Pages 197-199, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




JAMES WILSON—To say that a man is self made indicates in a few words a career of usefulness and activity, and it suggests a youth in which few privileges have been enjoyed and a manhood of active effort in which the trials and obstacles of life have been overcome by determined purpose. Such indeed has been the career of James Wilson, one of the successful farmers of the county, his home being in Logan township.

He was born at Deerfield, Portage County, Ohio, February 3, 1841. His father, James Wilson, was a native of Dover County, Pennsylvania, and married Miss Elizabeth Donahue, a native of Ireland who came to America during her early girlhood. The father followed the occupation of farming as a life work, and died September 21, 1880, at the age of sixty-eight years. His wife passed away in 1863 at the age of forty-four. They were the parents of eight children, six of whom are yet living, namely: Mary Ann, the wife of Robert McClure, of Ohio; Jesse, who is living in Allen County; James; Mrs. Margaret Turner, of New Falls, Ohio; Andrew, who is living in Minnesota, and Leanna Wilson, of Ravenna, Ohio. Those who have passed away are Ellen J. and William. The latter was a member of the regular army and was killed by the Indians in Dakota, in 1866.

Mr. Wilson of this review spent the first nineteen years of his life in


the State of Illinois where he secured work as a farm hand, having gained practical experience in the fields by assisting his father in the cultivation of the old home place. He was thus employed until the Civil war broke out when in June, 1861, he enlisted for three years' service as a member of Company D, Twenty-fifth Illinois infantry, being honorably discharged in September, 1864. He participated in many of the most sanguinary engagements of that struggle, including the battles of Missionary Ridge, Stone River, Chickamauga, Kennesaw mountain and Peach Tree creek. He went to Knoxville with Sherman to relieve Burnsides, and again joined the main army at Resaca preparatory to entering upon the Atlanta campaign. When the troops reached Atlanta the term of service of his regiment had expired and with his comrades he was sent home to be discharged. He was exceptionally fortunate in his military experiences, being never wounded or captured throughout the three years of his association with the boys in blue upon the battlefields of the South.

After the war Mr. Wilson went to Ohio and visited his parents, and then returned to Illinois. The year of 1869 witnessed his arrival in this State where he secured a homestead claim of eighty acres upon which he has since resided, although its boundaries have been many times extended by additional purchases until he is now the owner of seven hundred and forty-nine acres of land. He grazes his cattle on the fine pastures of his own domain and he has ample sheds which shelter grain and stock. He has one of the finest farms of the county and is pleasantly located five miles west of Humboldt. He carries on his farming pursuits on an extensive scale and is feeding about one hundred head of cattle and hogs each year. He has been very successful in the raising of cattle, and his large operations along this line have enabled him to not only utilize as feed all of the crops which he raises but also to furnish a good market to his neighbors, buying from them much of their corn.

Mr. Wilson was married on the 4th of January, 1880, to Miss Sarah A. Berger, a daughter of Darius and Elizabeth (White) Berger, natives of Virginia and Indiana respectively, the former born March 21, 1812, and the latter on the 1st of January, 1816. The mother died in Iowa on the 16th of August, 1872, and soon after the father removed to Butler County, Kansas, where he died on the 12th of March, 1878. In their family were ten children: Mrs. Mary Lytle, who is living in Toronto; Mrs. Elizabeth Richey, of Augusta, Kansas; Rebecca, wife of Robert Musgrave, of Humboldt. The deceased are: Charlotte, wife of W. J. King; Dr. J. Berger; Martha, wife of John King, and Daniel Berger who died in the army. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have been born three children: Willie J., born May 28, 1881, died in March, 1901; Florence L., born July 1, 1884 and Mary, born October 7, 1888.

Mr. Wilson is a Republican and has served as treasurer of his township, but has never been an aspirant for the honors and emoluments of public office. He is a member of Vicksburg Post, No. 72, G. A. R., and thus maintains a pleasant relationship with his old comrades who wore the blue when the perpetuity of the Union was endangered. He is surely a


self made man and as the architect of his prosperity he has builded wisely and well. His business ability is widely recognized and has insured him a very creditable position in financial circles, while his honorable course has commanded the respect, confidence and esteem of his fellow men.

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