Forty-two years a resident of Union county, Oregon, was John Wilkinson, who was born July 30, 1839, in Peoria, Illinois, and died in Walla Walla, Washington, where he went three weeks before for treatment in a hospital in that city.
At the age of two years, he, with his parents, went to Missouri, where they remained eight years, then to the old Illinois home till 1858, when he started westward, spending four years with headquarters in Nebraska, freighting on the plains as far as Denver.
In 1864, he, together with his father, mother, five brothers and three sisters and a large number of others, with a “prairie schooner” train, being himself chosen the captain, crossed the Rockies and on into the then wild Oregon, settling in High Valley, a few miles from this city, which has been his home until his death.
He was married at Cove in 1873, to Sarah Vansel. To them were born four children-Joseph E. Wilkinson and Mrs. William Haggerty, who remain to mourn the loss of their honored father, Charles H. , who died ten years ago, and the beautiful and loved Grace E., who died June 10 of the present year. Others remaining are the wife and one step-daughter, Mrs. Chas. Fleetwood, of Hereford, five brothers and two sisters, but one sister of this family having preceded him to the long home.
Mr. Wilkinson was one of the most widely known, as well as the most respected pioneers of Eastern Oregon. His friends were true and constant, for he tried every day and every hour to do by them as he would be done by. That he had the respect of all who knew him was shown by the great number who were present at his funeral, some driving many miles to be there.
Politically Mr. Wilkinson was a Democrat, yet he seldom ever took part in politics, more than to cast his vote. More publicity than that was distasteful to him, so much so that he refused to run for office in his county and State when the nominations were offered him.
The funeral services were held in the Methodist church, in Union, Saturday, October 6, conducted by Rev. W. W. Deal. Interment in the family lot in Union cemetery.
Obituaries and Other Vital Records of Union County, Oregon, 1890-1930.
Compiled by Clara Cline Lee.
Reproduced by Walter M. Pierce Library, Eastern Oregon Library, 1972.
Contributed by: Robin Church