|Birth: ||Apr. 21, 1817|
|Death: ||Jul. 21, 1902|
The Death Of Dr. Wilkinson, At The Age Of Eighty-Five, Removes About the Last Signer of the
Louisiana Ordinance of Secession
Date: Tuesday, July 22, 1902 Paper: Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) Page: 9
A notable figure in Louisiana history has been blotted out by the hand of death. Yesterday morning the slender thread was severed that held a mind bright and active to the last to a frame that sickness and old age had shrunken and wasted away. After the scriptural limit of three score years and ten had been passed by more than fifteen years, the life of Dr. J. B. Wilkinson ended as peacefully as an infant's sleep.
Dr. Wilkinson was born in Wilkinson county, Miss., on April 21, 1817. His grandfather was General Jas. Wilkinson. His father, also named J. B. Wilkinson, removed to Louisiana with his family when his son was only 2 years old, and commenced planting on the lower coast, below New Orleans, on a property acquired from Colonel Maunsel White, and named Point Celeste, after Colonel White's wife. Young Wilkinson was sent back to Mississippi to attend the noted seat of learning in the earlier days and since, the Jefferson Academy, of Washington county, Miss. From thence he was sent to the University of Virginia, and afterwards to the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, the most noted medical college of that day.
Leaving both these institutions, with honor, he returned to Louisiana and commenced the practice of medicine in Plaquemines parish. This practice soon became a very successful one. During the early years of his practice he met, wooed and won Miss Josephine Stark, the daughter of Colonel Horatio Stark, of the regular army, who was from South Carolina, and whose father was an officer in the service of that state in the revolutionary army. The marriage was contracted on May 16, 1844, and was followed followed by a happy companionship that lasted for fifty-eight years, and only since yesterday morning has one been left to continue to the end without the love and affection of the other.
After several years of country practice, Dr. Wilkinson, as so many professional men in the country did, became interested in planting in a section of the lower coast known as Grand Prairie, where he bought a home. From this now home, called Riverside, he was summoned by appointment of Governor Johnson to take charge of the Mississippi river quarantine, the organization of which had been provided for by the legislature in 1855. He was the first resident physician in charge of the Mississippi river quarantine station.
He contracted a severe attack of yellow fever while at that station, but on recovery speedily returned to the successful administration of the duties of his post.
He always took great interest in public affairs. He was identified in early manhood with the whig party, and was a presidential elector on the Harrison ticket when quite a young man. He was a representative in the legislature from Plaquemines parish, and secured for that parish a considerable appropriation to build a back levee.
Dr. Wilkinson was a member of the secession convention, and only a few days ago a prominent gentleman remarked, on looking over the facsimilies of the signatures of the ordinance of secession, lately published in Mr. Michel's valuable work, that among all the signers he only knew one who was still alive, and that was Dr. Wilkinson. It is not known if there be any others left, but as the eye glances down the long list it can be seen that Mouton and Semmes, and Sparrow and Rozier and Polk and York and Roselius and all, or nearly all, that brillant assemblage, have passed away, and now Joseph Biddle Wilkinson has gone at last to meet his comrades and compeers of those stirring scenes.
Dr. Wilkinson was engaged for a time quite successfully in the refining of sugar at the old Louisiana refinery, which was located a mile above the Jackson barracks, being associated in that business at different times with the houses of P. A. Giraud & Co., Chaffraix & Agar and Jno Barelli. In 1865 he resumed planting on the lower coast.
With Duncan F. Kenner, Jno. Dymond and others he was one of the organizers of the Louisiana Sugar Planter's Association.
He was also one of the organizers of the State Medical Society, and was elected an honorary member of that body a few years ago. He was president of the Medical Society of Plaquemines parish for many years.
Dr. Wilkinson was specially active in public matters all through the reconstruction period, and more than once came near meeting death in his zealous and patriotic work. He was long a familiar and prominent figure at Democratic state conventions, but was not an applicant for office, and held no official position during that period, except membership for many years in the Democratic state central committee.
In 1884 Dr. Wilkinson removed to Pass Christian, where he resumed the practice of medicine, until advancing years compelled him to retire. For that place and its people he was always held many tender memories, which was returned by its people where Dr. and Mrs. Wilkinson made many and devoted friends. It was there his only daughter was happily married to Thomas Worthington, of Birmingham, Ala., and the death, ten years later, from typhoid fever, of that charming woman, brought the deepest distress to the declining years of her parents.
For several years past Dr. and Mrs. Wilkinson have spent their summers at the north, with their sons, in New York and Washington, and their winters with their sons and daughter-in-laws, either on the plantation on the lower coast or in this city.
The sickness which resulted fatally came about three weeks ago, whom on a visit to the plantation of his son, Mr. Theodore Wilkinson, on the lower coast. He was brought to the city ten days ago, and to the house of his son, Dr. C. P. Wilkinson, where he grew weaker day by day, until the end came yesterday morning. Dr. Wilkinson had a bright mind, a wonderful memory, stored with useful and interesting information. He was a delightful conversationalist, and had great personal magnetism. He speedily secured the friendship and attachment of those with whom he was brought closely in contact, and young people especially delighted in his society.
An affectionate father, a devoted husband, a steadfast friend, a tender and skillful physician, an ardent lover of his people and his state, a man without reproach in all of a long life, may rest, peace and love be his forever.
Joseph Biddle Wilkinson (1789 - 1865)
Catherine Andrews Wilkinson (1785 - 1861)
Josephine Osborne Stark Wilkinson (1823 - 1908)*
Joseph Biddle Wilkinson (1845 - 1915)*
Theodore Stark Wilkinson (1847 - 1921)*
Andrews Wilkinson (1849 - 1921)*
Clement Penrose Wilkinson (1850 - 1917)*
Horace Wilkinson (1854 - 1941)*
James Wilkinson (1856 - 1943)*
Ernest Wilkinson (1859 - 1934)*
Josephine Wilkinson Worthington (1861 - 1899)*
Ann Wilkinson Penrose (1808 - 1864)*
Robert Andrews Wilkinson (1809 - 1862)*
Joseph Biddle Wilkinson (1817 - 1902)
Sarah Marcella Wilkinson (1822 - 1909)*
Rebecca Wilkinson (1826 - 1868)*
Virginia Wilkinson Wilde (1827 - 1888)*
Julia Wilkinson Egan (1829 - 1905)*
GPS (lat/lon): 29.98202, -90.11781
Created by: civilwarbuff
Record added: Aug 13, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 95283691