History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin, and Williamson Counties,
Illinois (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887).
John H. Wilson was born in McLeansboro, February 8, 1845, the son of John
A. and Eliza (Grady) Wilson, natives, respectively, of Shawneetown and
Pennsylvania. The grandfather, James Harrison Wilson, was a pioneer of
Shawneetown, and the father was a saddler by trade. In 1840 the father
came to McLeansboro, and after following his trade and being a merchant,
died there in 1861. He represented the county in the Legislature one or
more sessions, and was sheriff three terms. He was a Democrat and highly
respected as an official. Our subject was reared to manhood here, and
educated at McKendree College, Ill., graduating with the degree of A.B. in
1868. For three years he was employed in the United States Engineer
Department on western rivers. In 1871 he engaged in contracting with
railroads in ties and timber, building up the business until he employed
500 persons in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana in getting out
timber. He has been extraordinarily successful, also owning 400 acres near
town, which he manages, besides other valuable city and town property.
November 27, 1873, he married Alice J. Randall, of Hamilton County, Ohio.
Their children are Eugene A., Francis R. and Carrie. Mr. Wilson is a
prohibition Democrat, and has successfully fought for prohibition in
McLeansboro. He has been a member of the city council a number of years.
He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.