Walter E. Wilson

WALTER E. WILSON, banker and business man at Washington, is the present bank commissioner of Kansas. His appointment has brought additional credit upon Governor Capper's administration as oneof those that reflect thorough business administration of state affairs.

A native of Kansas and of a pioneer family, Mr. Wilson was born at Manhattan August 21, 1871. He is of an old Virginia family, the Wilsons having come from England and first settled at Jamestown in Colonial times and afterwards moving to the western portion of the state in what is now West Virginia. Their affiliations were all with the North during the struggle over slavery. The maiden name of Mr. Wilson's grandmother was Nancy Lee, and she was a kinswoman of the great Lees of Virginia.

Charles L. Wilson, father of Walter E., was born at Charleston, West Virginia, in 1840 and accompanied his parents to Kansas in the spring of 1856. The Wilsons were pioneers in the vicinity of Manhattan and there Charles L. Wilson grew up and married. He was for some years engaged in the harness business at Manhattan, but in 1878 homesteaded 160 acres near Miltonvale and lived on his farm until 1894, when he removed to Topeka and retired. His death occurred in Topeka in 1900. He was an old line republican and for many years held the office of trustee of Star Township. He was an active supporting member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, belonged to the Masonic fraternity and was an honored comrade in Miltonvale Post in the Grand Army of the Republic. In 1863 he had joined the army in Company L of the Eleventh Kansas Regiment of Infantry, under the command of Col. Preston B. Plumb. He was in the service with this regiment during the last two years of the war. The experiences of the Eleventh Kansas are recounted on other pages of this history. After the close of hostilities between the North and South he was one of the men of the Eleventh Regiment sent to quell some Indian troubles in Southwestern Indian Territory. He was mustered out in the fall of 1865. Charles L. Wilson married Garrie M. Sanborn, who was born in Kingston, New Hampshire, November 5, 1840, and is still living at Topeka. There were two children: Walter E. and Louise M. The latter is the wife of Richard L. Thomas, of Topeka. Mr. Thomas is trustee of the Bankruptcy Court at Topeka.

Walter E. Wilson secured his early education in the rural schols[sic] of Cloud County, Kansas, attended high school at Miltonvale and Concordia, and from there entered the University of Kansas, where he was graduated in the pharmacy department with the degree Ph. G. in 1893. While in college he became affiliated with the Sigma Nu fraternity. On leaving school he found employment in a drug store at Concordia in 1893, but since 1895 has lived at Washington. In this city he was in the drug business for himself from 1897 to 1903, selling his store at the latter date and assisting in organizing the Farmers State Bank, of which he has been cashier since its founding.

Mr. Wilson's politics have always been of the sturdy type of republicanism. In 1912 he was elected senator from the twentieth district and re-elected without opposition in 1916. During the sessions of 1913-15 he was chairman of the insurance committee and a member of the committee on banking. In the session of 1917 he was chairman of the ways and means committee and a member of the banking and other important committees. The present Automobile License Act of Kansas was originated in the Senate by Mr. Wilson. His appointment as bank commissioner of the State of Kansas was made by Governor Capper in 1917. His term of office is for four years. The bank commissioner is one of the most important appointive offices in the State of Kansas.

Mr. Wilson is a steward in the Methodist Episcopal Church, a past master of Frontier Lodge No. 104, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and is affiliated with Tyrian Chapter No. 59, Royal Arch Masons, Topeka Consistory No. 1 of the Scottish Rite, and has been especially prominent in the Eastern Star. He is a member of Washington Chapter No. 175, Order of the Eastern Star, was grand sentinel of the state at Topeka in 1915, in 1916 was elected associate grand patron, and in 1917 became grand patron of the state. He is also affiliated with Washington Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with Waters Camp No. 175, Modern Woodmen of America, which he served ten years as clerk, and the Royal Neighbors and Washington Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. Mr. Wilson is an active member of the Washington Commercial Club. Besides his residence on Second Street in Washington he owns a farm of 160 acres in Colorado.

At his home town in 1897 Mr. Wilson married Miss Margaret M. Jacobs, daughter of Dr. William M. and Gusta B. (Bates) Jacobs. Her father was a pioneer physician at Washington, now retired from active practice, and is president of the Farmers State Bank. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have one son, Walter William, born December 19, 1903.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Brian Johnson, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, May 2, 2000.

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