol Place in England

Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 459,300. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England. The urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary.


Walker worked as a slave trader, when Bristol was one of the three major slave trading ports in Britain. [2] He served as a slave ship Captain and was resident slave trader who operated in the Sierra Leone region of West Africa. [2]

Bristol is a city in the South West of England, on the River Avon which flows into the Severn Estuary. Because of Bristol’s position on the River Avon, it has been an important location for marine trade for centuries. The city's involvement with the slave trade peaked between 1730 and 1745, when it became the leading slaving port.

Atlantic slave trade slave trade across the Atlantic Ocean between the 16th and 19th centuries

The Atlantic slave trade or transatlantic slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage, and existed from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The vast majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the transatlantic slave trade were people from central and western Africa, who had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders, who brought them to the Americas. The South Atlantic and Caribbean economies especially were dependent on the supply of secure labour for the production of commodity crops, making goods and clothing to sell in Europe. This was crucial to those western European countries which, in the late 17th and 18th centuries, were vying with each other to create overseas empires.

Sierra Leone republic in West Africa

Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests. The country has a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and a population of 7,075,641 as of the 2015 census. Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature. Sierra Leone has a dominant unitary central government. The president is the head of state and the head of government. The country's capital and largest city is Freetown. Sierra Leone is made up of five administrative regions: the Northern Province, North West Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area. These regions are subdivided into sixteen districts.

He did much of his slave trading at Bunce Island, a British slave castle in the Sierra Leone River, owned at that time by the Company of John & Alexander Anderson, based in London. [2] He was involved in at least eleven slave trading voyages between 1784 and 1792, taking African captives from Sierra Leone to the British West Indies and the United States. [2]

Bunce Island island

Bunce Island is an island in the Sierra Leone River. It is situated in Freetown Harbour, the estuary of the Rokel River and Port Loko Creek, about 20 miles upriver from Sierra Leone's capital city Freetown. The island measures about 1,650 feet by 350 feet and houses a castle that was built by a British slave-trading company in c.1670. Tens of thousands of Africans were shipped from here to the North American colonies of South Carolina and Georgia to be forced into slavery, and are the ancestors of many African Americans of the United States.

Sierra Leone River river in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone River is a river estuary on the Atlantic Ocean in Western Sierra Leone. It is formed by the Bankasoka River and Rokel River and is between 4 and 10 miles wide (6–16 km) and 25 miles (40 km) long. It holds the major ports of Queen Elizabeth II Quay and Pepel. The estuary is also important for shipping. It is the largest natural harbour in the African continent. Several islands, including Tasso Island, Tombo Island, and the historically important Bunce Island, are located in the estuary.

British West Indies

The British West Indies, sometimes abbreviated to the BWI, is a collective term for the British territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands. Before the decolonization period in the later 1950's and 1960's it included all British colonies in the region, together with two mainland colonies, as part of the British Empire.

Personal life

On 22 February 1785, Walker married Catherine McLelland (17701806) at St. Andrew's Church in Clifton. [2] She died on 18 October 1806, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a decade after her husband, leaving their older son as the guardian for his sister and a younger son, George E. Walker (1797–1864). [2]

Clifton, Bristol suburb of Bristol, England

Clifton is both a suburb of Bristol, England, and the name of one of the city's thirty-five council wards. The Clifton ward also includes the areas of Cliftonwood and Hotwells. Other parts of the suburb lie within the ward of Clifton East.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Pennsylvania State of the United States of America

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.

Death and legacy

Walker was murdered in 1797 at sea in a mutiny. [2] He is an ancestor of two U.S. presidents, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. [2]

Mutiny conspiracy among a group of individuals to openly oppose, change or overthrow a lawful authority

Mutiny is a criminal conspiracy among a group of people to openly oppose, change, or overthrow a lawful authority to which they are subject. The term is commonly used for a rebellion among members of the military against their superior officers, but it can also occasionally refer to any type of rebellion against authority figures or governances.

George H. W. Bush 41st president of the United States

George Herbert Walker Bush was an American politician who served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993 and the 43rd vice president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. A member of the Republican Party, he held posts that included those of congressman, ambassador, and CIA director. Until his son George W. Bush became the 43rd president in 2001, he was usually known simply as George Bush.

George W. Bush 43rd president of the United States

George Walker Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He had previously served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.

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  1. Baptismal record
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "George W. Bush's Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Was a Slave Trader". Slate . 2013-06-19.