WILLIAM WILSON became a resident of Pawnee County in 1880. His achievements and experiences make an admirable record and show the value of persistence and industry in conquering a new country, and his share of the wealth produced by this section of Western Kansas has been well merited.
He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, March 22, 1863, and is a son of Matthew Wilson, a prominent pioneer of Western Kansas whose life is sketched on other pages of this publication. William Wilson was seventeen years of age when he accompanied his parents to Western Kansas, and he finished his education as a pupil in District No. 42 of Pawnee County.
From that time forward until the year 1896 he lived at home with his parents and early became connected with the cattle industry. He herded cattle and soon got into stock raising. His father, Matthew Wilson, had brought the first considerable number of good cattle into this locality, and William continued a factor in the cattle industry of the family as long as his family lived.
On establishing a home of his own he went to the northeast quarter of section 34, township 22, range 19, which his father took as a timber claim. For equipment he had four work horses, five cows and about nineteen steers. The cattle business was his chief enterprise for a number of years, and he was both a feeder and shipper, sending about fifty head of fat stock to market every two years. Although he bred and raised horses and mules at the same time, this was carried only in a limited way.
About the time the large body of old settlers in this section of Kansas went away to locate in old Oklahoma Mr. Wilson took up wheat growing. Since then the climate and soil of the locality have been favorable to wheat raising and Mr. Wilson has had a crop every year except in 1915 and 1917.
The results of his varied industry have enabled him to become a considerable land holder. When in 1900 he paid $1,000 for a quarter section the opinion of his neighbors was that his action was a fit reason why he should he placed in an insane asylum. Later, when he paid $2,500 for another of the same section, the people had become reconciled to the advancing values of land and made no special comment. In 1905 Mr. Wilson paid $2,000 for another quarter section. All this land is the result of his years of work, and he also owns a residence in Larned, at the corner of Twelfth and Topeka streets, and a business house in the same city at the corner of Twelfth and Broadway, each of these city properties having a value of $5,000, and he also owns a residence in Manhattan, Kansas, valued at $4,000. In 1898 Mr. Wilson erected his farm home of eight rooms, and later built a barn 48 by 42 feet, with capacity for twenty tons of hay.
In a public way Mr. Wilson served many years on the school board of District No. 42, and was clerk and treasurer of Keysville Township. He is a republican, a member of the Baptist Church, and was one of the church board and was on the building committee of the Rozel Church. At present he is a deacon in the Manhattan Baptist Church. In the Modern Woodmen of America he has filled all the chairs of Garfield Camp and holds the record for Kansas as a district deputy in the matter of applications for membership during his term of office.
The partner in his efforts for the last twenty years and the sharer in his prosperity was formerly Miss Ada V. Nicholson, to whom he was married February 18, 1896. She was a student of Baker University and a teacher for nine years in the Pawnee county schools. Her father, the late J. P. Nicholson, who then lived at Larned, had the distinction of hauling the first load of lumber into Newton, Kansas. He was a settler in Butler county, Kansas, long before railroads were built through that part of the state. His main occupation was farming, and in 1885 he removed to Pawnee County and both he and his daughter, Mrs. Wilson, entered land in Hodgeman County. Mrs. Wilson proved up her claim there. J. P. Nicholson married Rosanna Simmons, an aunt of Hon. John H. Simmons of Hutchinson. Mrs. Wilson's grandmother was a Cathcart, daughter of the Irishman, Lord John Cathcart, who because of his actions in aiding and abetting the American revolution during the war against England lost his property in the old country.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have a very capable young son, John Cathcart. He was gradauted[sic] from the Larned High School May 23, 1917, at the age of eighteen. At present he is a student in the Kansas State Agricultural College. He volunteered, and served in the Students' Army Training Corps, from which he received an honorable discharge December 12, 1918. Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Wilson have been residents of Manhattan, Kansas, since September 1, 1917. Their home is located on Tenth and Laramie avenues.
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.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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