Submitted by: Pierre Gagne

From the Manitoba Free Press - January 28, 1888

Wilkins, the St. Paul "Masher" Wedded to a Former Winnipeg Woman

Fergus Falls, Minn., Jan 27 - John Wilkins, of St. Paul, who was lately discovered to have six wives, has arrived here with one of them, Mrs. Emily Stetson. The Stetson woman lived here at the time of her marriage with Wilkins, and four years ago lived at Winnipeg. She is worth $25,000 and says that Wilkins has only one wife beside herself, and that as soon as the other woman gets a divorce she (Mrs. Stetson) and Wilkins will be married over again.

St. Paul, Jan. 27 - The case of John R. Wilkins, the man with the quintet of wives, has excited widespread attention, and the general verdict is that he was possessed of a mania for marrying and was scarcely responsible for his action. Mrs. Wilkins number 1, who resides at 78 Tilton Street, states that last spring her faithless husband was absent from home for about six weeks and during his absence he married Emma Stetson at Erie, Pa., and Kate Fox at Detroit, Mich. He brought Miss Stetson to Minneapolis and Miss Fox to St. Paul. In June Wilkins rejoiced in the possession of four wives in St. Paul, and he lived with them all in turn. Owing to his frequent absences Mrs Wilkins No. 1 became suspicious and set detectives on his track, and the discovery was made of her husband's eccentricities. Wilkins then left for Cleveland, where he is said to be living with Miss Stetson, who left St. Paul shortly after his departure.

Miss Hamilton, another of the wives, residing at 165 Washington Street, says she was married to him in May last and lived at 35 East Ninth Street with him for two months. She alleges that Wilkins was married to Belle Ward at Memphis, Tenn., nearly twenty years ago, and later to a Mrs. Crittenden of Baltimore. More wives are expected to come to the front in a few days.

In reply to a telegram sent to Cleveland, Ohio, comes a statement from Horace Wilkins, the father of the alleged quintigamist. Mr. Wilkins, sr., is a retired old merchant and resides on Prospect Street. He states that his son John R. Wilkins was married to Miss Lillian B. Clark, the present complainant, in 1870 at Fagundna, Pa., where he lived for a number of years. John R. is 36 years of age. Three years ago he came to St. Paul, returning last April with the Stetson lady. In November they were living together on Erie street, and on Jan. 11, John R. told his father he was going to St. Paul. Mr. Wilkins, senior, does not know how many wives his son has, and does not know where he is at the present time.