Wirt Dexter Walker

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Person.png Wirt Dexter WalkerRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
BornSeptember 1, 1860
DiedApril 24, 1899 (Age 38)
Parents • James M. Walker
• Eliza M. Walker
ChildrenWirt Dexter Walker I
Spouse • Marie Winston
• Gertrude Reich

Wirt Dexter Walker was a Chicago lawyer, son of successful Chicago attorney James M. Walker and Eliza M. Walker[1] and was named after Wirt Dexter, the junior partner at his father's firm Walter VanArman & Dexter. [2]


After his graduation from Yale University he inherited a large sum of money upon his father's death. He began his own practice in 1883[1] and was secretary of the University Club of Chicago in 1887.[3] He had health problems and became blind, at which point he retired from office work to travel.[1]

He married Marie Winston[4][5] in 1894.[1]

Blythewood Farms summer cottage

He purchased land in the Berkshire County in 1888 and hired local architect H. Neill Wilson to design a large summer cottage retreat in 1890, hoping a residence in the area would help his health improve. Blythewood was constructed, but Walker died a year later[6] leaving no children.[6] Wilson went on to design several other mansions for wealthy persons establishing summer retreats in the area, including Shadowbrook.[6]

His wife was left with a $15,000 annual inheritance and the Blythewood "cottage" on 450 acres (1.8 km2) after his death. Speculation on whether she would lose the income was reported in newspapers as she prepared to marry another lawyer, Victor Elting. She did not lose her income, but the property went to Wirt D. Dexter Art Gallery in Chicago whose trustees "sold it in 1905 to a Chicago tycoon, John Alden Spoor".[7][6] Spoor was chairman of the board of the Union Stockyards and Transit Company in Chicago, and sold Blythewood to a group of local investors two years before his death in 1926.[6]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Wirt Walker, Russell and Co, CIA, and 911article3 September 2010Kevin Ryan


  1. a b c d [1] Yale University Obituary
  2. Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association By Illinois State Bar Association Meeting Publisher The Association, 1899 Original from the University of California Digitized Oct 28, 2008 page 133
  3. [2] The American University Magazine Published 1897 Original from the University of Michigan Digitized Sep 8, 2009 page 122
  4. John William Leonard, Albert Nelson Marquis The book of Chicagoans: a biographical dictionary of leading living men of the city of Chicago, Volume 2 Publisher A.N. Marquis, 1911 Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Jun 12, 2007
  5. [3] Governor Garrard, of Kentucky: his descendants and relatives page 84
  6. a b c d e Carole Owens Pittsfield: Gem City in the Gilded Age page 32-33
  7. [4] The $15,000 Misunderstanding Headline from the Chicago American (Hosted by the Belver-Helting Family Association)