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Sam Walker is the brother of Addy Walker.

Personality and Facts

Sam is Addy's older brother and fifteen at the start of the series. Like her and the rest of the family, he is enslaved and has been working like an adult for several years. He is tall like Ben, but skinny and when he smiles he still looks like a little boy.

At the start of the series, Sam is impulsive, defiant and sullen. He is bitter at being enslaved and longs to escape and fight for the Union army. Poppa describes him as having a hot head and a hot mouth, and worries he may get the family in trouble with his defiant, sulky actions. His parents hush him when he talks about escaping north. He has already attempted to escape once--just before Esther was born--but was tracked down by Master Stevens, brought back to the plantation, and tied to a tree and violently whipped as punishment in front of the other enslaved people until his back was bloody; Ruth is worried if he takes off a second time, they may never see him again. He has to be pushed into getting up to work by Ben and grumbles and works lazily at his jobs in the fields. At his age he is considered a grown man and must work like the other adults in the cotton fields rather than the tobacco fields with the younger children. Unlike his mother, his father, and Addy, he is not shown as working in any other tasks such as serving in the house or personal skills and most likely worked exclusively in the fields.

He has greatly matured upon his his return to the family at the end of Addy Saves The Day. He was able to escape his enslavement and join the Union forces to serve during the war. His left arm is amputated after it lost in a battle. Being a soldier has mellowed his attitude out; he is no longer as hot tempered, surly about working or grumpy, and growing up has made his voice deepen. He is much more thoughtful and less impulsive, and a hard worker to help the family financially. Addy thinks of Sam as capable of doing things just as well with one arm as he did two. He's very proud of having been a soldier and served.

Sam is smart, brave, and funny. He consistently comes up with riddles for his younger sister Addy to figure out and encourages her to keep her mind sharp. He taught Addy to swim and whistle, among many other skills she has. He has such long legs that Addy has to take two steps to each of his, and has a way of always making Addy feel better.

In The Books

Meet Addy: An American Girl

Sam is sleeping on his own pallet at Addy's feet, after working, while their parents are talking about escape. Ben discusses how Sam is a poor worker and could get them all in trouble; his last escape attempt he was caught and whipped violently in punishment, which Ben and Ruth had to clean up. Ruth brings up the last time he tried to escape and her fears that if he tries a second time they may never see him again.

The next day, Addy takes morning water to the field hands; this is the only time she has a chance to see Poppa or Sam during the day's work. She sees Sam and he has a riddle for her--what's smaller than a dog but can put a bear on the run? While she's thinking, Sam ladles water over his head to cool himself and the overseer snarls that the water is for drinking. Sam grumbles that even horses need to stop and cool off sometimes. Addy frets she should move on and he says not yet, as he's not done drinking and he's not gotten the answer to his riddle. He drinks as the overseer goes off in another direction, and then gets Addy's answer--a skunk. He praises Addy for being too smart and someday she'll be riddling him. Addy thinks about telling Sam about the overheard plan to escape, but thinks that if their parents wanted them to know they would have spoken to them.

Addy overhears, while serving dinner[2], Master Stevens and another White enslaver discussing selling slaves. The other man refers to Sam as "this boy you got for me" and if he'll try to run off again, and Master Stevens says he's been taught a lesson with the whip and the other enslaver will have his father too who can control him. Addy realizes with horror that they are talking about Sam and Poppa but she can't react. When she spills the water listening and is sent to get a rag to clean up, she tells Aunt Lula who gives her a plan to try and help them run by going out with the afternoon water and giving them a chance to flee. Addy is unsuccessful and Auntie Lula says they might be in the barn, to which Addy goes tearing off without stopping. Sam is already bound and gagged in a wagon near the field, with shackles on his hands and feet; he and Poppa are sold off and taken away.

Nearly a week after they were sold, Addy's riddle for Sam in her mind is "what's heavy as a water pail but still empty"--her heart. She neglects her tasks in her grief and is force fed the worms she misses. Momma says it was wrong that Sam and Poppa were sold, and brings the plan up with Addy that night to escape. When Addy asks about waiting for Sam and Poppa to come back, Ruth truthfully says that they won't come back there, no matter what, and Poppa had told Sam the plan to escape to Philadelphia the day after they'd been talking and they will be leaving tomorrow. Part of the reason Esther must be left behind is because without Sam and Poppa, Ruth can't safely carry Esther alone.

When Momma gives Addy her cowrie shell to wear, the cord she ties it on was Sam's shoelace, giving Addy two things to hold on to from her family.

Addy's Surprise: A Christmas Story

Ben--upon his return--tells Addy and Momma that the very next day after being sold, he and Sam were separated. He is unsure of where Sam was taken but suspects that it was even further south. Addy hopes that he escaped and Poppa says that if there was a way to run, Sam would have found it.

Addy Saves The Day: A Summer Story

At the church fair (after the attempted theft of the money boxes), Addy and Sarah are working the puppets at the children's booth again together, Addy as the soldier asks the dog the riddle "what's smaller than you, but can put a bear on the run?" Sarah answers cat incorrectly, but Addy says no. A deep voice in the crowd speaks out and says that the answer is so easy that even his little sister knows it--a skunk. Addy pops up from under the sheet to see a soldier that looks just like Poppa. Sam recognizes her immediately and says her name, and Addy says his and runs to him, throwing her arms around him and hugging him tightly. She pulls back to get a look at him and sees that his arm is missing; his left sleeve is pinned up and empty. She looks at him sadly and he tells her not to cry; his voice is much deeper now. He explains he lost his arm in a battle but he's fine and lucky to be there. He arrived in Philadelphia the day before and everything will be all right now that he's found her. Addy says she'll take him to Momma and Poppa and, as she skips besides him, says she has a riddle--what holds a family together so tight that nothing can pull it apart. When he gives up, she says love.

An additional add-on between books in A Heart Full of Hope explains that soon after settling in with his family, Sam gets a job working in a stable for a cab company to groom and harness the horses, clean the stalls, and clean the cabs; this is the job he has later in the short story Addy's Little Brother.

Changes for Addy: A Winter Story

Addy's Little Brother

High Hopes for Addy

When Addy is upset that her family is poor, Sam agrees that they are--but the family works hard for the money they have and there is no shame in that.

Shadows on Society Hill

Addy: An American Girl Story

Sam (second from left) reunited with his family.

Sam's events do not change much from the books. However, he is employed through the play as a spirit who communicates in Addy's mind while they are separated, and pushes her to be brave and think on her feet (such as when she saves Momma from drowning in the river). He appears shortly after the fair. and their reunion is shortly followed by the return of Auntie Esther and Lula.

In the Seattle production he was portrayed by Damion Rochester.

References

  1. Addy Saves the Day, Addy's letter: We need information about Samuel Walker. He about [seventeen] years old.
  2. This is referring to the midday meal.
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