WILSON, JAMES - Sangamon County has its full quota of men who fought in the Federal Army during the Civil War - men who left home and loved ones and gave of their best in order to defend the flag of their country. Members of the Grand Army of the Republic have always been revered and honored as types of the best citizenship, and this is as it should be, for patriotism is one of our principal characteristics. James Wilson, a veteran of the Civil War who is descended from fighting stock on both sides of his family, was born January 11, 1837, at Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, Pa., a son of Vincent J. and Catherine (Stager) Wilson, Vincent J. Wilson was always a resident of Elizabethtown, where he was born in 1808 and died in 1856, his business occupation being contractor and builder. His wife was born in Lebanon County, Pa., and died at Elizabethtown. Her father was a drummer boy in the Revolutionary War, while Mr. Wilson's father, the grandfather of James Wilson, served as Captain of a Pennsylvania company during the same struggle.
James Wilson received his preliminary education in the schools of Elizabethtown, and later spent one term in Brookville Methodist College. After leaving school, for a time he was engaged in farming near Crawfordsville Ind., and then worked on the Miami Canal for several years, serving as Captain. Returning to Crawfordsville, he became proprietor of a cracker factory, bakery and grocery, but after a few years spent in this manner, decided again to take up an agricultural life and subsequently purchased a farm, which he operated until 1902, then he moved to Springfield, which city has since been his home. He at first conducted a commission business, but eventually became custodian of the G.A.R. hall, a position which he held for several years. He has been successful in a business way and has a comfortable competency, including his home and other valuable real estate.
Mr. Wilson enlisted in the Federal Army for service in the Civil War, becoming a member of Company A, One Hundred Forty-sixth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and fought bravely until his discharge on the last day of August, 1865, at Baltimore, Md. His battles included Shenandoah, where he fought under General Hancock. He is a member of Stephenson Post, No. 30, Grand Army of the Republic, having been transferred from the post at Crawfordsville, Ind. He is a member of the West Side Christian Church.
Mr. Wilson was married in Crawfordsville, Ind., to Anna French, daughter of Major French, of that city, and she died in 1903, having been the mother of three children: E. H., living in Indianapolis, Ind.; Martha, the wife of A. Bannon, living at No. 202 North State Street, Springfield; and James F., a bridge builder and contractor, residing on Logan Avenue. In September, 1905, mr. Wilson was married (second) to Mrs. Elizabeth (Taylor) Ward, a native of Vermont, where her parents spent their entire lives.