Daniel Walker, a Cherokee freedman, became one of the most accomplished African American cowboys working in the Cherokee Nation prior to statehood. After the Civil War ended, Clement Vann Rogers hired Walker to work on Rogers's prosperous and large ranch in the Cooweescoowee District. Walker, originally from Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, was the best rider and roper who ever worked the Rogers ranch. Walker taught Clem Rogers's youngest son, Will, how to ride, rope, and care for horses. Will would later take the skills learned from Walker to the 101 Ranch Wild West Show and Hollywood, becoming a national celebrity. Walker owned a small farm of his own and worked the Rogers ranch for seven years and the Charles M. McClellan ranch for seven years. Walker's wife, Agnes, was the housekeeper and cook for the Clem Rogers home and served as a midwife at Will's birth. The Walker children were the playmates for young Will Rogers. After his mother died, Will spent much of his time in the Walker home. Daniel Walker also served as a posseman for deputy U.S. marshals in the Cherokee Nation. Walker's two sons, Charlie and Mack, also became excellent cowboys skilled with the rope. Will Rogers stayed close to Uncle Dan and Aunt Babe, as Agnes was called, for the duration of his life. Daniel Walker played a silent role in helping to develop one of the greatest talents in American history, Will Rogers.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Agnes Walker interview, Indian Pioneer Papers, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Arthur Frank Wertheim and Barbara Bair, eds., The Papers of Will Rogers: The Early Years, Vol. 1, November 1879-April 1904 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996).
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