The Kansans and Whence They Came – Wilson Family History
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Richard Wilson, "", The Kansans and Whence They Came, Internet: (accessed ), < sites.rootsweb.com/~wilsweik/histories/Wilson.htm >.

J ames Wilson, his sister Nancy Wilson, and their respective families were among the earliest settlers of northeastern Kansas. They were two of the many children of William and Mary Ann Wilson who along with their parents had gradually moved across the state of Missouri until eventually settling at its western border. From here, James, Nancy, and a few of their siblings moved just across the Missouri River soon after the new lands were opened for settlement. Although they were joined in the new territory by others in the early days, these two were the only members of their immediate family known to have permanently settled in the state.

James Wilson

James Lee Wilson was born February 1830 in eastern Missouri. The location was probably Liberty Township in Washington County where his parents were listed as residents during the census of the same year. However, he is first found listed by name with his family on the 1850 census in adjoining Franklin County. About 1852, except for some of the older children who had already established their own families here, they relocated again to Holt County on the western border of the state. It was here that James married Barilla Proctor on 26 Apr 1855. Their wedding was almost certainly part of a double ceremony since Washington J. Proctor, Barilla's brother, was married on the same day. Washington's bride was Malissa Decker who must have been well acquainted with James and his family already. She was a step-daughter to one of his cousins and had lived next door to the Wilson family back in Franklin County.

Settling in Kansas

In a move somewhat typical for young men of their time, James Wilson and Washington Proctor evidently secured land in preparation for their impending marriages. They did so by crossing the Missouri River and claiming 160 acres each in recently established Kansas Territory. The exact date this occurred might be known. During the 1859 territorial census, James reported that he had settled in Brown County in May 1855. Washington reported more specifically that he had settled on 3 May 1855. It is very likely that the two newlywed couples arrived together on that date, only a week after getting married. Nearly forty years later, however, a local newspaper article stated that James claimed to have settled here slightly earlier on 18 Mar 1855. It is known that Washington had come to Kansas with his father, James' soon to be father-in-law, on 20 Mar 1855 to mark a claim. As was frequently done, his father then returned home for the winter and returned later to live there. It is very possible that James did the same, marking his claim in March and returning in May. In addition to this date, he went on to claim in this article to have been the first white settler in the county.note1 As was the norm, they didn't receive their patents, or legal titles to public land, for their farms until several years later. James received his patent on 16 Jul 1860 for the SW¼ of Section 5, Township 3, Range 18, which is now located on the south side of School Street approximately one mile west of the town of Robinson.

Contrary to his claim, James wasn't the first settler. The book, History and Statistics of Brown County, Kansas, discounts this, but it also substantiates the fact that he was at least among the first settlers. This book was published in 1876 by Major E. N. Morrill who was an early Clerk of Court for the county and later became governor of the state. James L. Wilson is included in his listing of the county's earliest pioneers as arriving in the summer or fall of 1854 or 1855. Which year the author meant is not clearly stated. Morrill goes on to tell that James arrived in the county with William and Thomas Duncan and another man named _ Farmer. William B. Duncannote2 claimed the quarter section of land adjoining to the east of James. There are two possibilities for Thomas Duncan, but the more likely is Thomas A. Duncan who was a first cousin of William. This Thomas had a sister named Nancy Ann Duncan who was married to James Farmer at this time. This was probably the unnamed "_ Farmer". Nancy Ann later remarried to a first cousin of James Wilson named James B. Fitzwater, which increases the likelihood that this is correct. These men had no known direct relationship to James at the time, but they may have been relatives of his wife, Barilla, since her mother's maiden name was Duncan. This book was written twenty years after the fact, so it may be that James associated with these people, rather than actually arrived with them. Others listed as early settlers include two of Barilla's brothers, Washington J. Proctor, of course, and William P. Proctor, James Bridgman who was married to her sister, Adelia Proctor, and her father, Moses P. Proctor who was elected the first county treasurer in 1857.

On 30 May 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act had been passed which opened the two new territories for settlement. For the first time, the settlers of the new lands would have the right to decide whether they were to become free-states or slave-states upon their admission to the Union. It was a controversial decision that prompted both pro-slavery and anti-slavery activists to rush in hoping to influence the outcome. There was constant intimidation and often bloodshed between the two factions. This situation and the violence that came with it are now seen as precursors to the Civil War and have come to be known as "Bleeding Kansas". Much of the violence occurred further south around Lawrence, but the following passage from Morrill's book illustrates the difficult political conditions in which all of the people listed above initially must have lived.

"In 1856, the troubled, excited state of political affairs prevented any large immigration to the Territory [Kansas]. The border counties were controlled by organized bands of border ruffians, who would suffer no outspoken free-state man to remain in the Territory; to such the very decisive alternative was given - leave or die. The infamous Richardson with his band of cutthroats made occasional raids on the eastern border of the county [Brown County], keeping the settlers in a constant state of terror. Many an old settler remembers well the long and weary nights spent in the corn fields and woods when he dared not remain under his roof. All had dogs, and the barking of these faithful guardians at night was a signal for the settler to take unceremoniously to the brush, trusting that the scoundrels who were hunting his life would have manliness to leave unharmed his wife and dear ones. Fortunately for the good name of Brown county, there were no serious outbreaks within its borders. The honest, sober, industrious citizens of both sides did all in their power to preserve the peace and prevent any violation of the law and the kindliest feelings existed between neighbors who were directly opposed to each other politically."

With the exception of the Proctors and James Wilson, it seems that all of the people mentioned above had already moved on by the early 1860's, or as Morrill put it, "became dissatisfied and sought other and fairer fields".

James and his family were recorded in October on the 1865 state census for Claytonville Township, Brown County, Kansas. It shows that the two oldest children were born in Missouri, but their three younger siblings were born in Kansas. Therefore, it appears that the family, or at least Barilla, did not live full time on their new homestead during the first few years. This would not have been unusual, particularly for the settlers who had come from Missouri. Many tended to spend a lot of their time back home, especially during the winter months. This was probably due to the difficult conditions in Kansas at the time, both due to the "Bleeding Kansas" turmoil and the practicalities of frontier life. Barilla is last known appearing on this census, not long after having her last child. It is assumed that she passed away between this date and late 1869. The list of their children follows:

  1. John William Wilson (1856-1928) who married Martha A. Perkins c.1884 probably in Richardson County, Nebraska, before moving to Marshall County, Kansas. Between 1900-1905 they moved near Geneseo in Rice County, Kansas. By 1914, they had moved to Perry, Noble County, Oklahoma, but John was buried back in Geneseo in 1928.
  2. Susanah Wilson (c.1857-1955) who married Frederick William Zieber 05 Mar 1876 at the White Eagle School House near Robinson, Kansas.
  3. Mary Matilda Wilson (1860-1940) who married John Basil Miller 26 Feb 1882 at the residence of her uncle, Thurston Chase. Her family first moved to Phillips County, Kansas, and later to Dent County, Missouri, c.1913.
  4. Francis (or Franz) Seigel Wilson (1862-1936) who married Jane "Jennie" Loudice Terrill 26 Nov 1882 in Robinson, Kansas, and moved to Omaha, Nebraska. Seigel was obviously named for the popular German-American general, Franz Sigel, who led the Union forces during two major Missouri battles in 1861.
  5. Vernetta Isabel "Nettie" Wilson (1864-1955) who first married James Harvey Perkins, a younger brother of Martha Perkins, 24 Jul 1887 in Brown County. She second married William Asbury Moore 18 Dec 1895 in Hiawatha, Kansas, and moved near her brother John near Geneseo, Kansas, by 1910. She then lived with her son for many years in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before returning to Geneseo after World War II.

Second Marriage

James remarried to Amelia "Permelia" Ridge on 24 Feb 1870 in Brown County, Kansas. She was previously married and brought three more children from her first marriage into the Wilson family, raising the total to eight at the time.

On 27 Apr 1876, James co-signed with several others for an administrator's bond for the probate of Moses Proctor, his former father-in-law. James' children from his first marriage were among the many heirs, and they received a total of $38.55 from their grandfather's estate on 21 Jul 1876. (It is not clear whether this amount was to each or to be divided among them.)

On 1 Nov 1882, James purchased the land on which his former brother-in-law, Washington Proctor, had originally settled. It was the remaining 140 acres of the SE¼ of Section 12, Township 3, Range 17, located at what is now the northwest corner of Plum Tree Road and 200th Street. Washington had previously sold 20 acres of his quarter section for the local schoolhouse to be built on the corner. James then sold another 20 acres in 1886 to a neighbor, Charles Knabb.

Two obituaries have been found for James in two nearby towns. They both suggest that he "had long been a sufferer from physical ills", yet he was always a particularly cheerful and pleasant man. His long term ailments may explain why on 16 Jun 1888, six years before his death, James and Permelia deeded the remaining 120 acres of their farm to their children for the sum of "one dollar and natural love and affection". This was sometimes done when the father was no longer capable of running the farm himself. The children did not file the deed until three days after their father's death on 2 May 1894. This could also explain why no probate or will records have been found for James since he no longer had any property. During the following Spring in 1895 this was the only family in the area not to list any crops for the state agricultural census. This could mean that there were no crops for the year, which would have been financially devastating, or simply that there was no one available who could give the information. James Lee Wilson was buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery immediately south of the town of Robinson, Kansas.

Permelia later passed away on 16 Apr 1903 and was buried next to James. About a year prior to this, the children began gradually selling their shares in the property to the same Charles Knabb who had purchased a portion of their land from James himself. These seven children brought the total number between James and Permelia to fifteen. They were:

  1. Henry Lee Wilson (1870-1923) who married Nora Amanda Thomas 07 Nov 1892 in Hiawatha, Brown County. He was living in Baker, Kansas, at the time of his death and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Zion Lutheran cemetery in Everest, Kansas.
  2. Sarah Ellen Wilson (1871-1933) who married Barney Berg 17 May 1900 in Brown County and moved to where her husband and Thomas Smiley later co-founded the cheerfully named town of Smileyberg, east of Douglass, Butler County, Kansas.
  3. Frank Gordon Wilson (1873-1949) who married Christena Mae Robb 08 Feb 1905 in Hiawatha and moved to Nemaha County, Kansas, in 1907. They moved to Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, in the Spring of 1920 where they remained.
  4. Emma Alice Wilson (1874-1968) who first married W.H. Conaway 07 Dec 1894 in Robinson, Kansas. She second married William Adelbert Shelton 1901 in Oregon. They lived in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Oregon, before emigrating to Canada. Their residence was Heart River, Alberta, when she was naturalized in 1941.note3
  5. Warren D. Wilson (1877-1937) who first married Cloa Ann Hamby 08 Aug 1901 in Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska. He second married Myrtle Mae Spicer 27 Mar 1906 in Holton, Jackson County, Kansas. They moved to Nemaha County, Kansas, where he was a barber.
  6. Charles Ervin "Charley" Wilson (1877-1958), twin of Warren, previously discussed in the "Paternal Branch within Kansas".
  7. Hattie May Wilson (1879-) who married William Harrison Hamby, a brother of Cloa Hamby, 29 Jan 1901 in Robinson, Kansas. They moved to the suburbs of Denver in West Sheridan, Arapahoe County, Colorado, where they divorced 21 Jan 1908. Hattie apparently continued to live with the family until about 1912. By 1913, William and their three children had moved back to Kansas without her. He and their son, Norman, returned to Colorado sometime after 1924. Norman was killed on 12 Nov 1929, and two news articles stated that his mother was living in Denver under the name of Mrs. Hattie Jeffrey or Jeffries at the time. She was later listed in two of her brothers' obituaries as living in Janesville, however, the one in 1937 said it was in Iowa and the one in 1949 said it was in Illinois.note4

Nancy Wilson

Nancy Jane Wilson was a younger sister of James who also spent most of her adult life in Kansas. Nancy was born January 1835 in Liberty Township, Washington County, Missouri, and she married Samuel Anderson 29 Jul 1855 in Holt County. According to the 1883 book, William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, Samuel had been living in Doniphan County, Kansas, since 17 Apr 1854. The 1882 book, Historical Plat Book of Doniphan County, Kansas, also says that the first school taught in the township took place at his residence for six weeks during the spring of 1855. Then, Nancy must have moved there immediately after marrying, also making her a very early settler of that county.

Samuel's original land patent was the SE¼ of Section 7, Township 4, Range 22, which is one mile south of the former town of Palermo. By 1882, they owned more property another half mile south in Section 17 bordering the Missouri River. Nancy and Samuel remained in Doniphan County until 1900, when they moved near Valley Falls, Jefferson County, Kansas. Samuel died here 02 Jan 1908 and was buried in the Valley Falls Cemetery. While still in Kansas in May of the same year, Nancy applied for a pension as the widow of a Civil War veteran. By 1910, she had moved to Los Angeles with her son, Emery. In December 1917, Jane died in Boulder, Colorado, and her body was brought to Valley Falls to be buried with her husband. She must have been living with her son John at the time. Nancy and Samuel had the following children, all of whom were born in Doniphan County, Kansas:

  1. John William Anderson (1856-1918) who married Effie M. Thompson c.1896. They were living in the mining town of Creede, Mineral County, Colorado, in 1910. John died in Boulder, Colorado.
  2. Emery Allison Anderson (1857-1943) who married Effie (). He was also in the mining industry and died in Los Angeles County, California.
  3. Samuel Thomas Sherman Anderson (1862-1931) who first married Mollie Canter 15 Feb 1888 at the bride's home in Doniphan County. In 1910, he was living in Pinal County, Arizona, with his two adult sons. In 1930, he was living in Los Angeles, California, where he was an engineer in a power plant and was now remarried to Hulda Louise Malm. He died here in 1931.

Jane Wilson

Jane Wilson was an older sister who may have lived in Kansas, but if so, only temporarily. She was born c.1826 in Missouri, and she married Thomas J. Duncan 13 Mar 1845 in Franklin County, Missouri. They were still living there during the 1850 census. On 18 Apr 1853, Thomas purchased the NW¼ of Section 17, Township 61, Range 39, in Holt County from Jane's parents for $202. This Thomas is the other Thomas Duncan who could have moved to Kansas along with James Wilson. If it was in fact he and Jane, they must have returned soon afterward to Holt County where they were in Dallas Township in 1860. Thomas must have died before 1870, since Jane was listed as the head of household in that year. They had the following children:

  1. William Robert Duncan (1845-1920) who fought in the Civil War. He first married Mary Ann Hatfield 27 Jul 1865 in Holt County, and he eventually outlived five wives. He died after being hit by a train while walking home in Hubbell, Nebraska.
  2. Lewis W. Duncan (1847-1923) who married Megary Priscilla Ford 12 Nov 1871 in Holt County and died in Mound City, Holt County.
  3. Sarah Duncan (c.1848-) who is last known on the 1850 census.
  4. Samuel Duncan (c.1850-) who is last known on the 1850 census.
  5. Francis Marion Duncan (1852-1944) who moved to Richardson County, Nebraska.
  6. John Humble Duncan (1855-1941) who never married and died in Mound City.
  7. Thomas L. Duncan (1860-1945) who moved to Lucas County, Iowa, and married Eliza A. () c.1887.
  8. Paulina Elizabeth "Plina" Duncan (c.1863-1954) who married William Sims and lived in Omaha, Nebraska.
  9. Clinton Alexander Duncan (1865-1962) who married Emma E. Bean 17 Oct 1891 in Holt County, Missouri, and moved to Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska.

Jane remarried 06 Nov 1872 in Holt County to Daniel Smith with whom she is not known to have had any children. She is last found on the 1880 census in Bigelow Township. The book, Gone Home, by Eileen Derr, lists a newspaper report of a Mrs. Daniel Smith who died in the Thief's Neck area near Big Lake on 24 Mar 1882 of Erysipelas, a type of bacterial skin infection. That was the area of their farm, so this is most likely Jane.

Humble & Jackson Wilson

Within a couple years of James' arrival in Brown County and Nancy's in Doniphan County, two of their younger brothers also acquired land in Kansas. John Humble Wilson, who went by his middle name, was born c.1833 in Washington County, Missouri. Humble married Sarah Elizabeth Craig in Holt County on 07 Feb 1858. She was a daughter of John Craig and Nancy Mackey. Much like James had done, Humble pre-empted land, or officially occupied it, soon after his marriage on 17 May 1858. This was the northwest quarter of Section 1, Township 3, Range 17, which was just over a mile directly west of James' farm. He received his patent for this land in two parts on 10 Nov 1859 and 2 Jul 1860 under the name of Humble F. Wilson. Since he did not appear on the 1859 territorial census, he probably remained in Missouri most of the time. Humble must be the person listed on the federal census in Claytonville Township, Brown County, during the 1860 census as H.T. Wilson, because the entire family matches his perfectly.note5 Sarah died 07 May 1861 and was buried in Caton Cemetery near Mound City, Holt County, next to Humble's parents. He then sold the south half of his land on 3 Oct 1862. Humble and Sarah had one child:

  1. Sarah Ann Wilson (1859-1933) who married William L. Whaley in 1877.

The other brother was Andrew Jackson Wilson, who also went by his middle name. Jackson was born c.1838 in Missouri and settled in Kansas during August 1857. His land claim was about 10 miles further west of his brothers. He then married Rebecca Ann Williams on 19 Mar 1858 back home in Holt County, Missouri. Rebecca was born c.1839 in Indiana to Thomas and Mary Williams. The couple soon sold the southeast quarter of Section 31, Township 2, Range 16, on 17 May 1858. He was then enumerated on the 1859 territorial census, so they must have rented or obtained other land. Nevertheless, these two were in Dallas Township, Holt County, in 1860. They may have very recently moved back to Missouri, since they were living with a young newlywed couple, Samuel and Rhoda Smirl. Rhoda A. (Duncan) Smirl was a step-daughter of Jane (Wilson) Duncan. The patent for the land that had been sold five years earlier was finally issued in Jackson's name on 2 May 1863. Jackson and Rebecca had one known child:

  1. Philena B. Wilson (c.1859-) who is only known on the 1860 census.

Henry Wilson

The next brother, Henry A. Wilson, is never known to have lived in Kansas. Henry was born c.1839 in Missouri, and he married Sarah Elizabeth Story, a daughter of Ezekiel Story, on 30 Aug 1857 in Holt County. They, their daughter, and Henry's aunt Jane (Varner) Fitzwater are found on the 1860 census living next door to Henry's parents. They had the following children:

  1. Malinda A. Wilson (c.1858-).
  2. William E. Wilson (c.1861-).
  3. Robert Henry Wilson (c.1863-).

The Civil War & the Wilson Family

The Civil War had a significant impact on the Wilson family with five members of the family enlisting in the military during the war. Furthermore, the companies in which they enlisted may demonstrate where their loyalties lay on the issues that led to the war. The youngest of all the children was the not yet mentioned William A. Wilson. William was born on 14 Jan 1842 in Franklin County, Missouri, and at the age of 19, he was the first to enlist. The war had begun on 12 Apr 1861. On 31 Aug 1861, although he lived in Holt County, Missouri, he enlisted in Leavenworth, Kansas, as a Private in Co A, 7th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, organized by Col. Charles R. Jennison. This was undoubtedly after seeing a recruitment poster that was put up only one week earlier calling for "Jayhawkers" to enlist in this particular regiment at Leavenworth. This term was a strong one which came from the days of Bleeding Kansas, mentioned earlier. Pro-slavery "border ruffians" would regularly cross the border from Missouri to raid the homes of actual or suspected abolitionist residents, sometimes kill them, or in a few cases go as far as sacking entire towns, such as they did in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1856. Their goal at the time was to make Kansas enter the union as a slave-state. Jayhawkers were the Kansans who fought against them, and sometimes crossed back into Missouri to do the same to the border ruffians or other perceived Southern sympathizers. However, by the time the war began, Kansas had already gained statehood as a free-state. Many of the former border ruffians had now turned to supporting the Confederacy as "bushwhackers" within their own divided state. These were small bands of guerrilla Confederacy supporters who not only fought against Union forces, but also robbed, terrorized and often killed the residents of farms and towns of Union supporters. From the beginning, this was Missouri's primary problem, not the regular Confederate forces.

Active service for William's regiment, known as "Jennison's Jayhawkers", began on 28 Oct 1861. Their duty at this time was to stop bushwhackers in Western Missouri and restore order. Part of their strategy was to prevent local Confederate sympathizers from providing support. During this time in the absence of Jennison, the regiment was actually led by Lt. Col. Daniel R. Anthony, a brother of the famous suffragist Susan B. Anthony. His preferred tactic was to burn down the homes of anyone he suspected of helping and steal everything else he could. Unfortunately, as a Kansan who endured Bleeding Kansas, he suspected most Missourians of being sympathizers. His regiment burned hundreds upon hundreds of homes and sometimes entire towns, mostly in the rural areas surrounding Kansas City. The 7th Kansas quickly became notorious for its atrocities. The Union army did not approve and sent the troops back to Kansas at the end of January 1862. Jennison resigned on 1 May 1862, and the 7th Kansas, along with William A. Wilson, was sent to other states further east.

Almost the very day that William's service began in Kansas, Henry Wilson enlisted in Missouri. On 26 Oct 1861, he enrolled as a Corporal in Company D, Joseph's Battalion, about forty miles south in St. Joseph, Missouri. In Henry's first week, his company was involved in the Battle of Bee Creek at Platte City, Missouri, where they were chasing a local bushwhacker named Silas M. Gordon. After engaging Gordon's men, the Union troops were blocked by about fifty Southern sympathizers at the bridge over the creek on 3 Nov 1861. Two Union men were killed and Henry was wounded. Two of the Southern men were later executed on the same bridge for the deaths of the soldiers. Henry was honorably discharged 11 Feb 1862.

A few weeks later, Jane Wilson's oldest son, William R. Duncan, joined the newly formed Missouri State Militia as a Private on 3 Mar 1862. His service record says he was 18, but he was actually barely 16 years old at the time. Samuel Anderson, the husband of Nancy Wilson, was the next to join back home in Missouri, although he lived in Kansas. He enlisted in the same militia on 9 Mar 1862 at the age of 32. He was appointed as a 6th Sergeant on 13 October of the same year. Only a little more than a month after he had been discharged from the federal military, Henry Wilson reenlisted with his nephew and brother-in-law as a Private on 19 Mar 1862, but he was again appointed as a Corporal three days later. This may have been prompted by the fact that both companies were commanded by the same Capt. Daniel David. Jackson Wilson, the same brother who had returned from Kansas to live in Missouri, became the fifth member of the family to enlist in the military. He joined as a Private in the same state militia two days after Henry on 21 Mar 1862. Each of these men enlisted in Company B, 5th Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Old)note6 in St. Joseph, and their actual service began when they were mustered in on 21 Mar 1862, the same day that Jackson enlisted. The state militias were separate from the federal troops and were only allowed to defend within their state's borders.

Just as the 7th Kansas had begun, this regiment's main duty was pursuing bushwhackers and outlaws in northwestern Missouri. It was organized and commanded by Col. William Ridgeway Penick of St. Joseph, an outspoken pro-Unionist. Among the better known men Penick pursued were William Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson. One skirmish that all of these volunteers should have been present for (except for William Duncan who was absent and sick at home in Holt County from at least 31 Aug - 31 Oct 1862) took place on 6 Oct 1862 about 25 miles east of Kansas City in Sibley, Missouri. Four companies of the regiment, including Company B, were fired upon by men led by Quantrill and a Col. Childs. As was typical, the bushwhackers immediately disappeared into the woods. The Union troops pursued them and fought for forty minutes until they were driven away. Several of the guerrillas were captured including a severely wounded Col. Childs.

Also just as the 7th Kansas had done, Col. Penick and his men gained a reputation for treating the locals as poorly as the guerrillas did. They were known for taking their crops and equipment for their own use, particularly if the owners were suspected of aiding the bushwhackers or otherwise sympathising with the South. This earned them the nickname of "Penick's Thieves". Due to their controversial methods, the 5th was scheduled to be disbanded in February 1863 with many of its men reluctantly being sent to various other commands. Their reluctance was mainly due to the fact that men who joined state militias instead of Federal troops were often most interested in protecting the area around their own families. This date was postponed until June, and during the interim period many deserted, including both Henry and Jackson on 14 May 1863. Another military record for Henry shows that he had already been "absent in arrest" at Independence, Missouri, during April and May, immediately prior to his desertion date. It could be that he never returned to the military after his release. On 22 Jun 1863, both William Duncan and Samuel Anderson were mustered out as scheduled.

The Lost Brothers

After their desertions, Henry and Jackson must have returned home. This in itself was a risky thing to do, since captured deserters could be imprisoned or sometimes even executed. Along with Humble (listed as Hamble and Hamblin in the records), the three brothers appeared in Holt County Circuit Court on a charge of robbery in October 1863. They were part of an extraordinarily busy day where well over 30 men in 28 separate criminal cases were to appear. According to the records of Missouri's Union Provost Marshal, several of these other men had prior arrests in January 1861 for jayhawking, even before the war had begun. This raises the possibility that the multitude of cases were all brought on the same day because they were all related to jayhawking offenses. On that day, all of these cases were "continued generally", but further proceedings have not been located.

Nothing has been found for any of these three brothers after this date. It is very possible that they disappeared due to concerns about imprisonment for either the desertions or the robbery. In 1868, their older brother, Robert, became the temporary legal guardian and curator of the estate of Humble's only daughter, which means that Humble was not in the area by this time. She had inherited property from her maternal grandparents as a minor, and she needed a guardian for the purpose of selling the property. She was living with Robert during the 1870 census.

On 5 Feb 1869, Henry's wife began divorce proceedings against him in absentia, stating that he was no longer a resident of the state of Missouri. After he did not appear in court, she was granted the divorce on 29 Apr 1869 and given sole custody of their children. Sarah remarried to John Hatfield 29 Mar 1874 in Holt County. They are last found on the 1876 state census of Missouri along with her three children she had with Henry (although they are listed as Hatfield).

Jackson appears to have taken his family with him. Neither his wife nor his only daughter at the time have been located after the 1860 census. His wife, Rebecca, was included in her father's will written after this in December 1867, which means he must have known or assumed that she was alive somewhere. On 12 Apr 1872, Jackson and his wife sold half of Humble's land, the north ½ of Section 1, Township 3, Range 17, but it has not been found how or when they acquired it from him, or where they lived at the time. Humble's land was pre-empted the same day that Andrew's was sold in 1858, but it is not known how the two events might be related. Finally, other court documents confirm that Jackson had left the state by 1881, and he was not known to be dead.note7

Price's Raid

Although three of the brothers were gone, the war was still ongoing, and young William had reenlisted as a "veteran volunteer" after 3 years of service. In Sep-Oct 1864, an impending rebel invasion was working its way through Missouri toward Kansas. Later to be referred to as "Price's Raid", it was being led by Confederate General Sterling Price. His forces had battled their way through Missouri and were attempting to cross into Kansas near Westport, Missouri, now a part of Kansas City. Among others, the 7th Kansas Cavalry was called into action, and William's company was there. The Union forces repelled Price's advance and even chased him out of Missouri.

James Wilson may have been involved in this defense as well. This was the first time that Kansas was directly threatened during the war, and a state of emergency was declared for the entire state. James had originally been sworn into the Kansas State Militia on 15 Sep 1863, but the militias were not activated until now. All adult males between the ages of 18 and 60 were drafted. James served in Company C of the Brown County Battalion, 22nd Regiment, beginning 14 Oct 1864. He was relieved of duty 29 Oct 1864, but was credited with serving twenty days. He used his own horse and was charged $16 for his clothing. It is not known which companies were involved in battle, but his regiment is listed as being present.

Less than a month later, William deserted on 24 Nov 1864. The great number of desertions across the country was such a problem that President Lincoln issued a proclamation allowing deserters from Federal troops to be pardoned if they return by 10 May 1865. William returned under this proclamation on 3 May 1865.

William A. Wilson after the war

William A. Wilson remained in the area for awhile after the war. He must be the man of this name who married Susan K. Perkins 1 Mar 1869 in Holt County.note8 On 11 Dec 1869 they had a son named DeWitt C. Wilson who died only 4 months later on 13 Mar 1870. Tragically, his wife died only another year after this on 22 Mar 1871. After this, William relocated to Colorado where he wrote a letter 12 Feb 1877 that was published in The Holt County Sentinel newspaper on 2 Mar 1877. It told that he was building homes for miners to live in near Lake City, Hinsdale County, Colorado. He also mentioned that he was becoming a good cook. This is the same county where he married Pollard Ann Barnesnote9 13 Jun 1878. In 1880, he may have put his cooking skills to use while he was a hotelkeeper in the town of Sherman, Colorado, which is now a ghost town. In 1885, a son was born in New Mexico. By 1891, another son was born back in Colorado. In 1900, they were living in Otero County, Colorado. About 1905, they finally moved to Fallon, Churchill County, Nevada, where William and Pollard died. Pollard died on 25 Apr 1907, and William died 24 Dec 1907. They had the following children:

  1. William W. Wilson (1881-) who was born in Colorado and was living in Montana when his father died in 1907.
  2. Anna Floretta Wilson (1882-1944) who was born in Colorado. She married Samuel J. Bull 26 Nov 1899 in Carlton, Prowers County, Colorado. By 1907, they relocated to Woodward, Woodward County, Oklahoma, where they remained.
  3. Charles Peel Wilson (1885-1967) who was born in New Mexico. He first married Leota C. () who died in 1924, and he second married Edna R. (). He died in Mariposa County, California, but was buried in Nevada with his first wife and parents.
  4. Durbin Roy Wilson (1891-1960) who was born in Colorado and died in Sacramento County, California.

William Wilson & Mary Ann Varner

The parents of these brothers and sisters and several more were William Wilson and Mary Ann "Polly" Varner, a daughter of Jacob Varner and Sarah Ficklin. William was born c.13 Jan 1798 in Pennsylvania, probably Butler County. Polly was born 16 Dec 1798 in Kentucky. The two were married 26 Feb 1820 in Posey County, Indiana, after both families had moved there. It is not known if the couple ever lived in Indiana after marrying, since they are first found together during the 1830 census in Liberty Township, Washington County, Missouri. They were again listed here in 1840.

The book, History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford, & Gasconade Cos., MO, published by Goodspeed in 1888, lists the name of William Wilson among other families known to be related, such as Fitzwater and Duncan, as one of the original members of the Mt. Olive Methodist Episcopal Church. The church was originally called "Little Calvey" and was located in what is now Calvey Township in Franklin County. It is not clear why the Wilson family was still listed in Washington County three years after the founding of this church in 1837, unless perhaps, they were only very early members and not original ones.note10 By 1845, they were surely living in Franklin County when one of their daughters married there. The rest of the family members who were still living at home were then enumerated in this county during the 1850 census in September.

The family again moved between the date of this census and 23 Dec 1852 to Holt County, Missouri. On this date, William and Polly purchased property here from her sister and brother-in-law, Jane "Jenny" Varner and Andrew Fitzwater. They paid $100 for the N½ of the SW¼ of Section 17, Township 61, Range 39. There is no record of them purchasing it, but on 18 Apr 1853 they sold a parcel of adjoining land to their daughter, Jane. Jane later sold a portion of that property to her brother, Robert, on 23 Jun 1855. In 1860, William and Polly were still living on this farm in Dallas Township. Only their youngest son was still with them, William A., as well as a granddaughter named Nancy J. Wilson (c.1856) who must have been a daughter of their deceased son, Elijah. William then died 24 Mar 1864 and was buried in Caton Cemetery.

In 1870, Polly was now the head of household and at the age of 71, caring for three grandchildren, Nancy, William (c.1860), and Robert R. Wilson (c.1864). The two boys must have been Henry's sons. Nancy married in 1871, and by 1880 Polly had moved with her granddaughter's family to Pettis Township, Platte County, Missouri. She died on 10 Nov 1880 and was buried with her husband in Caton Cemetery.

Soon after their mother's death, several of the children filed a petition during the January 1881 Term of Holt County circuit court to sell their parents' farm. This was the same piece of land that they had purchased in 1852. There were four brothers who no longer lived in the state of Missouri, and court must have been necessary to be able to sell the land without their consent. Three of the four were the same brothers who are suspected of leaving due to their criminal cases, which further supports that theory. The fourth was the youngest son, William A., who had moved to Colorado. As part of the proceedings during the January 1882 Term, a determination was made which listed all of the children of William Wilson. The following is the list of William and Polly's eleven children:

  1. Elijah A. Wilson (born c.1821-1823) who was deceased prior to the court records.
  2. Lewis Wilson (c.1824-) who married three times. His first marriage was to Louisa Nall or Null 08 Feb 1855 in St. Louis County, Missouri. They lived in Meramec Township, Jefferson County, Missouri, in 1860. His second marriage was to Martha A. Chaney 12 Mar 1865 in Holt County. She had been previously married to a Mr. Sharp. His third marriage was to Juliette "Julia" Van Dusen 11 Oct 1870 in Holt County. She had been previously married to Mr. Lovana Courier. Lewis' census records show that he was born in either Indiana or Missouri. Lewis is last known living in 1882, and he may have relocated to Rulo, Richardson County, Nebraska.
  3. Jane Wilson (c.1826-1882) previously discussed.
  4. Elizabeth Wilson (1828-1904) who married Samuel Wade 4 Jan 1848 in Franklin County, Missouri, where she remained until her death. They were buried in the Mt. Olive Methodist Church Cemetery.
  5. James Lee Wilson (1830-1894) previously discussed.
  6. Robert M. Wilson (c.1831-) who first married before 1854. He second married Malinda A. Craig 8 Oct 1856 in Holt County, Missouri. She was a sister of Humble's wife, Sarah E. Craig.note11 Robert is last known living in 1882, and he may have relocated to Rulo as well.
  7. John Humble Wilson (c.1833-) previously discussed.
  8. Nancy Jane Wilson (c.1835-1917) previously discussed.
  9. Andrew Jackson "Jackson" Wilson (c.1838) previously discussed.
  10. Henry A. Wilson (c.1839-) previously discussed.
  11. William A. Wilson (1842-1907) previously discussed.

Lewis Wilson

The father of William Wilson was Lewis Wilson. According to the 1850 Federal Census Mortality Schedule, Lewis was born about 1767 in Maryland. In March 1796, he began to improve a plot of land in western Pennsylvania, and he first occupied this land in April 1797. In March 1815, Lewis began the process of acquiring ownership of his land by having it surveyed. On 10 Feb 1816, he was issued a warrant for the 378 acres of land in Center Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania. This land would have been located in the very large Allegheny County when he first lived there until the county was divided into several smaller counties in March 1800. He must have gone through this process so that he could sell the land before relocating. Lewis and his wife, Mary, soon sold the property on 19 Apr 1817. It is not known if Marynote12 was the mother of all of his children, and she is not known to have made it to Indiana. Lewis then moved his family of several children to Posey County, Indiana, where his eldest daughter and son-in-law had moved two years earlier. According to the same census mortality schedule, Lewis died in Posey County in May 1850. Lewis had the following children:

  1. Elizabeth Wilson (1794-1869) who married Robert Wilson 19 Jan 1815 in Butler County, Pennsylvania. They are not known to have been related prior to marriage.
  2. James Wilson (c.1796-) who was already deceased or missing prior his father's death in 1850.
  3. William Wilson (1798-1864) previously discussed.
  4. David Wilson (c.1800-) who married Sabrina Stallings 07 Sep 1822 in Posey County, Indiana.
  5. Robert Wilson (c.1803-) who never married.
  6. Mary "Polly" Wilson (c.1803-1881) who married Henry Stallings 1822 in Posey County.
  7. John S.L. Wilson (1807-1875) who married Sabrina "Briney" Rogers 02 Jan 1835 in Posey County. As an adult, John added "S.L.", meaning "Son of Lewis", to his name to distinguish himself from another John in the area.

Further Research

See the Wilson Research chapter for ongoing research pertaining to this family.

Wilson Selected Documents

Published Book

History and Statistics of Brown County, Kansas, compiled by E. N. Morrill, 1876.

pp.17.

...To determine with any degree of certainty who was the first settler is nearly impossible. A dozen men may have settled at the same time in different sections of the county, unknown to each other. Many of the old settlers who are now living in the county can only tell the month they came; and scores who settled here in the early days became dissatisfied and sought other and fairer fields, while many have, doubtless, travelled that journey from which no weary traveler has ever returned. To give the names of those who are known to have been pioneers in opening this county to settlement and to leave the question of priority open, seems the only true course to pursue. Many came in from Missouri, marked claims, made some slight improvements and returned to their homes to harvest their crops, previously planted there, and to spend the winter. Others, coming from a greater distance, made permanent settlements at once. On the 11th day of May, 1854, Thurston Chase and James Gibbons marked claims on Wolf river, the former taking the farm now owned by Mr. Pittman. They remained on their land two or three weeks, seeing no white man during that time. Mr. Chase broke several acres of prairie, and, returning in August, built a small log house which afterwards burned down...

pp.18-19.

...In June 1854, W.C. Foster settled in the eastern part of Nemaha county, passing over Brown county, under the impression that it was Indian Trust lands, A few months later, learning his mistake, he settled where he now lives. On August 3, of that year, E.R. Corneilison took a claim on Walnut Creek and on the 11th of the next March moved upon it with his family. His brother Wallace came at the same time. Thomas Brigham took a claim near Padonia at about the same time, and moved his family into the county the following spring. Henry Gragg settled in Powhattan township that fall, and Isaac Sawin and his son Marcellus settled on the farm now owned by Jacob Hayward and immediately commenced improving it. John Belk and his sons, William and King, took claims near Padonia, in November. James L. Wilson, William and Thomas Duncan, and __ Farmer settled near Robinson that summer or fall [1854]. William and James Metts took claims on Poney Creek, in November. Jacob Englehart settled on the farm now owned by B.F. Partch, near Hiawatha, and Benj. Winkles and his sons, Geo. G. and Benj. Jr., settled on Walnut Creek in the autumn of that year. Robert Rhea, who now lives southeast of Sabetha, took a claim in 1854. The winter of 1854-55 was a remarkably mild one, the ground remaining so free from frost that plowing could be done during the entire winter. In 1855, quite a number made homes in the new county. It is impossible to get a full or complete list of the names of all who settled in the county during this year. Among them were Amasa Owen, who marked the first road from Hiawatha to Walnut Creek, a year later Joseph Dean, Jesse Strange, J.K. Bunn, who was one of the first constables in the county; Henry Woodward, James W. Belts, John G. Spencer, Jesse Duval, Henry Smith, afterwards one of the county commissioners of the county, who brought with him three slaves - a negro woman named Lena, and her two children; J. Peevy, Spencer Bentley, Geo. Roberts, Clifton Gentry, E.W. Short, Loyd Ashby, Thomas Hart, W.P. and W.J. Proctor, Stephen Hughes and family - Mrs. Hughes being the first white woman in Robinson township; A.B. Anderson, Ole Nelson, James Bridgman, Wm. Nash, who died in Dec., 1855; E. Huffman, Rudolph Zimmerman, Christian Zimmerman, John Moser, John Wilhoit, Bradford Sweangen, SoI McCall, T.J. Kenyon, John Sperry, Squire Griffeth, J.A. Alford, Thomas Strange, John & Wm. Vincent, Frank J. Robbins, John Poe, Wm. Purket, John Boggs, who died in May, 1857, and John Schmidt. John S. Tyler, afterwards assessor and county commissioner, settled upon the farm where he now lives. Enoch Painter, Philip Weiss, Isaac Chase, J.J. Weltmer, Jonthan Soden, Isaac Oxier, Wm. Webb, James Smith, James Cameron, James Waterson, T.J. Drummond, John Page, Daniel Miller.
....

Civil War

'Descriptive Roll, Seventh Regiment, Cavalry, Kansas Civil War volunteers', Adjutant General's Office (Kansas), 1861-1863.

Company A, 1861.

name: William A. Wilson
rank: private
age: 19
height: 5'-11 1/2"
hair: brown
eyes: gray
complexion: fair
married or single: single
occupation: farmer
nativity: Franklin Co, MO
place of residence: Oregon, Holt Co, MO
date of enlistment: 31 Aug 1861
mustered into service: 31 Aug 1861, Ft. Leavenworth, by Lt. Offley
remarks: none.

'Muster Out Roll, Seventh Regiment, Cavalry, Kansas Civil War Volunteers, vol. 1', Adjutant General's Office (Kansas), 1865.

Company A, 1865, p.257.

name: William A. Wilson
last paid by paymaster: Stanton
last paid to what time: 31 Aug 1864
amount for clothing in kind, or in money advanced: $75.73
bounty paid: $160
bounty [d?]: none
remarks: Vet. Vol. [veteran volunteer] Stoppage for 1 pistol and accoutrements retained $8.00. Deserted Nov 24, 1864 returned from desertion under President's Proclamation May 3rd 1865 Retained 1 Haversack 1 canteen without charge.

Civil War

White Cloud Kansas Chief, White Cloud, Kansas.

18 Aug 1864, p.2.

[Rush Bottom is the neighborhood near Big Lake in Holt County, Missouri, where the William Wilson and Mary Ann Varner family lived at the time of the Civil War. The John Fitzwater mentioned is a nephew of Mary Ann Varner.]

(For the Chief.)
Rush Bottom, Mo., August 15, 1864.

Editor Of The Chief: - As there are many contradictory reports in circulation relative to the late engagement with bushwhackers in Rush Bottom, and believing that your readers would like to have a true version of it, I have obtained from an eye-witness and participant in the action, a correct statement of the facts, which I shall endeavor to give you.
It appears that some two weeks ago, the Union men living in the vicinity of the Big Lake, not liking the signs of the times organized themselves into an independent company, under the command of Capt. Bly, a brave and energetic man. They went to work and disarmed all men of doubtful loyalty in their neighborhood, and established a regular patrol for the protection of this part of the County. There were some suspicious characters occassionally seen lurking through the Bottom; and on one occassion, Mr. Christian Smith, a quiet and upright Union man, narrowly escaped being murdered by them; though nothing serious occurred until the afternoon of Friday last, when some strange fellows were discovered crossing the Big Lake. The alarm was given, by sending out runners in every direction; so that by sun-down Capt. Bly had the most of his company together, and in good fighting trim, and commenced a thorough search. At the house of John Fitzwaters [Fitzwater], they were informed that two men had been there and wanted supper for fifteen men, (which was refused them,) and that they had just gone into the corn-field. Capt. Bly ordered his men to surround the field, which they attempted to do, but were fired on by the bushwhackers. A few rounds were exchanged in rapid succession, when a charge was made into the corn-field, and the bushmen were completely routed, losing two of their men, one of them being severely wounded in the shoulder - the balance making their escape through the dark into the brush. Our boys escaped without serious injury. Geo. Smith was slightly wounded in the neck; Capt. Bly narrowly escaped, a bullet passing through his revolver scabbard. The two prisoners, on being questioned, stated that they belonged to Quantrill's band, and that they had been without food for three days. They also stated that there was a full company in the Bottom. After eliciting some other information, not necessary to make public, the prisoners were escorted to a dense willow thicket, and let loose. [hanged]
Again, on Saturday night, a scouting party came upon some fifteen or twenty men, supposed to be bushwhackers, who, when fired on, retreated into the thick brush, without showing fight. Our boys deemed it prudent not to follow, but are making preparation for a thorough search, which will no doubt rid this locality of bushwhackers.

Civil War Payroll

Kansas Militia in the Civil War, Adjutant General's Office, 1908.

Vol.1, Introduction.

The Price Raid, named after Confederate Major General Sterling Price commanding the army of the Trans-Mississippi, was ordered by the Confederate War Department, to invade the State of Kansas for strategic reasons, with a force of about fourty thousand men.
Governor Thomas Carney then called into active military service all of the Kansas State Militia, placing Major General George W. Deitzler in command, in a proclamation dated October 8, 1864, which was made in compliance with General Orders No, 53? issued by Major General S.R. Curtis, United States Army, commanding the Department of Kansas, dated at Fort Leavenworth October 9, 1864; and also General Orders No, 54, by General Curtis, dated Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, October 10, 1864, declaring martial law throughout the State of Kansas, and ordering all men, white or black, between the ages of 18 and 60 years, into military service for the defense of the State of Kansas.

Muster roll of Captain Samuel W. Swayze, Company C, of the Brown County Battalion attached to the 22nd Regiment, Kansas State Militia, Colonel J. P. Taylor, from the 9th day of October 1864, when last mustered, to the 29th day of October 1864, Vol.8, p.48.

Name: J. L. Wilson, private
Joined and sworn in 15 Sept 1863 at Robinson by G. M. Bush.
Ordered into active service 14 Oct 1864 to Atchison by Brig. Gen. Byron Sherry.
Relieved from duty 29 Oct 1864 by Brig. Gen. Byron Sherry.
Number of Days in Actual Service: 20
Valuation of Clothing Drawn: 16.00
Horses in Service: 1
Names Present: J. L. Wilson

Letter to the Editor

The Holt County Sentinel, Oregon, Missouri.

02 Mar 1877, p.3.

FROM A COLORADO MINER,
Lake City, Hinsdale Co. Col., Feb. 12, 1877,

Ed. Sentinel: - As Holt County is my old home, and as I have received some letters of inquiry and cannot answer them all separately, I will ask for room in your columns for a few words in answer to my friends' queries.
Lake City is a nice little town of a year and a half; has two good churches and a good school. It has about six hundred inhabitants. It is situated in a beautiful valley on the Gunison River at the junction of the Gunison and the Henson Rivers, between two large mountains. The mines here are called Silver Mines and are very rich. The country is not half prospected but at present I could name a thousand mines that are being worked and are showing up well. I don't want to praise this country to induce poor men to come here with the expectation of picking up a fortune, for God knows there is plenty of poor men here now. But I do think that this is the richest mining country in the United States, and no Indians to bother.
What we want now is men with capital to set up smelters and reduction works to handle the ore. There is plenty of wealth here for all, if we just had a way of getting it out. There are but two smelters in this camp at present, and they cannot handle one-tenth part of the ore. They have everything their own way; they pay just what they please for the ore. The general talk is now that there will be several smelters in this camp next summer; then the miners can begin to make something. The camp is new. The men are poor and everything is very high. So you see times are rather hard here yet. The weather is pleasant here this winter; it has not been colder than five below Zero here this winter and but little snow. Freight teams are running steadily all winter hauling out ore and hauling in goods. There is not enough snow on the range even to stop the teams. I am camped five miles from Lake City, up the Henson, building houses for the purpose of working mines in the spring. I am learning to be a tolerably good cook. I might give you a bill of fare, but you can imagine near enough what it is.
So wishing all my friends and enemies a happy deliverance, I am yours with respect.

William A. Wilson

Circuit Court

'Court records, 1841-1885', Holt County, Missouri, Circuit Court.

January Term 1881, vol. J, pp.43-44.

Daniel Smith and Jane Smith his wife, Lewis Wilson, James L. Wilson, Samuel Anderson and Mary [Nancy J.] Anderson his wife, Samuel Wade and Elizabeth Wade his wife, Enoch Woodcock and Fredonia Woodcock his wife, and John Oswell Plaintiffs
vs.
William A. Wilson, Henry A. Wilson, Andrew J. Wilson and John H. Wilson Defendants

At this day comes the Plaintiffs herein by their attorney before the undersigned clerk of said Court in vacation and file their Petition stating among other things that the above named Defendants are all non residents of the State of Missouri whereupon it is ordered by the Clerk that said Defendants be notified by publication that Plaintiffs have commenced a suit against them in the Court, the object and general nature of which is that the Plaintiffs pray that Partition be made of the following described Real Estate lying and being situated in Holt County Missouri to wit: The North Half of the South West quarter of section seventeen in Township Sixty One of Range Thirty Nine according to the respective rights of the parties and that if partition cannot be made in kind that said land may be sold and the procedds appropriated according to law and such other and further relief as equity and Justice require and that unless the said Defendants be and appear at this Court at the next Term thereof to be begun and holden at the Court House in the city of Oregon in said County on the 25th day of April A.D. 1881 and on or before the sixth day of said Term answer or plead to the Petition in said cause the same will be taken as confessed and Judgment will be rendered accordingly. And it is further ordered that a copy hereof be published according to law in the Holt County Press for four weeks successively the last insertion to be at least four weeks before the first day of said Term.

W. R. Springer, Clerk

January Term 1882, vol. J, pp.171-172.

Robert Wilson, Daniel Smith and Jane Smith his wife, Lewis Wilson, James L. Wilson, Samuel Anderson and Nancy Anderson his wife, Samuel Wade and Elizabeth Wade his wife, Enoch Woodcock Fredonia Woodcock his wife, and James Oswell Plaintiffs
against
William A. Wilson, Henry A. Wilson, Andrew J. Wilson and John H. Wilson Defendants
- Partition

Now at this day this cause coming on to be heard Plaintiffs pray Judgment and it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that the defendants were and are not residents of the State of Missouri and that they have been duly notified by Publication this cause is submitted to the Court upon the Proofs and Pleadings of the Plaintiffs whereupon the Court finds the following facts.

That William Wilson late of Holt County died seized in fee of the following described real estate situate and being in Holt County Missouri to wit The North Half of the South West quarter of Section Seventeen in Township Sixty One of Range Thirty Nine That said William Wilson left as his sole heirs children and issue Plaintiffs Robert Wilson Jane Smith wife of Daniel Smith Lewis Wilson James L. Wilson Nancy Anderson wife of Samuel Anderson Elizabeth Wade wife of Samuel Wade and Elijah A. Wilson who has since died leaving as his sole heirs children and issue Fredonia Woodcock wife of Enoch Woodcock and Malinda Jane Oswell wife of one __ Oswell That her husband has since died and Defendants William A. Wilson Henry A. Wilson Andrew J. Wilson [and John H. Wilson]

That the parties hereto have title to said land as follows Robert Wilson Daniel Smith and Jane Smith his wife in right of the latter Samuel Anderson and Nancy Anderson his wife in righ [sic] of the latter Samuel Wade and Elizabeth Wade in right of the latter William A. Wilson Henry A. Wilson Andrew J. Wilson and John Wilson are each entitled to one undivided one Eleventh part of land in fee and Enoch Woodcock and Fredonia Woodcock his wife in right of the latter and Miranda J. Oswell are each entitled to an undivided one half of an undivided one eleventh part of said land in fee

The court further finds that said land cannot be partitioned in kind between said parties in interest...

Published Book

History of the State of Kansas, by William G. Cutler, 1883.

vol.1, p.496, Doniphan County.

SAMUEL ANDERSON, farmer, P. O. Wathena, came to Kansas April 17, 1854, and located in Marion Township, Doniphan County, where he has lived ever since. He was one of the first Commissioners of the township. He was in the army during the late war, and enlisted March 7, 1862, at St. Joseph, Mo., in Company B, Fifth Regiment Missouri State Militia, United States Volunteers. He participated in a number of skirmishes and participated in the dangers and privations of his comrades, and was mustered out of the service June 27, 1863 at St. Joseph. He was born in Monongahela County, West Va., February 22, 1830, and lived in his native place until his fifth year, when his parents moved to Monroe County, Ohio, where they resided five years, and then removed to Washington County, in the same State, where he lived three years, and then removed to Wood County, Va., where he lived eight years, and then moved to Missouri, where he lived three years, and then came to Kansas. He was married in Holt County, Mo., July 29, 1855, to Miss Nancy J. Wilson, a native of Missouri. They have three children living, whose names are John William, Emery Allison, and Samuel Thomas Sherman. Mr. A. has a farm which contains 215 acres, 185 of which is upland, thirty bottom land, and 100 wood land, which is mostly covered with a second growth of white oak. His orchard covers twenty acres, and contains 1,000 apple, 500 peach, and 200 cherry trees. He devotes his attention to raising grain and fruits. Mr. Anderson was in moderate circumstances when he came to Kansas, but now, by hard work and economy, has one of the pleasantest homes and finest farms in Doniphan County.

Deed of Title

'Deeds, 1857-1942', Brown County, Kansas, Register of Deeds.

Vol.60, p.352.

From James L. Wilson et ux to Henry Wilson et al
Filed 5 May 1894 at 11 o'clock.
this Indenture, made this 16th day of June A.D. 1888 between James L. Wilson and Pamelia [Permelia] Wilson his wife of Brown County, in the State of Kansas, of the first part, and Henry Wilson, Sarah Wilson, Frank Wilson, Alice Wilson, Warren Wilson, Charles Wilson and Hattie May Wilson of Brown County, in the State of Kansas, of the second part:

Witnesseth, that said parties of the first part, in consideration of the sum of One dollar and natural love, and affection, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do by these presents grant, bargain, sell and convey, unto said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns, all the following-described real estate, situated in the County of Brown and State of Kansas, to wit: the West one hundred and twenty acres of the South East quarter of Section No Twelve (12) in Township No Three (3) of Range No. Seventeen (17)

signed
James L. Wilson
Palmelia [Permelia] Wilson [X] her mark

Appeared before notary public 9 August 1888 James L. Wilson and Palmelia [Permelia] Wilson his wife.

News Articles

Robinson Index, Robinson, Kansas.

29 Sep 1893, p.3.

J.L. Wilson, who lives about 4-1/2 miles southwest of Robinson claims to be the first white settler in Brown county, having settled here March 18th 1855. He is now past 63 years of age.

Brown County World, Hiawatha, Kansas.

2 Mar 1894, p.34.

J. L. Wilson who lives in the southeastern part of Hiawatha township, is the only farmer in Brown county who planted tobacco last year. He had one-half an acre of it. The same enterprising farmer planted one-sixteenth of an acre in cotton.

Obituaries

Robinson Index, Robinson, Kansas.

11 May 1894, p.1.

The funeral of J.L. Wilson was held on last Thursday. Mr. Wilson had long been a suffer from physicals [sic] ills but was always cheerful and pleasant, nothing seemingly affecting his cheerfulness. In the death of Mr. Wilson Brown county loses one of her earliest pioneers if not the earliest.

Brown County World, Hiawatha, Kansas.

11 May 1894, p.9.

The funeral services of I.L. [J.L.] Wilson one of the oldest settlers in this vicinity, were held Thursday, and the suffering body was laid to rest but the cheerful spirit manifested under many infirmities will be remembered and should be a lesson to all.

Double Wedding

Brown County World, Hiawatha, Kansas.

6 Sep 1901, p.12.

Wolf River.

Claytonville, Ks., Sept. 2, 1901. - ...Two weddings last Wednesday - Charles Wilson and Dora Rutherford now travel in double harness and Warren Wilson and Clos Hanby [Cloa Hamby] are one. They spent part of their honeymoon in Falls City [Nebraska]...

Obituary

Valley Falls New Era, Valley Falls, Kansas.

16 Jan 1908.

Obituary--Anderson.

Samuel Anderson was born in West Virginia February 23rd, 1830; and died at his home west of Valley Falls January 2nd, 1908, being 77 years, 10 months and 20 days of age. He came to Kansas in March 1853, first settling in Doniphan County where he resided until 1900 when he sold out there and afterwards bought the farm west of Valley Falls, which he called home to the day of his death. He was married to Miss Nancy Jane Wilson, in Holt County, Mo., July 29th, 1855, and to this union three sons were born all of which survive him; John W. who lives in Crede, Colo.; Emery A., who is a mining man of Los Angeles, Calif., and Samuel S.T., who is a machinist in Globe, Ariz. Mr. Anderson served through the civil war as a member of Co. B. in the Missouri Cavalry, under Col. Pennock [Penick]. Mr. Anderson was ever a kind, loving and indulgent husband and father and an obliging neighbor and friend. May he rest in peace.

Card of Thanks.
We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to our many friends for the sympathy and kindnes shown during the illness and in the death of our father and husband. Mrs. N.J. Anderson, J.W. Anderson, E.A. Anderson, S.T.S. Anderson.

Death

The Farmer's Vindicator, Valley Falls, Kansas.

7 Dec 1917, p.9.

Mrs. Anderson Buried Here.

The body of Nancy Johnson [Jane] Anderson, accompanied by Mrs. J. W. Anderson, was brought here from Boulder, Colo., for burial Sunday evening.
Rev. C. E. Holcombe lead in short services at the grave.
She was the widow of the late Samuel Anderson, who died here in 1908.
Their home was on the old Sayler farm near Swabville.

Obituary

Brown County World, Hiawatha, Kansas.

15 Jun 1923, p.5.

DEATHS

Wilson - Henry Lee Wilson was born December 19, 1870, in Robinson; died June 1, 1923, making him almost 53 years of age. He was the eldest of 8 [7] children born to James and Amelia Wilson. With the exception of a few years living in Kansas City has spent his life time in Brown county. On November 7, 1892, he was united in marriage to Miss Nora Thomas, also of Robinson. To this union were born 8 children: Emma, who died at the age of 12 years; Edith, now Mrs. J. E. Bales of Kansas City; Edna, now Mrs. Solman of New Londod [sic], Conn., Robert, Earl, Henry, Jr., Nora and Roy, who reside near at home. Besides his wife and 7 children Mr. Wilson is survived by 3 sisters, 4 [3] brothers, other relatives, many friends. Mr. Wilson was an unusually hard working man, a good husband, kind and devoted father; while his health permitted was a good home provider. His health began breaking some time ago and for over a year he has not been able to do hard work, but did not give up entirely until about a month ago. He was taken to a hospital in Kansas City some 3 weeks ago, where in spite of medical skill and nursing he passed away, after much suffering of asthma and a dropsical ailment. Mr. Wilson has been a resident of Baker over 4 years. The remains arrived in Baker from Kansas City Sunday noon. Funeral services held at the Baker church conducted by the Rev. E. Travis, of Willis, choosing as his text Job 30:23: "For I knew that thou wilt bring me unto death, and to the house appointed for the living." The words of appreciation at this service, the wealth of flowers sent by friends, the beautiful pillow of flowers from the R. I. [Rock Island Railroad] shop boys, showed the esteem in which he was held. "Abide with Me," "Does Jesus Care?" "Somewhere the Sun is Shining," were beautifully rendered. Body bearers were C. H. McLaughlin, Jno. Widman, Wm. Henry, Mr. McKee, Dave Hunsaker, P. R. Hunsaker. The burial was in Zion Lutheran cemetery.

Killed

The Denver Post, Denver, Colorado.

12 Nov 1929.

p.1.

DENVER STORE OWNER KILLS BURGLAR
BARNUM MAN IS THIRD VICTIM OF MERCHANT'S GUN IN THREE YEARS
Two Others Flee as Pal Is Brought Down With Shotgun Wounds While Carrying Away Sporting Goods Loot

Norman H. (Happy) Hamby, 238 South Grove street, Barnum, was shot and killed early Tuesday morning as, according to police, he and two other men were leaving the side door of the Boston Sporting and Auto Goods store, 938 Santa Fe drive, after having looted the place of a considerable amount of merchandise.
The shot that killed Hamby was fired from a shotgun in the hands of Robert I. Boston, proprietor of the store, who, under similar circumstances, killed a man on April 3, 1929, wounded another man on Jan. 9, 1926, and shot it out with a fourth in December, 1925.
The charge from Boston's shotgun struck Hamby in the left groin, killing him almost instantly.
Hamby's body was positively identified later Tuesday at the city morgue by his father, Will Hamby, a railroad car builder, and H. Schreuder, superintendent of the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing company, 1050 South Broadway.
The elder Hamby did not know his son was dead until informed by a Post reporter. He accompanied the reporter to the city morgue to look at the body.
"That's my boy," he said.
Schreuder told police Hamby had been employed at the Shwayder factory until a week ago when he asked for a lay off to go to Nebraska.
----

p.3.

----
DOESN'T KNOW SON'S COMPANIONS

The father was unable to give the police the names of any of his son's companions. He said Norman recently had been keeping company with an unidentified girl, but that he didn't know whether or not they were married.
Besides his father and his stepmother, young Hamby is survived by a sister, Mrs. Ollie Garman, of Blue Springs, Neb., and his mother, who lives in Denver and who is believed to be going by the name of Mrs. Hattie Jeffrey.
The youth's mother and father were divorced here a number of years ago. The elder Hamby said he did not know where his first wife was living, but that he had seen her in Denver about a month ago.
Norman Hamby was 24 years old and was born in Horton, Kan. He had been in poor health for many years, according to his father.

The Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado.

13 Nov 1929.

p.1.

Denver Merchant Kills His Second Burglar in Year
YOUTH CAUGHT ROBBING STORE DROPS IN SNOW
Robert I. Boston Fires Fatal Charge Second Time Since April
'MODEL' BOY IS VICTIM
Friends Say That He Was 'Absolutely Straight'

The deadly shotgun of Robert I. Boston, nemesis of burglars, claimed its second death victim within seven months yesterday when a Denver youth fell mortally wounded at the rear of Boston's store, 938 Santa Fe dr.
The gun's report ended the career of Norman H. Hamby, 25, killed while robbing the sporting and auto goods store with two other companions, police said.
Because of his buoyant dispostion, enthusiasm and ambitious plans, they called him "Happy" Hamby at a local concern where he worked until a week ago.
"Happy" quit his job and said he was going to Nebraska. His concern, the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Co., gave him a letter of recommendation, stating to future employers that "Happy" was a hard worker, reliable and efficient.

'Absolutely Straight'

Nothing more was heard of "Happy" until he fell into the snow at the rear of Boston's shop and his body was later identified as that of Norman H. Hamby.
"Absolutely straight," was the report made to investigating detectives by all of Hamby's friends, police said. From the day he left West High School, about seven years ago, there was no adverse record for "Happy" Hamby - not until yesterday, and then he was dead.
Hamby was shot by a charge from Boston's shotgun - the same weapon which killed a burglar last April and which before that is believed to have wounded another - as he left the side door of the store, police said.
----

p.7.

----
Father Bewildered

The youth's real mother, now Mrs. Hattie Jefries, lives at a downtown hotel, Hamby said. She and the elder Hamby were divorced in 1912 and Hamby married again last January.
Last night, he appeared bewildered at the turn of events that had claimed the life of his son.
"Norman," he said, "had always been a good boy. When he lived with me, he took great pride in our little home here. He particularly was fond of pictures and was very careful in hanging them on the walls where they would look the best."
He displayed a letter of recommendation from the trunk company where his son had been employed. The letter had just been mailed to the home.
----

Obituary

The Douglass Tribune, Douglass, Kansas.

20 Jan 1933, p.6.

DEATH OF MRS. BERG

Mrs. Sarah Ellen Berg, widow of the late Barney Berg, passed away at her home at Smileyberg, Tuesday afternoon, the 17th, aged 61 years. She had been ill for considerable time, but her condition was not bad until a few days before her death. With her late husband and family she came from Hiawatha, this state, 32 years ago, locating seven miles east of Douglass, where the little business point of Smileyberg is now located. She is survived by a son and a daughter, Elmer of Wichita, and Miss Millie, at home. She also leaves two step-sons. The funeral was at the M.E. church at 3 o'clock, Thursday afternoon, conducted by Rev. Watts; interment beside her late husband in the Douglass cemetery.

Death Notice

The World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska.

14 May 1936, p.22.

DEATH NOTICES

WILSON-Frantz S., age 73 years, passed away at residence, 3341 Taylor, May 12. Mr. Wilson is survived by his wife, Jennie; one daughter, Mrs. Nellie Riberdy; four sons, Harvey, William, Charles and Ray.
Funeral services from the Leslie O. Moore Mortuary Friday 2 p.m. Interment Forest Lawn.

Obituary

The Range Ledger, Cheyenne Wells, Colorado.

1 Dec 1949, p.1.

Frank Gordon Wilson

Frank Gordon Wilson, son of James Lee Wilson and Pemelia Wilson, was born January 12th, 1873, at Robinson, Kansas, in the county of Brown. He departed this life on the 23rd of November, 1949, at the age of 76 years 10 months and 11 days.
Mr. Wilson was the third child in a family of seven children and spent his boyhood years on the farm home at Robinson. He was united in marriage to Christena Mae Robb on February 8th, 1905. The young couple established their first home on a farm near Robinson, Kansas. In the spring of the year, 1920, Gordon, with his family, moved to Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, establishing a new home where he lived the remainder of his life.
Mr. Wilson was brought up in a Christian home, and united with the church at an early age. He was a devoted husband and father. Two sons were born to this union, Luther Franklin, and Donald Edwin.
During his life, Mr. Wilson engaged in various occupations, one of them being that of the meek and lowly Nazarene, a carpenter. Mr. Wilson was an ardent friend and counsellor to many, and all who called upon him. A strong, well set up man, strong in his affections and in his human friendships. He loved his friends and his community and lived for a better world as he saw it. His was a long life well lived, and after having fought the good fight through a long illness, closed beautifully.
Mr. Wilson was preceded in death by one sister and two brothers: Mrs. Sarah Burg [Berg], Henry Wilson and Warren Wilson. He is survived by one brother, Charles Wilson of Atchison, Kansas: two sisters: Mrs. Alice Shelton, Alberta, Canada; Mrs. Hattie Hamby, Jamesville, Ill.[or Jamesville, IA, Janesville, IL, or Janesville, WI]; by his widow, Mrs. Christena Wilson of Cheyenne Wells: his two sons, Luther Wilson of Lamar, Colorado and Donald Wilson of Cheyenne Wells, Colo; two grandsons, Edwin Wilson, now in the service of his country, the U. S. Navy. stationed at Memphis, Tenn.; and Wayne Wilson who is at home. Also by a host of relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at the Brentlinger Mortuary with interment in the Cheyenne Wells cemetery.

Obituary

The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kansas.

8 Jan 1958, p.2.

Wilson Rites To Be Tomorrow

Funeral services for Charles Ervin Wilson, 80, who died unexpectedly yesterday afternoon at his home, 1020 South Seventh, will be held at the Stanton chapel at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, the Rev. L. A. Indlecoffer officiating. Burial will be in the highland cemetery.
He was born at Robinson June 3, 1877, a son of James Lee and Permelia Wilson, and resided in the Robinson and Horton communities until moving to Atchison in 1923. He was employed at LFM until 1929 and then engaged in construction work. He had been in failing health the past several months. At Falls City he married Miss Dora Rutherford, who passed away Feb. 20, 1955. He leaves a son, Roy V. Wilson of the home; a daughter, Mrs. Ethel Meyer, Atchison; seven grandchildren and a great grandchild.
He was a member of the United Brethren church at Robinson.

Published Book

Cheyenne County History, The Eastern Colorado Historical Society, 1979.

pp.293-294.

FRANK WILSON FAMILY

Frank G. Wilson, his wife Christina, and sons, Luther and Donald, moved to Cheyenne Wells from Centralia, Kansas, around 1918.
They built a house on five lots in the West part of town known as Madden and Clark's Addition. This location is now known as 160 West 7th Street South, where the house still stands.
Frank was a carpenter by trade. He was a good and loyal worker and was employed at the Eichenberger Lumber Company where he worked for many years.
Christina, called Tina by her family, was a loyal homemaker who loved children. Down through the years she cared for the neighborhood children while their mothers worked.
Luther and Donald attended school and graduated from high school in Cheyenne Wells. Luther was employed at the bank and later worked at the Livestock Sales Commission in Lamar, Colorado. He married Florence Troue of Kit Carson.
Donald worked in the post office in Cheyenne Wells several years after graduation. He married Elizabeth (Betty) Schuette of Hugo.
Frank Wilson, Christina Wilson, Don, Luther, and Florence have all since passed away.

Notes

  1. [One reasonable explanation for the discrepancy in settlement dates is the possibility that James staked his claim in March 1855 as he said, returned home to marry in April, and came back to live with his new wife in May 1855. As for his claim to be the first white settler, he probably wasn't first to make a land claim. However, he may have been the earliest settler who actually occupied his land, who did not resettle elsewhere, who was the earliest one still living at the time of his statement, or simply slightly exaggerating. He may have thought that he was the first, since men in different parts of the county had no way of knowing of each other's presence.]
  2. [Also according to Morrill, on 10 Sep 1855, Joanna Duncan was born. She was a daughter of William Duncan and probably the first white child born in the county.]
  3. [Emma Wilson's name appeared as Lidia on her first census when she was an infant in 1875. All subsequent American censuses as well as her father's probate show her name as Alice. The exception is the 1920 census which shows it as Emma A. Shelton. Her Canadian naturalization records show it to be Emma Alice Shelton.]
  4. [There is a 21 Jan 1908 divorce record for William Hamby and Hattie Wilson in Arapahoe County, Colorado. However they were still living there together and listed as married during the 1910 census. Their son's obituary in 1929 says they divorced in 1912. Perhaps this is when they stopped living together. William moved back to Kansas by 1913 with their children, but without Hattie. She was known or assumed to be living as late as 1949 when she was listed as a survivor of her brother, Frank.]
  5. [1860 US Federal Census, KS, Brown Co, Claytonville Twp, Robinson PO, p.43, 7 Aug 1860: H.T. Wilson, age 26, male, farmer, $640 real estate, $300 personal property, born MO; S.E. Wilson, age 20, female, born MO; S.A. Wilson, age 1, female, born MO.]
  6. [There were two Missouri State Militia Cavalry regiments called the 5th. The earlier is referred to as (Old), and the later usually has no qualifier.]
  7. [The book, Gone Home, by Eileen Derr lists an A.J. Wilson who died 19 Jan 1882 in the Kimsey neighborhood of Holt County. It would be easy to assume that this is the same person, but it is not. An article in the Holt County Sentinel newspaper mentions that his brother, P. E. Wilson, came from Kansas in February to settle his affairs after his death. There are no brothers in this family with those initials.]
  8. [It is assumed that this is the same William A. Wilson because there was only one in the area at the time. Marriage records show that a William A. Wilson married Susan K. Hudson 1 Mar 1869 in Holt County. She was previously married to William Hudson, and her maiden name was actually Perkins. He had been a farmhand living with her family in 1860 in Brown County, Kansas. In 1865, they were married and living between her parents, the William Perkins family, and the Jacob Spahr family. In 1870, she was married to William Wilson and living in Holt County. They had a 7 year old listed as William H. Wilson living with them. He was too old to be their son, and his surname was actually Hudson, from Susan's previous marriage. There was also a 4 year old Dulcina Spahr living with them who had probably been part of the neighbor family. According to Gone Home, this William Wilson and Susan had a son named DeWitt C. who died in infancy, and Susan died 22 Mar 1871. They were both buried in the Boyd Cemetery in Holt County.]
  9. [The transcription of the marriage record of William and Pollard says her surname was Kerns, but the death records of two of their sons shows that it was Barnes.]
  10. [The distance between Liberty Township in Washington County and the location of the church is more than 35 miles, making it unlikely that the family lived in one place and travelled to the other.]
  11. [Robert probably had a previous marriage. A Robert Wilson married Susan Johnson 17 Jun 1851 in Franklin County, Missouri. Susan lived with the John Wade/Mary Ann Fitzwater family in 1850. Robert would probably be related to both sides of this family through marriages. Unfortunately, I have no further evidence to support that this is him. This Susan (c.1825 MO) was probably a daughter of Elias L. Johnson who was listed on the 1840 census.]
  12. [Many believe Lewis' wife was Mary Moore.]

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