Louis William Wilson, a prominent citizen of Topeka, was born on a farm near Marengo, Iowa county, Iowa, June 9, 1852, a son of Col. Bartholemew W. Wilson, a farmer by occupation and a native of Orange county, Indiana, where he was born, June 17, 1827. He was a soldier in both the Mexican and Civil wars, serving as a member of Gen. John C. Fremont's mounted riflemen in the Mexican war and as colonel of the Twenty-eighth Iowa regiment in the Civil war. Having received a land warrant from the government at the close of the Mexican war, as did all the Mexican soldiers who wished them, Colonel Wilson located his claim in Tama county, Iowa, and removed there with his family, in 1853, when Louis W. was one year old. He continued to reside in this vicinity until his death, which occurred March 4, 1907. Col. Bartholemew W. Wilson was a son of Abner W. and Sarah (Hanner) Wilson the former a farmer, born April 7, 1801, in North Carolina, who, together with three brothers and a sister, removed from North Carolina to Indiana, making the trip on horseback Abner W. Wilson was the son of Robert W. Wilson, who was born in South Carolina, Nov. 10, 1770, and whose wife was Mary Armstrong, born in South Carolina, in 1777. Robert W. Wilson, the great-grandfather of Louis W., was the son of Robert and Mary (Dixon) Wilson, natives of the north of Ireland who, upon immigrating to America, settled in South Carolina, and from them is descended the Wilson family to which Louis W. belongs.
Col. Bartholemew W. Wilson, father of Louis W., served in Company G of Col. John C. Fremont's famous regiment of mounted riflemen in the Mexican war, enlisting July 22, 1846, and being discharged Aug. 22, 1848. He took part in the siege of Vera Cruz, the battle of Cerro Gordo, San Antonio, Mexico, Contreras, Churubusco, and at Chapultepec, where he was wounded in the forehead. He also served three years in the Civil war and made a fine record as colonel of the Twenty-eighth Iowa, which did service at Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Raymond, Champion Hill, Black River, Vicksburg and Jackson, in the State of Mississippi; at Alexandria and Mansfield, La.; and at Winchester, Cedar Creek and Fisher's Hill, in Virginia. He was wounded in the left leg at Cedar Creek. He was commisisoned[sic] captain of his company, Oct. 10, 1862; lieutenant-colonel of his regiment, April 7, 1863; and colonel of his regiment on June 17, 1865. The mother of Louis W. Wilson was Mary Elizabeth Lux, daughter of William Gregory and Mary A. (Kelly) Lux, and a native of Brownstown, Ind., where she was born, June 27, 1830. She died in Tama county, Iowa, Feb. 22, 1908. Of six sons and three daughters born to Col. Bartholemew W. and Elizabeth (Lux) Wilson, five sons and two daughters still survive, Louis W. being the only one located in Kansas, and each of his four brothers being located in a different state.
Louis W. Wilson was reared to manhood on the Wilson homestead in Tama county, Iowa, and received a common school education. At the age of nineteen he became a school teacher, teaching three years. A year later he became a clerk in the postoffice at Brooklyn, Iowa, and on Jan. 1, 1876, he became deputy county treasurer at Montezuma, Iowa, a position he held for five years. In the fall of 1880, while still deputy county treasurer, he was elected clerk of the district court at Montezuma, Iowa, and was reëlected in 1882 and again in 1884, serving in all six years. Meanwhile he had studied law and while holding the office of district clerk he was admitted to the bar but he has never practiced law. In January, 1887, he came to Kansas and first spent a few months at Harper in the capacity of cashier of the Harper National Bank, of which he had become part owner. In December, 1887, he sold his interest in the bank and removed to Topeka, where he at first opened a loan and insurance office, but from 1888 to 1892 he was connected with the Kansas National Bank. In 1892 he returned to Iowa and spent two years in the hardware business at Marathon, but returned to Topeka in 1894, where he since has resided, being prominently identified with the real estate, loan and insurance business. He is now the senior member of the firm of Wilson & Neiswanger, which partnership was formed in 1904.
On Jan. 1, 1878, he was married to Miss Mattie Vest of Montezuma, Iowa, the daughter of Dr. John W. H. Vest, a pioneer physician of that section of Iowa. Mr. Wilson is a Republican in politics, and he and his wife are charter members of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, of which Mr. Wilson has been an elder since its organization, in 1889. He is a member of the Commercial Club, is a Royal Arch Mason, a Knight Templar and an Odd Fellow.Pages 676-678 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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