Biography of David Wilson

David Wilson of section 24, St. Joseph Township, first became acquainted with Champaign County when he was fifteen years of age, and for nearly thirty years he has lived in this county continuously, having acquired and developed one of the splendid farms in his vicinity.

Mr. Wilson is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was born March 17, 1851, a son of Samuel and Rebecca (Laird) Wilson. His parents were born in Ireland, came to America about 1836, were married in Cincinnati, and spent their industrious and honored lives in that city, where both of them died. They had six children, five sons and one daughter.

David Wilson with his brothers and sister attended the public schools of Cincinnati. His coming to Illinois at the age of thirteen was in company with his uncle, David Wilson, for whom he was named. David Wilson and his brother Samuel had bought from the Government at $1.25 an acre two sections of land in Champaign County, in sections 11 and 13 of St. Joseph Township. David Wilson, Jr., remained a year with his uncle and helped with the management of the land. He then returned to Cincinnati, but after another year was back in Champaign County and found work in the distillery at Urbana owned by his father and uncle. While there he was severely injured by an explosion on November 15, 1871.

He then returned home with his mother to Cincinnati. In 1877 Mr. Wilson married Lessetta Lorenz. She was born at Cincinnati, daughter of Nicholas and Catherine (Klei) Lorenz. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Wilson located in Cincinnati, where he continued the business of his father, a livery and teaming enterprise, which he successfully managed for a number of years.

In 1888 Mr. Wilson returned to Illinois, locating in Stanton Township upon forty acres that had been bought by his father from the railroad company. Mr. Wilson also acquired 160 acres additional and used that land as the foundation of his substantial enterprise as an agriculturist. The passing years have witnessed an increment to the land until his estate now comprises 280 acres, and he has greatly increased its value by improvements and careful handling.

To Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were born six children, three sons and three daughters, named Clarence, Edward, Warren, Rebecca, Edna and Marjorie. The education of these children was carefully looked after at home and in the local schools, and all of them attended District School No. 176. Only one of them is married, Rebecca, wife of Harley Sanders. Mr. Sanders is a successful farmer in Stanton Township. They have two children, Russell and Marie, bright and attractive young people, and the only grandchildren of Mr. Wilson.

Mr. Wilson took care that his farm should not only represent the best standards of agricultural husbandry but should express his ideas of home making. He erected commodious buildings, set out fruit and shade trees, and in that attractive environment is now content to spend his remaining years. In 1913 he suffered his greatest bereavement in the death of his good wife. Mrs. Wilson had endeared herself to the community as a kind neighbor and good friend, had made her home an abode of hospitality, and many grateful memories continue to wreathe themselves about her name.

Mr. Wilson’s people in Cincinnati were active members of the Presbyterian Church. In Champaign County he and his wife found no convenient Presbyterian Church in which to worship, and they therefore affiliated themselves with the Friends Church, of which they were liberal supporters. Since the death of his good wife Mr. Wilson has remained on the homestead, with his daughter Marjorie as a most capable home maker. His three sons look after the management of the farm and have largely relieved their father of the heavier burdens which he in earlier years so capably sustained.

Mr. Wilson is an ardent Republican and comes of a family that first voted for the Whig candidate and have supported the Republicans in an unbroken line since the organization of that great party. Fraternally Mr. Wilson is a Mason, and his sons Edward and Warren are Knights of Pythias and the daughter Marjorie is a member of the Eastern Star.

Mr. Wilson has done much for his community, and for twenty-two years was vitally interested in the welfare of the local schools as a director. He was also honored with the office of township supervisor four years. Thus his record is closely identified with Champaign County and is worthy of perpetuation in this publication.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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