Sketch of Capt. Simeon Milliken Walls
By Dr. F. H. Walls
Captain Simeon Milliken Walls, the subject of this sketch, was born at Mt. Desert, Maine, on the 12th of August, 1821. His parents were Captain Thomas and Prudence Milliken Walls. Captain Walls' father being a sea captain, he very naturally followed the same avocation. His education was what could be obtained in the country schools of that day. When he was eighteen years of age he realized the need of more education in order to become a navigator, and he spent two years in the Polytechnic Institute at Boston, taking a course in navigation and maritime law. He very soon became a ship master and for many years was a member of the American Ship Masters' Association.
In the fall of 1849 Captain Walls took a cargo of provisions and mining supplies around Cape Horn to San Francisco, and disposing of his vessel there he went into the gold mines and took up engineering, at which work he was quite successful having had considerable training in the Boston School. His love for the sea would not let him remain long on the land, however and in a couple of years he returned to his first love and the rest of his life was spent on the water.
During the Civil War Captain Walls distinguished himself by offering to take a cargo of supplies to General Butler's army at New Orleans when the entrance to that port was supposed to be blockaded by Confederate vessels and mines. He was successful in this venture and near the close of the war he offered to take a cargo of forage and supplies to General Grant's army and again successfully ran the blockade at the mouth of the James river, receiving each time high commendation from the authorities at Washington.
Captain Walls married Miss Ann Reed of Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1844, and the first two or three years of his married life made his home at Mount Desert, Maine. In 1847 he moved to Trenton, Maine, where he resided until 1864 when he moved his family to Vineland, New Jersey, in order to be near Philadelphia, between which port and Mediterranean ports he was trading.
Captain Walls' attention was first called to Vineland in 1863 when his vessel was loading a cargo of fruit in Messina. The captain of a neighboring vessel handed him a copy of the Vineland Rural to read, remarking as he handed him the paper, "That place must be a second Garden of Eden." Captain Walls after reading the "Rural" determined to visit Vineland, which he did on his return to Philadelphia. Upon his visit he was so impressed with the location of the town and the enthusiasm of the founder, Mr, Charles K. Landis, that he immediately offered his home in Maine for sale and in the summer of 1864 moved to Vineland, buying a small farm on the Southwest Boulevard.
Captain Walls was a man of splendid physique, of strong character and of great executive ability, a man whose judgment and advice was much sought for by his associates. In the summer of 1870 Captain Walls met with an accident from the effects of which he never recovered, and on the 12th day of August, 1871, just fifty years from the day of his birth, he passed from this life.
Captain Walls was survived by his wife and four children. Mrs. Walls passed away on the 31st day of December, 1894.
Through his mother Captain Walls could trace his ancestry back to 1686 when Edward Milliken landed in Boston from Scotland. The Milliken family settled early in Dunstun and Scarboro, Maine and were instrumental in the early development of that state. From that day to the present many of its leading citizens, including the present governor, have been descendants of this family.
The Historian writes of the Milliken family as follows: "Since the days of their chivalrous Norman-Saxon ancestors and their Scotch and Scotch-Irish forefathers the loyalty, patriotism and courage of the members of this family have never been questioned. They fought with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings and with Richard Cameron at Airdmoss. They were in the army of the Boyne and Enneskillen. Suffered at the siege of Londonderry, Ireland and have borne arms in every war since the settlement of the American Colonies. The pension records at Washington show the names of twelve men from this family who served during the Revolution and six of them were from the family in Scarborough, Maine. The names of sixteen others stand on the pension list who fought in the war of 1812. During the war with Mexico several of this family served under Gen. Winfield Scott. This family was represented by more men in the Union and Confederate armies than any other in the country. More than one hundred soldiers bearing this name having borne arms in that fratricidal struggle."
Two of Captain Walls' sons, Winslow W. Walls and Dr. Frank H. Walls, are residents of Vineland, the youngest son, Alonzo H. Walls, is a resident of Camden and the only daughter, Mrs. May F. Swain, resides with a daughter in Bridgeton.