Jasper N. Wilkinson

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
November 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 331-332

JASPER N. WILKINSON. After a busy career marked
by successful and worthy achievement Mr. Wilkinson is
now living virtually retired at Bridgeport, Harrison County.
He was born on a farm not far distant from the vil-
lage in which he now resides, and the date of his nativity
was January 22. 1841. He is a son of Jesse and Mary
Ann (Preston) Wilkinson, the former of whom was born
in Virginia and the latter in Allegany County, Maryland.
The family was founded in Virginia in the Colonial period
of our national history, and the maternal grandfather of
the subject of this sketch was a patriot soldier in the War
of the Revolution. Jesse H. Wilkinson was one of the
successful early farmers of Harrison County, and continued
to reside on his homestead farm near Bridgeport until his
death. His widow passed the closing period of her life
in the home of their only daughter, Sarah A., in Knox
County, Missouri. In the family were four sons.

Jasper N. Wilkinson was reared on the old home farm,
early began to assist in its work, and he continued to
attend local schools at intervals until he was twenty years
of age, when, in 1861, he went to Morgantown and became
a student in Monongalia Academy, of which Professor J. R.
Moore was the principal. In 1865 Mr. Wilkinson graduated
from this institution, with the degree of Civil Engineer,
and thereafter he passed about one month in Iowa, whither
he went to visit in the home of his aunt, Mrs. Rebecca
Hansel, in Clayton County. He next made his way to
Arcola, Douglas County, Illinois, where he found employ-
ment in the line of his profession and did surveying work
of important order. In Illinois he aided in the defining
of the section lines of Grand Prairie in Moultrie County,
which borders Douglas County on the west. It is interest-
ing to record that at that time land in that section of
Illinois could be purchased at prices ranging from $1.25
to $2.50 an acre. In the autumn of 1865 Mr. Wilkinson
returned to his native county, and for the ensuing three
years he assisted his father on the home farm. In 1868
he engaged in the general merchandise business at Bridge-
port, and he successfully continued this enterprise until
1874, when he sold out. In 1870 he had been elected county
engineer, an office of which he continued the efficient
incumbent four years and then was re-elected for a second
term of equal duration. After his retirement from this
office he served four years as deputy county engineer under
T. Moore Jackson, and he then became associated with
J. N. Camden as civil engineer, and had charge of the
running of all of the lines on the coal lands owned and
controlled by Mr. Camden, said lands lying on both sides
of the river and running back three miles.

In the autumn of 1888 Mr. Wilkinson became civil engi-
neer for the South Pennsylvania Oil Company of Pitts-
burgh, and in 1890 this corporation gave him assignment
as superintendent of its operations in the West Virginia
District, where he had supervision of the company’s title
rights and other matters pertaining to its land holdings
in this state. In this connection he did a large amount
of important and responsible executive and technical serv-
ice, and he continued his alliance with the company for a
term of years. In 1910 Mr. Wilkinson was placed in charge
of the Hope Gas Company, and this position he retained
until 1913, when ill health compelled his retirement. Dur-
ing these years of consecutive and well ordered activity
in his profession Mr. Wilkinson did not neglect extraneous
opportunities for forwarding his individual prosperity. He
made judicious investments, and these today mark him as
a man of substantial financial status. He owns and occu-
pies one of the beautiful residences of Bridgeport, the
same commanding a fine view of the surrounding country,
and here he is enjoying the peace and prosperity that prop-
erly crown his former years of earnest endeavor. He is
aligned loyally in the ranks of the democratic party, has
been affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows
since the year 1865, and he holds membership also in the
Knights of Pythias. His religious faith is that of the
Presbyterian Church, and his wife is a member of the
Baptist Church.

April 30, 1868, recorded the marriage of Mr. Wilkinson
and Miss Anna Barbee Heflin, of Bridgeport, and in con-
clusion of this review is given brief record concerning their
children: Guy C., who was born June 1, 1871, succeeded
his father as superintendent of the Hope Gas Company
and retained this position until his death, December 11,
1915, he having been a bachelor and having been one of
the popular and representative business men of this sec-
tion of his native state. Mary Bessie, who was born July
1, 1873, died on the 13th of February, 1909. She became
the wife of Dr. C. L. Lyon, and after her death her only
child, Helen, then six years of age, was taken into the
home of the maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Wil-
kinson, with whom she has since remained, she being now
a student in the University of West Virginia. Anna Heflin,
who was born July 15, 1875, became the wife of Wilbur
Gaines, of Salem, this state, and they now reside at Bridge-
port. Nellie Virginia was born November 8, 1878, and
her death occurred March 8, 1908. Irma N., who was born
September 24, 1881, is the wife of Leroy H. Martin, a mem-
ber of the firm of Martin Brothers of Haywood, Harrison
County. Lucy E., who was born August 2, 1884, remains
at the parental home. All of the children were afforded
the best of educational advantages.