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John H. Wilson has been a constant factor in the up building of the Cities of Rock Island and Moline for half a century. As president of the Wilson Moline Buggy Company and in other business enterprises in which he has engaged since coming to this community in 1856 he has given employment to many men and has directed their energies into channels that have brought adequate rewards to themselves, to their employers and to the cities in which they have lived and labored.
Like many another of the substantial early residents of Rock Island County, Mr. Wilson is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in Mercer County. His parents and grandparents were tillers of the soil and established one of those elegant old homesteads which excite the admiration of visitors to the Keystone State nowadays, and which exert a powerful influence in drawing the absent sons home from time to time to renew the associations of their childhood. Mr. Wilson often goes back to the old farm home built over eighty years ago, but still in a perfect state of preservation.
During his youth the subject of this sketch attended the public schools, and when about eighteen years of age took a course at Alleghany College at Meadville, Pennsylvania. For several years afterward he worked on his father’s farm in summer and taught school in winter. Subsequently he engaged in general merchandising at Clarksville, Pennsylvania, and as he accumulated property became interested in coal mining, a business that he followed to some extent after coming west.
From coal Mr.Wilson turned to oil, investing in a territory on the Ohio and Pennsylvania line in which several flowing wells were developed. With rare business foresight he sold his holdings at a favorable opportunity to Philadelphia parties and removed to Rock Island. That was in 1856, and he has made his home here since. Conservative in his business habits he has met with uniform success in his various ventures.
Mr. Wilson was united in marriage with Miss Susanna A. Hoxie in Erie County, Pennsylvania, in 1850. Three children were born of this union. Clara J., is the wife of George W. Kretzinger, an attorney of Chicago; Mary E., is the wife of F. A. Head; and Nettie, is the wife of W. A. Ross. Mrs. Wilson died in 1882, and two years later Mr. Wilson married Mrs. Ella Case, daughter of Marvin Case, of Greenville, Pennsylvania, and widow of the late Dr. Case, of Chicago.
Mr. Wilson affiliates with the Republican party.