Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


Andrew W. Wilson

ANDREW W. WILSON, member of the Ness County bar and president of the National Bank of Ness City, is a member of the well known Wilson family of Rush County, where his father recently passed away, and where various members of the family own a large amount of land and various business concerns in the vicinity of LaCrosse.

William Wilson, his father, was born in Cumbernauld, Dumbartonshire, Scotland, in December, 1845. He came to the United States at the age of eighteen. He lived in Illinois several years, and in Ford County of that state, in 1871, he married Alice Busick. She was of English lineage, and her father, James Busick, came west from Virginia with his father and eight brothers, settling near Columbus, Ohio, and later he moved to Illinois and finally to Kansas and died in Rush County. William Wilson learned the trade of tailor in Scotland, but after coming to the United States was a farmer. In 1876 he brought his family from Ford County, Illinois, and located in Rush County. There he took a claim near LaCrosse, and during the thirty-five years spent there developed a large farm and ranch. In his time he was one of the most extensive wheat growers in that section. Three of William Wilson's brothers also settled in Brookdale Township, west of LaCrosse, and they constituted practically the first family in that district. All of them became noted as farmers and grain raisers and their descendants now constitute a considerable part of the inhabitants of that township. William Wilson never figured particularly in politics. After becoming naturalized he espoused the faith of the democratic party, and was always noted for his fearlessness in expressing his opinions. As a pioneer in Rush County he was a participant in the county seat fight. At one time he went with other armed citizens from LaCrosse to Rush Center for the purpose of returning the county archives to LaCrosse. He was a member of the United Presbyterian Church of the old school. For twenty years William Wilson was president of a successful farmers' elevator company, was also at the head of the Community Telephone System, and as a thorough believer and advocate of public education he and his brothers built and largely supported the little pioneer schoolhouse of his district. William Wilson and wife had the following children: Andrew W.; Priscilla, wife of T. A. Grumbine, of Alexander, Kansas; James B., a merchant of LaCrosse, Kansas; and Agnes, wife of William Laughlin, of LaCrosse.

About three years before the family came to Kansas, in Ford County, Illinois, June 21, 1873, Andrew W. Wilson was born. Since he reached manhood there has been a continuous association of his name with some institution or activity of value and importance to his community. He attended the public schools, and was a member of the first graduating class from the LaCrosse High School, in 1893. After leaving high school he taught in country districts five terms, and for two years of that time was a member of the County Examining Board. He gave up school work when elected clerk of the District Court, an office he filled for one term. While District Court clerk he read law, and was admitted to the bar before Judge J. E. Andrews. His preceptor in law studies was Mr. Samuel I. Hale, who, subsequently became his first partner in practice. Mr. Wilson was examined by a committee consisting of Samuel I. Hale, W. H. Russell, D. A. Banta, G. R. McKee and Polk G. Cline.

Not yet satisfied to begin practice, Mr. Wilson then entered the law department of the University of Kansas, and also spent two years in the literary department. He was graduated LL. B. in 1902, and was president of his class. While in university he won the Edward Thompson essay prize, and that article was also his graduating thesis. After leaving the university Mr. Wilson entered practice at LaCrosse with Mr. Samuel I. Hale for a year, and then came to Ness City.

His first case in Ness City was one for the recovery of damages under the herd law. He won the suit. During the trial he became acquainted with the opposing counsel, Judge Foulks. That acquaintance subsequently resulted in their forming a law partnership. In 1903 Judge Foulks and Mr. Wilson became associated, and for seven years they practiced together on terms of mutual profit and harmony.

In 1906 Mr. Wilson was elected county attorney of Ness County, an office he filled two years. He was elected on the "dry issue." In 1910, as democratic candidate for district judge, he was defeated by Judge Lobdell. He is county attorney now, having been elected in 1914 and 1916. Mr. Wilson also served four years as mayor of Ness City, having been elected on the good government ticket. During his term one of of[sic] the important improvements was the installation of the electric light plant. A prominent democrat, he has gained an extensive acquaintance with the democratic leaders of Kansas. Fraternally he is a Master Mason, is a past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Ness City.

Since 1909 Mr. Wilson has been president of the National Bank of Ness City. This is the oldest banking institution in the county. It was first chartered under the name First National Bank, subsequently took a state charter, but a few years ago resumed its national character.

A number of years ago, while still a struggling young lawyer, Mr. Wilson became acquainted with Miss Martha DeWitt. At that time Miss DeWitt was teaching a country school and at the same time was keeping "batch" on her homestead claim in this part of Kansas. Mr. Wilson went out to California in order to claim his bride. They were married in Contra Costa County in that state November 20, 1907. Miss DeWitt was reared in Sullivan County, Missouri, and from there came with the family to Kansas. She is a graduate of the Kirksville Normal School of Missouri and altogether taught for a period of thirteen years. After proving up her claim she taught in Ness City, and afterward for a time was in school work in California until her marriage. Her parents were Joseph and Elizabeth (McCulloch) DeWitt. Her grandfather was a major in the Union Army during the war, and her father is also a veteran of that war. Both her parents now reside at Oakland, California.

Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are the parents of three children: William Joseph, aged eight; Mary Elizabeth, aged six; and Margaret Virginia, aged four.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

Tom & Carolyn Ward
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