John B. WILSON, owner of a well appointed farm, whereon he is engaged in the breeding and raising of fine Norman horses as well as in cultivating the cereals best adapted to the soil and the climatic conditions, was born in Rising Sun, Indiana, March 19, 1847. His father, James WILSON, was likewise a native of that state and was a carpenter and builder by trade. Removing to Illinois in 1851, he settled at Henry, where his father, John WILSON, had located one year before, or in 1850. John WILSON followed farming on Crow Meadow, in Henry township, but has now departed this life. James WILSON, however, still survives and is now living with his son John on a farm in Saratoga township. Although he has reached the advanced age of eighty years, he is still quite an active and well preserved man. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth STEWART, was a native of Indiana, and died about 1851 in Henry.
John B. WILSON, their only child, was educated in the Crow Meadow district school of Henry township, that was located on the old farm that belonged to his grandfather, and in Henry Seminary. He was thus provided with good advantages, and when not busy with his text-books he was trained to the work of field and meadow. Farming has been his sole occupation, and public opinion grants him prominence as the leading farmer of Saratoga township. His father was the owner of a tract of land in Whitefield township, and there John B. WILSON engaged in general agricultural pursuits for a number of years. His farm in Saratoga township comprises three hundred and twenty acres of land and is a model property, equipped with all of the improved machinery and accessories which facilitate the work of the fields and promote the success of the agriculturist. He annually harvests good crops and also takes great interest in fine horses, owning and breeding some very fine Norman stock. The farm is pleasantly located on section 8, and the owner is an expert in the development of property, to which he devotes his labors. His home is a very commodious and attractive residence, built in modern style of architecture, and tarns and other buildings are in keeping with the spirit -of progress which dominates him in all of his work.
In 1869 Mr. WILSON was united in marriage to Miss Mary Elizabeth MERRILL, a daughter of Gilman MERRILL, of Boston, Massachusetts. They now have five children: Herbert B., who is farming in Saratoga township, on one of his farms, and who married Miss Myrtle MALLORY, by whom he has four children; Oscar, who is a bookkeeper in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Jennie, the wife of Alfred HOLMES, a resident farmer of Saratoga township; Arthur, who married Miss COMBS and is farming in Iowa; and Clarence, a youth of sixteen, now in school.
John B. WILSON is a stanch republican, unfaltering in his allegiance to the party, for he believes its principles are most conducive to good government. He has been a school director for twenty-seven years, and the cause of education has found in him a stalwart champion. He has also been road commissioner at various times and has done much to improve the public highways. Thoroughly posted on matters of general interest, political and otherwise, upon the improved methods of farming and the topics of the day, he stands as a high type of progressive American manhood and is a co-operant factor in many measures which have been of signal service to the county. Almost his entire life has been passed within the borders of this county, so that his life history is well known, and the position to which he is accorded by the consensus of public opinion is proof of his many sterling traits of character.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.