Thomas J. Wilson, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Thomas J. Wilson

THOMAS J. WILSON. Napoleon, "the little Corporal," and the greatest general of modern times, was questioned at one time by a notable statesman, "Where did his success lie in the manipulating or handling of his vast armies?" He returned the salute and answered in one word, "Obedience." So might be cited the leading and prosperous citizens of a city or county," Obedience." They have been obedient to the laws of nature, the laws of social morals and obedient to the laws of our country.

To Mr. Thomas Wilson can be handed this encomium. He is one of the leading landholders and citizens of Washington township, Porter county, Indiana, but he is a native son of LaPorte county, and was born June 6, 1852. He was the eldest in a family of seven children, three sons and four daughters, born to Andrew S. and Catherine (Stoner) Wilson. There are four of the children yet living. Mr. Wilson is the oldest; James M., the next, is a prosperous agriculturist of Washington township; Schuyler, a resident of Valparaiso, and married, was for a time a merchant there but is now retired; Maggie is the wife of Joseph Skinner, who is a resident of East Chicago and a contractor. Father Wilson traced his lineage to the Scotch-Irish, but was a native of North Carolina, and he was born November 15, 1824, he died August 17, 1881, aged fifty-seven. He was but a youth when he became a citizen of LaPorte county. He received only a public school education and was reared as a farmer's boy. He is classed among the pioneers of northern Indiana and when he came here there was an abundance of wild game and hardly a railroad was thrown across its boundaries. But when he passed away in 1881 many trunk lines had formed a perfect gridiron across the state. He was a successful man in his business affairs and taught his children the lessons of industry and honesty. It was March 23, 1870, when he became a citizen of old Porter county, and this was his residence until he died. He settled on the farm now owned by his son Thomas, and his first purchase was one hundred and ninety acres, and when he passed away he had about two hundred acres. Politically he was a Whig before the Republican party was formed, and afterwards espoused the principles of Republicanism. Both he and his wife were staunch members of the Baptist church in Laporte county, and when they became citizens of Porter they united with the Baptist society in Valparaiso. Mother Wilson was a native of LaPorte county, Indiana, but her progenitors were of the Pennsylvania German stock. She is yet living, a resident of Valparaiso, aged eighty-four years.

Mr. Wilson, the subject of this sketch, has been reared as an agriculturist and stockman and educated in the public schools, with a term of one year in the Indiana Normal school. He has been associated with the business interests of Porter county for so many years that he commands the universal respect of all his constituents in city and county. He wedded Miss Alice J. Hicks, April 18, 1878, and four children, three sons and a daughter, were born, but only two of the children are living. The eldest is Katheryn, the wife of Gwilym Jones, a resident of East Chicago, where he is employed with the great Inland Steel Company; they have two children, Wilson A. and Catherine Alice. Mrs. Jones has received excellent educational advantages, being educated in the public schools and having been a student in the high school in Valparaiso, and she also received her diploma in instrumental music; she was an efficient teacher in instrumental and vocal music. Both she and her husband are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Clarence Wilson received his diploma from the public schools, and was then a student in the Valparaiso high school for three years. He then pursued a course in animal husbandry at Purdue University on the culture and care of stock on scientific principles. By his efficiency in his college work he was awarded a prize for excellence. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have given their children excellent educational advantages.

Mrs. Wilson was born in Porter county, Indiana, January 5, 1852, and she is second in a family of two children; the elder, her brother, William A., is a resident of Valparaiso, he is a merchant and is married. Mrs. Wilson's father is deceased but her mother is still living and makes her home with her daughter. Mrs. Wilson is a lady who has given herself good training in the educational lines since she finished her public school course and then was a student in the Valparaiso Male and Female College, before the present University of Valparaiso was established. She is a lady who surpasses the ordinary woman. She was one of the city teachers for three years and for four years she was a successful teacher in Washington township.

Mr. and Mrs. Wilson began their married life as renters and lived a short time at Prattville, Washington township, one of the oldest village sites in the county. Before Mr. Wilson had married he purchased the eighty acres which lie west of his present home and he borrowed one thousand dollars from his grandfather to make the first payment. He paid for this land. They moved on the eighty acres in June, 1881, and father Wilson died in the month of August. They then rented the old homestead for five years and then finally purchased the homestead. This has been their home ever since, with the exception of four years in the city of Valparaiso. They own two hundred and seventy acres of the finest land in the township and a modern residence, lighted by acetylene gas. Water is found all through the residence and the house is furnace heated. Their home is a modern city residence. This lovely estate commands a fine view of the surrounding country and slopes gradually in all directions. It is known as "The Maple Lane Farm." They are prosperous people and have the united respect of all.

Mr. Wilson is a Republican and he cast his first presidential vote for R. B. Hayes. He has always advocated those principles and has ofttimes been selected as a delegate to the Porter county conventions to represent his peoples' wishes and desires. He is one of the drainage commissioners of the county and has filled this important office for four years and he is the present incumbent. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are zealous members of the Methodist Episcopal church in the city of Valparaiso and he is one of the church trustees. Mrs. Wilson is an active member of the Women's Foreign Missionary society and of the Home Missionary society. She is also a member of the Wesleyan Guild and she is most competent to fill any position to which she may be called. They are sterling citizens and it is with pleasure that we add their review to the roster of the leading citizens of Porter county, Indiana.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 586-590

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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