Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Walter J. Wilkinson, vice president and manager of the Central Supply Company of Watsonville, has long been intimately connected with building operations in California and is therefore well qualified to direct business affairs of extent and importance. He was born in Sonoma county, California, July 30, 1881, and is a direct descendant of General James Wilkinson, a distinguished officer of the Revolutionary war and closely associated with General Washington. Mr. Wilkinson is a son of Hiram C. and Martha J. (Senger) Wilkinson, the former a native of Missouri and the latter of Iowa. The father came to California in 1861 by way of the Isthmus of Panama and followed the occupation of mining in the northern part of the state.

Walter J. Wilkinson was educated in the public schools of Lakeport, California, and his first position was that of engineer for the Lakeport Ice Company. In September, 1898, he went to Santa Barbara, California, and entered the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, aiding in the building of the road. He was connected with the engineering department of that corporation until January, 1906, and engaged in making surveys for the line as far north as Goldfield, Nevada. Coming to Watsonville early in 1906, Mr. Wilkinson associated himself with the Granite Rock Company, taking charge of the construction department. On January 4, 1922, the Granite Construction Company was organized and its officers were: Arthur R. Wilson, president; Walter J. Wilkinson, vice president and manager; and John E. Porter, secretary and treasurer. They specialized in stone and concrete work and were awarded many important contracts for the building of state highways, county roads and city streets. The business transactions of the company amounted to a half million dollars annually, and in this line of work they had few equals and no superiors. Mr. Wilkinson is an engineer of broad experience and ability and his carefully matured plans and systematic efforts have constituted a vital element in the growth and expansion of an extensive business. The Granite Rock Company, of which he formerly served as superintendent, built ninety per cent of the city streets opened in Watsonville during the past fifteen years and is one of the largest organizations of the kind in the west. On the 16th of August, 1924, the Central Supply Company was organized with A. R. Wilson as president; W. J. Wilkinson, vice president and manager; John E. Porter, treasurer, and H. B. Scott, secretary, and the new company has now taken over the operation of the bunkers of the Granite Construction Company in San Luis Obispo, Hollister, Salinas, Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

On March 23, 1903, Mr. Wilkinson married Miss Carrie B. Earle, who is descended in a direct line from Miles Standish, a notable figure in the colonial history of Massachusetts. Mrs. Wilkinson was born in San Francisco and previous to her marriage was a teacher in the public schools of Santa Cruz county. Her father, S. A. Earle, was one of the pioneer settlers of the Pajaro valley, and the home ranch is still in possession of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson have two sons, Walter A. and John E. Mr. Wilkinson is a Knight Templar Mason and a Noble of Islam Temple of the Mystic Shrine at San Francisco. He is a past patron of Lilly of the Valley Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and also belongs to Watsonville Lodge, No. 1300, of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is a charter member of the local Exchange Club and vice president of the Contractors Association of Northern California, which has been a most important factor in improving the public highways in this section of the state. Mr. Wilkinson's life has been well spent, characterized by the wise conservation of his forces and rounded with success. He has aided in pushing forward the wheels of progress in the west, and the strength that he manifests in business affairs has its root in an upright, honorable manhood, winning for him the unqualified esteem of all -with whom he has been associated.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.