Biography of Albert Erskine Wilson
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Albert Erskine Wilson, who is a son of that splendid Montgomery County pioneer, the late Ebenezer Erskine Wilson, has had an active business career at Coffeyville covering a period of twenty years, during which time he has progressed from the position of stenographer and clerk to head of one of the leading elevator companies of Southern Kansas, and has also acquired other business interests.
His birth occurred in Independence, Kansas, February 24, 1876. Mr. Wilson is descended from a family that originally lived in Scotland, and among his direct ancestors were the noted Erskines of Seotland. The Wilsons came from Scotland to Pennsylvania.
His father, Ebenezer Erskine Wilson, was born at Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, November 21, 1838. Soon after reaching manhood, in 1861, he enlisted as a private in the Second West Virginia Cavalry of the Union army, and was promoted to captain of a company. He was in service throughout the war, in many of the great battles and campaigns, and was with Grant at Appomattox. Soon after the war he went west to Illinois, and while at Galesburg married Miss Betty Braden. She died six months after their marriage.
On August 28, 1869, Ebenezer E. Wilson arrived in Kansas, and as president of the Independence Townsite Company laid out a large portion of that town. The negotiations had hardly been completed for the removal of the Indians from this section of Kansas, and Montgomery County was then on the extreme frontier. During the remainder of his life E. E. Wilson played a dominant part in the activities and affairs of his home city of Independence. He was the second mayor of that city. He and F. D. Irwin built the first store on the townsite and as the firm of Wilson & Irwin conducted a general merchandise stock for a number of years. Later he became assistant county treasurer under Cary Oakes and also under treasurer Joseph Barricklow for four years, and was then himself elected county treasurer and held the office four years. He was associated with the Commercial Bank, and as president of the Independence School Board laid the foundation of the public school system. He took a great interest in higher education and was himself a man of thorough scholarship, a deep thinker, and by his interest as a historian and writer preserved much of the interesting chronicles of early Montgomery County. He contributed numerous articles to the South Kansas Tribune and his work as a historian can be best appreciated from the Edwards Historical Atlas of Montgomery County which was published in 1881, the historical part of which was written by him.
When the Montgomery County Agricultural Soclety was organized in 1871 he became its first secretary. He was an active republican, was a member of McPherson Post No. 4, Grand Army of the Republic, and as regular attendant of the Congregational Church took a great interest in its affairs and helped support it both by his personal influence and in other substantial ways. One of the prominent men of his time, he naturally associated with the makers of history in that section of Kansas, and was a personal friend of L. U. Humphrey, one time governor of Kansas.
Ebenezer E. Wilson died at Independence, Kansas, August 28, 1894. For his second wife he married Morna Moore. Her father, Alexander Hamilton Moore, was the second postmaster of Independence. Mrs. E. E. Wilson was born at Galesburg, Illinois, November 28, 1846, and died at Independence, Kansas, January 29, 1890. Her children were six in number, Albert E. being the second in age. Zell, the oldest, is the wife of A. T. Stewart, who is general freight agent for the Missouri Pacific Railway at Kansas City, Missouri. Floyd M., a resident of Hartman, Colorado, is manager of the Denver Alfalfa Milling and Products Company, which has five plants located at Hartman, Bristol, Wiley, Cornman and McClave, Colorado. Sallie, twin sister of Floyd, is the wife of W. R. Forker, who is general sales agent and a stockholder of the Moreland Motor Company at Los Angeles, California. Jane M. is the wife of Thomas E. Wagstaff, a prominent lawyer of Independence, Kansas. George T., a resident of Los Angeles, is state agent in California for the Alfalfa Milling and Mixing Machinery Company.
Albert Erskine Wilson, who was fourteen years of age when his mother died and eighteen when his father passed away, received his early education in the Independence public schools but left school when a senior in high school on secount of the death of his father. Going to St. Louis he finished a six months’ course in shorthand in 1896, then in the same year returned to Kansas and became stenographer for the firm of Hall & Robinson at Coffeyville. This firm operated the Missouri Pacific elevator at Coffeyville. He was promoted to bookkeeper, then to superintendent of the elevator, and held that position until July 1, 1913. Mr. Wilson then resigned and organized the Wilson Elevator Company, of which he is president and general manager. He leased from the Missouri Pacific Railroad its terminal elevator at Coffeyville and this is now one of the substantial businesses of the kind in Southern Kansas. The vice president of the company is Thomas E. Wagstaff of Independence and the secretary and treasurer is Mrs. Vera D. Wilson, wife of Mr. Wilson. The offices are at 908 Maple Street.
Politically Mr. Wilson is a standpat republican. He is a member of the Commercial Club, has served as president of the Coffeyville Country Club, belongs to the Presbyterian Church and is affiliated with Keystone Lodge No. 102, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at Coffeyville, Coffeyville Chapter No. 89, Royal Arch Masons, Lochinvar Commandery No. 52, Knights Templars, and Coffeyville Lodge No. 775 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
Mr. Wilson and family reside at 612 Lincoln Street. On June 2, 1909, at Independence he married Miss Vera Doyle. Her parents, both now deceased, formerly resided at Hastings, Michigan. Mrs. Wilson graduated from the Hastings High School and from the Hackley Manual Training School of Muskegon, Michigan, and before her marriage was domestic science teacher in the Coffeyville High School. They are the parents of two children: Albert E., Jr., born December 24, 1910; and Harriet Elizabeth, born August 24, 1915.