Businessman, Civil War commander
-- OBITUARY: (1889, March 18). The Intelligencer [Wheeling, WV].
PROMINENT PEOPLE DEAD.
Col. N. Wilkinson Expires after a Very Brief Illness.
HIS DEATH A PUBLIC LOSS.
A Sketch of his Useful Career in Wheeling - George B. Mitchell dies after a long Illiness at his home on the Island.
The announcement yesterday afternoon the Col. Nathan Wilkinson was dead caused general surprise and general regret. Colonel Wilkinson was an old useful and honored citizen upon whose services the public had gradually come to rely to such an extent that his death is a loss to the community. While he has not been entirely well for some length of time, he was comparatively hale, and was able to go about as usual as late as Sunday evening. For years he has had a troublesome chronic affection of the stomach, and Sunday night this assumed a violent form, and nothing afforded him any relief. He died at ten minutes past 2 yesterday afternoon.
Col Wilkinson was born in Wilmington, Del., and his first business engagement was with the Elk Iron Works, at Elkton, Md., of which concern Mr. George P. Whittaker was the head. In 1847 he went to Boston, where for eight years he was connected with the American Brass Tube Works. At the end of that period, in 1855, he came to Wheeling, and has resided here constantly since that time, being prominently identified with the city's growth and prosperity.
He was first with the Crescent Iron Works here, with which he remained until August, 1861, when, by authority of the War Department he organized the Sixth West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, known as the "Baltimore & Ohio guards," from the fact that the special duty with which the regiment was charged was the protection of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad and the towns and property along it. By special authority the regiment was recruited to fifteen companies, of which four were from Wheeling. Col. Wilkinson was Colonel, and his son, James P. Wilkinson, was his adjutant.
After the war ended and Col. Wilkinson's regiment was disbanded, he became the Secretary of the Riverside Iron Works, in which position he served until 1881. Since the last named year he has lived in retirement, though his skill as an accountant, his well known and unimpeachable integrity and his high standing in the community have led to his selection for responsible public duties. He has regularly audited the city books and those of most of the City Boards for years, has acted as commissioner of several city loans, and served on committees of citizens in all sorts of exigencies. Though a modest man, he never shirked a duty to which he was called by his fellow citizens. Though not much of a politician, he was a faithful Republican, and one of the strongest marks of the esteem in which he was held by the people was his election as a member of Council several times in a Democratic ward. He served as President of the Second Branch, and had occupied other responsible places of public trust.
Col. Wilkinson leaves a wife and a large family of children, nearly all grown. Mr. William Wilkinson, of the Exchange Bank, and Mr. Howard Wilkinson, late Secretary of the City Water Board, are his sons. He was a prominent member of the G. A. R. and very popular with the old soldiers.