Rudolph Schiller Walton

December 28, 1826 - November 10, 1900

Rudolph Schiller Walton was born in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia . He was educated in private schools in the area and entered the workforce at the age of 13 as an errand boy.

In 1843, he became an apprentice to a wholesale merchant and manufacturer, where he learned the trade of hatmaking. About two years later, following his mother's advice, Rudolph began his own hatmaking business. Using a few hundred dollars he had saved, he set up shop at 360 Market street (under the old numbering system. Under the current numbering system, the address is 1024 Market street). He proved to be a very successful hatmaker, as in 1871 he purchased several more buildings on the same block and moved his store.

Five years later, he joined his interests with a local merchant named John Wanamaker, and became the first merchant to sell his wares in the Wanamaker department store. Mr. Walton continued to run his own business until he retired in 1896, but remained involved in an advisory capacity for the rest of his life.

Rudolph Walton was very involved in the Presbyterian Church, serving at various times as Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent, trustee and elder of the first Independent Church, later known as the Chambers Presbyterian Church. It was at this church, in 1850, where he married Mary Elizabeth WRiggins, whom he remained married to until his death. The couple had no children. He later became a member of the Oxford Presbyterian Church, and still later helped found the Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr. In later years, he moved to a house on Green Lane in Roxborough, and took an active interest in the Leverington Presbyterian Church.

Rudolph Walton was deeply interested in educational work. He was one of the managers of the Walton Private School at 21st and Spruce Streets, and of other private institutions. He was also a member of the Board of Managers of St. Timothy's Hospital and of the Lying-in Charity and Nurse's School. For many years he was a member of the Board of Education of the Presbyterian Church of the United States.

In May, 1892. Rudolph Walton was appointed a member of the Philadelphia Board of Education, where he remained unitl his death. He was a member of many of the leading committees of the time.

In the summer of 1900, Mr. Walton entered St. Timothy's Hospital and was operated on for "internal problems." He never fully regained his health and was readmitted in serious condition in late October of the same year. Two weeks later, Rudolph S. Walton died of uraemic poisoning and pneumonia.


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