Susan Burley Walker

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KAPPA’S FIRST ALUMNA, Sue (Susan Burley) Walker (Vincent)

Susan Burley Walker, photographed as a student

Family: Born July 27, 1854, in Cameron, Marshall county, Virginia (now West Virginia). Her family moved to Monmouth in 1862; home was on the corner of Broadway and North C Street. Parents were William Walker, M.D., and Elizabeth Burley.

Education: Attended Monmouth College 1870-71, most likely as a sub-freshman; only Founder to follow the scientific course of study instead of the classical course.

Kappa Record: Youngest Founder (age 15 when asked to join in March 1870); the first member added to the group of the original four organizers March 1870; listed as Alpha 5. Unable to sign the charter because her mother was giving a formal dinner party and she was needed at home to help. First Alpha initiation for Martha Louisa Stevenson, held in her home on April 1, 1870.

Personal Data: Considered “the beauty” of the first Alphas. Married in 1876 Rev. Alvan Stuart Vincent. Had two daughters and one son; remembered for playing “The Kappa Waltz,” written and published by S. H. Price, a member of the Monmouth College Music Department, 1873. First Founder to die: May 2, 1897, age 42; originally buried with her parents in the Monmouth Cemetery. Disinterred November 12, 1912 and reburied in neighboring Glendale Cemetery, where she was joined by her husband in 1916 (privately-held Glendale Cemetery was later annexed by city-owned Monmouth Cemetery). Dates of birth and death on the original family marker are both incorrect, as proven by records (not born June 27, 1855, nor died 5 May 1897). Her current marker only gives her correct date of death.

Rev. and Mrs. Vincent followed a number of church callings, including but perhaps not limited to: Brighton, IA; Spring Hill, IN (Decatur County, classified as a ghost town since 1901); and Paxton, IL. The family returned to Monmouth in September 1896, for the education of their children. Sue was already suffering the effects of cancer, and surgeries which provided no relief from her suffering. A month after her passing, her husband accepted a call to preach at Emporia, KS. He died in 1916 at their daughter's home in Buffalo, NY. He had also been a Captain over colored troops in the Civil War.

Note: Fraternity history contains the least information on Sue. Josie Thompson (Brown), who was Anna Willits’s cousin, initiated at Sue Walker’s home (January 1871), also seems to have left college in 1871 and could possibly share the distinction with Sue of being the first Kappa alumna. Monmouth College records show no trace of Josie as a student, but do show that Sue left in 1871. Josie’s obituary states that she married soon after she left college; she married Rev. Isaac Brown in 1872; if 1872 is also the date she left Monmouth, then Sue is indeed the first alumna member. Sue was the only Founder who did not receive her college degree. All Fraternity histories agree that she is the first alumna.

Of the six Founders, only Lou Stevenson was formally initiated into membership. Before that, Anna Willits and then Sue Walker were only asked to join.

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