CHARLES R. WILSON.
Audubon county owes much to the gentleman whose name appears above for the great interest he has shown in improving the strain of horse-flesh in this section and the reader will be interested in knowing something in detail of the life of this prominent and enterprising Greeley township farmer.|
Charles R. Wilson was born in Vinton county, Ohio, February 17, 1850, the son of Thomas and Sarah (Robbins) Wilson, both of whom also were natives of Ohio, the former a son of John Wilson, a Virginian, and the latter a daughter of Charles Robbins, a New Yorker, both members of Colonial families, who moved to Missouri in 1857. Thomas Wilson was one of that glorious band who freely laid down their lives for the preservation of the Union in the sixties, he having been killed in the battle of Chillicothe, Missouri, February 8, 1862. His brother, Creighton, was killed in the battle of Champion Hill, in August, 1864, and his brother, George, received a severe wound at the siege of Atlanta, all having been gallant soldiers of the Union.
Charles R. Wilson was one of a family of eleven children and remained at home until he was fifteen years of age. His mother having remarried, Charles R. started out "on his own" and was apprenticed to learn the harness and saddlers' trade, but did not complete this apprenticeship and worked at odd jobs for seven years, at the end of which time he married and rented a farm in Missouri, working there one year. In 1874 he came to this county, renting a farm near Exira, on which he lived for five years, at the end of which time he bought eighty acres of land in section 23, of Greeley township. At the time he began to break this virgin land he had twenty-three dollars and thirty-five cents in cash, a team of horses and a wagon, but he and his wife had stout hearts and willing hands and they presently had a comfortable home. As they prospered they added to their holdings and now own two hundred acres of as good land as lies in Greeley township, all of which is well improved and under a high state of cultivation. Mr. Wilson has given much attention to the breeding of full-blooded stock and is one of the county's heaviest breeders of Percheron horses, possessing two stallions of this breed which are as fine horses as any in the county, his "Francis Javan" having won a first and a second premium at the county fair. He also makes a specialty of pure-bred, registered Shorthorn cattle and has done much toward improving the breed of stock in this part of the state.
On September 4, 1873, Charles R. Wilson was united in marriage to Florinda Campbell, of Sullivan county, Missouri, daughter of James M. and Marguerite (Sorter) Campbell, natives of Pennsylvania and New York, respectively, the former of whom was born at Meadville and the latter at Friendship. James M. Campbell was a miller and came to Iowa in 1845, moving, in 1851, to Missouri, where he operated a mill, and during the Civil War was captain of the local company of "home guards," a man of fine deportment and of large influence in the community in which he lived.
To Charles R. and Florinda (Campbell) Wilson have been born eight children: Ora I., born on August 18, 1875, who married Nellie Albert (now deceased), of Lemon, South Dakota; Almira, May 9, 1878, married W. E. Trent, and has two children, Florinda and Forrest; Norval J., December 28, 1879, attended Highland Park College, at Des Moines, Iowa, was township assessor of Greeley township for two years and is now a homesteader in Colorado; George L., February 10, 1882, married Mae Picking and has one child, a daughter, Helen F.; Phoebe J., January 14, 1884, married Fred A. Eckert and has four children, Leonard, Robert, Carl and Fern; Carlos, September 27, 1887, married Nellie Duvall and has four children, Vernon, Ruby, Wilma and Beuna; Claus C., February 22, 1893, lives at home; and Doleta, September 30, 1895, was graduated from Dennison College and is teaching school in Greeley township. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson also reared a granddaughter, Golda, born on September 25, 1894, who was graduated from Dennison College and also is a teacher in the schools of Greeley township.
The Wilsons are supporters of the Christian (Campbellite) church and are active in all good works of their neighborhood. Mr. Wilson is a Republican and is warmly interested in the political affairs of the county, but never has been included in the office-seeking class, being content to give the best of his time and attention to his own large private interest. He and Mrs. Wilson are leaders in the social life of their neighborhood and are held in the highest esteem by a very large circle of friends and acquaintances.
Transcribed from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 797-799.