JOHN WESLEY WILKINSON, general farmer and dairyman, residing on his finely cultivated and well improved farm
of about forty acres, situated in Shenango Township, is a representative of one of the oldest families in Lawrence
County. Mr. Wilkinson was born November 23, 1853, in Shenango Township, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, and is a
son of William S. and Mary E. (Robison) Wilkinson.
The Wilkinson family was established in this section of Lawrence County by the great grandfather of John W. Wilkinson,
who came to Shenango Township after his service in the Revolutionary War, for which he received a patent of land.
This sheepskin deed is a valued possession of the family and has been carefully preserved, Mrs. Samuel Smith, of
New Castle, at present having it in charge.
John Wilkinson, grandfather of John W., accompanied his father to Shenango Township. They were among the earliest
settlers, coming into the wilderness with the courage which war and privation had already given them and remaining
to leave an impress on the locality to which their footsteps had been directed.
William S. Wilkinson, father of John W., was one of the numerous sons born to the grandfather and from him he probably
inherited the strong constitution and sturdy build that were noted even into old age. His life was entirely an
agricultural one and it is told in the family that within a week of his death, when aged seventy three years, he
assisted in the husking of the corn. His figure was erect and his eyesight never dimmed. In early manhood he married
Nary E. Robison and they had eight children born to them, namely: Joseph K., residing at Los Angeles, California;
Jennie, wife of W. H. Brady, residing at Wampum; John Wesley; Laura, wife of James Cunningham, residing at New
Castle; Ella, wife of William James, residing at Pittsburg; Rachel, wife of J. I. Henderson, residing in Kansas;
William, residing at New Castle, and Samuel, who is deceased. The parents of this family were good, Christian people,
worthy members of the Disciples Church.
John Wesley Wilkinson lived on the home farm and was accustomed to the practical details of a farmer's life from
boyhood, and his education was obtained in the district schools not far distant. When he married, in 1886; he moved
to his present farm and very soon began to improve it and has continued to do so until it has few equals in the
county in point of attractiveness and genuine comfort. He has all of his land under cultivation and raises corn,
oats and hay. He has engaged largely in dairying and for this purpose keeps twenty two head of cattle. He has the
oldest milk route at New Castle, having established it seventeen years ago and for over ten years, every day, he
went on his own wagon serving customers. He practically produces all the milk he sells, and so careful has he always
been as to its quality, that he has customers now who have depended upon him for many years for their dairy products.
Mr. Wilkinson has been a very hard working man in his day and until within the last four years, did his full share
of every kind of farm labor, but since then has been afflicted with rheumatism to such a degree that his son, with
the assistance of a hired man, has assumed all the duties. Prudence and good business management have combined
to place Mr. Wilkinson in very easy circumstances.
On January 14, 1886, Mr. Wilkinson was married to Agnes Fombelle, who is a daughter of Theophilus and Elizabeth
(MeGaw) Fombelle. Mrs. Wilkinson was born in North Sewickley Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, where her father
had settled when he first came from France. Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson have two Sons: Charles Wesley a.nd John Howard.
The family belong to the First Baptist Clmrch at New Castle. Like his father, Mr. Wilkinson is no politician, but
both have been thoroughly identified with the Republican party.
20th Century History of
New Castle and Lawrence County
Edited By: Hon. Aaron L. Hazen
Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill., 1908
Lawrence County Pennsylvania Biographies
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