The subject of this sketch attended the public schools in his youth, and after his school days were over began learning the machinist's trade in Scott's Farm Machinery Manufactory, at Raritan, N. J. In 1878 he left this concern and accompanied his parents to Jacksonville, securing employment with the old Jacksonville Car Company. When that company was dissolved he secured a position in the old Jacksonville & Southeastern Railroad Shops. When this line was merged with the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad and the new shops were built, he was employed there, remaining fourteen years in that connection. In June, 1895, he formed a partnership with Haller Higgins in the manufacture of cigar boxes, continuing in this line until 1897, when he was appointed machinist in the Illinois Central Hospital for the Insane. In 1900, by reason of meritorious service in this position, he was promoted to be Chief Engineer. Mr. Wilkinson is a member of the Machinists' Union, and a Past President of the Trades and Labor Assembly.
On February 25, 1892, Mr. Wilkinson was united in marriage with Anna Probst, of Jacksonville, a daughter of Christian and Clara (Schmalz) Probst. Four children have blessed their union, namely: Arthur L., born December 13, 1892; Clarence W., April 6, 1905; Paul L., February 12, 1899; and Ruth, June 22, 1903.
In politics, Mr. Wilkinson is a supporter of the Republican party, and religiously, is a Methodist. Fraternally, he is a Past Grand of Illini Lodge, No. 4, I. O. O. F., and a member of Favorite Lodge, No. 376, K. of P. He is also affiliated with the M. W. A. That Mr. Wilkinson is a thoroughly competent and skillful machinist, and worthy of the utmost confidence in the discharge of whatever duty he undertakes, is evidenced by his long connection with the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad, and his rapid advancement in the State Institution to his present important position.