Jiles Thomas “JT” / “Tom” Walker and Sarah Marilla “Rilla” Gibson

Jiles Thomas went by Tom and sometimes by JT. He was born November 23, 1856 in TN. He was the 9th child of Charles C. Walker who had 7 children with his first wife and 5 more with his second wife, Sarah A. Jiles Thomas was the 2nd child of Sarah.

On March 8, 1874 he married Sarah Marilla Gibson “Rilla” (pronounced “really”) in Hardeman, TN. She was born September 8, 1858 in TN, daughter of Matthew Gibson and Adeline Harris. “Tom” and “Rilla” got married at the ages of 17 and 15.

Tom Walker left Tennessee in a covered wagon with his young wife Rilla Gibson and young son Matthew in a wagon train. They traveled across the whole state of TN and crossed the Mississippi River. He was about 21 years old when they left TN. My mother remembers that he use to tell stories to his grandchildren about the Smoky Mountains that her brother Perry use to love to hear.

I calculate they left TN for MO around 1876-1878. Their son Matthew was born in December of 1875 in TN and their daughter Sarah was born in 1878 in MO. The MO census in 1880 shows husband Thomas, wife Sarah Marilla, son Matthew age 4, and daughter Sarah age 2. The other people in the wagon train were Tom’s brother Noah Walker, Rilla’s sister Hetty Gibson, Matthew Gibson (father of the sisters), Matthew’s second wife and their younger children.

They went from Tennessee to Missouri and lived in Butler County, which is just across the Mississippi River, located in the southeast Ozark Foothills Region in Southeast Missouri. They stayed in MO quite a while about 15 to 16 years. They had children Sarah, Martha, Noah and Josie in MO. Josie was born in 1891.

They left around 1892/1893 and moved on to Indian Territory (which became Oklahoma). That was another long trip by wagon train. Matthew was his father Tom’s right hand man on the long trip when they went from MO to IT (in about 1893). Tom was about 37, Sarah was about 34, Matthew was about 17, and the rest of the children’s ages were Martha 11, Noah 9, and Josie 2.

The children Thomas, George and Hetty were all born in IT. They lived in IT for about 11 years. They are on the census taken in 1900 in the Indian Territory, Choctaw Nation. It says Rilla was the mother of 10 children with 6 living (the 6 would be Matthew, Noah, Josie, Thomas, George & Hetty). In 1903 they moved to AR. On the 1910, 1920 and the 1930 censuses they were living in Hickman Township, Scott Co., AR where they lived until they died.

Tom Walker’s home in Waldron was passed down to their son George. This is the place where George and Irtely lived in Waldron, AR until their deaths.

The picture below is of Jiles Thomas Walker and his wife Sarah Marilla “Rilla” Gibson. They are sitting on the grass. He has a walking stick or cane lying across his knee. My mother remembers that her grandmother would play with her and her siblings in the yard. She would sit down and say let me rest awhile then she would get up again and play with them.

Contributed by Linda Scheiner.
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