EDWIN A. WILSON. - The period of Edwin A. Wilson's residence in Springfield covers more than a third of a century, for in 1866 he took up his abode here and throughout the intervening years he has figured prominently in public affairs, his labors being especially manifest in the improvement of the city through building interests and also in the moral advancement of Springfield, for while he has led a busy life in connection with his real estate dealing, he has yet found time to labor for the upbuilding of character according to the rules given to the world by the sea of Galilee twenty centuries ago.
Mr. Wilson was born in Carroll county, Maryland, in June, 1840, and spent much of his youth in the city of Baltimore. The excellent educational privileges afforded him well equipped him for the practical duties of later life, and during three years of the Civil war, from 1863 to 1865, inclusive, he occupied a clerical position in the office of the United States sanitary commission in Washington, D.C. Leaving that city in November, 1865, he visited Boston and Indianapolis, and in January, 1866, came to Springfield, still in the service of the commission. The classification and examination of the rolls of the Illinois soldiers claimed his attention until the month of November, when he resigned, having determined to make Springfield his permanent home. He wished to engaged in a business that would return to him a livelihood through the succeeding years and began operating in real estate, loans and insurance. Both branches of his business claimed his attention for a number of years and he then decided to concentrate his energies upon the department of real estate. Connected with this business through thirty-seven years, it is safe to say that one in Springfield has a more comprehensive knowledge of property interests or realty values in the city than has Edwin A. Wilson. He has negotiated many important real estate transfers and has improved much property through the erection of attractive and substantial buildings. Some of these he has sold and many of them he still retains, and from their rental he derives a very considerable income.
In 1864, before coming to Springfield, Mr. Wilson was married to Miss Cynthia C. Hannon, then a resident of Washington, D.C. She, too, is a native of Maryland, and unto them have been born ten children, namely: Julien St. John, Harry S., Percy Edwin, Winifred, Ruth, Arthur Morehouse, Paul, George, Grace and Gladys Dulaney.
Mr. Wilson has been connected with publishing interests. He was one of the publishers of the volume entitled Reminiscences of Old Settlers of Sangamon County, a book of much historical value, and he also the publisher of two Sunday-school papers - Labor of Love and Food for Lambs. These were non-sectarian and had a wide circulation. This work is indicative of one of the strong elements in the life of Mr. Wilson, his deep and abiding interest in the church and the growth of its kindred interests. Long a member of the Third Presbyterian church, he has served for many years as its elder and as Sunday-school superintendent and has done everything in his power to promote the growth of the church and extend its influence. His labor in this as in business has been of a practical character, producing good results, and many a man, now prominent and honored in the business world, can trace the development of his upright character to the seeds of truth sown in his youthful mind by Mr. Wilson. Through
thirty-seven years Springfield has numbered Mr. Wilson among its valued and influential citizens, and thus it is that his history finds mention in its annals.