I'm going to cover these brothers in the same blog since they led a very similar life together. Neither brother ever married or had children. John W Walters is the eldest child of John Walters and Elizabeth Barker. He was born in 1833 in Fulton County, Illinois. The next born child was Thomas, he was born 13 March 1835 in Fulton County, Illinois.
A note to start about Thomas Walters. His biography posted below states that he fought in the Blackhawk War in Illinois. That could not have been possible as the War was fought in the years 1831 - 1832 before Thomas was born. There was a Thomas Walters that served in the Blackhawk War from Fulton County, Illinois - but not this Thomas Walters. There were three John Walters that served - most likely the father of Thomas Walters served in the Blackhawk War and not either of his sons.
The first record we find for both brothers is the 1850 Federal Census for Joshua Township, Fulton County, Illinois. They are living with their father, John, and his second wife, Elizabeth Jones. Also living with them is their youngest brother Cannah Walters, and their sister, Susan Ann Walters. The occupation listed is farming.
We know next that they followed the trail West to the state of Washington. We know this because a short biography was written on Thomas Walters in the book "An Illustrated History of the Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams, and Franklin counties, State of Washington", published in 1904 by the Western Historical Publishing Co. The transcription of the biography is below.
From the article above we know both Thomas and John left Illinois in 1859 and traveled West. We can find them in the 1860 Federal Census living together with two other men in Walla Walla, Walla Walla County, Washington. Their occupation is laborer. Between 1860 and 1865 they appeared to have moved around a bit from mining in Orofino, Idaho and then down to Boise, Idaho doing the same. They were thought to be making as much as $800 a day mining. In 1865 they sold their mining interests and later that year Thomas bought a farm back in Walla Walla. The brothers are found living there in the 1870 Federal Census.
Thomas is next found in 1878 in the Washington State Census living in Hangmans Creek, Stevens County, Washington. He is a stock raiser now. John is not listed with him at this time.
In 1880 both brothers are found living in Crab Creek, Lincoln County, Washington. They continue to be found in the Washington State Censuses in 1885, 1887 and 1889.
John W Walters dies in April of 1900, presumably in Lincoln County, Washington. I have not been able to find where he is buried.
We find Thomas next int he 1900 Federal Census living in the Wilson Creek precinct, Lincoln County, Washington. It is most likely that Thomas is still living in the same location, as his biography states that he has lived in the same location since 1874. Living with him is Joseph Barker - Joseph is listed as his Cousin. I haven't researched the Barker lineage yet to see whom Joseph's parents are but I would assume Joseph's father to be the brother of Thomas's mother, Elizabeth Barker.
The article above from the book "An Illustrated History of the Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams, and Franklin counties, State of Washington" also contained a picture of Thomas Walters. I have attached it below.
Thomas Walter is again found in the Wilson Creek precinct, Lincoln County, Washington in the 1910 Federal Census. He is living with the William Stubblefield and family. He is listed as the partner to William. I assume they were business partners.
Thomas Walters dies 19 January 1916 at his home. His obituary was posted in The Wilbur Register, Wilbur, Washington on the 21st of January 1916. The transcribed copy is below.
I do not know where Thomas Walters is buried.
Both Thomas and John led a very similar life and appeared to stayed together for their entire lives.