Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 398] As a representative of the agricultural class, and as one who has met with more than ordinary success in the prosecution of his independent calling, we take pleasure in mentioning the name of the gentleman whose biography we write. He is pleasantly located on his fine and productive farm in Wayne township, where he is engaged in general agricultural operations, and in raising some of the best-appearing horses in the county. The father of our subject was John I. and the mother Elizabeth (Munnell) Wilson, his grandparents were James and Eletha (Patterson) Wilson, and his great-grandfather was David Wilson. The latter was a man of Scottish birth, who settled near Baltimore, Md., and later on removed to Allegheny Co., Pa., where his life closed. James Wilson, his son, moved from Allegheny County to Lawrence County about 1797, and bought a two hundred acre tract from Mr. Holstein, who had made a settlement in Wayne township. Mr. Wilson worked at clearing this property and in making it ready for the bountiful harvests it was made to produce. He was a miller by trade. He came to his death by accident, for a tree fell on him when he was at work in the clearing; he was the first man buried in Slippery Rock Cemetery.

John I. Wilson, our subject's father, was born on the farm in February, 1803, and as he grew to manhood he was able to repay his mother for her years of labor and self-sacrifice in caring for him after his father's decease by giving her the best of care in her declining years, providing all the comforts of home for her until her death in 1835. He inherited the homestead, and when still a young man evinced a desire to speculate in real estate, and continually bought and sold land. In connection with his career as a dealer in landed property, he had the unique record of having lived in thirty-five different houses in his life, and during all that period never lived more than a mile from his birth-place. He was a man of sound sense and good judgment, and was often called upon for advice and counsel. At his death in 1885, Mr. Wilson had accumulated considerable property, and was a very large land-owner. Mrs. Wilson, who was a daughter of James and Elizabeth Munnell, died in 1895 at the advanced age of eighty-three years. The Wilsons were devout Presbyterians, and brought up their children in that faith. The household was constituted as follows: Sarah; Jane; Elizabeth; James; Eli; William A.; Ella A.; an infant son, deceased; John P.; Johnson A.; David W.; Louisa J.; Cecelia E.; Hiram A. and Harriet S., twins; and George Harvey.

The subject of this writing grew to man's estate in Wayne township, and made his first purchase of land when he bought his father's homestead of eighty-three acres, which was slightly improved. By the use of brawn and brains and by the sweat of his brow he placed his farm among the finest in the county, and it is now second to none. Besides keeping a small choice dairy, Mr. Wilson has raised some standard Percheron horses, and to-day Mr. Wilson holds the reins over the best team in the county. He has remodeled his buildings, and, in addition to carrying on general farming as a main pursuit, has been associated with L. L. and I. J. Wilson, under the firm name of Wilson Bros. & Co., in operating the Duck Run Quarry, and also the quarry at Rock Point in Beaver County. Latterly he has superintended a stone quarry for Wilson Bros., and to this work he devotes a large portion of his time.

Mr. Wilson took for his wife Amelia Palen, whose father was August Palen of Wayne township, and they have rejoiced over the births of four children, as follows: Harry, born Nov. 5, 1882; Charles E., April 11, 1884; Herman L., Oct. 20, 1886; and Frank I., Oct. 14, 1888. Mr. Wilson affiliates with the Republican party, and is now township clerk. In matters of religious interest, the members of the family are Presbyterians. Mr. Wilson can take a just pride in the consciousness of having contributed his full share toward the development of his county and township. He is an intelligent man, well read and well informed, and takes a keen interest in local and general matters.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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