Born in 1843 at Sunbury, son of Joseph C. and Mary E. Grant Wilkins. He received his initial education at Sunbury Academy, and remained in Liberty County until 1860. That year he became a member of the newly organized Confederate Army organization in Troup County, Georgia, with which he remained until the end of the Civil War. After receiving a higher education he was employed as a civil engineer by the U.S. government in 1867.
The following year he established his own engineering firm in Atlanta, Georgia. His specialty was the design and construction of large bridges. He was chief of all construction for the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, which took place in 1881. He designed the fair grounds, which afterward became Piedmont Park.
He was engineer for the Forsyth Street bridge in Atlanta, a structure which an Atlanta newspaper called "a monument to his engineering skill and ability." By 1900 he was regarded by his peers as one of the leading architectural designers and constructors in the U.S.
From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Page(s) 32, 58, 65; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office