Carl was born April 9, 1897 at Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, Florida. His parents were C. W. “Kyle” and Martha Jane “Mattie” (Mathis) Walker. His early years were spent in St. Lucie, Brevard and Polk Counties.
After moving to Hillsborough County he would enlist in the Army on May 4, 1917 at Plant City. He saw time overseas and was honorably discharged Sept. 6, 1919, remaining in the army reserve until his discharge on September 15, 1920, where he began his career in law enforcement working with the Federal prohibition office under Maj. F. M. Williams.
Federal Agent Carl Walker’s exploits as a top notch prohibition agent operating out of the Tampa office spread throughout Florida. He had found his calling in life. Nothing would prevent him from “getting his man!” January of 1922 he was accredited with capturing the biggest bootlegging operation Hernando County had seen at that time. He was ruthless and used trickery in his mission to rid Florida of moonshiners, whether posing as a thirsty traveler in need of a cool drink, or a bootlegger himself, a kindred spirit. He would hide out in the thick underbrush for days to assure a successful raid. It was a dangerous occupation. Carl was fired upon on many occasions, resulting at times in the deaths of his fellow agents. Returned fire sometimes meant a dealer in illicit liquor would die also. Inquests were held and jury’s exonerated him. He became a detective on the local level and in May of 1924 was given charge of the Bureau of Records. Tampa Tribune ran the announcement with the following headline; “Carl Walker, Former Rum Sleuth, Takes Police Record Bureau.”
By 1925 Carl was a Deputy Sheriff in Hillsborough County and facing a serious charge of murder for killing two men in Paso County while assisting on a moonshine raid. Again, the headlines read…”Pasco Men Are Slain When They Open Fire On Agents From Tampa.” In the killing of the two men, the verdict was that “Preston Overstreet and Neil Wilson came to their death at the hands of C. C. Walker, deputy sheriff, in self-defense while in performance of his duty.” To this day the descendants of these two men believe otherwise and Carl Walker’s name is being slandered. On October 16, 1933 in Tallahassee, Carl was appointed a State Conservation Officer for Pasco County. He was now living in Dade City. During his time in this capacity he confiscated a relative’s fishing nets for seining, which was illegal. Yes, he was ruthless, but he believed in upholding the law in the performance of his duty, even when it was a family member. He was still working for the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission in 1946. Carl’s entire professional life revolved around law enforcement and even when he died at the age of seventy-eight he was working as a security guard.
Carl was married four times. June 22, 1924 he married Carrie Mae Larkin. They had two children together, Carl, Jr. who died during WWII, and Mary Frances. Perhaps it was the demands of his job, the travel, the high energy called for in the performance of his duties, but whatever the reason they divorced, only to remarry in 1937. They divorced a year later. Carl married Gladys Close in 1941 and in 1942 they were divorced, also. He found and married Pauline Godwin in 1944 and they were married until Carl’s death in 1975.
Carl was a member of the Elks, having been initiated into the Tampa Lodge, February 21, 1923.
He passed away at the Tampa Veteran’s Hospital February 23, 1975 and is buried at the Land O’Lakes Cemetery in Hillsborough County.
Author: Linda Flowers
Source: Tampa Trbune; Family History