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Walter William Wilkinson Family


Walter William Wilkinson Family

In 1908 Walter William Wilkinson arrived in Collegeport to look over land his father had bought on speculation. The young real estate agent returned to his native Belmont County, Ohio, to claim his sweetheart as his bride. He was born on January 9, 1887, the son of John William and Amy Jane Hatcher Wilkinson, and had attended Mt. Union College in Ohio. He and Helen Lenora Gossett, whose birth occurred on January 20, 1892, were married in the home of her parents, John Ellery and Ella Inez McFarland Gossett, on October 21, 1909, at Bannock, Belmont County, Ohio. The newlyweds set out for Texas by train and became part of the "Homeseekers" of Burton D. Hurd's Land Company. They at first stayed in the Collegeport Hotel before securing a home of their own.


Mr. Wilkinson opened his Real Estate-Barber Shop in the growing community, and allowed room for the first public library in the county. Mrs. Wilkinson was a talented musician, and was the only living Charter Member of the Collegeport Women's Club in 1984, at the age of ninety-two.


Mrs. Wilkinson and children often traveled by ferry to Palacios to shop. When they returned to Collegeport, Mr. Wilkinson met them in his Model T. On one trip, she and the four children entered a dry goods store, where she timidly told the clerk she would like to look at some hats. They followed the clerk toward the back of the store, where she began to bring out hats for little girls. Mrs. Wilkinson said, "But I want to see some ladies' hats!" Because of her youthful appearance and petiteness, the clerk had thought she was the older sister of the small children with her, not their mother!


With the discovery of Spindletop and the beginning of the oil boom, Mr. Wilkinson became one of the earliest lease operators, and in 1920-21 drilled the deepest oil well at that time in Matagorda County. In 1922 he moved his family to Bay City where he opened his office upstairs in the Austin Building on the Square. Stricken by a stroke in 1961, he kept up with his business by telephone from his home west of Bay City. He died on April 20, 1968, and was buried in Roselawn Memorial Park, Van Vleck, Texas.


The Wilkinsons were the parents of four children. Walter William, Jr. was born on May 18, 1910, the first boy born in Collegeport. He attended Schreiner Institute in Kerrville, and The University of Texas; and engaged in farming and the oil business. On September 27, 1933, he married Marjorie Jim Bruce, daughter of James Arthur and Lorena May Nolte Bruce, in St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Bay City. They were the parents of two daughters: Jean, who married Dr. Gordon E. Richardson of Bay City; and Helen who married Clyde H. Fitch, Jr. and resided in Corpus Christi. Walter and Marjorie Bruce Wilkinson had six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


In the fall of 1911 the little family of three returned to Ohio by train where their second son, John Paul, was born on October 25, 1911, at the home of his maternal grandparents at Bannock, Ohio. He was graduated from The University of Texas School of Law, and opened his practice in his father's offices in the Austin Building. He married Lydia Rasmussen on December 18, 1935. She was of Danish ancestry and a native of Nebraska. Their children were Carol Ann, who married Ray Basom of Tucson, Arizona; John Paul, Jr., who married Pamela Fannin on November 14, 1964 and resided in San Antonio; Marion Frances, who married Darrell Reaks Lester and lived in Fort Worth; and Janet Lucille, who married James Corbin Considine on August 18, 1967, and resided in Midland, Texas. Due to the asthmatic condition of his daughter, Carol Ann, John Paul moved his family to Midland, Texas in 1946 where he practiced law and was engaged in the oil business. He died in an automobile accident near Midland, Texas, on October 5, 1957. The posterity of John Paul and Lydia Rasmussen Wilkinson is their eleven grandchildren.


Frances Virginia Wilkinson was born on August 13, 1913 in Collegeport. She attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati, Ohio, and received her Degree in Music from Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette, Louisiana. On September 14, 1935, she married Lyle Lee Cummins, who died on February 20, 1970. Their son, Kent Wilkinson Cummins, resided in New Braunfels.


Robert Jay Wilkinson was born in Collegeport on September 9, 1915. He held a Degree in Journalism from the University of Texas. Following his discharge from the Navy at the end of World War II, he founded the Bay City News of which he was owner-editor. He was later an independent oil lease broker. He married Luceile Huebner on December 28, 1939, at the First Presbyterian Church, Bay City. She was the daughter of Marion Taylor and Lillian Hurst Huebner. Their daughter, Martha, married Clayton Edward Lake, and resided in Las Vegas, Nevada; and their son, Robert Jay Wilkinson, Jr., married Peggy Dianne Menke, and resided in Bay City. Robert Jay and Luceile Huebner Wilkinson had four grandchildren.


Jean W. Richardson & Mrs. Bob Wilkinson


Historic Matagorda County, Volume II, pp 562-563


Collegeport Chronicle, April 4, 1910


Copyright 2007 - Present by the Wilkinson Family
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Mar. 3, 2008
Mar. 3, 2008