First foreign player for Hearts?

Scottish Football Answers to Questions
soccerhistory
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Post by soccerhistory » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:20 pm

I have been researching Walker on and off for some time, and can confirm he is definitely the same as the Lincoln man - I have seen a very poor quality team pic of the 1899-1900 team and he is clearly identifiable as being black. He was also remembered by a number of former players who were interviewed by the local papers in the 1920s and 30s. I have his death certificate, but as yet have not traced a birth certificate, one of the problems being that John Walker is far from being a unique name. I would be interested in any firm evidence that he was playing junior football in the west of Scotland before joining Leith Primrose, as this might allow for other possibilities (I had assumed he was from the east of Scotland). He is probably the first black outfield player to feature in both the Football League and the Scottish League.

As regards racial taunting, raised earlier in this thread, this was probably a bit more subtle in the 1890s when bananas, for example, were unheard of (throwing these is a very modern phenomonen). As with Wharton (the black goalkeeper who played in England before Walker) it is likely that crowds would sing 'black' songs such as Swanee River when he appeared. Whether this is classified as taunting I am not sure.

Walker died of pneumonia in August 1900, shortly after his playing career ended.

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Post by Scottish » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:34 am

soccerhistory wrote: I have his death certificate, but as yet have not traced a birth certificate, one of the problems being that John Walker is far from being a unique name.
Where did he die? If Lincoln then that would present problems in further research as, IIRC, the deaths in England & Wales are only available as quarterly entries in the register. If Scotland then much more information is available including, date, location & cause of death, age of deceased, marital status, occupation, middle name, parents names & occupations, witness to the death and relationship to the deceased.

Walker must surely have been born after 1855 (when BMD registration started in Scotland). Unfortunately what little we know of him falls outside census dates but if he was married and/or had children then the 1901 census might be useful. Likewise if he pre-deceased his parents.

You more than likely know this anyway but posted just on the off-chance it might help.

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Post by Cinneide » Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:36 am

soccerhistory wrote:I have been researching Walker on and off for some time, and can confirm he is definitely the same as the Lincoln man - I have seen a very poor quality team pic of the 1899-1900 team and he is clearly identifiable as being black.
I read yesterday in Scottish Sport 16/06/1899 that 'Darkey' Walker had been signed by Lincoln City.

I also read that Walker had disappointed Hearts with his performances and was training at Juniper Green (Scottish Sport 03/01/1899). Was Juniper Green connected with Hearts, or another Edinburgh team?
[url=http://www.PTEarlyYears.net/]Partick Thistle - The Early Years - A Club History Online[/url]

soccerhistory
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Post by soccerhistory » Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:40 pm

There has never been any doubt in my mind that the Lincoln player is the same man. However, it seems likely the Lincoln committee thought they had obtained the other John Walker as they believed their signing was "one of the 44 selected for the test matches out of which eleven were chosen to contest England."

The copy of the death certificate (he died in Scotland) is barely legible, although it seems likely his parents were John and Sarah.

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Post by Scottish » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:48 am

soccerhistory wrote:The copy of the death certificate (he died in Scotland) is barely legible, although it seems likely his parents were John and Sarah.
Can you make out his age? That would narrow birth year down to one of two years - e.g. aged 30 in 1900 means born in either 1869 or 1870. And with parents names it further narrows the search.

A search on the LDS site (not as accurate as scotlandspeople but free to use) throws up two possibilities for John Walker, son of John & Sarah and born between 1865-1875.

John Walker, born Galston, Ayrshire, 28/3/1867. Parents John Walker & Sarah McCarter

John Ann Philip Walker, born Savoch, Aberdeen, 16/9/1869. Parents John Walker & Sarah Cassie

John Walker, born Campbeltown, Argyll, 5/5/1870. Parents John Walker & Sarah Carruthers

soccerhistory
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Post by soccerhistory » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:26 pm

Walker was 22 when he died (Aug 1900), which means he was born in 1877 or 1878. His mother is definitely Sarah (maiden name unclear) while John is the most likely name of his father. The handwriting on the certificate has a distinct style, and it is not always easy to decipher what it says.

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Post by Scottish » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:05 am

Can you make out the location of death, marital status and any middle name?

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Post by Cinneide » Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:17 am

soccerhistory wrote:Walker was 22 when he died (Aug 1900), which means he was born in 1877 or 1878.
I hadn't realised he had died so young. Does the death certificate have a cause of death?
[url=http://www.PTEarlyYears.net/]Partick Thistle - The Early Years - A Club History Online[/url]

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Post by Steve Emms » Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:20 pm

I have a note (unfortunately I can trace the source of my information) that John Walker was born in South Africa

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