Capt. James D. Wilkerson

The Cartersville News
Cartersville, Georgia
March 14, 1907, Page 1
Transcribed by:  

Capt. J. D. Wilkerson
Prominent Figure In Cartersville History.
Brave Man, Twenty-three Years Chief of Police of Cartersville, Passes Away Last Sunday
[This article includes a nice photograph of Capt. James D. Wilkerson.]

Capt. James D. Wilkerson died, at his home in this city, last Sunday morning.  Capt. Wilkerson’s death was not an unexpected event, as he had been in bad health for a number of years.  He was 73 years of age.

The death of Capt. Wilkerson removes a conspicuous figure in Cartersville’s history.  He was truly a native of Bartow county, being born within three miles of Cartersville, the town for whose good he labored and the home he loved so well.

When a young man Capt. Wilkerson enlisted as a private in the service of the confederacy.  The company he joined was assigned to the 11th Georgia regiment, which formed a part of “Tige” Anderson’s well known fighting brigade.  He made a brave soldier, for whom General Anderson formed a high opinion, and though only a private, in many places requiring tact, discretion and courage, he was chosen as a trusted man. No man who ever drew a sword or fired a gun in that brave Virginia army was possessed of a greater courage than Captain Wilkerson.

After the war, returning to his home, Capt. Wilkerson was chosen marshal of Cartersville, a position he filled, off and on for twenty three years in all.  Not only this city but no city in Georgia could boast of a finer officer.  His military training stood him in good stead, and with a fine physical frame and strong buoyant mind to back up his purposes, no interests of the city ever coming under his control were ever allowed to suffer.  When the great Coup circus riot occurred back in the early seventies or later sixties, all the detailed officials at the time fled the scene but Captain Wilkerson and one other, and when the circus men thought they were being attacked by the citizens, when in fact it was only a crowd of scrappers, Wilkerson went to the management and told them to get the men into their cars and he would see them protected, and he did.

To the evil doer, there was a kind of magic about his presence.  He would frequently go into the midst of  a crowd that threatened to become turbulent, and whether white or colored, when he would wave his hand and say with sternness, “You’d better be quiet now,” they seemed to know what it meant and many a time trouble was averted by his coolness and fine judgment.  No man ever saw the time when he was marshal that he was afraid to go where duty called him.  When “Tige” Anderson was chief of police of Atlanta, he made several special trips to Cartersville to see Capt. Wilkerson to try and induce him to take a place on his force in Atlanta, offering him a lieutenant’s place.  When the same well known figure afterwards became chief of police of Anniston, Ala., he made the same attempts to get Wilkerson to go there.  Jim Wilkerson loved his own town, though, and preferred to serve his own people.  His last service to the city was in 1891.  In a few years he grew rather feeble and opened a small store near his home.  Capt. Wilkerson was married fifty years ago to Miss Mary Collins, sister to the late Judge Aaron Collins and Mr. William Collins.  She survives him.  Surviving him also are two daughters, Mrs. C. C. Wilkes and Miss Sallie Wilkerson.

Capt. Wilkerson was a member of the Methodist church. The funeral services which took place Monday were conducted by Rev. G. W. Duval, pastor of that church.


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