Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JAMES M. WILKERSON, M. D. Greene county owes a great debt of gratitude to the state of Tennessee for the large number of sterling citizens which have located here from that state, perhaps more than from any two other states. They have proven themselves to be people of industry, honesty and public spirit, true types of empire builders. Among this number is Dr. James M. Wilkerson, who has lived in Springfield twenty-six years. Formerly he was a successful general physician, but later turned his attention to the real estate business in which he has reaped a satisfactory reward.
Doctor Wilkerson was born in Bedford county, Tennessee, November 2, 1844. He is a son of James and Lydia (Messick) Wilkerson, a fine old Southern family. . The father was born in. Ireland on a farm in County Tyrone, in the year 1808, and he immigrated to the United States when a young man and established his home on a farm in Bedford county, Tennessee. During the Civil war he removed his family to Arkansas, later to Kansas, where they remained a short time, then came to Lawrence county, Missouri, where the death of James Wilkerson occurred at the age of seventy-three years. He had devoted his life to general farming and stock raising. His wife was a native of Tennessee. Her death occurred in the year 1892. To these parents twelve children were born ten sons and two daughters. Four of the sons are now deceased.
Dr. James M. Wilkerson grew to manhood on the farm and he received his early education in the common schools. He studied medicine under his brother, W. C. Wilkerson, and Doctor Gray, of Lawrenceburg, Missouri, the town at that time containing only a country store. Later he took the regular course in the American Medical School in St. Louis, receiving his diploma in 1878. Locating at Humansville, Polk county, in 1871, where he was married, and soon thereafter he began the practice of his profession which he continued there for a period of eighteen years with a large degree of success, during which period he was regarded as one of the leading physicians of the western part of Polk county. He removed to Springfield, in 1888, where he continued the practice of medicine for three years with his usual success, but desiring to take up a business career, he abandoned his profession and took up the real estate business, which he has continued to the present time with ever-increasing success and is rated among the leading dealers in this part of the country and a judge of property values, both city and rural.
Doctor Wilkerson was married, July 1, 1874, to Mary A. Ayers, a daughter of Alven Ayers, a native of Virginia, where he spent his earlier life, finally removing to Missouri. He devoted his active life to farming and stock raising. He and his wife are both deceased. They were the parents of five children.
Six children have been born to Doctor Wilkerson and wife, namely: Lydia, married Claude Washburn who was killed in a railroad accident, leaving one son, James, born, January 22, 1899; Mary H., married A. C. Hayward, an attorney, of Springfield, and they have one child, Edgar; two sons and one daughter of our subject died in infancy; Edgar, the youngest child, died when five years of age.
Politically Doctor Wilkerson is a Democrat, fraternally a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and he and his wife belong to the Christian church.
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