WILKINSON, WILLIAM T. (1838 ~ 1870) William T. Wilkinson, Union veteran and member of the Texas House of Representatives, was born in the mid to late 1830s, between 1835 and 1838, in Indiana.
According to the 1860 Census of Perry County, Missouri, Wilkinson was a 25 year old carpenter, who was living in Perryville in a hotel operated by Francis Valle.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Wilkinson enlisted in the 64th Regiment of the Missouri Militia, which was organized in Perry County on October 27, 1862. He served as captain of Company A. The regiment was assigned to duty in the 1st Military District of Missouri and, on October 30, 1862, it was merged with several other units to form the 30th Missouri Infantry. Wilkinson was named captain of Company B.
The 30th Missouri Volunteer Infantry, which was also known as the "Shamrock Regiment," formed part of Blair's Brigade and participated in the battles of Chickasaw Bluff, Arkansas Post, and Vicksburg Campaign. In August of 1864, the 30th and the 7th Missouri Veteran Volunteers were combined into a brigade, which became known as the "Missouri Irish Brigade."
Soon after its formation, the Irish Brigade was reduced to four, and then three companies, and was consolidated into a single battalion, which became known as the "Consolidated Battalion 7th and 30th Missouri Volunteers" and, unofficially, the "Missouri Irish Battalion." During this time, Wilkinson was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command.
After the Confederacy surrendered, Wilkinson and his "Irish Battalion" did occupation duty until June, when they were ordered to Texas. On August 31, 1865, the men were mustered out of service at Columbus, but were not discharged until they returned to Saint Louis on September 11.
Wilkinson must have liked Texas, because he returned with John Wilkinson, who is presumed to have been his father, and purchased two tracts of land on November 22, 1865, outside the city of Columbus in Colorado County. According to Colorado County records, Wilkinson used the land for farming, as he had cattle and grew cotton. Also, the land appears to have fronted the Colorado River, because Wilkinson gained permission from the Colorado County Police Court to operate a ferry on his property.
At the time of Wilkinson's arrival, Texas was under reconstruction and, apparently, his role as a Union soldier helped with his status in the community. On January 9, 1867, he was appointed overseer of the 35th Road Precinct, which ran from his ferry. On April 30, 1869, the headquarters of the Fifth Military District of Texas appointed him to the Colorado County Police Court. He took his seat in May of that same year and served until his resignation on January 31, 1870.
Wilkinson, according to Colorado County records, was very active in the judicial process, mostly as a defendant. On May 5, 1866, he was indicted for branding two cows that did not belong to him. He was later acquitted of these charges. On February 4, 1868, John F. Hicks, who Wilkinson and his father purchased their land from, filed a law suit against him because he had not paid the balance of his land purchase. The district court made a judgment against him for the balance of the debt. On March 8, 1869, he was indicted for fraud and was charged with encasing a bale of low-grade cotton with a better-quality grade. He was later acquitted of these charges as well.
On February 8, 1870, Wilkinson took his seat in the Texas House of Representatives as a member of the 12th Legislative Session. He served in this capacity until his death on May 24, 1870.
With Wilkinson's family in Missouri, the planning of his funeral service fell to the members of the House of Representatives and he was buried in the Texas State Cemetery the next day. He was 32 years old.
Wilkinson's wife, Susan, according to the 1880 census, was living in Perryville, Missouri with a niece, Effie Rutledge. No children's names have been found.
Information taken from: "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies," vols. 31, 32, 39, 41, and 48; 1860 Census of Perry County, Missouri, page 30 website, http://home.att.net/~sarankin/30.HTM; Brief Sketches of Walter Wilkinson, Casimir Chappius, and Alban Prost website, http://webpages.charter.net/patrice1/wilkchappprost.htm; 30th Missouri website, http://www.geocities.com/missouriirishbrigade30th/; National Park Service website, http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss; Colorado County Deed Records, Book L, pg. 628; Colorado County District Court Records, Criminal Cause File No. 596: State of Texas v. William T. Wilkinson; Colorado County District Court Records, Final Record Book D, pg. 112; Colorado County Police Court Minutes, Book 1862 ? 1976, pgs. 71, 81, 88, and 115; Colorado County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 2224: John F. Hicks v. William T. Wilkinson, et al.; Colorado County District Court Records, Criminal Cause File No. 776: State of Texas v. William T. Wilkinson; Colorado County Police Court Minutes, Book 1862 ? 1874, pgs. 135, 140, 160, and 235; Special Order 102, RG 401, File 860-23, Texas State Library and Archives; [Austin] Daily State Journal, May 25, 1870; [Austin] Tri-Weekly State Gazette, May 27, 1870; Galveston Tri-Weekly News, May 25, 1870, May 30, 1870; Colorado County Deed Records, Book P, pg. 439; [Austin] Tri-Weekly State Gazette, May 27, 1870; Galveston Tri-Weekly News, May 30, 1870; and 1880 Census of Perry County, Missouri, http://www.familysearch.org.