THOMAS WILSON, President of the Schuyler County Bank, and a leading financier and business man of Rushville, Illinois, was born near Five-Mile Town, in county Tyrone, Ireland, in March, 1812. Both his grandfather, Thomas, and father Thomas, were natives of the same county. They were of well-known and esteemed Scotch ancestry, who were sturdy, rugged farmers, and passed their entire lives in their native land. His father was reared to manhood in his native county, were he married Jane Greer, also a native of the Emerald Isle. They resided in Ireland until 1843, when they commenced the long journey to America. Unfortunately the wife and mother died in England while en route, leaving six children and a bereaved husband. These children were: William, Thomas, Joseph, George, Jane and Robert, all of whom came to America, except George, and located in Illinois. The father settled first in Schuyler county, Illinois, where he remained four years, after which he removed to Hancock county, locating near Nauvoo, where he resided until death. He was an intelligent, pious, good man, and was greatly esteemed by all who knew him.
The subject of this sketch was reared and educated in Ireland, where he continued to live until 1832, when at the age of twenty years, he emigrated to America, sailing from Derry in the sail vessel William Ewing. He landed in Philadelphia after a tempestuous voyage of seven weeks, a stranger in a strange land. He found employment in the City of Brotherly Love, at the weaving trade, and continued to operate a loom until the fall of the year of his arrival. He then removed to Lancaster county, that State, where he obtained employment on the farm of his uncle, James Little. He continued there until 1834, when he removed to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, securing employment on a farm near that city. Three years latter he went to Illinois, going via the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinois rivers, to Rushville, Schuyler county. At that early period the country was sparsely settled, and some of the land was still owned by the Government. Rude log houses dotted the country. At that time Rushville was an insignificant village, with nothing like its present pretentious appearance. Mr. Wilson immediately engaged in merchandising in a small way, buying his goods in St. Louis and transporting them by way of the river in summer an by wagon in winter. His business gradually increased until he became, in time, a prominent merchant of the town. Since 1872 he has been interested in banking, and upon the organization of the Schuyler County Bank he was elected its president, bringing to this position unusual financial ability and extended experience.
He was married September 18, 1834, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to Miss Susan Clark, an estimable lady, a native of Lancaster county, that State, and a daughter of John and Eleanor (Greer) Clark. They have three children: Anne Jane, wife of James P. Clark; John; and Lorinda, wife of John T. Sweeney. Eleanor and Sarah Elisa are deceased. Eleanor died in December, 1860, after finishing her education at Monticello in1857; and Sarah died in February, 1883, leaving three children; she was the wife of Hiram Graff.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are earnest and useful members of the Methodist Church, and are prohibitionists in principle. They are worthy people, and enjoy the esteem of the entire community.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892.
Transcribed by Dan Dunham for Schuyler County ILGenWeb
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