Joseph Marshall Walker (1786 - 20 January 1856) was a Louisiana soldier, politician. He was Governor of Louisiana in 1850 - 1853.
Marshall was born to a English father and a French Creole mother in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. At that time Louisiana was a colony of Spain. As a young man he went to Mexico to futher his education, and was commissiond a Lieutenant of the Dragoons there, and then became Master of the Military School of Chihuahua. After his home provence was transfered to the United States he resigned his commission from the Spanish Army, and for a time ran a profitable business of exporting horses from Mexico to Louisiana and Mississippi.
After the outbreak of the War of 1812 he returned to New Orleans and enlisted in the Louisiana State Militia. He served fighting against the British in the Battle of New Orleans at Chalmette, Louisiana.
A member of the United States Democratic Party, in 1820 he was first elected to public office, as a member of the Lower House of the Louisiana Legislature.
On 22 January 1822, he was made Brigadier General of the First Brigade of the State Militia, serving concurently with his role as a member of the state house.
Walker was reelected to the legislature in 1822, 1832, and 1836. He was active in promoting the State Militia, and was credited with improving the organization and discipline of that force.
In 1846 he served as State Treasurer.
In 1849 he ran for Governor, winning against split Whig opposition from General Alexander De Clouet and Duncan F. Kenner. On 28 January 1850 he became the first governor inaugurated in the new state capital at Baton Rouge.
As governor he established a public school system for white children.
There was widespread opposition to the 1846 State Constitution, and a convention adopted a new one in 1852. Walker strongly objected to this doccument, and resigned because of this the following year, and retired to a family plantation in Rapides Parish. He turned down offers from Democratic Party officials to be their candidate for the United States House of Representatives. Joseph Marshall Walker died three years later.
Walker was followed as governor by Paul O. Hebert.