In the subject of this review we have a representative of one of the most
honored pioneer families in Marion county and one who is recognized as one
of the most progressive farmers of his locality, owning and operating in a
most successful manner at this time three farms of great value. He is
regarded by all who know him as being a most capable and energetic man,
broad minded and sound in his business principles.
William Thomas Wilkinson was born in Meacham township, this county, January 21, 1859, the son f H. C. Wilkinson, who was born in Kentucky in 1825, and who passed to his rest at the early age of forty-six years, but not until he had stamped his individuality upon the community where he lived. He was the father of seven children, three sons and four daughters, three of whom are now living, the subject being the third in order of birth. Our subject's mother's name in her maidenhood was Harriet A. Nichols. She married H. C. Wilkinson in Marion county, Illinois.
Our subject spent his early life on the home farm and attended the district schools where he applied himself in an able manner and gained a fairly good education.
Mr. Wilkinson has devoted his life to agricultural pursuits and he has been eminently successful in his chosen work, having by sheer force of individuality, business acumen and persistency won his way from an humble beginning to a place of prominence and comparative affluence in his county, owning three farms, consisting collectively of three hundred and sixty-eight acres. One hundred and forty acres is in Meacham township, one hundred and forty acres in Alma township and sixty-eight acres in Kinmundy township. All these farms are under a high grade of cultivation and yield the owner a comfortable competency from year to year. They all show that the owner is a man of the best modern methods of agriculture. On each of these is located a good house and out buildings. Mr. Wilkinson has various kinds of good stock on the farms.
Mr. Wilkinson married Prudence Kenedy on August 17, 1882, in Marion county, Illinois. She is a native of Washington county and the daughter of James P. and Elizabeth (McBride) Kenedy, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter of Randolph county, Illinois. The wife of the subject was one of a family of eleven children, she being the eighth in order of birth. Her parents were United Presbyterians but she worships with her husband, as do all the family, in the Methodist church, of which Mr. Wilkinson is a steward.
The following children have been born to the subject and wife: Bert E. is a telegraph operator in Wyoming in the employ of the Union Pacific Railroad; Claude E., Jennie P., Charles H., Irene, Bert E. married Alice Hiddleson, living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and they have one child. Claude E. married Stella Danison. Jennie P. married John R. Telford, who lives in Kinmundy township. Claude is a teacher in the county schools, and he farms one of his father's places. He has a good wife and a nice home. He was educated in the Kinmundy high school.
Our subject is a loyal Democrat, and he has faithfully and conscientiously served his community as Township Collector and as Road Commissioner for three terms. He has always taken a deep interest in public affairs and his support can always be counted on in all movements looking to the general good of the locality where he lives. Considering the hardships and obstacles of his early life he deserves a great deal of credit for what he has accomplished, for his father died when he was fourteen years old and he and John H., his brother, had to help their mother raise the rest of the children. This developed a strong independent and sturdy manhood and a frugal and thrifty mentality which is very largely responsible for his subsequent success in life. Prosperity seems to have attended every worthy effort he has made, with the result that before the evening of life advances upon him he finds himself and family very comfortably situated, and the future, whatever it may have in store for him and his, inspires no shadow of fear in his breast.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 434-435.