Hon. T. G. Wilkes. A Confederate veteran, with an experience in official life aggregating many years, and for more than twenty years a resident of the old Indian Territory section of Oklahoma, T. G. Wilkes has brought valuable counsel and mature wisdom to his service as a member of the Fifth Legislature from Pittsburg County. Mr. Wilkes is a farmer, with residence at Alderson.
Born in Georgia, March 4, 1839, he is a son of T. U. and Marie Louise (Graves) Wilkes. His father, a native of South Carolina, was a farmer and a minister of the Baptist Church. The maternal grandfather was Col. Tom Graves of Yanceyville, North Carolina, an uncompromising democrat and a church and social leader in his day. The maternal ancestry extends back to the Huguenots of France, when several members of the Graves kin were burned at the stake. Both ancestries are known in America beyond the Revolutionary war, in which both Wilkeses and Graveses served with distinction. A memorial of the family is found in Georgia geography in Wilkes County.
There were no common schools in this part of Georgia when Mr. Wilkes was a boy, and his only education was obtained in the Cherokee Baptist College in Cass County, which he attended until he had nearly completed the junior year. He was then called into the Confederate Army, going in as a lieutenant and being mustered out as captain. He served in Company B of the Georgia Cavalry, saw service under the noted J. E. B. Stuart and Wade Hampton, under the general command of Robert E. Lee. With the exception of the first battle of Manassas he participated in nearly all the great battles in Virginia and was at Gettysburg.
Mr. Wilkes served as deputy sheriff in Cass County. A few years after the war saw his removal to the West, and after a year in Texas he was for twenty years a teacher in Arkansas, and at one time principal of Greenwood Normal School. In 1893 he located in Indian Territory, in what is now Pittsburg County. For a number of years he was a watchman for the Rock Island Coal Company at Alderson, and during part of that time held a commission as deputy under United States Marshal Pritchett. In his record is also five years of service as justice of the peace at Alderson, and he was chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of his township and a member of the Democratic County Central Committee. In 1910 Mr. Wilkes was inspector of election when the well known “grandfather law” was adopted in Oklahoma, and was among the few inspectors in his county who were not arrested, under the federal law, charged with interference with the right of suffrage of negroes.
Mr. Wilkes was elected to the Legislature in 1914, and was chairman of the committee on cotton warehouses and grain elevators, and a member of committees on mines and mining and impeachment and removal from office. He introduced a bill regulating the fees of deputy sheriffs and was interested in legislation affecting the coal miners and other laborers and in those relating to economy in the conduct of office.
Mr. Wilkes is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Masonic lodge. He has a brother, L. J. Wilkes, who is a merchant at Helena, Arkansas. At Greenwood, Arkansas, Mr. Wilkes married Miss Belle Baker. They are the parents of seven children: Mrs. B. L. Norman lives at McAlester, Oklahoma; Shad is a deputy sheriff at McAlester; John S. (Bass) is a farmer at Alderson; Mrs. Henry Brooklin lives at Blue Ridge, Texas; Mrs. Joseph Lawshe lives at Alderson; J. J. is a farmer at Heavener, Oklahoma; and Miss Ghaska lives with her parents at Alderson.