Walker, Thomas (c. 1718-1785)

Merchant of Montreal and Boston.

Immigrated to Boston (1752), then to Montreal (1763). Justice of the Peace (1764). Prominent, often pugnacious spokesman for the Montreal merchant community; quarreled bitterly with the authorities over the quartering of British troops. Was assaulted by political opponents who broke into his house, beat him, and cropped one of his ears (December 1764). Sympathized with the American Revolution; circulated Continental Congress’s appeal for support (1774), supplied military information to Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen, and recruited Canadians to fight the British. Arrested for anti-British activities (1775); freed by Americans who captured the ship that was carrying him to Quebec. Returned to Montreal, where he housed Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll during their visit to that city (1776). Fled Montreal with Franklin and Carroll when the American army withdrew; Franklin wrote of Walker and his wife, “I think they both have excellent Talents at making themselves Enemies, and I believe, live where they will, they will never be long without them.” They settled in Boston.

Born in England.