Oliver P. Wilson, a retired business man and a prominent resident of Dunbarton, was born in this town, October 17, 1836, son of Thomas and Mary (Mills) Wilson. The grandfather, John Wilson, who was the first of the family in this town, was reared upon a farm, and acquired the trade of shoemaking. An industrious and Anna H. Kimball, of Hopkinton, and reared a family of eleven children.
Thomas Wilson, who was also a native of Dunbarton, attended school until he was seventeen years old. Afterward for a time he assisted his father upon the farm. Later he served an apprenticeship at the carpenter’s trade, which he followed as a journeyman for a few years. Then, relinquishing that calling, he engaged in a mercantile business in Dunbarton, and carried on a prosperous trade for several years. The profits of this business, together with the income of a large farm which he conducted at the same time, had placed him in very comfortable circumstances before his death. This event, which occurred when he was seventy-five years old, was the result of an accident. He rendered faithful and efficient service as Town Treasurer and Collector for a number of years, and he was active in the Congregational church. His wife, Mary, who was a daughter of Reuben Mills, of Hampstead, had eight children, of whom five are living.
Oliver P. Wilson acquired a common-school education, and at the age of sixteen began life as a farm assistant. After following the latter occupation for two or three years, he went to Manchester, where he learned photography, and worked at the business for three years. Then, returning to Dunbarton, he entered his father’s store as a partner, and opened a photograph gallery. Upon the death of his father he became the sole proprietor of the store, which he prosperously conducted for twenty-five years. In 1890 he sold out to his son-in-law, and retired from active pursuits. For a number of years he and his father acted as agents for the Olzendam Hosiery Company of Manchester, during which time they supplied some fifty families with work in that line. He has also been an extensive dealer in real estate, having bought and sold a large number of farms in this section.
In 1856 Mr. Wilson was united in marriage with Nancy F. Chamberlain, daughter of Thomas and Eliza Chamberlain, of Goffstown, N.H., and has reared two children. In 1873, 1874, 1875, and 1876 Mr. Wilson was elected Town Treasurer, and Collector in 1874, 1875, 1878, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1889, 1891, and 1897; and for twenty-five years he served as Postmaster, the office having been located in his store. He has also acted as Constable and Justice of the Peace. Prominently identified with the First Congregational Church, he has been its treasurer and collector as well as the treasurer, superintendent, and librarian of the Sunday-school.