In the spring of 1885, Marcus Whitman Walker filed on a claim on Axford Prairie and built a cabin. He then returned to Oregon for his family.
Telling of their trip, Richard says:
"We started from Shedd with two wagons, two teams, one extra riding horse, two colts, and a cow. My older brothers took turns driving one of the teams and riding the horse. It was an easy trip to Forest Grove through Corvallis and up the west side of the Cowlitz. We stayed there a few days with relatives.
From Forest Grove we drove over the Canyon road to Portland where we took a stern-wheeler to Freeport (West Kelso). Then we headed through Winlock over a government-built road, passed Chehalis, and came down a big hill into Centralia. There we sold a three-year old horse that turned out to be a fast trotter.
We then drove to Montesano where we took a scow for the live-stock. Mother, myself (Richard - seven), and John - five, stayed in Hoquiam two days, then took a rowboat to New London warehouse. Father, had thought there was a road from there clear through to Humptulips but after going three miles we came to the end of the road.
There we had to abandon the wagons and pack everything in over the trail, horseback. Making the best of it, Father set to work hewing out pack saddles with his axe, and putting on irons. Having been a Commissary Sargent in the service, in charge of loading, he soon had our belongings expertly packed on the horses' backs. I rode to Axford on a pack horse along with the pack.
Father sent out for wheels and saws and belts and bolts and nuts, and in 1887 build a small mill which supplied many early-day settlers with lumber.
We boys had no opportunity for schooling until 1889 when Mrs. Lindsay taught in her home at the lower edge of Stevens Prairie. The distance being about four miles, John and I rode horseback. The other pupils were Roy and Charles Lindsay and the Brittain children - Lydia "Lyda", Fred, Charlie, and Darwin. Later a schoolhouse was built on a corner of our homestead.
The story is told that when Richard and John Walker were boys they attended a dance at Humptulips. There was a row of teen-aged girls seated on a bench. The boys walked up and looked them over. Pointing, Richard said, "I'll take this one." "Then, I'll take that one," John declared. The women were surprised to see the girls eagerly rise to dance with them. Later Herman scolded his brothers for their ill manners."