James A. Wilson. Some of the finest and best cultivated farms of Champaign County are located in the southern townships and among these it is no disparagement of the efforts of others to mention the fine place of James A. Wilson in Raymond Township. Mr. Wilson is a practical and progressive farmer and owns and occupies a part of the land which the Wilson family has cultivated for fully half a century.
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Mr. Wilson was born near Ridge Farm in Vermilion County, Illinois, April 29, 1859, but has lived in Champaign County since early childhood. His parents, William and Martha (Fulton) Wilson, were both natives of Ireland. His father on coming to America followed teaching in the schools of Ohio and a similar occupation after locating in Vermilion County, Illinois. In 1866 he came to Champaign County and began life as a farmer on section 9 of Raymond Township, where as a result of his well-timed industry he built up an estate of 240 acres. On that old farm he passed away October 18, 1874, leaving ample material possessions and an honored name to his descendants. His wife died there February 3, 1894. They had nine children: George of Long View; Maria, deceased; William of Mount Vernon, Illinois; Thomas of Raymond Township; John and Henry, twins, both deceased; Martha Jane, who died in 1883; Sarah Mary, deceased; and James A.
Nearly all the experiences of James A. Wilson, whether as a child or as a mature man, center around section 9 of Raymond Township. He grew up there and besides the district schools he attended the Champaign High School, from which he was graduated in 1883: For two terms he taught in his home township, and after his marriage he took charge of the home place. When the estate was divided he received 160 acres, and has gradually enlarged this as his farming business has grown, first buying eighty acres in section 10 and later buying another eighty acres of the homestead. Thus he has under his control a full half section, and the bountiful crops of his fields and the splendid improvements and equipment testify to his efficiency as a farmer without recourse to other descriptions.
On January 22, 1887, Mr. Wilson married Rachel Catherine Hughes of Bates County, Missouri. They had a happy married life of a little less than five years, until her death on February 3, 1892. She was the mother of three children: Harriet, who died in infancy; Frances Gertrude, wife of Richard Davis of Raymond Township; and William Walter of Hensley Township. On March 22, 1894, Mr. Wilson married for his second wife Mary Graham, a native of Hamblen County in East Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are the parents of six children: Frederick Roscoe of Edgar County, Illinois; Ruth Ellen, wife of Alfred Toppie; Grace Edith, who graduated from the Champaign High School in 1917 and is now attending the Teachers’ Institute in that city; Ernest, Thomas Graham, and Blanche Olive, all at home and attending the local schools.
Mr. Wilson has done his part as a public-spirited citizen and served two years as assessor and two years as collector. He is a Democrat, a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and with his family worships in the Methodist Episcopal Church. His fine home is on Rural Route No. 58 from Sidney.