Grandpa Zeb Walton is the patriarch of the Walton family. He is John's father and has been married to Esther Walton for over 50 years. As Esther says, he has a gruff exterior, but a soft heart. He works with John in the family timber mill, and has a knack of being able to give good advice to everyone who asks, through the stories he tells. He is a church going man, but tells us that he really only goes to church for the singing, and throughout the show we can see that he does indeed enjoy singing. Other past-times he enjoys are fishing, dozing, walking on his mountain and enjoying a sip of the Baldwin ladies "recipe". His death is referred to at the beginning of season 7, however he remains in spirit as he is fondly remembered by other family members quite frequently.
Grandma Esther Walton is John's mother and is a very strong, independent and determined woman. Although she often seems to be very gruff, she loves her family dearly. She is very religious and comments that in her youth she was expected to go to church on Sundays and that the preaching often went on all day. She helps Olivia to look after the family and takes over the load when Olivia is not able to. During the run of the show, Ellen Corby, the actress who played Grandma so beautifully, suffered a stroke which kept her out of the show for a season. Consequently Grandma Walton also suffered a stroke in the show and from the episode "Grandma Comes Home" she became partially incapacitated. She still appears, however, at all the important Walton events.
John, and his wife Olivia, eloped we are told, and they celebrate several anniversaries over the course of the series, their 25th being during season 6. John is not a church man, preferring to believe and worship his own way. With his father he runs the lumber mill, and has earnt the reputation of being an honest, hard working, reliable and kind man. He is "Daddy" to his seven children and they often turn to him for his kindly advice and support. He also seems to have quite romantic ideas such as taking his wife away on a honeymoon which they could never afford when first married. His one dream is to build another Walton home up on the mountain, to replace the one which was burned. He likes nothing better than to be up on the mountain whenever he can.
Olivia is the homemaker in the Walton household, "Mama" to her tribe. She is also a very religious woman and finds great comfort in reading her bible. She supports John in all that he does and is a very firm mother to her children, not tolerating any nonsense from them, but expecting them to all pitch in and help each other. She is mostly calm and says that it is a bad day whenever she loses her temper. Olivia gets great joy from raising and nurturing her children and is greatly upset to discover that she should have no more children. She contracts tuberculosis and is sent to recuperate away from her family, and she misses them greatly. In A Walton Wedding we see an Olivia who has become more liberated and has decided that she needs to go back to school so that she can learn more about her country.
The eldest Walton son, he is also known as John-Boy Walton. he is the eldest son. He is a very sensitive young man who is 18 at the beginning of the series, and aspires to be a writer, an ambition which he does in fact succeed at. When he graduates from the local high school he earns a scholarship to Boatwright University, where he majors in Journalism. He has many part time jobs, one of which is the running and writing of the Blue Ridge Chronicle, his own local newspaper. He eventually goes to the war zones to write war reports for a large newspaper. He also is very family orientated and has a special relationship with his brothers and sisters, especially young Elizabeth. Although he repects both his parents and grandparents, he is also stubborn enough to do what he feels is right, even if it means going against their wishes. He eventually marries Janet, a magazine editor from New York.
Jason is not much younger than John-Boy but seems to be continually trying to catch up with him. He sometimes feels that John-Boy is perfect and that he needs to be perfect too. He also finds it difficult when his father expects him to join him at working in the mill when he finishes high school. Jason is very musical, and decides to study music seriously. He earns a scholarship to study at the Klineberg Conservatory. At times he plays as a part of a group, both singing gospel music on the radio, and also playing at dances. He eventually takes over the Dew Drop Inn and marries Toni, a woman he met whilst in the army.
Mary Ellen is the eldest daughter, once a tomboy, who aspires to become a nurse. She meets her future husband, Curt Willard, when he comes to practice medicine in the Waltons Mountain community. She is working as his nurse, and is engaged to someone else. Their baby, John Curtis, is born and shortly after Curt is sent to war as part of the medical corps. Tragedy strikes when Curt is reported as being missing, presumed dead, and Mary Ellen becomes a single mother. She is very protective of John Curtis, perhaps overly so at times. She eventually meets and marries her second husband, Jonesy, and finds great happiness for herself and John Curtis with him. She also decides to return to study as a doctor and ends up delivering Jason's first baby.
Ben seems to be the one in the family who is always trying to make money by some type of scheme, and usually gets himself into trouble and has to be bailed out by his father or John-Boy. Even as an adult, running the mill in partnership with his father, he continues to make deals which sometimes don't work out well. He elopes to marry Cindy and together they have two children, Virginia and Charlie, to whom he is devoted. He continues to work at and run the timber mill with an assortment of people: his father, Paul Northridge, Erin's husband and Drew.
Erin's best friend is Mary Ellen and although they have many fights, they continue to be very close. Erin is considered to be the pretty one in the family, not the scholar. She falls in love many times and becomes especially fond of Ashley Longworth Junior, who breaks her heart when he leaves and marries someone else. She eventually meets Paul Northridge, who she marries and finds happiness with him. She works as a telephonist and later as a secretary.
James Robert is the youngest Walton boy and is better known as Jim-Bob. He is a young man who is fascinated by flying and planes, and aspires to be a pilot, however a need for glasses forces him to give up his dream. He eventually becomes a motor mechanic and opens his own business just opposite Ike's general store. He has a particularly close bond with Elizabeth, and although he has several girl friends it appears that his real love is Elizabeth's friend Aimee Godsey.
We see Elizabeth grow from a very young child into a young woman, through the course of the series. She is very sensitive, and seems to share John-Boy's love and talent for reading and writing. Her best friend is Aimee Godsey, Ike and Corabeth's daughter and Elizabeth is often given the chore of babysitting for her young nephews and nieces. She becomes romantically linked with Drew, who goes away to College then returns to Waltons Mountain to work in the mill, and she tells her father that she will eventually marry Drew. She has a mind of her own, and will not be swayed into doing the wrong thing by others.