Biography of Oliver C. Wilkerson
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Oliver C. Wilkerson is one of the enterprising and progressive young business men of Washington County, his home being about three miles north of Dewey, where he resides with his parents. He was born at Claremore, Oklahoma, on the 5th of March, 1899, and is a son of Richard Wilkerson and a grandson of Thomas Wilkerson. The family are full-blooded Cherokees. Richard Wilkerson was born August 26, 1866, in the Choctaw Nation, his parents being Thomas and Lizzy (Tenewey) Wilkerson, both of whom were full-blooded Cherokees and were natives of Georgia. In childhood they were brought by the United States government to the Indian Territory and after the outbreak of the Civil war Thomas Wilkerson, who was a minister of the Baptist Church, went to the south, leaving his family in the Choctaw Nation,whence he returned after serving with the Confederate army until the close of the Civil war. He died when his son, Richard, the only child of his last marriage, was about six months old. Mrs. Wilkerson passed away in 1885, at her home four miles west of Porum. By a previous marriage she was the mother of two children, Eli and Ella, who are both deceased and Thomas Wilkerson had a son by a former marriage.
Richard Wilkerson was reared in the Canadian district of the Cherokee Nation and in his youth became a student in the Male Seminary at Tahlequah, which was conducted as a national school by the Cherokee Nation. He could not speak English when he entered that institution but was well versed in the English tongue when he concluded a three years’ course. He was reared to farm life and remained in the Canadian district until twenty-four years of age, when he removed to the Cherokee strip and was there residing at the time of its opening in 1893, owning eighty acres of land there. He was one of seventy families living on the strip and received his share from the sale of the land which was sold at the government price of a dollar and a quarter per acre. In 1895 Mr. Wilkerson removed to his present home three miles north of Dewey, where he and his children have allotments, owning four hundred and fifty acres here and ninety acres of land elsewhere. The property has become very valuable not only through the cultivation of the fields but also through the development of oil wells on this property. Richard Wilkerson has engaged in general farming throughout his life and has been quite successful in the cultivation of his fields, being today one of the prosperous men of his locality. He has always given his political allegiance to the Democratic Party and is a loyal member of the Baptist Church, while fraternally he is connected with the Bartlesville lodge of Masons. He also belongs to the Anti-Horse Thief Association.
In March, 1891, Richard Wilkerson was united in marriage to Miss Anna Hendricks, a native of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, who was born October 10, 1870, and is a daughter of David and Martha (Manning) Hendricks, both full-blooded Cherokees. Mr. and Mrs. Wilkerson became parents of eleven children: David, who died at the age of eight years; Lizzie, who died when but two years of age; Ella, now the wife of Hope Teeke of Washington County; Katie, at home; Oliver C., of this review; one who died in infancy; William, at home; Jessie, who died in infancy; Ernest and Earl, twins, the former of whom died at the age of four years; and Owen, who lives with his parents. There was also an adopted child, Woodrow, who died February 19, 1915
Oliver C. Wilkerson is the eldest surviving son. He has been reared on the old family homestead and has always been identified with agricultural interests. In his early youth he attended the schools of Tahlequah and of Bacone and is still a student, who is planning to complete his education in the University of Oklahoma. He then expects to concentrate his energies and attention upon his farming interests, owning a valuable tract of land of eighty acres near Bartlesville, which is devoted to general farming and in addition he has twenty acres of land near the town. Upon his farm property are seventeen producing oil wells and he derives therefrom a most substantial royalty. He served his country in a most creditable manner in the World war, being one of that splendid army of young men that Oklahoma sent to the conflict which centered on the western front in Europe. Mr. Wilkerson is a representative of two of the old, honored and prominent Cherokee families of Oklahoma families of liberal culture, of marked business ability and of high social standing. He is actuated by a laudable ambition to enjoy advanced educational opportunities, recognizing the value of superior intellectual training as a preparation for life’s practical and responsible duties. Already he is the possessor of valuable property and he knows that thorough, comprehensive education will qualify him to a larger extent to cope with the questions relative to its management, control and development.