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Gerald Francis Wilson. Among the contributing factors to progress and prosperity in Clay County are the newspapers, and in taking them into account the Leader, at Longford, should by no means be overlooked. It is a live, wide-awake, progressive journal becanse such are the characteristics of its able editor and manager, Gerald Francis Wilson, who had the advantage of being a practical printer and before assuming charge of the Leader had had editorial experience.
Gerald Francis Wilson was born at Racine, Wisconsin, November 4, 1891. His parents were Fred Morgan and Miranda (Kennedy) Wilson, the latter of whom was born in Pennsylvania in 1870 and died at Detroit, Michigan, in March, 1909. The Wilson ancestry is Scotch-Irish and the family to which Editor Wilson belongs had been in the United States since colonial times. His father, Fred Morgan Wilson, was born in Michigan in 1860 and had practically spent his life thus far in his native state and had always been identified with railroad affairs. He is a republican in political affiliation, fraternally is a Knight of Pythias, and belongs to the Episcopal Church. His family numbers three sons: Chester, who is a miner in Montana, and Gerald Francis and Leonard.
Gerald F. Wilson attended the public schools of Omaha, Nebraska, until he completed his second year in the high school and then passed two years in Creighton University at Omaha. After leaving the university in 1908 Mr. Wilson entered a printing office and learned the trade, subsequently worked as a journeyman printer in Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, Utah, California, Washington, North and South Dakota and Iowa, during this time coming into contact with men and affairs that necessarily broadcned his outlook, enriched his mind and increased his perceptive faculties.
It was on July 11, 1913, that Mr. Wilson reached Norton, Kansas, and accepted a position on the Daily Telegram, of which Will E. Garland was then editor, and remained until the following November, when he went to Concordia, Kansas, where he remained in a job printing office for the next three years. During 1916 he was employed on the Salina Union, at Salina, Kansas, and from there, on January 1, 1917, came to Longford and bought the Longford Leader, which had formerly been owned by the merchants of Longford. The first number of this journal had been issued by Frank Pattee in 1911, but the venture did not prove a success and after changing ownership several times was discontinued for awhile, but in 1915 was revived because of their being an actual demand for a newspaper in the place. It did not prosper, however, until Mr. Wilson, a real newspaper man, took charge, and since then it had become a very important medium all over Clay County in particular and had many new subseribers and advertisers in the adjacent counties. In other words, it had became a prosperous and paying proposition.
In politics Mr. Wilson is a man of independent views and his paper reflects his attitude. He believes in giving the people a generally acceptable journal and provides interesting reading for all the household, devoting his editorials largely to local interests. He had placed his plant in fine condition and both it and his offices are on Main Street, Longford. Mr. Wilson had also established a paper at Industry, Kansas, its first issue appearing on Monday, August 13, 1917, and under his efficient leadership there is little doubt that the paper will grow in favor and importance.
Mr. Wilson was married at Beloit, Kansas, January 28, 1916, to Miss Beatrice Allen, who was born and educated at Concordia, Kansas, She is a daughter of Fred and Cora (Blackledge) Allen. Her father was born in the State of New York in 1867, and from there came to Kansas in 1883 and settled in Cloud County. At present he conducts a draying business at Concordia. He married Cora Blackledge, who was born in Iowa, and they have four children, namely: Jennie, who is the wife of Fred Somers, who is a mechanic and they live at Omaha; Mary, who is the wife of Arnold Kersenbrock, who handles cream in transportation on the C. B. & Q. Railroad to certain points, and they reside at Concordia, Kansas; Beatrice, who is the wife of Gerald F. Wilson; and Frances, who remains with her parents. The Allens, like the Wilsons, can lay claim to old American citizenship, as they too settled in the United States during colonial times and many of the name, like the Wilsons, have achieved great distinction. Mrs. Wilson is a lady of engaging personality and social charm. Formerly she belonged to the Knights and Ladies of Security, a well known fraternal order in this state, and at present is a valued member of the Lady Maccabees.