Walter B. Plummer

Conspicuous among the wideawake 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 in 
Maryland, and for awhile after his marriage lived in Virginia. Daring 
and venturesome, he accompanied the worldfamed 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 marching 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.

Source: History of Southern Illinois George Washington Smith, 
Page 1453 - 1455 

Submitted by Robert W. Loman 

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