Walter H. Cummings was born May 18th, 1852 to Almon and Jane Miller Cummings of Warsaw, NY. He grew up on his parents' farm and was educated at Perry and Warsaw Academies. At sixteen, Walter left home to work in a grocery store in Silver Springs, returning home three years later. He was married June 22nd, 1875 to Grace A. Woodruff, of East Gainesville, Wyoming Co., NY. The couple had one daughter, Ivy Grace Cummings, born in 1878. Upon the death of his father-in-law, Merritt Woodruff, Walter inherited a 600-acre estate. He was a member of the Congregational Church of Warsaw, NY, and served on its board of trustees. He also belonged to the Warsaw Masonic Lodge and was active in the local Republican party.