WILKINSON BROS. The union of the family interests in business enterprises has
long been made prominent both in the old country and in America. Many prominent firms
have for generations borne the family name and it has been the pride of those thus connected to maintain
these business relations and to build up an honorable record as a commercial family. So strong
has been this feeling in some notable instances as to compel any who joined the firm as members to
loyally adopt the family name. This union of the family affection and business interests is well illustrated
in the record of the well-known firm whose name appears at the head of this paragraph.
The Wilkinson Bros., dealers in lumber, tile and coal at Bethany, Moultrie County, established business
under the present firm and style in 1882. The members of the firm are four brothers, namely:
Jasper N., John J., Warren A., William W., all of them natives of Vinton County. Ohio, and sons of
Jacob and Mary (Morrison) Wilkinson. The parents were also natives of Vinton County, were
there married and reared their family, removing to Illinois in the fall of 1864, and passing the
winter at Millmine. The following year they located at a small town (now defunct) which bore
the name of Dawtown, and the father of the family worked in a sawmill there as his business in
Ohio had been in the line of operating sawmills and gristmills.
The family removed in 1868 to a farm near Argenta, Macon County, Ill., and there they rented
land and afterward purchased a farm of three hundred acres, tilling and improving it and placing
upon it fine stock. There the parents still reside and the father who has made a success of stockraising,
is now engaged in breeding red-polled cattle. These faithful parents who have succeeded
in bringing up to maturity so fine a family are people of true Christian character and prominent
members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Twelve children blessed this frugal pioneer home and nine of the number are still living, namely:
Jasper N., Warren A., John J., William W., Mary E., George E., Charles E., Arthur L. and Luella J.
Mary is now the wife of Walter L. Williams; Jasper N. was born in 1851 and early distinguished
himself in local circles by his studious disposition, fitting himself for teaching at the early age of fifteen.
In 1874 he was graduated from the State Normal University at Normal, Ill., and he is now
a Professor in the State Normal School at Emporia, Kan. He has formed a congenial marriage with
Miss Nellie Reynolds, of Buda, Ill.
Warren A. was born December 14, 1857, and was reared upon a farm until 1881, when he came
to Bethany and engaged in the manufacture of tile, being associated with his brothers; he built a
tile factory, which they still own and operate, and thus was inaugurated the successful business which
bears their name. His marriage with Grace, daughter of Dr. E. A. Piatt, brought him three beautiful
children, all of whom are now deceased; his wife also passed to the other world in 1891. Warren A.
resides at Bethany and gives his whole attention to the business of the firm. John A. was born September
23, 1859, and, like his eldest brother, is a graduate of the State Normal University at Normal,
Ill., being a member of the Class of '85; he also gives his attention to teaching, being the Principal
of the grammar school at Springfield, Ill., and having held the principalship of the Lovington schools
from 1885 to 1889. William W. was born September 1, 1861, and when he had completed his elementary
education he devoted himself to the study of book-keeping and commercial law at Lincoln,
Ill., and later attended Bryant A Stratton's Business College at Chicago. After completing his
studies he became a useful member of the firm of Wilkinson Bros. in 1882. He and his brother Warren
are the active members of the firm and the efficient and capable managers, making their home at Bethany.
This honorable and intelligent family have shown themselves capable both in the intellectual
and business world and the parents of these sons have abundant reason to rejoice, not only in their
success in life in their respective fields and in the respect which is meted out to them by all who
know them, but also in their admirable Christian characters and in their efficiency in church work as
they are all workers in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, with which most of them are personally identified.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 362/363
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb