HON. EDWARD S. WILSON, one of the honored pioneers of McLean County, owns and occupies a fine estate in Dale
Township, on sections 14 and 15, and in his agricultural and stockraising operations has met with abundant success.
He is an industrious and enterprising business man, conducts his farming operations with discretion and judgment,
and is strictly honorable and reliable in his transactions with his neighbors and fellow-citizens.
Mr. Wilson is a native of Madison County, N. Y., and was born on the 6th of August, 1827. As soon as old enough he attended the public schools of his native county, and during the summer seasons assisted his father on the farm. At the age of seventeen years he came to McLean County with his parents, and often recalls the incidents of the overland journey. The family stopped a few days in Chicago, which was then a city of only a few thousand inhabitants, with muddy streets and cheap frame buildings.
From Chicago the family proceeded to Joliet, where they were obliged to stay until the fall of the year on account of the high water and absence of bridges. In the fall they resumed their journey and came into McLean County. He made his home with his parents until they removed to Bloomington, and his first start in life was like that of Abe Lincoln, as a rail-splitter. Mr. W. split rails at fifty cents per hundred, and boarded himself, but even at that small profit he managed to save something, and in due time became a landed proprietor. He added to his first purchase as time and means permitted, and is now the possessor of 375 acres, all of which, with the exception of fifteen acres, is in Dale Township and all in one body. His farm is enclosed with good fences, the soil is finely cultivated, and the whole presents a picture of a first-class farm estate. In 1861 Mr. Wilson put up his first frame building, and in 1873 built the handsome residence in which he now resides. He has good barns, valuable machinery and implements, and all the appliances of a first-class agriculturist.
The marriage of Edward Wilson and Mrs. Louisa (Perry) McWhorter took place June 2, 1864. Mrs. Wilson was born in Jessamine County, Ky., May 29, 1832, and is the daughter of John and Charity Perry, and the widow of Stephen McWhorter. Of her first marriage there was born one son, Stephen A., who married Miss Dolly Millikin, and is now a commission merchant in Omaha, Neb.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have become the parents of four childrenóWilliam L., Esther M., John and Walter C.; the latter died in 1872, when two years and four months old. Mr. W. is connected with the Baptist and his wife with the Christian Church. He is Republican in politics, and has been identified with this party since its organization. He was formerly a Whig, and cast his first Presidential vote for Zachariah Taylor.
During the progress of the Mexican War Mr. W. enlisted as a soldier, and also proffered his services to the Union Army in the late Civil War, but was rejected in both instances on account of physical disability. He has been called to fill various offices of trust in his township, having served as Assessor and School Director, and was twice elected Justice of the Peace, which office he still holds. He has always been warmly interested in educational matters, and has uniformly given his support to the cause of morality, sobriety and good order, and in all respects is esteemed one of the most valued citizens of his township. He has lived to see great changes in the Prairie State since he first chose it for his home, and has contributed his full quota as opportunity permitted toward the establishment of a later civilization which has constituted Illinois one of the wealthiest and most prosperous States in the Union.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 451. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards