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James Foster Wilkin

James Foster Wilkin held two elective offices in his career: as a county prosecutor and Justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio.

He was born on Feb. 26, 1853 in Holiday’s Cove, in what is now West Virginia, to Andrew J. and Maxima Wilcoxson Wilkin. His parents later moved to Newcomerstown, Ohio, where Wilkin was educated in the local schools.

He attended Washington and Jefferson College in 1872, Wooster University in 1873 and studied law at the University of Virginia. He read law locally with J.A.D. Richards and was admitted to the bar in April 1877. He practiced for one year with Richards and then opened his own law practice.

Wilkin maintained his law practice in New Philadelphia for 35 years, the name changing to Wilkin & Wilkin when he was joined in the practice by his son, David. He first entered public service in 1882, winning the election for Tuscarawas County prosecuting attorney for a two-year term. He won subsequent elections in 1884 and 1886.

Wilkin was elected to the Supreme Court on Nov. 5, 1912 to fill the unexpired term of James L. Price and was sworn in on Dec. 20, 1912, assuming office on the same date. This was the only other elected position he ever held. He ran for re-election in 1914, but was defeated. Before he could finish his term, however, Wilkin died. His opinions are in volumes 87 through 90 of Ohio State Reports.

Wilkin married Virginia Smith in June 22, 1876 in New Philadelphia and they had 10 children. Wilkin died Dec. 4, 1914 in New Philadelphia while at home resting after a brief illness. The funeral was at the New Philadelphia Presbyterian Church and Wilkin is buried in a mausoleum at Canal Dover cemetery.

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77th Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio

Dec 20, 1912
to Dec 4, 1914

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