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Arthur O. Wilkonson. Much dynamic energy has been brought to bear in the development and upbuilding of the fine City of Sapulpa, the thriving and important judicial center of Creek County, and among the popular the laudable work of advancement a place of prominence citizens and progressive business men who have aided in must consistently be accorded to Mr. Wilkonson, who is here established successfully in the furniture and hardware business, at 309 East Dewey Avenue, and whose civic loyalty and public spirit are indicated by the fact that at the time of this writing, in 1916, he is serving as president of the Sapulpa Commercial Club.
Mr. Wilkonson was born in Germany, as were also his parents, Elias and Esther Wilkonson, who removed to Southern Russia when he was an infant. Mr. Wilkonson was two years old at the time of his mother’s death and was a lad of thirteen years when he became doubly orphaned by the death of his father. He was carefully reared by his stepmother, who accorded to him the utmost kindliness and solicitude, his father having been an agriculturist and sheep-grower and the widow having reared the children on the home farm. In the family were four sons and three daughters, the subject of this review being the youngest of the number and the only one to establish a home in the United States.
In the schools of Southern Russia Mr. Wilkonson acquired his early education, and as he was born on the 22d of April, 1866, he was twenty-four years of age when he landed in the City of Boston, Massachusetts, in August, 1890. He came to America to avail himself of the better opportunities for gaining success and independence through individual effort and to avoid the restrictions of monarchical government in Europe. From Boston he made his way to New York City, where he remained thirty days, and he passed the ensuing eight months in the City of Rochester, New York, where he found employment in the establishment of the National Casket Company. From the Empire State he continued his westward journey to Chicago and Kansas City, after which he was for a time employed on a farm in Douglas County, Kansas. He finally worked his way back to Chicago, and for one year he was in the employ of the West Chicago Street Railway Company. He then returned to Kansas City, Missouri, where he was engaged in the restaurant business until November 28, 1895, when he came to Oklahoma Territory and located on a pioneer farm two miles west of Perry, now the judicial center of Noble County. There he gave his attention to farming and stock-raising for five years, at the expiration of which, in 1900, he sold his property and removed to Haileyville, Pittsburg County, becoming one of the pioneers of that town, where he continued his residence until 1909 and where he served as a member of the village council, as mayor, as a member of the board of education and as justice of the peace. He was one of the representative business men of that place until 1909, when he removed to Sapulpa and purchased a city lot on Dewey Avenue, where he erected his present business building, which is 50 by 100 feet in dimensions and in which he has built up a substantial and representative enterprise as a dealer in furniture and hardware. Mr. Wilkonson has entered fully into the progressive spirit of Sapulpa and has been a leader in the furtherance of measures and enterprises tending to advance the best interests of the city. He has been an active and influential member of the Sapulpa Commercial Club from the time of its organization and its president of the same in 1915. He served one year as a member of the board of education and is known and honored as a loyal and public-spirited citizen. Mr. Wilkonson gives his allegiance to the democratic party, has received the thirty-second degree in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Masonry, and is affiliated also with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America.
On the 4th of December, 1892, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Wilkonson to Miss Kate Robinson, who was at the time a resident of Kansas City, but who was born in Grodno, Russia. Mrs. Wilkonson passed to the life eternal on the 12th of February, 1915, and is survived by eight children, Esther, Myrtle, Elias, Rose, Louise, Sarah Belle, Edward and Lester. The second daughter, Miss Myrtle, is a popular and efficient teacher in the public schools of Sapulpa, and all of the children have been afforded excellent educational advantages.