Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Anna Elizabeth Leger Walker, 1859-1948
By Margo McCutcheon and Daniel F. Flores
This entry has been republished with special permission from the Handbook of Texas Women, a project of the Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwaa1. Accessed September 15, 2019.
WALKER, ANNA ELIZABETH LEGER (1859–1948). Anna Elizabeth Leger Walker, teacher, property owner, and suffragist, daughter of Clarisse Augustine (Le Marchand) and Louis Jacques Leger, was born on October 15, 1859, in Paris, France. Louis Leger worked as a farmer before becoming a teacher and principal of the Gospel Society's school in St. Denis, France, for twenty-four years. The family immigrated to the United States and arrived in New York City on the ship Atalanta on August 23, 1869. By 1870 they settled in Brookfield, LaSalle County, Illinois, where Louis Leger farmed until the family moved to Seward County, Nebraska, in 1873. Anna Leger was the fifth of thirteen children.
Anna Leger became a teacher and a member of the State Teachers Association of Nebraska by 1885 in Seward, Nebraska. She attended the State University of Nebraska in 1889 and then the Normal School at Lincoln in 1890. Leger continued her pursuit of knowledge after attending these institutions by taking lessons at the Teachers' Institute, where she studied subjects such as botany as well as taught her own lessons. During her teaching career, Leger attended the international meeting of teachers in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1891. She joined the Lancaster County Teacher's Association and served as its vice-president in 1892 and as president one year later. During fall 1893 after moving to Beatrice, Nebraska, where her sister Leah Leger also worked as a teacher, Leger taught the first grade and later became the secretary for the Southeast Nebraska Educational Association. She resigned from teaching around October 11, 1895, and married Lewis Edward Walker (1854–1919) in Beatrice on October 22, 1895. Lewis Walker held a variety of jobs before and after moving to Beatrice, where he worked as a bank cashier, president of the Beatrice Oat Meal Manufacturing Company, and receiver at Hutchinson & Southern Railroad—all in 1895. He and his first wife Bessie J. Yule, who died on January 17, 1894, had three children: Mamie G., Louise, and Robert Y. Anna Walker and her family, likely following her husband's career in the railroad business, lived in Kansas, Colorado, and, by 1900, Iowa with their three children Lewis B., Francis Edward, and Mary E. The family moved to Texas around 1907 and settled in Austin, where Lewis Walker worked as a prominent builder for the railroad.
Anna Walker voted in three other states before moving to Texas, and "she voted as a matter of course and cannot recall a single instance when it interfered with her duty and privilege of wife and mother." As such, around 1911–12 Walker became the president of the Austin Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), a position she held for at least three years. Walker advocated programs, such as classes teaching about the suffrage cause, during her tenure. She also had ties to the Texas Woman Suffrage Association, which later became the Texas Equal Suffrage Association (TESA). During 1913 Walker was elected treasurer at the group's organizational convention in San Antonio. She served as treasurer until at least 1915 and then second vice-president in 1917 and in 1918 while living in Dallas. Walker's support for woman suffrage extended to public responses to editorials, such as when, in April 1913, she answered a Dallas Morning News editorial that questioned why suffragists sought a national rather than state amendment for the right to vote.
In 1920, a year after the death of her husband, Walker and her three children lived together in Austin before Walker lived alone the following two decades. Although she did not have an official occupation, she bought and sold land in Austin throughout her life. During her seventies, she worked as a phone operator and a teacher. At the age of eighty-nine, Anna Elizabeth Leger Walker died from myocarditis caused by diphtheria on November 6, 1948, in Austin. Reverend Clarence Easton officiated the funeral, and she was buried next to her husband in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.
Austin American, June 7, 1914. Austin Statesman, November 6, 1913; November 14, 1919; November 10, 1948. W. W. Cox, History of Seward County, Nebraska, Together with a Chapter of Reminiscenses of the Early Settlement of Lancaster County, (Lincoln, Nebraska: State Journal Company, 1888). Dallas Morning News, April 8, 1913. San Antonio Express, April 2, 1913.