Biography of James Wilson

James Wilson. During his long residence within the borders of Chautauqua County, James Wilson had worked out an admirable destiny, and from small beginnings had drawn about him for the comfort and happiness of his later years such substantial compensations as wealth, the credit for having contributed largely to the development of the community, and the confidence and good will of his business and social associates. The major part of his attention is now devoted to his lumber business and feed mill, although he also had other business connections.

James Wilson was born near the City of Glasgow, Scotland, October 29, 1848, and is a son of Alexander and Annie (Stevenson) Wilson, and a grandson of James Wilson, who passed his life in Scotland, as a miller, and died near Glasgow. Alexander Wilson was born in 1820, near Glasgow, Scotland, and was reared and married in his native land. He received ordinary educational advantages, and as a young man became interested in the manufacture of bricks, although he also had an excellent knowledge of machinery and was an engineer of no mean skill. Feeling that the United States offered better opportunities than did his native land, in 1852 he emigrated to this country, bringing with him his family, and settling first in Pennsylvania, in which state he remained for three years. He then moved to Northern Iowa and in 1871 located in Chautauqua County, Kansas, where he spent the rest of his life. He retired from active business some years before his death, which occurred at Peru, in 1905. Mr. Wilson was a staunch republican and a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church. He was a good business man, shrewd and farsighted, with his countrymen’s characteristic of thrift. While he was alive to take advantage of all business opportunities, however, his dealings were always carried on in a strictly honorable manner, and his reputation for absolute integrity was firmly established. Mr. Wilson married Miss Annie Stevenson, who was born in 1828, also near Glasgow, and died at Peru, Kansas, in 1916. They were the parents of three children, namely: James, of this notice; Robert, who resided at Peru and is a mail carrier; and George, who was engaged in farming until his death at Peru.

James Wilson secured the benefits accruing from attendance at the public schools of Iowa, where he resided during the period of his youth and young manhood. He was twenty-two years of age when he came to Kansas with the family and settled in Chautauqua (then a part of Howard) County, and for some years was engaged in farming and the raising of live stock on his homestead of 160 acres. This property he developed into a handsome and valuable farm, with modern improvements of all kinds, and in 1886 disposed thereof and moved to another farm in Chautauqua County. In 1894 he turned his attention to the livery business, at Peru, and for eighteen years conducted an establishment of this nature. In the meantime his interests had grown, with the extension and development of the town, and he gave his attention to the lumber business, which he had since built up to large proportions. To this enter-price he later added the feed and milling business, and this he had also developed into a success. The extent and usefulness of the enterprises with which Mr. Wilson had been connected and the able and honorable manner in which he had conducted his affairs, have made him one of the men who are depended upon to uphold the city’s business prestige. He is the owner of his own home, in the northeast part of the town, the lumber yard and feed mill where he does business, and 160 acres of good land southwest of Peru. He is also a director of the Peru State Bank. In politics a republican, he had not been especially active in public affairs, but served on the school board for several terms. Fraternally, he is affiliated with Peru Lodge No. 106, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he is past noble grand.

Mr. Wilson was married at Peru, Kansas, in 1890, to Mrs. Amanda (King) Johnson, who died in 1901. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson had no children, but Mrs. Wilson had four children by her former marriage who were reared by Mr. Wilson: Minnie, who is the wife of Harry Davison, a painter and paperhanger of Peru; Lizzie, who is the wife of George Tebold, who operates an automobile livery at Peru; Lillie, who is a resident of Flint, Texas; and Rose, who is the wife of Clyde Davison, a farmer and carpenter of Flint, Texas. Mr. Wilson was again married, in 1906, at Peru, to Mrs. Emma Arnold.



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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