Julian Roy Wilbur (known as J. Roy or Roy), second child of Elias and Melissa Aurora (Barnum) Wilbur, was born on April 11, 1879 in Broome Co., NY. He attended the Binghamton public schools and then attended the Riley's Business College in Binghamton. He enlisted in Company "H" of the New York National Guard before the Spanish American War, probably around 1896 or 97. In early 1898, when he learned his company was being mustered into federal service, a sudden emergency developed. He called on young Lula Quackenbush the following Sunday evening and persuaded her to name a wedding day. The day was set for Tuesday and the young couple was wed. He left the following Sunday for service in the Spanish American War. He returned to Binghamton in early 1899 and chose to remain in the National Guard. Their only child, Donald Alden Wilbur, was born November, 11, 1899. Sadly, about six months later, Lula died of consumption (tuberculosis), leaving J. Roy to care for their infant son.
Company "H" of the New York National Guard remained J. Roy's chief occupation for many years. He served his country in four ways - as a soldier in the Spanish American War and World War I, and as a Selective Service board member in World War II and the Korean conflict. He took great pride and pleasure in his participation and nearly every year he went to Plattsburg, NY for special military training for one week, his vacation week. Each year he got high marks as an expert rifleman and pistol shot. He retired as an army major, finally ending his work as a Selective Service board member at the age of 83. Throughout his life he looked and acted every inch an officer and leader of men.
J. Roy was the executive secretary and treasurer of the Newell Truesdell Co, of Binghamton, NY, a leading wholesale grocer in the county, where he was both successful and influential.
Roy was known for his great sense of humor and quick wit. I am told he was also something of a jokester and loved to laugh. He was also a close follower of baseball and football. When asked by a local newspaper reporter if he would mind seeing Mickey Mantle or Roger Maris break Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in one season, he replied, "I'm in favor of anyone doing all he can for himself. If Mantle or Maris can break the record, that's just fine". He was also very proud of his 57 year marriage to his wife Mayo. His simple advice to young couples was, "Don't give up." "A simple pat on the back once in a while does wonders," was the reply by wife Mayo. At the end of his long life, J. Roy still expressed faith in the youth of the country. "From my experience with younger generations, I believe we have no reason to fear. The young people of today will respond when they are needed." J. Roy died in October of 1962 at the age of 88.
Military Record of J. Roy Wilbur (written by his son, Donald A. Wilbur)
1. Enlisted in Company "H", 1st Regiment, NY National Guard Before the Spanish-American War, probably in 1896 or 97. 2. At the outbreak of the War, the 1st Regiment was mustered into Federal Service , probably early in 1898. 3. The Regiment was shipped first to the Presidium in San Francisco, and presently to Honolulu, Hawaii where they remained throughout the war, though expecting to be shipped to the Philippines. 4. The Regiment was released from the US Army in early 1899 and returned to Binghamton, NY where he chose to remain in the National Guard. 5. He was made corporal during the war; later sergeant; then 1st sergeant. Later he was commissioned 2nd lieutenant and 1st lieutenant, which rank he held when the NY 1st Regiment was again mustered into the National Army in 1917. Because of his age (about 42 years old) he was not mustered with his company. 6. In the meantime, about 1914 or 1915 when the US had trouble with Mexico, Company "H" and the 1st NY Regiment was called into service to go to the Mexican border. This latter however did not happen and soon Company "H" was demobilized. 7. When the 1st Regiment NY National Guard was called into Federal Service at the beginning of World War I (1917), J. Roy was commissioned captain to serve with the NY Guard, guarding the NY City water supply from the Ashokan Reservoir near Stone Ridge in the Catskills. He remained on duty there for about a year until he was advanced to major, which commission he retained until the end of the war. When the regiment of Company "H" of the 1st Regiment, NY National Guard returned from Europe, the NU Guard was demobilized and no longer existed. 8. Draft Board Record - When the Draft Act was established before World War II, and a Draft Board was appointed for Binghamton, NY, J. Roy was asked to chair this board. He retained this position until he was about 83 years old when he resigned, a service of about 15-18 years.