Wed | Jan 23, 2019

Jerald Walker – last blacksmith of his era has passed

Published:Thursday | October 1, 2015 | 12:00 AMPaul H. Williams

Jerald 'Maas Jimmy' Walker, late of Seaforth, St Thomas, was known the world over as a master Kumina drummer and drum-maker. And for years he drummed for the National Dance Theatre Company.

In an article written about him in The Gleaner in 2009, he was referred to as the real Kumina king.

But Walker was also king in another endeavour, blacksmithry. It was his day job for years, having started at age 11. In the 2009 interview, he said he had gone to live with an older brother after his mother died when he was very young. Living with that brother didn't work out; he said he was mistreated.

Walker was born in the district of Georgia in the said parish, and lived in York before settling in Seaforth for good. Having moved away from his brother, he said he was introduced to blacksmithry by one Eric Fuller, who showed him the basics. He liked the trade and evolved into a very popular blacksmith, who was even in demand in Portland and Clarendon.

He made pickaxes, crow bars, horseshoes, and many other metal equipment and tools. And not only did he make different sizes horseshoes, he also shoed the horses himself. He said he stopped shoeing horses because someone borrowed his tools and did not return them.

Walker was buried on September 12 in Seaforth. After his interment, there was a big Kumina party. There was even a bigger one the night before.