WILLIAM WILKINSON GRAVESTONE PHOTO
The Yates Center News, November 29, 1912
Died: November 22, 1912
William Wilkinson was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, July 9th, 1834, and died at Iola, Kansas, at the hospital where he had been taken for treatment, November 22nd, 1912. He was born of Irish parents, his father having been born in County Derby, Ireland, but come to this country in the early part of the nineteenth century. He first settled in Philadelphia with his family. In 1840, accompanied by his family he moved to Illinois, locating upon a farm near Farmington, where he spent the remaining days of his life.
William Wilkinson, the subject of this sketch, spent the first six years of his life in the city of his birth and accompanied his parents to Fulton county, Ill. where he grew to manhood upon a farm. He spent the winter months in the district schools near his home and the summer assisting with the farm work.
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 he enlisted in the army in 1862, Co. C. of the 103rd Illinois Infantry, and was soon advanced to the rank of first lieutenant. He was in the army of Tennessee: was first under fire at Jackson, afterwards was in the Vicksburg and Memphis campaigns. Mr. Wilkinson was also in the Atlanta campaign until the capture of the city, when he resigned his commission as first lieutenant and returned to his home.
Upon his return Mr. Wilkinson engaged in the mercantile business at Farmington, Ill., until 1874, when he returned to the farm, where he remained until his retirement to private life in 1897.
He first visited Kansas in 1860 on a prospecting tour. Being pleased with the state he returned for his family whom he brought to Kansas in the fall of the same year, locating on a farm south of Fort Scott. His 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 1882 he again came to Kansas locating upon a farm in Owl Creek township, Woodson county, where he successfully cultivated the fields until his retirement in 1897. He then moved to Yates Center where he made his home until his death.
Mr. Wilkinson was a man of unquestionable integrity and industry, and perseverance brought to him a well merited competence. In his declining years he was carefully cared for by his nephew, Burt Simpson, and wife, a young man whom he had raised from childhood.
On May 24, 1857, he was married to Miss Sarah M. Simpson, who died June 30, 1907. To this union was born one son and one daughter, Fred and Anna, the latter having died January 31, 1904. Fred and his two sons, Clarence and Leon, are the only survivors of this family; Fred and his son Leon, now living in Glendale, Calif. and the other grandson, recently editor of the Independence Times, is at present in Yates Center. These, together with one sister, Rebecca, who resides at Farmington, Ill. survive him.
Services were held Sunday, Nov. 24, 1912, at the Episcopal church, of which the deceased was a faithful member, conducted by the Rector Carl M. Nau, and the remains were interred in the Yates Center cemetery.