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WILKINS, James Edward - 1890 Bio (1829-1911)


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 9/4/2007 at 20:52:40

Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa, Printed 1890 by Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Pages 184-185

James Edward WILKINS, who is engaged in the livery business in Fairfield, Jefferson County, was born in Sussex County, Del., September 15, 1829, and is a son of one of the heroes of the War of 1812. His father, Elijah WILKINS, was also a native of Delaware, learned the blacksmith's trade in his youth, and followed that occupation the greater part of his life. He wedded Miss Mary LOCKWOOD, who was also a native of Delaware, and the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier. They removed to Eaton, Preble County, Ohio, about 1836, and after nineteen years' residence in the Buckeye State, in 1855, made their way to Keokuk, Iowa. Both are now deceased. The father died at the age of sixty-five years, but his wife reached the advanced age of eighty-one years. Their remains now lie buried in the cemetery of Sandusky, Lee County, Iowa. Both were members of the Methodist Church, and led earnest, consistent Christian lives. Mr. WILKINS cast his ballot with the Whig party.

The subjec of this sketch was the fifth in a family of eight children, who lived to mature years, and of whom four yet abide. When only eight years of age he entered his father's shop, being then so small that in order to strike the anvil, he had to stand upon a box. His family were in limited circumstances, and in consequence he received no educational privileges, never having been permitted to attend school more than four months. He may truly be called a self-made man, for at the age of thirteen years he began to make his own way in the world, depending upon his own resources for a livelihood. He engaged in freighting between Cincinnati, Richmond, Ind., and Dayton, Ohio, driving a six-horse team for $8 per month. This he continued for some eight years, when he turned his attention to other pursuits.

In Butler county, Ohio, March 10, 1853, Mr. WILKINS was united in marriage with Barbara E. YOUNG, who was born in the county, where their union was celebrated. He then engaged in farming for a time, and in 1854 he bade good-by to his old home, and emigrated to Fairfield. Some time later, he purchased a farm, to the cultivation of which he devoted his time and attention until August, 1861, when feeling that his country needed his services, he responded to the call for troops, and donned the blue, becoming a member of Company F, Third Iowa Cavalry. He was detailed as wagonmaster, and served in that capacity for three years, after which he spent eleven months in charge of a provision train which supplied the forces of Wilson on his raid from Grand Springs, Ala. to Atlanta, Ga.

On receiving his discharge from the service, Mr. WILKINS returned home and once more resumed farming, which he continued until 1881, when he came to Fairfield. The succeeding five years he spent in the livery, and then devoted two years to the ice business, after which he resumed operations in the former line. When embarking upon that pursuit he was associated with his brother, L. L. WILKINS, but is now a partner of T. S. Tilson. Mr. WILKINS is one of the most experienced horsemen in the county, and since thirteen years of age, in freighting as wagon-master, in farming, and as liveryman, he has been constantly handling that noble animal. All that he has is the result of his own efforts, and his possessions comprise a good farm and his stable with its horses and attachments. Mr. WILKINS supports the principles of the Republican party, and for two years served as Alderman of Fairfield.

Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. WILKINS as follows: Alonzo E., who is associated with his father in the livery business; Edwin A., a railroad employe (sic); William L., who is a traveling salesman for the Buckeye company; Ada M., wife of Lee R. VAN PATTON; and Kittie, who is still with her parents.

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.


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