James Wilson, a representative of the agricultural interests of Crawford county now engaged in farming about a mile west of Girard, was born in New York on the 21st of October, 1830. His father, John Wilson, was a native of Scotland, and after crossing the Atlantic to America became a resident of the Empire state. Subsequently he removed westward to Missouri, where his remaining days were passed, his death there occurring in 1840. His wife, Mrs. Catherine Wilson, also a native of Scotland, long survived him, departing this life in 1879.
James Wilson was a lad of only ten years when taken by his parents to Missouri, and he remained under the parental roof until sixteen years of age, when he started out to make his own way in the world. He began learning the engraver's trade, and later at the time of the gold excitement in California he drove an ox team to that state in 1852. He started with a party in the month of April and arrived at his destination in September, after which he spent five years on the Pacific coast and then returned home by way of the water route. When he had again reached the Mississippi valley he turned his attention to farming in Illinois, and in the year 1881 he came to Crawford county, Kansas, where he purchased his present home. Here he has since been engaged in general agricultural pursuits and has a well developed property, from which he annually garners good harvests as a reward for the care and labor which he bestows upon the fields.
He is progressive in his farming methods, practical in his work, and through his careful supervision of his business interests has gained a good living for himself and family.
On the 24th of December, 1862, Mr. Wilson was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Utley, a daughter of Preston and Nancy Utley, both of whom are natives of Kentucky and are now deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have been born seven children: Edward P., a resident of Pittsburg, Kansas; Laura, who is assistant in the postoffice at Pittsburg; William, a twin brother of Laura, now acting as a street car conductor in St. Louis, Missouri; Edith, the wife of William Davies, a resident of Grant township, Crawford county; Kate G. and Elmer E., both at home; and Clara, the wife of M. G. Slawson. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Girard, and in his political affiliation Mr. Wilson is a Republican, having continuously supported the party since its organization. Few men have a more intimate knowledge of the development and growth of the middle west than has the subject of this review. He became a resident of Missouri in 1840, when but ten years of age, and he has witnessed the progress and improvement which have been continuously made as the settlers have claimed the land and transformed it into rich farms dotted over with comfortable homes. His residence in Crawford county covers a period of twenty-three years, and he is justly accounted one of the respected and worthy early settlers of his community.Pages 439-440 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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