DR. ROBERT DRYDEN WILKIN.
DR. ROBERT DRYDEN WILKIN, County Supervisor of Cass county, Iowa, and a popular druggist of Atlantic, has been identified with the interests of this place for nearly twenty years and is classed among the foremost of its leading citizens.
Dr. Wilkin was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, January 12, 1838, and traces his ancestry in the agnatic line back to the Emerald Isle. Archibald Wilkin, his grandfather, was born in Ireland, and when a young man emigrated to America and located in Pennsylvania, where he passed his life in the quiet of agricultural pursuits. He lived to be ninety-nine years of age. His son Andrew, the Doctor's father, was born and reared in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and was engaged in farming all his life. About 1870 he moved to Harrison county, Ohio, where he died at the age of eighty-four years. He and his wife, nee Mary Henderson, were the parents of eight children, the subject of our sketch being the youngest and the mother's death occurring when he was an infant.
Thus at the very beginning of life deprived of a mother's loving care, young Wilkin was reared by his aunts, his boyhood days being spent in his native place. He was educated at Pleasant Valley Academy, and on completing his studies there engaged in teaching. In the latter part of 1859 he commenced the study of medicine, and while thus occupied the Civil war came on and his plans were interrupted. He was among the first to respond when a call was made for volunteers to protect the Union. As a private in the First Pennsylvania Cavalry he went to the front, and was on active duty for three years; served as hospital steward a portion of the time, and was subsequently promoted to the rank of Orderly Sergeant. Prominent among the battles in which he participated were those of Fredericksburg, Cedar Mountain, Gettysburg, Wilderness, second Bull Run, etc.; and in all his service, although he was frequently in the heat of the battle, with his comrades wounded and dying around him, he never received a wound or scratch. In 1864, at the expiration of his term of enlistment, he was honorably discharged, in front of Petersburg.
At the close of his army life the subject of our sketch went to Harrison county, Ohio, and resumed the study of medicine, and in 1866 came from there to Iowa, locating in Pella, Marion county, where he opened an office and entered upon the practice of his profession. After coming to Iowa, he took a course of study in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk, of which institution he is a graduate. In 1876 he came to Atlantic. After practicing medicine at this place a few years, he opened a drug store and has since given his attention to the drug business.
Dr. Wilkin was married in 1866 to Miss Verinia Watson, of Harrisonville, Ohio, daughter of J. P. Watson, of that place. She was educated in the Female Seminary of Washington, Pennsylvania, and is a lady of much culture and amiability. Both the Doctor and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. For many years he has been prominent and active in church work, at one time serving as chairman of the Board of Supervisors and at this writing officiating as a Class Leader.
In his political affiliations Dr. Wilkin is a Republican. He has always taken a deep interest in public affairs, especially those of a local nature, and on various occasions has been honored by official preferment. He was elected to his present position, that of County Supervisor, in 1893, for a term of three years. He has served as a member of the City Council of Atlantic, and in 1888 was Mayor of the town. That he is recognized as a business man of more than ordinary ability was demonstrated by his being elected president of the Business Men's Club of Atlantic. While engaged in the active practice of his profession, Dr. Wilkin maintained a membership in the State Medical Society, of Iowa. He hs long been identified with the Masonic order and is a member of Pymosa Lodge, Atlantic Chapter and Kedron Commandery.
From A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, Volume I, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896, pp. 381-382. Transcribed July, 2015 by Cheryl Siebrass.