Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

April 17, 2014

A.C. history by Enfys McMurry


The Daily Iowegian

---- — April 17, 1925: Nellie Walker was born in Red Oak but from infancy on, Moulton was her hometown. Her father was Moulton’s stone carver and monument maker. Nellie watched him work and occasionally used his tools. At 17 she made a bust of Abraham Lincoln. It was displayed at the Columbian Exposition of 1893. This bust can be seen today in the Garrett Memorial Library in Moulton. Another of her works can also be seen in Moulton: an early version of her statue, The Benediction. Nellie was just 4’ 8” in height, an unlikely physical size to be a sculptor working with large stones. But Nellie was one of the most outstanding sculptors in the nation in a day when women were not supposed to consider such a profession. She worked for six years as a legal secretary and saved her money to attend the nation’s prestigious Art Institute of Chicago. From then until her death in 1973, she produced one sculpture after another. They include Chief Keokuk in Keokuk: and Soldiers of 1812 at Springfield, Ill. Her most famous work was a statue of James Harlan, Iowa senator. It stood in the Hall of the Columns in the U.S. Senate until it was replaced recently with one of Iowa’s Norman Borlaug. Nellie died in 1973. She is buried in Row 34 at Moulton’s Oakland Cemetery, on J5T, west of town. (reference only on 270-271)