Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

William Wilson

William Wilson and family WILLIAM WILSON. Wherever the Scotch go they bring assured thrift and a general atmosphere of security and dependability. They are quite apt to be craftsmen or tradesmen, and if they cannot adapt their training to any new surroundings in which they are placed they are adaptable, quick witted and practical. The United States, and the West especially, have good cause to admire the Scotch emigrants of the early years. The Wilsons, who are scattered from Washington to San Francisco and from the Canadian boundary to the Rio Grande, constitute one of the most prolific and well known Scotch families in America.

William Wilson of La Crosse, who belonged to the Centennial pioneers of Rush County, Kansas, was of an old Scotch family, many of which were residents of the Village of Cumbernauld, Dumbartonshire. He was born in that burg on December 2, 1845, and after enjoying a few years of schooling learned the tailor's trade. His father, Andrew Wilson, was also a native of the shire, and was long manager of a coal mine at Cumbernauld. The grandfather, Alexander Wilson, was a weaver during his active life, and for many generations back the Wilsons of Dumbartonshire stood high as industrious and intelligent members of the community. One of them was connected with the British army for a number of years and afterward served as secretary Of the Fourth and Clyde Canal.

Andrew Wilson married Agnes Waddell, who represented another family of weavers. From their union the issue were Jeanette, who died unmarried; Alexander, who was one of the family of Wilson pioneers who came to Rush County, and died therein only two years ago, in his eightieth year; Matthew, another of the brothers who died in Rush County in 1909, at the age of seventy-two; Andrew, still living at the age of seventy-five, and William.

The Wilson family, headed by the parents, sailed from Glasgow, Scotland, on the steamship Hibernia, bound for Castle Garden, New York. Three of the sons had preceded them during the previous year and located at the mining town of Blosburg, Pennsylvania. There the four sons and brothers became miners, as was their father. The year was 1866, and in 1869 the father died at Blosburg. The family then migrated to Ford County, Illinois, where a farm was purchased and the four brothers obtained seven years of experience in things agricultural. William Wilson married an Ohio woman, Margaret Alice Buzick, while his brothers chose Scotch wives of their early acquaintance. In 1876 they brought their families out to Kansas by train, which they left at Great Bend, and then started for their various claims.

William Wilson had selected a homestead in Brookdale Township, four miles west of the county seat. He brought four horses and household goods with him, and for the reception of his family constructed a sod dugout on his claim. It was a two-room affair, plastered and floored and comfortable enough both summer and winter. The first few years of his stay in Rush County were trying seasons, the drought almost ruining his crops. Finally he applied his energies and experience almost entirely to the raising of wheat and commenced to make progress. He proved up his homestead and resided thereon until he moved to La Crosse in 1910.

Mr. Wilson became a successful stock grower as well as a grain raiser. He began buying land at $3 an acre, and he continued to purchase it until he was paying $8 an acre. He thus amassed five quarter sections, all fenced, and brought 700 acres under actual cultivation. For permanent improvements he erected an eight-room dwelling and a spacious barn and cribs, his premises being divided into two farms, both substantially improved. Although Mr. Wilson was a democrat and cast his maiden ballot for Horace Greeley, he never desired or filled office of a political nature. He helped organize the Farmers Elevator of La Crosse, of which he was president; and that was about the extent of his office holding.

The children born to Mr. and Mrs. William Wilson were as follows: Andrew, now of Ness City, president of the National Bank of that place and county attorney of Ness County; Priscilla, wife of Titus A. Grumbein, a merchant of Alexander, Kansas; James B., a farmer near La Crosse, married Marie Frey and has issue, Marcella, Gertrude, Priscilla, Marie, James and Lucile; and Agnes F., wife of William Laughlin, a Rush County farmer. Mr. Wilson passed away June 10, 1918.