Born near Binghamton, New York, GILBERT CARLTON WALKER attended Williams College briefly and graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York in 1854. After studying and practicing law in New York, he moved to Chicago, where he headed a law firm, and then to Virginia in 1865, settling in Norfolk, where he organized the Exchange National Bank. Walker was elected governor in 1869, but served as provisional governor for three months prior to the scheduled start of his term following the resignation of his predecessor, Henry Wells. While governor, Walker proposed funding of Virginia’s debt and the transfer of the state’s railroad interests to private ownership. He also put Virginia’s first public education system on sound footing and worked to improve conditions in the state’s prisons and mental institutions.
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