Was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, April 2, 1821. His parents, James and Polly Wilson, nee Venemen, were born in Pennsylvania and were of Scotch-Irish and German descent. They both died in Washington County, Pennsylvania; his father in 1S55 and his mother in 1869. James was reared and educated in Pennsylvania. At the age of twenty-one he learned the carpenter and joiner’s trade and followed that for thirty-years. He worked in Pennsylvania until 1854, then in various places in Ohio and Illinois until 1857 when he located in Daviess County, Missouri. In 1860 he went to Pike’s Peak and remained three years, then was in the government employ in Tennessee till the close of the war, when for several years he worked in Pennsylvania, after which he located in Daviess County.
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Mr. Wilson was married, March 25, 1852, to Miss Rebecca Griffith, who was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, December 3, 1831. She was a daughter of Samuel and Sarah Stewart Griffith, who were both natives of Pennsylvania. By this marriage one child was born, Rebecca Jane, March 31, 1853, and died October 4, 1866. Mrs. Wilson died April 8, 1853. Mr. Wilson was united in marriage, December 8, 1870, to Miss Sinah Roper, a native of Daviess County, Missouri, born April 24, 1839. She was a daughter of William and Polly Roper, nee Stevenson, who came from Kentucky to Missouri in 1827, and settled in Clay County and in 1835 came to Daviess County. Five children have been born of this second marriage, two only of whom are living; viz., Thomas R., born December 17, 1872; and James W., born January 11, 1877; the other three died in infancy.
Mr. Wilson started in life a poor boy but was full of energy and push and had a good trade, and now he owns a farm of 227 acres of choice land all improved and stocked. He is a prominent Odd Fellow and a man recognized by all as a leading and worthy citizen.