Marion County

Biography - WILLIAM GILLHAM WILSON

The subject of this sketch occupies today a prominent position in the professional world of Marion and adjoining counties and he deserves all the more credit for this from the fact that he started out in life practically empty handed, therefore has been the architect of his own fortunes, relying almost solely upon his own resources for the start which he had and for the success which he has achieved. In an analyzation of his character we find many elements worthy of commendation and emulation. He did not seek for fortune's favors, but set out to win them by honest work, and the success which ever crowns earnest, honest toil is today his, and he easily stands in the front rank of attorneys in this locality, which has long been noted for its high legal talent, and while yet a young man, vigorous and in the zenith of his mental and physical powers, he is rapidly winning his way to a position of much credit and significance in the great common-wealth which he can claim as his native land; and while winning his way gradually up the steeps to individual success he has not neglected his duties to his fellow citizens, but has benefited very materially the community is which he lives in many ways, thereby winning and retaining the well merited esteem of all classes.

William G. Wilson was born in Madison county, Illinois, in 1872, the son of John C. and Elizabeth (Gillham) Wilson. The Wilson family has long been prominent and influential in that part of the state. Grand-father John Wilson was' born in Pennsylvania, but came to Pike county, Ohio, settling on a farm, later coming to Marion county, Illinois, in 1846, taking up one thousand and eight hundred acres of land on the prairie, which he developed until it became very valuable, still holding it at the time of his death, which occurred when he had reached the advanced age of eighty-nine. Both Mr. and Mrs. John Wilson were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. The latter is supposed to have come from Kentucky. They were the parents of a large family. Mr. Wilson was Justice of the Peace for some time.

John C. Wilson, father of the subject, was born in Pike county, Ohio, and there received his early education in a log school-house of pioneer days. Leaving the Buckeye state he came to Illinois, settling in Marion county in 1852, entering land from the government. He had about seven hundred acres of good prairie land, which he developed into a valuable farm and which is now known as the John C. Wilson farm. Here our subject's father lived until his death, which occurred at the age of seventy-seven years. He was a man of many sterling traits of character and bore an excellent reputation. Both he and his faithful life companion were members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Grandfather Gillham came from the Atlantic coast country and settled in Madison county, Illinois, during the earliest epoch of the pioneer days, before the state was admitted to the Union, and when wild beasts and red men roamed the hills and prairies. He remained there until his death. In that locality the subject's mother was reared and was married there in the early sixties. She came to Marion county. The father was twice married, the name of his first wife being Hults. Eight children were born to this union. She passed to her rest in the fifties. The subject's mother was John C. Wilson's second wife, who bore him seven children, four of whom lived to maturity. The mother is living in 1908, at the age of seventy-four years. She is a woman of many fine personal traits and beautiful Christian character.

William G. Wilson, our subject, first attended the district schools in Marion county, working on his father's farm in the meantime. Being ambitious and a diligent student, he received a good common school education. Leaving the public schools when nineteen years old he entered Austin College at Effingham, Illinois, where he made a brilliant record for scholarship, standing high in his class.

After leaving school he taught school for five years, devoting five years also to teaching in Champaign county, this state, where he became widely known as an able instructor and where his services were in great demand. But, believing that his true life work lay along other channels, he began the study of law with Schaefer & Rhodes, of Champaign, under whose instruction he made rapid progress. He was then admitted to practice at Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Mr. Wilson then began practice at Kinmundy, being remarkably successful from the first, and it was plain to be seen that an attorney of unusual sagacity and innate ability had risen to command the attention of that part of the state. He has remained in practice at this place since that time with the most gratifying results, having frequently been called to other localities on important cases. He is cool and calculating, never erring in his legal proceedings, whether handling a civil or criminal suit, and he stands high in the estimation not only of the public but the legal profession throughout this part of Illinois.

Mr. Wilson was happily married April 7, 1896, to Mollie Poole, a native of this county and the representative of a prominent and influential family, being the daughter of Abraham and Martha (Malone) Poole. Mr. Poole was born and reared in Marion county. He was a soldier in the Civil war, being a member of the One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, receiving an honorable discharge after serving for three years.

Four bright and interesting children have been born to our subject and wife as follows: Basil, born August 7, 1897, who is attending the public schools in 1908; Russell was born October 22, 1899; Ruth was born June 14, 1904; Byron first saw the light January 11, 1906.

The beautiful and nicely furnished home of the subject is presided over with rare grace and dignity by Mrs. Wilson, a woman of many commendable attributes, who delights in giving her children every care and attention.

Fraternally our subject is affiliated with the Masonic Order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having passed through the chairs of the latter lodge. In politics he is a loyal Republican, and he at one time performed the duties of Police Magistrate, with much credit to himself and with much satisfaction to all concerned. He was also Tax Collector.

Mr. Wilson belongs to the class of citizens whose lives do not show any meteoric effects, but who by their support of the moral, political and social status for the general good, promote the real welfare of their respective communities and are therefore deserving of honorable mention on the pages of history.

Extracted 03 Nov 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 112-114.


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