Biography of Judge William F. Wilkinson

Judge William F. Wilkinson, of Prattville, was born in Autauga County, Ala., in October 1849. His father, Joseph B. Wilkinson, was a native of Blount County, Tenn., born in 1813, and came to Autauga when a youth. Here he married Miss Elizabeth A. Nicholson, a native of the county, born in 1820. He began life a poor man, but was a skillful farmer and merchant, and became quite well to do. He was a great reader and became one of the best-informed men in the county. He served as county commissioner a number of years and was active in politics and public affairs generally; was a Mason of high standing, a member of the Methodist church, and was Sunday-school superintendent at the time of his death, which occurred in 1889. Mrs. Wilkinson is now, in all probability, the oldest native-born inhabitant of the county. She was married, first to a Mr. Taylor, by whom she had one daughter, now Mrs. E. A. Hall; to her second husband, Mr. Wilkinson, she bore eight children, viz.: James L., who, when a student at the age of seventeen, June 2, 1861, enlisted in company M, Sixth Alabama infantry, and later in company G. April 28, 1862, he was promoted to be sergeant, and December 1, 1862, was commissioned lieutenant. He took part in all the chief engagements in the Virginia campaign, except that of Sharpsburg, when he was ill, and met his death at Spottsylvania, May 12, 1864. The second child, Dr. John E., is a physician and druggist at Prattville; the third is Judge W. F., who graduated from Emory and Henry college, Va. Joseph A. is now a merchant at Selma; Asbury T. is a merchant and farmer of Wilcox County, Ala.; Mrs. L. A. Steele is deceased; Mattie is the wife of F. J. McNeil, of Autaugaville; Edgar A. died young. Judge William F. was reared on a farm, received his early schooling at Autaugaville, and in 1871 graduated from Emory and Henry college, after which he taught school for six years, and then for four years edited and published Shelby Guide, of Shelby County. He then returned to Prattville and founded the Southern Signal, which he edited until 1886, when he was elected probate judge and re-elected in 1892. He had performed other public service, however, having been appointed circuit clerk in 1879, and elected to the same office in 1880, being incumbent at the time of his election to the probate judgeship in 1886. The first marriage of the judge took place in 1880, to Miss Ida McConaughy, a native of Shelby County, who died in 1882, leaving one daughter. The second marriage of the judge was in 1888, to Miss Eva L., daughter of Dr. E. L. and Mrs. Mollie Lovelace, both natives of southeast Alabama, and now residing in Troy. Dr. Lovelace is regarded as one of the most gifted Methodist divines in the state. Mrs. Eva Wilkinson was born in La Fayette, Ala., and was educated at Selma, and Mobile, finishing her education at the latter place while her father had his charge there. She has one son, William Everett. Judge Wilkinson is a member of K. of H., No. 2828, is past dictator, and has been a representative to the grand lodge. He has always been active in politics and is worthy of any office to which his party can elevate him. A democrat, he has for some years been a member of the state executive committee, chairman of the congressional executive committee, and has been chairman of various congressional conventions; he attends nearly all the state and district conventions, and was a district delegate to the Chicago convention of 1884, that nominated Grover Cleveland for the presidency of the United States, and is regarded as a safe counselor, and man of cool and excellent judgment on nearly all questions. But few men enjoy the confidence of those who know him more than he.


Memorial record of Alabama : a concise account of the state’s political, military, professional and industrial progress, together with the personal memoirs of many of its people.. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1893.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top