Select Walton Surname Genealogy

The surname Walton derives from the Walton placename of which there were many around the country, such as Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex, Walton near Warrington in Cheshire, and Walton Hall in west Yorkshire.  Many of these Walton place-names are now probably lost. 

The root of the name appears to be the Old English wahl or wealas, terms by which Anglo-Saxon immigrants called the native Celts of the land.  Walton - with the suffix tun or "hamlet" - may have been the name given to settlements where these Celts remained. 

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Select Walton Ancestry

England.  Walton has been very much a northern name.  Early records show a de Walton family in Cheshire from the 1200's.  Waltons of the 1600's included:
  • Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler, who was born in Stafford
  • Brian Walton, the priest and author of the Polyglot Bible, who was born in north Yorkshire
  • and Swithin Walton, who followed Cromwell to Ireland and came from Leicestershire.
The Walton lead mining dynasty which spanned five generations began with William Walton in Alston, Cumberland in the mid 1700's.  His Walton family at Alston was to shape the mining industry in the north Pennines for the next two hundred years.  Jacob Walton who headed the business in the first half of the 19th century was to be its dominating personality.  Alastair Robertson's 2004 book The Walton Family recounted the history. 

Some Waltons at Weardale in Durham were at one time lead miners.   Roland Walton was recorded as being born in Stanhope around 1692.  Many Waltons there were Primitive Methodists.  One line led via John Walton, the coal merchant of Walton & Gowland, to his son Joseph who became a prominent colliery owner and Liberal politician.  

  The Walton surname was brought to Ireland by English settlers.  Captain Swithin Walton established himself at Oysterhaven Bay, Kinsale in county Cork in 1643.  His family built a Georgian house, Walton Court, on the property in the late 18th century.

"The Walton family archives and historical documents show that they were a colorful family, relying on smuggling brandy and silk from France for their living, outrunning the English coastguard cutters in and out of the many local bays and inlets."

Robert Walton of this family emigrated to America and became a civic engineer in Cincinnati, Ohio.  In the 1880's he built Walton Court, a replica of his home in Ireland, at the Rugby community in Tennessee founded by the English author Thomas Hughes. 

.  The first Walton in America was probably the Puritan Rev. William Walton who with his wife Elizabeth were among the early settlers of Hingham, Massachusetts in 1635 before moving onto Marblehead.  Josiah Walton's 1898 booklet Walton Family Records traced this family's history.

James Walton came to America from England in the 1770's and settled in Maine.  His descendants moved west in the 19th century, living first in Missouri and then in Oklahoma where Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, was born.  

Wesley Walton also grew up in Maine.  He too headed west and was a pioneer in Utah.

Virginia.  Robert Walton was said to have been an English soldier who had come to America in 1682 and bought land in Prince Edward county, Virginia.  His great grandson George, orphaned there as a child, moved to Savannah and, as a representative for Georgia, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  

One line of this family arrived in Burke county, North Carolina in the 1790's and were among its early settlers.  A descendant Thomas Walton published an account of these times in his 1894 book Sketches of the Pioneers.  Meanwhile, another Walton from Prince Edward county, William Walton, migrated west in 1792 to the St. Louis area when it was still under Spanish control.  His son, Judge James Walton, owned several plantations there.

John Walton, an immigrant into Virginia in the 1640’s, is thought to have been the predecessor of the John Walton of Hanover county, Virginia who died in 1772, just prior to the Revolution.  He was a herbal or “botanical” doctor by profession, the first of four generations of Walton physicians in this line. 

His children spread after the war:
  • the older siblings were dissenting Baptists who departed for Kentucky and Tennessee.  Their offspring later went further westward to Missouri and Texas.  Grandson Jessie Walton made it to Texas.
  • while the younger children headed south to Georgia and later generations to Alabama and Florida.
The Waltons was a fictional American TV series that ran from 1972 to 1981 and focused on a family growing up in a rural Virginia community during the Great Depression and World War Two.   These Waltons traced themselves back to the fictional Rome Walton who came and settled in what came to be known as Waltons Mountain in 1789.

Canada.  Among the 102 emigrants from Alston in Cumberland on the Jason in 1818 departing to Canada with the promise of Government land grants were two Waltons, Robert and John.  Joseph Walton from Alston settled with his family in Smith township in Peterborough county, Ontario a year later; while Thomas and Jane Walton made their home in Scarborough township.

New Zealand
.  Joseph and Mary Ann Walton and their son Joseph Lewis from Yorkshire came third class on the Empress to Auckland in 1865.  Gordon Nicholls’ 1996 book A Walton Family History covered the son Joseph Lewis Walton (who died in 1925) and his contemporaries

Select Walton Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Walton Names

Izaak Walton was the author of The Compleat Angler.
George Walton was a signer in 1776 of the Declaration of Independence.  He later served as Georgia Governor and Senator.
Nancy Bird Walton was a pioneering Australian aviatrice.
Sir William Walton was an English composer who made his name in the 1920's and 30's.
Sam Walton was the founder of the ubiquitous retail chain Wal-Mart.  He opened his first store in Arkansas in 1962.

Select Waltons Today
  • 38,000 in the UK (most numerous in Kent)
  • 26,000 in America (most numerous in Texas) 
  • 12,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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