Friday, May 9, 2014

Zenobian Ilmer Walser (1873-1947)


   A prominent practitioner of law in Guilford County, North Carolina for over four decades, Zenobian Ilmer Walser's inclusion here on the site rests on his 1909 candidacy for Judge of North Carolina's Tenth District. The son of Gaither and Frances Byerly Walser, Zenobian I. "Nobe" Walser was born in North Carolina on July 16, 1873. The younger brother of Zeb Vance Walser (1863-1940) an attorney, state representative and North Carolina Attorney General, "Nobe" Walser decided upon a career in law at an early age, attending both the Yadkin College and the University of North Carolina, graduating from the latter in the class of 1893.
    After being admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1895 Walser entered into practice and after his brother was elected as North Carolina Attorney General would serve under him as a clerk. Zenobian I. Walser married in 1904 to fellow Yadkin College graduate Grace Daniels (1885-1925) and later had two children, Rebecca (1909-1982) and Grace Daniel (1912-2005). Following his wife's death in 1925 Walser would remarry to Alma Reagan (1884-1969) who survived him upon his death in 1947.
  For many years Z.I. Walser was connected with the law firm of Walser and Walser, which he operated with his brother Zeb.  Their firm would be retained as legal counsel for both the People's Bank of Thomasville, Georgia and the Western Union Telegraph Co. While Zeb Walser established a statewide reputation in politics, Zenobian refrained from pursuing public office until 1909, when he became the Republican candidate for Judge of North Carolina's Tenth District. In the November election he polled a respectable 93,804 votes to Benjamin Franklin Long's winning total of 140, 185. An electoral result from that contest is shown below.


   Following his defeat for this judgeship Walser returned to practicing law in Guilford County, and for many years was a parishioner of the First Presbyterian Church in High Point, North Carolina. Walser became a church deacon beginning in 1928, a church trustee in 1933, and would also serve as the President of the church's Men's Club. Walser continued active involvement in this church until his death at age 74 on August 28, 1947. Following his passing he was entered at the Oakwood Municipal Cemetery in High Point and was survived by his second wife Alma, who died at age 85 in 1969. 

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