James Walker was born in approximately 1842 in Maryland. He served in Company K, 118th USCT during the Civil War. That regiment was organized in Baltimore, Maryland in October of 1864 and participated in the siege of Petersburg and the occupation of Richmond. It also served at Brownsville and on the Rio Grande in Texas. After the war, Walker came to Champaign and worked as a day laborer. He died on 1 May 1894 and is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Urbana.