Pages 846-848, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




Although a native of one of the eastern states, Mr. Wilkinson was reared in the west and is imbued with the true western spirit of progress and enterprise—a spirit which has wrought the wonderful development of the Mississippi valley carrying forward the work of progress so rapidly that it is commonly referred to as "magical." Mr. Wilkinson first opened his eyes to the light of day in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, July 9, 1834, and is of Irish lineage. His father, William Wilkinson, Sr., was born in County Derry, Ireland, but in the early part of the nineteenth century came to America on a British war vessel which had just been engaged in the war of 1812, that had ended only a short time previous. Ere leaving the Emerald Isle he was united in marriage to Miss Ann McDougal and one child was born to them ere they came to the United States.

On reaching the new world Mr. Wilkinson located in Philadelphia, where he conducted a small cloth factory until 1840, when accompanied


by his family he went to Illinois, locating upon a farm on which he lived over thirty years, then moved to Farmington, Illinois, where he spent his remaining days, his death occurring at the advanced age of ninety-four years. His children were: Mary, deceased wife of Thomas Bell; Samuel, who has also passed away; Annie, deceased wife of Henry Rogers; John of Fulton County, Illinois, and William, of this review. All were married and reared families of their own. George who was killed near Atlanta, during the Civil war; Elizabeth died in 1893, and Rebecca, who still lives on the home place.

In the city of his birth William Wilkinson spent the first six years of his life and then accompanied his parents on their removal to Fulton County, Illinois, where he was reared upon a farm. He spent the winter month in the district schools near his home, and in the summer followed the plow and the harrow and aided in threshing and harvesting the crops. When he began life on his own account he took up the calling to which he had been reared, devoting his energies to agricultural pursuits until his enlistment in the army. He first visited Kansas in 1860, on a prospecting tour, and being pleased with the state he returned for his family whom he brought to the state in the fall of that year, making a location on a farm south of Fort Scott. The crops suffered from a drouth the following year, and without harvesting the little grain which he had succeeded in raising he returned to Illinois.

In 1862 Mr. Wilkinson enlisted in the Union army as a member of Company C, One Hundred and Third Illinois Infantry, under Colonel Dickerman. His regiment belonged to the Army of the Tennessee and was first under fire at Jackson, after which it participated in the Vicksburg and Memphis campaigns. Mr. Wilkinson was also in the Atlanta campaign until after the capture of the city, when he resigned his commission as first lieutenant and returned to his home. He had enlisted as a private, had been elected by the company to the office of sergeant, was afterward promoted to orderly sergeant, then to second lieutenant and finally to first lieutenant, at Scottsboro, Alabama.

Upon his return home Mr. Wilkinson engaged in merchandising at Farmington, Illinois, following that business until 1874, when he returned to the farm, which line of labor claimed his attention until his retirement to private life in 1897. In 1882 he again came to Kansas, locating upon a farm in Owl Creek township, Woodson County, where he successfully cultivated the fields until 1897. He then removed to Yates Center where he has since made his home, resting in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil. Industry and perseverance have been the salient features of his career and have brought to him a very desirable competence.

On the 24th of May, 1857, occurred the marriage of Mr. Wilkinson and Miss Sarah M. Simpson, a daughter of John and Margaret (Cordner) Simpson, both of whom were natives of Ireland, the former of County Tyrone and the latter of County Derry. On coming to America the father


located in Phialdeiphia,[sic] Pennsylvania, and in 1835 removed thence to Illinois, where he died in 1854, at the age of fifty-three years. He had seven children who reached adult age: Annie, wife of H. R. Rose, a resident of Avon Illinois; Margaret, deceased wife of Howard Sebree; William, of Fort Scott, Kansas; James, who died in the army; John, of Farmington, Ill., Mary, wife of Blake Barrows, and Mrs. Wilkinson.

Unto our subject and his wife have been born two children:—Fred and Annie M. The former was born November 23 ,1858, was principally reared upon a farm and acquired a high school education. He is now half proprietor and editor of the Yates Center Advocate. He was married in Avon, Illinois, to Minnie Ransom, and his children are Clarence and Leon. In his political views William Wilkinson is a Republican and since casting his first presidential vote for Fremont he has never failed to vote at a presidential election but once . The Wilkinsons are all Episcopalians and our subject is of that religious faith, although his wife was raised in the Presbyterian church. In a pleasant home in Yates Center this worthy couple are now residing, surrounded with the comforts which go to make life worth the living and which have been procured through the earnest and indefatigable labors of Mr. Wilkinson in former years.

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