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James M. Wilson has had a long and prominent official career in Ellsworth County, where for twenty years he had continuously filled the office of clerk of the District Court. Mr. Wilson is an old resident of Ellsworth, having come there as a youth thirty-five years ago. He is a lawyer by training and qualifications, though he had found his career in public office rather than in private practice.
Mr. Wilson was born at Bath-on-the-Hudson, now Renssalaer, New York, September 12, 1864. His father, James Wilson, was born at Edinburgh, Seotland, in 1824, grew up and learned the trade of baker there, and about 1849, on coming to the United States, settled at French ‘s village in New York State, and later moved to Rath, where he continued to follow his trade until his death in 1880. He was a Union soldier, having enlisted August 29, 1864, in the Ninety-first New York Infantry. While with his regiment crossing the James River during one of the campaigns toward the end of the war he received a sunstroke. This brought on epilepsy and he suffered intermittent attacks of that malady all the rest of his days and his death was the direct result of an attack. He was mustered out of the army June 10, 1865. In politics he was a republican and one of the chief interests of his life was a conscientious performance of his religious duties as a member of the Baptist Church. James Wilson, Sr., married Lucinda McKee. She was born at Belfast, Ireland, in 1839, and died at Mountain Grove, Missouri, in 1909, at the age of seventy. There were six children in the family, James M. being the youngest, Mary, the oldest, lives at Ellsworth, Kansas, widow of Abraharn Higham, who followed the business of lumber inspector at Albany, New York, and in 1876 settled as a pioneer at Ellsworth, Kansas, where he followed the humber business. William M., the second child, a baker by trade, was also an early Kansas settler, having located at Abilene in 1874, later removing to Ellsworth and is now residing at Aransas Pass in Texas. Isobel, living at Topeka, is the widow of C. J. Evans, a prominent and successful attorney at Ellsworth. Lucinda, who died at Ellsworth in 1883, married Edward P. Newman, formerly cashier of the bank at Ellsworth and was last heard of at Springfield, Missouri. Charity, next to the youngest child, is the wife of J. A. Chase, president of the Mountain Grove Bank at Mountain Grove, Missouri. The mother of these children brought her daughter Charity and ber youngest child, James, to Ellsworth, Kansas, in 1882, and after that she lived with her son James in Ellsworth and at Mountain Grove with her daughter Charity.
James M. Wilson acquired his early training in the public schools at Bath, New York, and while there learned the trade of book binding. He was eighteen years of age when he came to Ellsworth in 1882 and for a time he worked in local stores. In 1885 he entered the law office of his brother-in-law, Charles J. Evans, and was admitted to the bar in 1888. These qualifications have been of great advantage to him in his public career. For a number of years he was employed in the county attorney’s office and the office of register of deeds. In November, 1897, he was elected clerk of the District Court and had been reelected at each succeeding election to the present time. His offices are in the courthouse. Mr. Wilson had also served as clerk of Ellsworth Township.
He is a republican, and takes an active part in fraternal affairs. For the past fourteen years he had been secretary of Ellsworth Lodge No. 146, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, for three years had been secretary of Ellsworth Chapter No. 54, Royal Arch Masons, is a member of Ellsworth Council No. 9, Royal and Select Masters, is elerk of Ellsworth Camp No. 5673, Modern Woodmen of America, and in 1915-16 was secretary and treasurer of the Kansas Division of Sons of Veterans.
On July 24, 1890, at Ellsworth, Mr. Wilson married Miss Addie M. Myers, and they and their family live in one of the comfortable homes of Ellsworth. Mrs. Wilson is a daughter of C. L. and Anna (Halstead) Myers, both now deceased. Her father was the pioneer nurseryman of Ellsworth and in his time set out nearly all the fruit and ornamental trees in this city. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have a splendid family of children. Charles M., a resident of Ellsworth, is now in the officers training camp at Chicago. Halstead B. is clerk in a grocery store at Ellsworth. Morton J., a graduate of the Ellsworth High School, is working with his father. L. V. Wilson, also with his father, is a graduate of the local high school, attended Kansas University one year, and is now in training for the aviation corps at Fort Riley, Kansas. Lee E. was killed by lightning in July, 1915, while a student in high school. Frank, the youngest of the family, is now in the freshmau class of the Ellsworth High School.