Jesse S. Wilson

JESSE S. WILSON was a prominent and successful stockman in Illinois for many years, but in the spring of 1912 transferred his interests to Kansas. He spent a few months at Emporia but in the fall of that year located at Hamilton in Greenwood County. Mr. Wilson is proprietor of twelve hundred acres of land, constituting a splendid ranch, and some of the finest cattle and horses in the state are kept on that ranch or are shipped from there to market. Mr. Wilson is both a stock farmer and stock dealer. His ranch is situated five miles northwest of Hamilton.

He belongs to a pioneer family of Tazewell County, Illinois, where he was born October 23, 1861. The Wilsons were originally Kentuckians and earlier than that were from Scotland. Three brothers of the name came over to Virginia in Colonial days, crossed the mountains into Kentucky, and grandfather William Wilson was born at Lexington, Kentucky, in the blue grass region of that state in April, 1801. He first went to Illinois in 1817, or before Illinois became a state, but returned to Kentucky. In 1827 he became a pioneer settler on a farm in Tazewell County where he spent the rest of his years. He died in Hopedale Township of Tazewell County, May 4, 1864. William Wilson married Nancy Spencer, who was born in Covington, Kentucky, and died in Tazewell County, Illinois. Two of their children are still living. Joe is a retired farmer at Richill, Missouri, and in his time was one of the foremost cattle men of the state. Frances is living at Minier in Tazewell County, Illinois, the widow of the late James W. Herndon, who is a farmer.

Edward Wilson, father of Jesse S., was born at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1825, and when two years of age his parents removed to Illinois. He grew up and married there, acquired extensive interests as a farmer and stock man and gave the best years of his life to that industry. He died in Tazewell County in the spring of 1888. Politically he was a democrat, served two terms as county supervisor and held various township offices, including those of assessor and road commissioner. He was extremely public spirited and was keenly interested in civic and political affairs. Fraternally he was identified with the Masonic Order. Edward Wilson married Mary E. Allensworth, who was born December 13, 1827, and is now living, well upwards of ninety years, at Mackinaw, Tazewell County, Illinois. Her oldest child was Edward, a farmer who died at Mackinaw, Illinois, in June, 1896. Sallie, the second in age, died at Mackinaw in 1883, unmarried. Ben F. is a retired farmer and bank president at Mackinaw, Illinois. Sue lives at Mackinaw, the widow of Richard Sparks, who is a retired farmer and died October 3, 1916. William is a retired farmer at Mackinaw. The sixth in age is Jesse S. Wilson, of Hamilton, Kansas. John L. is now serving as sheriff of Tazewell County, Illinois, having been elected on the democratic ticket and resides at Pekin, the county seat.

Jesse S. Wilson acquired his early education in the rural schools of his native county, and in 1880 graduated from the high school at Normal, Illinois. His early years were spent on his father's farm, and he naturally took to the vocation of farming and stock raising. He finally assumed the management of the old homestead and remained in active charge until he came to Kansas four years ago. While he gives close attention to the management of his fine ranch in Greenwood County, he makes his home in the town of Hamilton and has erected the finest residence in the town, on Main Street. Besides his various property interests in Kansas he owns land in Illinois and has a dwelling at Mackinaw.

Mr. Wilson has always been identified with the democratic party since casting his first vote. While living in Illinois he served as mayor of Mackinaw two terms and in the spring of 1913 was honored with a similar office at Hamilton, Kansas. He is still mayor of Hamilton, being now in his second term. Much of the municipal improvement of the town is to be credited to his administration. Among other interests he is a director in the Hamilton State Bank. Mr. Wilson is affiliated with Hamilton Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, while his other Masonic connections are in Illinois, with Pekin Chapter No. 25, Royal Arch Masons, Peoria Commandery, Knights Templar, and Peoria Temple of the Mystic Shrine.

In 1888, at his home town of Mackinaw, he married Miss Sophia Hittle, daughter of Lewis and Abigail (Sparks) Hittle. Her mother is now deceased and her father is a retired druggist at Mackinaw, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are the parents of two children: Walter Edward and Orvetta. Walter Edward is actively associated with his father in business at Hamilton, Kansas, and they have built up a business which gives them the chief distinction as dealers and raisers of Hereford cattle and Percheron horses in Greenwood County. Orvetta is the wife of Professor Charles R. Phipps, who is professor of the agricultural department of the State Normal School at Emporia.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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