WILSON, HARRY W. - The unions are exciting considerable interest all over the country, for through them the working man of today is able to secure better conditions in every way. The men who act as officers of their several unions are deserving of more than ordinary praise; to them is due the credit for many of the successful arrangements which have been made, as well as for the educating of both employers and employees, so that they are able to meet existing conditions without unnecessary friction. One of the best known men in the trades union movement in that part of the State is Harry W. Wilson, of Springfield, a member fo the cigar-maker's Union No. 38. He was born in Orbisonia, Huntingdon County, Pa., August 21, 1871, a son of George D. and Catherine (Markle) Wilson, the former born at Orbisonia, and the latter at Richfield, Juniata County, Pa. The father was an ore miner. The great-great-grandfathers on both sides of the house were early settlers of Pennsylvania, the paternal ancestor coming from Ireland and the maternal ancestor from Germany. George D. Wilson and three of his brothers served three years in the Civil War and three of Mr. Wilson's maternal uncles served the same length of time.
Harry W. Wilson attended the public schools of Orbisonia and Clearfield, Pa., and took a great deal of interest in athletic sports, especially baseball. He became a printer's apprentice, but ill health compelled him to abandon this calling for another, and he learned the cigar-making trade, which he has since followed, finally becoming foreman of Ball Brothers, cigar manufacturers. Mr. Wilson had the misfortune to lose his father when only nine years old, and he and his mother spent some years moving about, she being anxious to give her son the best advantages that lay within her power. In May, 1881, they came to Springfield, but returned to Pennsylvania in September of that year. They then made Clearfield, Pa., their home until February, 1890, when they returned to Springfield, only to leave it in February, 1893. After three years move at Clearfield, however, Mr. Wilson returned to Springfield in March, 1896, and has since resided in that city.
Mr. Wilson's work in behalf of his union deserved more than passing mention. Joining the Cigarmakers' Union May 6, 1891, he at once began taking an active part in the labor movement, serving almost continuously since January 1, 1897, in the Springfield Federation of Labor. He was a Delegate a number of times to the Illinois State Federation of Labor, and also the American Federation of Labor. He has been President, Vice President and Recording Secretary of the Cigarmakers' Union and was three times chosen President of the Springfield Federation by an unanimous vote, serving two terms as member of the Executive board of the Illinois State Federation of Labor as well. Meanwhile, he also became prominent as a Republican and was elected to the State Assembly in 1908 from the Forty-Fifth Senatorial District, on that ticket. While in the Legislature, Mr. Wilson has been able to advance the cause of labor very materially and his work as its champion proves his earnestness and sincerity. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias, has held all the offices in the subordinate lodge and is now a member of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. He also belongs to the Red Men, Sons of Veterans and Modern Woodmen. He is serving his second term as Deputy Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias and is also a member of the British Americans.
The marriage of Mr. Wilson occurred in springfield, May 23, 1909, when he was united with Mrs. Agnes (Holloway) Buehler, born August 21, 1874, at Emporia, Kan. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are members of the Lutheran Church. He is a young man of earnest purpose and decided will. Conscientious, broad-gauged, he understands men and conditions, and is constantly studying how to better the lot of his companions and yet not insist upon measures which will be difficult to carry out.