Biography of Jasper Newton Wilkinson
Jasper Newton Wilkinson of Muskogee is widely known as a most enthusiastic Rotarian and as an untiring worker in the interests of boys. In the latter connection he is state councilor of the Order of DeMolay for Boys and is doing a work of far-reaching importance. In the business world, too, he has made a creditable name and place for himself as a lumber dealer in Illinois and as a banker in Oklahoma. He was born in Vinton County, Ohio, a son of Jackson and Mary (Morrison) Wilkinson, both of southern descent. In 1874 he was graduated from the Illinois State Normal University at Normal, Illinois, and took up the profession of teaching in a primary school. His advancement in the professional field was continuous, bringing him eventually to the presidency of the Kansas State Normal Schools at Emporia, Hays and Pittsburg. He was also President of the Kansas State Teachers Association in 1889 and was Treasurer of the National Education Association from 1905 until 1907. He gained a very wide acquaintance in educational circles by reason of his ability, his initiative and his undaunted progressiveness in this field.
Mr. Wilkinson was also the founder of The Wilkinson Company, which conducted a lumber business at Bement and three other points in Illinois, and in 1906 he purchased the Citizens Bank of Pryor, Oklahoma, of which he was President until he sold the controlling interest in 1910. Mr. Wilkinson is now giving sixty per cent of his time to the Order of DeMolay for Boys, which is an organization composed of boys from sixteen to twenty-one years of age, who are sons of Masons or the chums of such sons. They are pledged to obedience to law, purity of life and speech and proper attitude toward women.’ The order has been introduced into all parts of the United States and there are prospects of introduction in foreign countries. Its growth has been more rapid in Oklahoma than in any other state and this is attributable in large measure to the work of Mr. Wilkinson.
In June, 1879, in Buda, Illinois, Mr. Wilkinson was united in marriage to Miss Nellie Reynolds, daughter of J. D. Reynolds, a Mayflower descendant and a great-granddaughter of one of the soldiers of the American revolution. They have become parents of two children: Edith, now the wife of J. H. R. Arms of Philadelphia; and Lucile, the wife of R. A. Patterson of Muskogee.
Mr. Wilkinson is a member of the Presbyterian Church and politically maintains an independent attitude. He belongs to the Muskogee Rotary Club, in the work of which he is helpfully interested, and he is well known in Masonic circles, being a past master of Emporia Lodge No. 12, A. F. & A. M.; and past commander of Emporia Commandery No. 8, K. T., of Emporia, Kansas. He is active in the grand lodge of Masons and in the grand commandery of Knights Templars in Oklahoma and is doing much to uphold and further the high ideals of the order.