Walter L. Hembree was a native Oregonian, born in McMinnville October 6, 1872. he was reared and educated in the public schools and college and at the Monmouth state normal. he worked in a bank in Monmouth one year and afterwards engaged in farming for three years. In 1896 he opened a stationery and book store. He added the agency for Columbia bicycles and the station of the Oregon Telephone Co. He served as school clerk from March 1897 to 1898. In November 1898, he was elected city recorder. Hembree was also a skillful solo alto player of the McMinnville band.