Calhoun County

1891 Biography - Andrew Wilson

JUDGE ANDREW C. WILSON, the subject of our sketch, was born in Irving Township, Venango County, Pennsylvania, November 6, 1816, and grew to manhood in his native place. He began to work on the farm at an early age and remained with his parents until he reached his fifteenth year. He then commenced rafting on the Alleghany River, continuing in that business up to his twenty-second birthday. He removed to Indiana in 1838 and in the following year came to Calhoun County. At that date Calhoun County was in a decidedly primitive state, with timber land on every side and deer and wild turkeys roaming at will with little fear of being disturbed. He located on the Illinois River where he established a wood yard, the lumber business being the chief industry of those times. His place was at Blooms Landing, formerly known as Wilson's wood yard, just above the head of a six-mile island and he was occupied in supplying steamers with wood until 1846. He next removed to Richwoods where the land was known as patent land or Military Tract, and people cut timber wherever they chose. Our subject did the same, preparing staves, sawlogs and cordwood to be sent to St. Louis for sale.

Mr. Wilson in 1849 made his first purchase of land, buying one hundred and sixty acres on section 8, for which he paid $325. He continued to add to his estate from time to time until at the present writing he owns one thousand acres of valuable land in Illinois and two hundred and sixty-two acres in Missouri. He formerly owned the ground upon which Batchtown is situated, and cleared and cultivated the ground upon which the buildings of that village now stand.

Our subject was married May 4, 1848, to Miss Sarah Turner, who was born in Ralls County, Mo. Of the eight children born of this union six are living — Rebecca, James, Abigail, John F., Jane and Frances. Mr. Wilson sustained the sad loss of his wife in 1872 and in the same year was married to Mrs. Jane (Geeding) McCoy. This marriage has been blessed with one child — Robert N. Mrs. Wilson's parents, John and Livina (Smith) Geeding, are natives of Maryland and Ohio, respectively, and upon coming to Calhoun County settled in Point Precinct. He became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the year 1854 and manifests great interest in Sunday-schools. He was a Free-soiler in politics and voted for Martin Van Buren. He was a Democrat until 1884 at which time he joined the Prohibition party, continuing to vote with that party up to the present time. He is a man of great influence and has at different times been called upon to fill offices of public trust, serving as County Judge for three years, as a member of the District School Board for a number of years and has served as Township Trustee.

Mr. Wilson's father, John Wilson, was born in Maryland and in that State passed his youth and received his education. He learned the trade of a cooper which he followed a few years. He next removed to Pennsylvania where he married and bought land in Irving Township. Here he built the log house in which our subject was born; he made his home there until the year 1838, at which time he sold his properly and removed to Ohio, settling in Columbiana County and remained there up to the time of his death. He married Miss Rebecca Cook, a native of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Her father, Andrew Cook, was born in Scotland and came to America when a young man, settling in Pennsylvania where he married Miss Mary McLaughlin, he was a teacher by profession and was educated for the ministry. Our subject's mother after her husband's death came to Illinois and bought a home in Jo Daviess County, where she died in 1871 after attaining her eighty-third year. She reared nine children - Andrew C., John, Mary, Margaret, James, William, Robert, Jane and Elizabeth.

Mr. Wilson's grandfather, John Wilson, lived in Ireland, being of Scotch descent however. When sixteen years old he commenced to follow the life of a sailor but after being on the sea four years he settled in Pennsylvania and in that State married Margaret Eddy who was born in Pennsylvania and was of German descent. Our subject is decidedly a self-made man, having come to Calhoun County with only thirteen cents in the way of worldly goods and his opportunities for educational training were very indifferent. But he has achieved marked success in public life and is a first-class speaker. He is generally held in high esteem and is one of the most influential citizens of Richwoods Precinct. He is a constant reader and the happy possessor of an excellent memory which enables him to store away information for future use and generally fits him for the high positions to which he is elected.

Extracted 23 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 716-718


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