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.

William G. Wilson

WILLIAM G. WILSON. It might be said with truth that the atmosphere and elements of the Western Kansas prairies have entered into the very existence of William G. Wilson, who was brought to Pawnee County when a child of two years and has lived there ever since. If any one can be called a typical Western Kansan it is William G. Wilson. He learned farming not as many of the older citizens learned it by hard experience and a process of adaptation from methods used in eastern communities, but gradually acquired the system necessary for growing crops and in fact has never known any other.

The family was established in Pawnee County in 1884 by his father, James Wilson. James Wilson came to Western Kansas from Will County, Illinois. He located four miles south of Garfield, where he homesteaded the northeast quarter of section 20, township 23, range 17. William G. Wilson has no personal recollection of the humble circumstances and hardships which his parents endured during the first years. They came out by rail, and the first team owned by Mr. James Wilson was a yoke of cattle. He built a small box house to shield his family from the elements. Times were hard and crops were scanty, and again and again he walked to Garfield and worked for fifty cents a day in order to buy the necessities of life. Fortunately long before his death he had surrounded himself with those things which he came to Kansas to acquire. He had improved his farm with the most substantial buildings, and shade and fruit trees which he set out on coming here had attained noble proportions. He was also one of the successful wheat raisers of the community. He and his brothers owned one of the first threshing machines in the county, and this they hauled around from job to job with oxen. James Wilson kept stock of the better grades, and had enough to supply the farm and furnish considerable revenue over and above his crops. He had also extended his possessions by the purchase of four quarter sections in a single body. In his last years he was sowing about 500 acres to wheat.

James Wilson was born in Scotland and was brought to the United States when about fourteen years of age. The family spent a short time in Jersey City and from there came west to Illinois, where his father, Mathew Wilson, was a farmer. Mathew Wilson had come out to Pawnee County before his son James, and spent his last years there as a farmer. He died on his place nine miles west of Garfield. Mathew Wilson married Elizabeth Moore. Their children were: James; Annie, wife of Thomas Davis, of Garfield; William, a farmer of Pawnee County; Mathew, also in Pawnee County; and Lizzie, wife of George Couchman, of Pawnee County.

James Wilson died in June, 1906. His wife was Mary Carson, a native of Ireland, from which country she had come to the United States at the age of sixteen.

William G. Wilson, the only son and child of his parents, was born December 18, 1882, in Will County, Illinois. His education was such as the country schools of Pawnee County could afford. He has spent all his life on his father's homestead, and was a practical grain grower with his father, and since his father's death wheat has been his chief crop. His best yields per acre was in 1914 when 700 acres threshed 18,000 bushels. But the year 1916 was more profitable. That year he harvested and threshed between 17,000 and 18,000 bushels and sold it for the highest price in all his experience. Mr. Wilson has not only used profitably the land left him by his father but has extended his domain and has bought three quarter sections, portions of sections 21, 19 and 20 in township 23, range 17.

Politically he was reared as a republican and cast his first vote for Roosevelt in 1904. His home township he has served in the office of treasurer and has always been a member of the school board of district No. 62. Mr. Wilson is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America and is a member of the Congregational Church.

In Pawnee County September 18, 1903, he married Miss Minnie Johnston, daughter of Thomas and Ella (Downs) Johnston. Their children were: Mrs. Annie Murray; Frank Downs; Mrs. Wilson; Thomas; William; Katie, who died as Mrs. Charles Kimmel; and Margaret. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have four children, named Helen, May, Wilma and William James.

Besides his extensive interests as a grain farmer Mr. Wilson has shared in the commercial activities of his home town of Garfield. He is a partner in the implement and automobile business of Wilson & Turner at Garfield, and a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator and in the Garfield State Bank.