Charles S. Walton: A Biography

When Charles S. Walton, Sr. passed away on December 26, 1916, the headline of the local newspaper read, “Radnor Township Sustains an Incalculable Loss.” Over 500 mourners gathered at the Walton estate, Walmarthon, to remember a man who had been an intricate part of their community. During his lifetime he taught Sunday school, founded one church and two charity organizations, served on the local School Board, was involved with the YMCA, created scholarships for college students, and provided a home for returning missionaries and inner city children. He served as a director in the Baptist Publication Society, and an officer or director of 3 banks, four insurance corporations, and nine other corporations, including the famed England, Walton, & Co. leather tanners. He ran his businesses on the strictest Christian principles and treated his employees equally. He was a man ahead of his time in many aspects.  Eastern benefactor John Baird writes, “[Mr. Walton] would be called a workaholic today, yet he enjoyed his family, was a devoted husband, and an affectionate father… He had little time for such diversions as bowling or dominoes, for he had bigger worlds to conquer.” The Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography states simply that Mr. Walton was “a man of wonderful heart.”

He lived on the principle that whatever you have is yours only so that you can use it for others and for God. Both Mr. and Mrs. Walton dreamed of having a house that was opened to the community. There were no gates on the massive estate, and the house was designed with grand porches and open spaces in order to accommodate many people. It did not matter if you were the president of the United States or an inner city child seeking to escape the hot sun, everyone was welcomed at Walmarthon. Mr. Walton wanted to show the love of Christ to a world that desperately needed it. When he suddenly passed away at the age of 54, he left behind an incredible legacy. The work that Mr. Walton started 100 years ago lives on today. His dream of having a place where people could come and learn about Jesus Christ came true. May the example of the Mr. Walton and his love for Christ continue to inspire generations to come.

Image courtesy of Russell Risden/Radnor Historical Society

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