Benjamin Walker (New York)

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Benjamin Walker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1801 – March 3, 1803
Preceded byJonas Platt
Succeeded byKillian Van Rensselaer
Personal details
London, England
DiedJanuary 13, 1818
Utica, New York
Resting placeForest Hill Cemetery (Utica, New York)[1]
Political partyFederalist Party
ResidenceUtica, New York

Captain Benjamin Walker (1753 – January 13, 1818) was a soldier in the American Revolutionary War and later served as a U.S. Representative from New York.

General George Washington Resigning His Commission, by John Trumbull, shows Walker standing directly behind Washington[2]

He was born in London, England, where he attended the Blue-Coat School. After immigrating to the United States, he settled in New York City. During the American Revolutionary War, he was an aide-de-camp to General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (during this appointment he was reputed to have been the male companion of the Baron)[3] and subsequently as a member of the staff of General George Washington. On December 23, 1783, he was with Washington when he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief.[2]

Together with a fellow aide-de-camp, William North, he was formally adopted by Steuben, and made his heir.[4] Some historians believe that these 'extraordinary intense emotional relationships'[5] were romantic,[6] and given Steuben's reported earlier behaviour, it has been suggested it would have been out-of-character for him if they were not.[7] It has also been posited that while Walker held the Baron in high esteem, and had no scruples about exploiting his attraction for him, he had no intention of reciprocating.[8] However, without more substantive evidence turning up, the exact nature of the relationships is impossible to define conclusively.[9]

From March 21, 1791 until February 20, 1798, Walker served as a captain and as naval officer of customs at the port of New York. He was moved to Fort Schuyler, now Utica, in New York State, in 1797. He also worked as an agent of the great landed estate of the Earl of Bath.

Walker was elected as a Federalist to the Seventh Congress (March 4, 1801 - March 3, 1803). After his tenure, he declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1802.

Walker died in Utica, New York, on January 13, 1818. He was first interred in the Old Village Burying Ground on Water Street but was exhumed and reinterred in Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica on June 17, 1875.

Walker Street in Manhattan was named in his honor.[10]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

  1. ^ Forest Hill Cemetery. History.
  2. ^ a b "General George Washington Resigning His Commission". Architect of the Capitol.
  3. ^ William Benemann, Male-Male Intimacy in Early America: Beyond Romantic Friendships, Haworth Press 2006 ISBN 1-56023-345-1
  4. ^ Kapp, Friedrich The Life of Frederick William Von Steuben, Major General in the United States Army, Mason Brothers, New York 1859, p. 707.
  5. ^ American National Biography - Volume 16 - Page 513. n.b. Contrary to many online articles, this phrase does not appear in Steuben's final Will:
  6. ^ Benemann, William Male-Male Intimacy in Early America: Beyond Romantic Friendships Haworth Press, 2006, ISBN 1-56023-345-1
  7. ^ Quinn, Michael D. Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans, University of Illinois Press, 2001, pp179-180
  8. ^ Benemman, pp. 102-03
  9. ^ Benemann, p. 102
  10. ^ Henry Moscow, The Street Book: An Encyclopedia of Manhattan’s Street Names and Their Origins, Fordham University Press, New York (1990).

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jonas Platt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 9th congressional district

March 4, 1801 – March 3, 1803
Succeeded by
Killian Van Rensselaer