Putnam County


David WILSON, after the labors of a long and busy life, is spending his later years in ease and retirement in Wenona. He belongs to an honored old Pennsylvania family, members of the Society of Friends, its founder in America belonging to William Penn’s colony. There the great-grandfather of our subject, Samuel WILSON, and the grandfather, Daniel WILSON, were both born.

The birth of Amos WILSON, the father, occurred in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 1794, and he there married Hannah BROWN, who was born in the same county in 1800, and was a daughter of David BROWN, a native of Ireland, who came to America when a boy. The parents left Pennsylvania, in 1826, locating upon a farm in Belmont county, Ohio, where the mother died the following year, at the age of twenty-six. To them had been born five children: Joshua B., now deceased, who was married and had ten children; Mrs. Margaret MERRITT, of Lostant, Illinois, who has eight children; David, of this sketch; Thomas, of Corning, Iowa, who has fourteen children, and Mrs. Hannah B. HOGE, of Wenona, who has six children.

After the death of his first wife, Amos WILSON married Anna MORRIS, and in 1851, with his family, removed to Illinois, locating upon a new farm of prairie land in Putnam county, two miles north of Magnolia, which he placed under a high state of cultivation. He there made his home until his death about twelve years ago, at the age of eighty-seven years. His second wife, who survived him, died in 1895, at the age of ninety-one years. Nine children graced their union, namely: Ruth Anna, deceased; Mrs. Rebecca HOWARD, of Chester, Nebraska, who has seven children; Sarah, deceased, who was married and had two children; Mrs. Elizabeth MILLS, of Putnam county, Illinois, who has four sons; Morris, of the same county, who has four children; Mrs. Mary SMITH, also of Putnam county, who has seven children; Amos, of Putnam county, who has two daughters; Oliver, of Putnam county, who has one child, and Laura, deceased. The father followed farming exclusively, was a quiet, unobtrusive man of temperate habits, and in politics was first a whig and later a republican. Both parents of our subject were members of the Society of Friends, belonging to a liberal church, of which the father served as elder, and he was a strong friend of the cause of education.

Mr. WILSON, whose name introduces this sketch, was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, May 24, 1822, and was reared by his stepmother in Belmont county, Ohio, where he attended the district schools. He learned the trade of a harness maker, but also engaged in farming. In 1846 he was joined in wedlock with Eliza P. GREENLEAF, who was born in Pennsylvania, in 1825, and was the daughter of John and Ann (EVANS) GEENLEAF, the former a native of Rhode Island, and the latter of Pennsylvania. Her father was a distant relative of the well beloved poet, John Greenleaf WHITTIER.

Mrs. WILSON died in 1873. By her union with our subject she became the mother of eleven children, ten still living; Mrs. Mary A. McCARTY, living in Iowa, has six children; Mrs. Anna B. GANTS, of Wenona, has four daughters; Mrs. Sarah SPARGROVE, of Normal, Illinois, has one daughter; Mrs. Ruth Ella GRIFFITH, of Sonoma county, California, has four children; Alice is at home; John N., of La Salle county, Illinois, has three sons; David is deceased; Mrs. Jennette McLAUGHLIN, living in Clay county, Nebraska, has five children; Amos lives at Wenona; Mrs. Bessie NEWBURN, of Marshall county, has three children, and Mrs. Laura E. CARRITHERS also makes her home in Marshall county.

For a time after his marriage, Mr. WILSON worked at his trade in Ohio, but in the fall of 1851 came to Illinois, locating first in Magnolia township, Putnam county, where he remained a few years, and then removed to a farm in Evans township, Marshall county, three miles west of Wenona, which he improved and cultivated. Going to Evans Station he there made his home for twenty years, but since 1889, he has lived quietly at Wenona, resting after years of ceaseless toil. His political support is unswervingly given the republican party, and both himself and wife are devoted members of the Society of Friends.

On the 21st of November, 1881, Mr. WILSON was untied in marriage with Lydia A. FOULKE, a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of John and Ann (SINCLAIR) FOULKE. She was educated at Sharon seminary, a Friends school near Philadelphia, and has had much experience as a teacher. For three years and a half she served as an army nurse during the civil war, entering a hospital in Philadelphia as a volunteer in 1862, and there remained for four months without pay, while a friend boarded her for nothing, as a contribution to the soldiers. The nurses were formed into an organized band and were distributed among the different wards. At Baltimore, Maryland, a warehouse on the wharf near the railroad depot was used, and there Mrs. WILSON was next on duty. After the battle of Gettysburg they had both rebel and union soldiers to care for. At length she returned to her home for two weeks and while there received a note from Annie WITTENYER, who had established special diet kitchens in all the western hospitals, asking Mrs. WILSON to meet her at Louisville, Kentucky, which she did and was placed in charge of special diet kitchen, No. 1, at Chattanooga, where she was assisted by Miss Anna MILLER, of Iowa. They received their supplies from the general field agent of the Christian commission, and furnished  meals to nine convalescent soldiers who were unable to go to the general dining room. She also visited wards daily and tried to supply any extras she could. In January, 1865, Mrs. WILSON was transferred to Cumberland hospital at Nashville, Tennessee, but was only there two weeks when she was taken ill and was cared for at the Christian Commission Home about three weeks. As soon as able she went to Decatur, Illinois, on a thirty days leave of absence, after which she went to Findlay hospital at Washington, D. C., where she remained until the close of the war in August, 1865. She was in that city at the time of the grand review and when President Lincoln was assassinated. She now receives a well deserved pension from the United States government for her unselfish and faithful devotion to the wounded soldiers. She has often addressed public meetings, and is now an honored member of the Woman’s Relief corps.

Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois  published in 1896, page 610.

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