Alderson-Wilkinson Land Company, Appalachia, Ashburn, attorney, Big Huff Coal Company, California, Carroll County, Cincinnati, David Wilkinson, Ernest Eugene Wilkinson, First Baptist Church, genealogy, Guyan Coal Company, Guyan Valley Bank, Guyandotte Valley, history, Hollywood, John B. Wilkinson, John B. Wilkinson Jr., Knights Templar, lawyer, Logan, Logan County, Margaret Midyette, Mary Belle Straton, Mingo County, Mona Coal Company, Mona Russo, Mystic Shrine, prosecuting attorney, Robertson Consolidated Land Company, Robertson Grocery Company, San Diego, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Virginia, Wayne, West Virginia, West Virginia Biographical Association
From West Virginians, published by the West Virginia Biographical Association in 1928, comes this profile of Judge John B. Wilkinson of Logan, WV:
The Honorable John B. Wilkinson, who died August 12, 1919, at Logan, where he had long been a foremost citizen, held rank among the best known and most successful lawyers and jurists in West Virginia. In business likewise Judge Wilkinson enjoyed a distinguished success. One of the leaders in the early development of the coal industry in the Guyan Valley, his position at the time of his death was among the great figures in business and industry. He was treasurer of the Guyan Coal Company, the Mona Coal Company, the Robertson Consolidated Land Company and the Alderson-Wilkinson Land Company. He was president of the Big Huff Coal Company and a director of the Robertson Grocery Company. He was originally a director of the Guyan Valley Bank, but later disposed of his holdings in that institution. Throughout the state at large, however, his fame was earned chiefly by his work as a jurist. During twelve years on the bench of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, he was noted for his fairness, accuracy and knowledge of the law. The press of the whole state reported his passing at great length and with sincere regret that so valuable a personality had been lost to the community. Judge Wilkinson was born in Logan County, W.Va., February 13, 1860, the son of David Wilkinson, who had come from Carroll County, Va. He lived on a farm and attended school in that part of Logan County which afterward became Mingo County, coming to the then village of Logan Court House to attend a teachers’ institute and take an examination for a teacher’s certificate. He taught two or three local normal schools here and at Wayne. His legal career began in 1882, when he was admitted to the bar. He continued in the legal profession until his death in 1919. In 1884 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Logan County, which office he filled continuously till 1896. After an interval of four years he again assumed that office, in 1900, and served till January 1, 1905. Having been elected Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, he resigned as prosecutor and took his place on the circuit bench on the first of January, 1905, and remained as judge until failing health induced him to resign twelve years later. Several times Judge Wilkinson was urged to become his party’s candidate for Governor of the State, although he preferred not to accept that honor. In the summer of 1916 he was nominated for Judge of the Supreme Court of West Virginia. After leaving the office of circuit judge, the condition of his health inclined him to give up the practice of law and close his office, but many friends had learned to depend on him for legal counsel, and at their urging he continued in active practice until his death. Judge Wilkinson was married, September 21, 1882, to Mary Belle Straton of Logan, who survives him with their four children, John B., Jr., who resides at Ashburn, Va.; Ernest Eugene, of Cincinnati; Mrs. Mona Russo, of San Diego, Calif.; and Mrs. Margaret Midyette, of Hollywood, Calif. Judge Wilkinson was for a long time a member of the First Baptist Church of Logan, and a member of its board of deacons. He was a member of the Masonic Orders—the Knights Templar and the Mystic Shrine. Hundreds of people in West Virginia and neighboring states, although not personally acquainted with Judge Wilkinson, knew of his work as a jurist and his renown as a civic leader in general, so that at the time of his death, his passing elicited the sincere feeling that the state had lost one of its best and most constructive citizens.