John W. Wilkinson, a representative agriculturist of San Joaquin county, owns and operates a valuable tract of three hundred and twenty acres of land on Roberts Island, bordering the San Joaquin river. This is the visible evidence of his life of industry and thrift, for his property possessions have been acquired entirely through his own efforts and represent the judicious investment of his capital gained from labor. Mr. Wilkinson first visited California in 1874 and for a brief period remained in San Joaquin county, after which he returned to his native state, but again came to the Pacific coast in 1876.

Mr. Wilkinson was born in Grant county, Wisconsin, on the 19th of April, 1855, his parents being William and Mary A. (Altizer) Wilkinson, the former a native of England and the latter of Indiana. In the maternal line the family is of German extraction. John W. Wilkinson was only four years of age at the time of his father's death. He afterward came to California with his mother, his step-father, Perry Martin, and his brother, Oliver N. Wilkinson. He acquired a good education in the public schools, thus being well equipped for life's practical and responsible duties. When he had completed his literary course he attended the Stockton Business College, in which he was graduated. He was twenty-one years of age at the time of his return to San Joaquin county, and the following year he engaged in the ship industry, which he followed for two years. Subsequently he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, which he has since followed. After living in San Joaquin county for several years he removed to Merced county, California, where he carried on farming for a short time, and then took up his abode in Oregon. He resided for a short time at Spokane, Washington, and afterward returned to Merced county, where he resided until 1880. In 1888, he came to San Joaquin county and for sixteen years has resided upon Roberts Island.

John W. Wilkinson has been married twice. He first wedded Miss Annie Smith, of San Joaquin county, and for his second wife he chose Ella Hayford, of Merced county, California, who is a native of Wisconsin. They have four children: Clara B., Daisy, William P. and Leroy.

Mr. Wilkinson favors good schools and has served as trustee of the Fairchild school district and is now serving for the fifth term as a director of the Reclamation district No. 524. His political support has always been given to the Republican party, and he takes an active interest in local politics. Fraternally he is connected with Stockton Lodge No. 11, I. O. O. F., and is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. Whatever success he has achieved is due entirely to his own efforts, for he had no pecuniary or family advantages to aid him at the outset of his career. He placed his resolution and indefatigable labors, and as the architect of his own fortunes has builded wisely and well. In his business career he has never been known to take advantage of the necessities of his fellow men, but has treated all with fairness and justice and has thus made for himself an honored name.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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