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William D. Wilkinson. Though reared to adult age in the State of Kansas Mr. Wilkinson is one of the well known citizens of Oklahoma who can revert to the historic Old Dominion as the place of his nativity, and he may well take pride in his genealogical record, which marks long identification of the family name with the annals of American history. He himself has secure prestige as one of the representative newspaper men of Oklahoma, and is a progressive, loyal and influential citizen of Woods County, where he is editor and publisher of the Woods County Pioneer, the first paper established in the county and now issued in both daily and weekly editions. He succeeded the founder of the paper in the ownership and editorial direction of the Pioneer and he has made it a potent force in the furtherance of community interests and as a leader in public sentiment and action. The paper is published at Alva, the county seat, and of the same Mr. Wilkinson has maintained control since 1912, though he has been a resident of Woods County since 1897 and may well be termed one of the pioneers of this section of the state, as he here established his home about four years after the opening of the Cherokee Strip or Outlet to settlement.
William Dunn Wilkinson was born at Bland Court House, the judicial center of Bland County, Virginia, and the date of his nativity was August 30, 1868. In Bland County were born not only his father and mother but also their parents, and the respective families were prominently concerned with civic and industrial affairs in that section of Virginia for three or more generations. A son of William and Eve Victoria (Dunn) Wilkinson, both of whom were likewise born at Bland Court House, a town now known simply by the name of Bland in the official postoffice directory or guide issued by the United States Postoffice Department, he whose name initiates this review was reared to the age of eleven years in his native state, where he received his rudimentary education.
William Wilkinson was born in the year 1839 and his wife on the 2nd of February, 1840, their marriage having been solemnized in 1857. The father devoted his entire active life to the great basic industry of agriculture and honored his native state by his loyal and gallant service as a soldier of the Confederacy in the Civil war. William Wilkinson continued his residence in the Old Dominion State until 1879, when he removed with his family to Barton County, Kansas, where he purchased a tract of land and developed a valuable farm, besides which he there served several years as postmaster of the Village of Albert, in which place he conducted a general store after retiring from the active work of the farm. He was one of the honored pioneers of Barton County and was there a prominent and influential representative of the democratic party, from allegiance to which he never deviated. In 1897 he removed to Woods County, Oklahoma Territory, where he purchased a tract of 620 acres of land, seven miles distant from Alva. There he continued as a successful farmer and stock grower until the time of his death, which occurred on the 28th of November, 1909. he took deep interest in all that concerned the territory of his adoption and lived to witness its admission as one of the sovereign states of the Union. He was a man of earnest sincerity and steadfast rectitude, commanded the high regard of all who knew him, and was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, as is also his widow, who now resides at Cottage Grove, Oregon. They became the parents of six sons and four daughters, the youngest of whom, a son, died in infancy. The surviving children are Agnes, John F., Effie, Warren, William D., Thomas and Charles. Intse and Ossic are deceased.
As previously stated William D. Wilkinson was a lad of eleven years at the time of the family removal to Kansas, where he was reared to maturity in Barton County and profited duly by the advantages afforded in the public schools. In 1891 he completed a special course in pharmacy in the University of Kansas, and for four years thereafter he was engaged in the drug business in the Village of Ellinwood, Barton County. In 1891 Mr. Wilkinson likewise made his initial venture in the domain of journalism, by purchasing the plant and business of the Ellinwood Advocate, of which he continued editor and publisher seven years, besides which he served four years as postmaster at Ellinwood, under the last administration of President Cleveland.
In 1897 Mr. Wilkinson disposed of his interests in the Sunflower State and came to Woods County, Oklahoma Territory, where he likewise purchased 620 acres of land, the same being situated seven miles distant from the county seat. He improved this into one of the fine farms of Woods County and continued his residence on the homestead until 1909, when, shortly after the death of his honored father, he removed to Alva. In 1912 he purchased the plant and business of the Pioneer, of which he has since continued the editor and publisher, both the daily and weekly editions being models in letterpress, in covering the local news field, in editorial policies, and in furthering the interests of the democratic party. The newspaper plant is essentially modern in all its facilities and the same is true of the job department of the office of the Pioneer. The paper was established in 189.’!, the year that marked the opening to settlement of the Cherokee Strip, and concerning the founder of the paper, William F. Hatfield, individual mention is made on other pages of this work.
Mr. .Wilkinson has been a zealous and effective advocate of the principles and policies for which the democratic party stands sponsor and within the period of his residence in Oklahoma he has served as delegate to its county, state and congressional conventions, besides having been its nominee for representative of his district in the State Senate in the campaigns of 1910 and 1912, his defeat having been the result of normal political exigencies. Mr. Wilkinson is a Knights Templar Mason, is affiliated also with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and both he and his wife hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church.
At Ellinwood, Kansas, on the 2d of May, 1892, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Wilkinson to Miss Rosa L. Rohlfing, who was born in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, on the 12th of October, 1868, and who is a daughter of Henry and Louisa (Summers) Rohlfing. Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson have two children,–Neva Ione, who was born June 2, 1894, and Greta Naoma, who was born January 29, 1903. Neva Ione is a graduate of the Northwestern State Normal of Alva, class of 1915, and is now a teacher in the Alva city schools.