Daniel Spindler Walton
Born at Ryerson’s Station, Greene County, May 17, 1853, Daniel Spindler Walton was the son of Daniel McFarland Walton and the former Mary M. Drake. After the 1859 death of his mother, Daniel helped his father run a store, mill, and farm before moving with his dad, in 1873, to Askaloosa, Iowa, where the future senator attended college and studied law with Judge Rhinehart. Returning to the Waynesburg area, he became an 1874 member of the Greene County bar, completing studies at Waynesburg College in 1877 with a Master of Arts degree. He read with attorneys Wiley and Buchanan and eventually formed a partnership with the two men
Walton presided over the Waynesburg borough council in 1884, served as a member of the school board, directed the Waynesburg Electric Light and Power Company, and headed the board of trustees of Waynesburg College. He married his wife of over 60 years on March 18, 1873, the former Mary Ann “Mollie” Buchanan of Waynesburg.
He was elected state Senator, Fayette-Greene, (40th District) in 1894, battling a heavily favored Democrat, Mathias Brant, becoming the first Republican elected to the state’s upper house from the “Gibraltar of Democracy” Greene County. Elected president pro tempore at the close of the 1897 session, during the ensuing fall election Democrat Albert D. Boyd thwarted Walton’s bid for another four-year term and certain re-election to the Senate’s top seat. Walton, however, returned to the upper house in 1906, serving four additional years after reapportionment paired Greene with Washington County, rather than the heavily Democratic Fayette. He chaired the Legislative Apportionment and Education Committees.
Senator Walton suggested caps for medical malpractice awards in 1897, in the same session promoting the state-labor arbitration bill, the Brewers and Distillers Act, state convention reform, the state Free Election Bill, and the Joint Appeals measure. In 1895, he backed Grady, Smith, and Gobin’s push for the Superior Court system and the Wrongful Injury Bill. His greatest accomplishment, however, emerged with the passage of the 1909 Public School Code, Walton presiding as Education Committee chair during the session. He also backed passage of the Legislative Reference Bureau measure, supported insurance industry anti-fraud legislation, and advocated the death penalty for first degree murder. The senator helped pass the McCord Primary Election Bill but maintained a strict Penrose stance on most progressive reform initiatives.
Senator Walton emerged as one of Waynesburg’s “most prominent citizens” and a charter member and organizer of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. The Honorable Daniel Spindler Walton died in Waynesburg at age 81, September 10, 1934.