Biography of James A. Wilson

James A. Wilson.One of the richest oil land districts of Kansas is the territory lying in the vicinity of El Dorado, the county seat of Butler County. Among its citizens who have become prominent factors in oil production is James A. Wilson. All through this locality rich strikes have been made, and one of the best was on the land owned by Mr. Wilson, just 1 1/2 miles north of El Dorado. This copious pool was the third one developed and had become famous as the Derby-Wilson lease of 480 acres. Mr. Wilson had twenty-one producing oil wells on the land at present.

Mr. Wilson came to Butler County in its pioneer days. He was ambitious and energetic, and long before the development of the oil fields had acquired interests that made him one of the chief cattle men and one of the largest land holders.

James A. Wilson was born in Columbia County, Wisconsin, December 23, 1850, a son of Daniel and Mary J. (Wood) Wilson. He is descended from a titled family of England. His grandfather, the founder of this branch in America, was a second son. Not being in line for an inheritance from his father he sought a new field of opportunity in Canada and there spent the remaining years of his life, his death occurring in the City of Montreal. In that city in 1830 was born Daniel Wilson, father of James A. He was educated in public schools and reared in his native locality, where he married Mary J. Wood. Shortly after their marriage Daniel Wilson and wife became pioneers in Columbia County, Wisconsin. He prospered as a farmer and stock raiser and in 1876 took up his residence in Kansas, purchasing a farm near Paola in Miami County. Here his agricultural interests continued and he was accounted one of the sound and substantial men of the community. He was a stanch old-line republican, and while never seeking prominence was always ready to support any movement which he felt would benefit his community. His death occurred at Paola in 1887. He was a faithful supporter of and active worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which his wife, who died at Paola in 1907, was also a devout member. They were the parents of eight children, four boys and four glris.

James A. Wilson received his education in the public schools of Columbia County, Wisconsin, and Miami County, Kansas. After graduating from the high school at Osawatomie he returned home and worked on his father’s farm until twenty-one, when he left the parental reof to come out to Butler County. Here he took up land on the Whitewater River and identified himself with practical farming and stock raising. His success brought him accumulstions of large bodies of land and stock, and the Wilson country home, thirteen miles northwest of El Dorado, comprises 2,400 acres of land in the Whilewater Valley. Both the home and farm have aplendid modern improvements, including large barns, feed corrals, and the largest alfalfa barn in the county. Here hundreds of cattls are fattened every year. He also specializes in registered Percheron horses and had done much as a mule raiser. Mr. Wilson also owned large tracts of land in Western Kansas and had other holdings in different parts of Butler County. He is a stockholder in a number of enterprises and in several financial institutions.

Mr. Wilson had not been identified with public life nor had his interest in politics taken him more actively into contests save as a republican voter at election time. However, every duty of public spirited citisenship had been fulflilled and public enterprises have received his hearty co-operation and assistance, especially movements for the improvements of schools.

The Wilson home at 303 West Atchison Street in El Dorado is a large Colonial style residence with spacions surrounding grounds. Mr. Wilson married Miss Emma Lambing, of Murdock County, Kansas, daughter of Lewis and Elizabeth Lambing, both now deceased. Her father was a farmer, stockman, and pioneer of Butler County. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson; Gertrude, who lives at home; A. D., manager of his father’s ranch; Mrs. H. E. Kunkle, of El Dorado; Mrs. C. R. Augustine, of El Dorado; Ted, at the Wentworth Military Academy in Missouri; and James, Jr., the third year of the El Dorado High School.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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