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Wilson, Moses H.


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 6/13/2021 at 18:31:56

born Aug 27, 1833, Ohio

M. H. Wilson is numbered among the honored pioneer settlers of Warren county, Iowa, dating his residence here from 1855. He has therefore witnessed almost the entire growth and upbuilding of the county, and has aided in the work of development and progress. The visitor of today can scarcely realize the change that has been brought about by the worthy pioneers during the past forty years. Through their efforts the wild lands have been transformed into beautiful homes and farms, churches and schools have been built, industries and enterprises have been established, and business activity has been promoted, until today Warren county occupies a front rank among the counties of this commonwealth. Mr. Wilson was born August 27, 1833, in a hewed log house in Belmont county, Ohio, and was the second of the nine children of N. and Lydia (Duncan) Wilson. The father was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, and died in Belmont township, Warren county, Iowa, his remains being interred in the Quaker cemetery, where a monument marks his last resting place. In early life he was an old-line Whig, but joined the Republican party on its inception. His wife, who was also a native of Virginia, now sleeps by his side in the quiet cemetery. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They became residents of Belmont county, Ohio, in 1832, and in 1855 started Westward, with a prairie schooner, making the journey to Fairfield, Iowa in four weeks. For a year they remained in Jefferson county, and then came to Warren county. They were accompanied by the maternal grandmother, Mrs. Duncan, who was then past the age of ninety years. She was long a member of the Society of Friends, but in her later years joined the Methodist Church and was ever a consistent Christian woman. M. H. Wilson was a young man of twenty-two years when with the family he came Iowa. On the journey to Warren county he drove a number of cows that forded the Moines river, and he also swam that stream. The market of the family was at Knoxville, Marion county. They lived in true pioneer style, experiencing the usual hardships of on the frontier and in the arduous task of developing a new farm our subject bore his share.
On the 2d of March, 1858, occurred one of the most important events in the life of M. H. Wilson, for on that day was celebrated his marriage to Miss Cecelia Gregg, a native of Belmont county, Ohio, and a daughter of Abner Gregg, who died in that county. Two children came to bless the pioneer home, the elder, Gregg, being named for his maternal grandfather. He was born August 21, 1860, and is engaged in farming in Marion county, not far from his father's home. He wedded Edith Dennis and they have two children, Ethel and Eunice. Jennie, born November 29, 1868 is the wife of T. F. Wright, a general merchant and postmaster of Motor. They have one son, William Hartley. In order that his children might have good educational privileges, Mr. Wilson removed to Indianola, and there remained for six years while they were attending school. Gregg was also a student in Simpson College. With this exception, our subject has always lived upon the old home farm on which he located in 1857. His untiring industry has made it one of the most valuable places of the county, a highly cultivated and well improved tract of land which yields to the owner a golden tribute in return for the care and labor he bestows upon it.
In his political views Mr. Wilson has always been a Republican, having cast his vote with that party since its organization. His first presidential ballot supported Fillmore. He has served as Justice of the Peace in Belmont township for many years, has been School Treasurer for ten years, and has frequently represented his party in the county convention. With him success in life has been reached by his sterling qualities of mind and a heart true to every manly principle. He has never deviated from what his judgment would indicate to be right and honorable between his fellow men and himself, and now has the confidence and respect of the entire community in which he lives. Source: A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1896, vol.1, p.424

History of Warren County, Iowa from Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, by Rev. W. C. Martin, Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1908, p.466
M.H. Wilson is one of the few remaining member of that “old guard” who were the founders of the civilization in this great and fertile region; a member of that band of sturdy pioneers who had all of the courage to do and dare in the western wilderness; who suffered the hardships and met the trials that always constitute a feature in the settlement of the frontier; who has borne his part in the work of general improvement, being particularly active along agricultural lines, and as the years have gone by, the value of his service has been widely recognized. It might be said that he had hereditary rights to pioneer life, for he was born in a hewed log house in Belmont County, Ohio, August 27, 1833, at which time the work of civilization had not been carried forward to a great extent in that section of the country.
His father, J.N. Wilson, was a pioneer there. He was a native of Loudoun County, Virginia, and in 1832 became a resident of Belmont County, Ohio. The grandfather was Moses Wilson; the grandmother, Tamah Burson, was of English descent and lived to the advanced age of ninety-four years. Having for some time made his home in Belmont County, Ohio, J.N. Wilson removed to Iowa with his family. In early manhood he had wedded Lydia Duncan, who was a native of Loudoun County, Virginia. The reports which they heard concerning Iowa and its rich lands attracted them and they decided to try their fortune beyond the “Father of Waters.” The journey was made in a large covered wagon, a “prairie schooner,” and four weeks were spent in travel ere they at length arrived at Fairfield, Iowa. The roads were often in poor condition and at night they camped out along the way. They were accompanied by the maternal grandmother, Mrs. Duncan, who was then past ninety years of age. She was long a member of the Society of Friends, but in her later life united with the Methodist Episcopal Church and was a worthy Christian woman. The Wilson family established their home in Warren County and J.N. Wilson spent his last days in Belmont Township. He was born October 6, 1803, and died January 25, 1883, when in the eightieth year of his age, his remains being interred in the Quaker cemetery, where a monument has been erected to his memory. His early political support was given to the Whig party and on its dissolution he joined the ranks of the new Republican Party, which he continued to support until his death. His wife passed away several years before. She was born December 27, 1805, and died in 1872, at the age of sixty-seven years. Her religious faith was indicated by her membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their family numbered nine children: John William, who was born December 12, 1831, and died November 20, 1875; M. Hartley, of this review; Lucinda, the wife of Matthew Millican, who resided near Hammondsburg, Iowa; Mrs. Virginia Gregg, who married Samuel Gregg, and she died June 10, 1884; Angelia, the wife of Lindley Bowles, a resident of Belmont; Joseph Leander, who married Maggie Davis and is now deceased; James M., who wedded Ruth Harlan and is living in the state of Washington; Stephen, who married Nancy Millican and has also passed away; and Mary A., who is living in the state of Washington.
M.H. Wilson spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the county of his nativity, where he was reared to general agricultural pursuits, while in the public schools he acquired his education. He was twenty-two years of age at the time of the removal of the family to Iowa, and being strong and energetic, he was well fitted to cope with the conditions of pioneer life. There was something sublime and inspiring about this wild region, with its great level prairies, stretching away for miles, starred in June with millions of wild flowers, while in midwinter it was covered with one unbroken, dazzling sheet of snow. No one can ever forget, who has experienced it, the stillness that broods over the broad prairies ere the work of the settlement has begun. However, the Wilson family recognized the possibilities for development here and bravely met the conditions of pioneer life in order that they might enjoy the fruits that should follow their labor in years to come. On the journey to Warren County Mr. Wilson drove a number of cows that forded the Des Moines River, and he also swam that stream. The market of the family was at that time in Knoxville, Marion County. Mr. Wilson aided his father in making a start here and then completed arrangements for having a home of his own by his marriage.
On the 2nd of March, 1858, was celebrated the wedding of Mr. Wilson and Miss Cilicia Gregg, a native of Belmont County, Ohio and a daughter of Abner and Arcadia (McElvein) Gregg, who were also natives of the Buckeye State [Ohio]. The father died in his native county. Two children have been born unto Mr. and Mrs. Wilson: Gregg, who was named for his maternal grandfather, was born August 21, 1860, and now resides in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He married Edith Dennis and they have two children, Ethel and Eunice. Jennie, the daughter of the family, born November 29, 1868, is the wife of T.F. Wright, a resident of Milo, by whom she has one son, William Hartley, named in honor of her father.
In the year of his marriage Mr. Wilson took up his abode upon the farm which is now his home and where he has lived continuously since 1858 with the exception of six years’ residence in Indianola, removing to that city in order that he might educate his children. The old homestead is a well cultivated farm of one hundred and sixty acres, devoted to the raising of cereals best adapted to the soil and climate and also the raising of stock. It is situated six miles due east of Milo and is an attractive property, indicating in its neat and well kept appearance the general supervision and careful management of the owner. In 1902 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died in the month of October amid the deep regard of many friends who had learned to esteem and love her.
Mr. Wilson was a resident to Belmont Township before its organization and served as clerk of the first election in 1856. He had also filled the office of Justice of the Peace for many years, being the present incumbent in the office, his decisions being strictly fair and impartial. He has also been a delegate to the county conventions of his party and is a stalwart Republican, earnest and unfaltering in his allegiance. For ten years he has served as a school trustee and the cause of education has ever found in him a stalwart advocate. Fraternally he is connected with Milo Lodge, A.F. & A.M., and Indianola chapter, R.A.M. No history of this county would be complete without mention of M.H. Wilson, who for more than a half century has lived within its borders. His name is synonymous with all that is upright in citizenship and honorable in one’s relations with his fellowmen. He has been straightforward as well as active and energetic in business, and has won not only a comfortable competence, but also an untarnished name. He is, therefore, classed among the representative residents of the county and one for whom his fellow citizens have most sincere respect and regard.


Warren Biographies maintained by Karen S. Velau.
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