The Mount Ayr Record-News, 1931
HIGHLY RESPECTED CITIZEN DIES OF PNEUMONIA.
J. H. WILSON, one of Ringgold county's most highly respected citizens, died at his home in
north Mount Ayr Wednesday evening of last week. Death was caused by pneumonia from which he
had been suffering for several days. The death of Mr. WILSON marks the passing of one of the
best known citizens of the county and one whose sterling honesty was recognized by all who knew him.
Funeral services were held Friday afternoon at 2:30 at the Rhoades Funeral Home and were
conducted by Dr. Jesse JOHNSON, pastor of the United Presbyterian church, and burial was in
Rose Hill cemetery. The following obituary was read at the funeral:
James Henry WILSON was born September 5, 1854, near Bethel, Tennessee, and died of pneumonia on April 15, 1931, at the age of 76 years, seven months and ten days.
One sister and one brother preceded him in death.
One brother, Tracy M. WILSON, survives, living near Wilmar, Arkansas.
Mr. WILSON and
Mary Isabel MARTIN, of Macomb, Illinois, were married March 15th, 1877, at
Promise City, Iowa.
Of the seven children of the home two daughters and four sons have gone
on before their father; Anna Laura, who died in infancy; Adah Agatha, who died in November,
1919, after being a sufferer for ten years; Martin Emmett, who died in infancy; Tracy M., who
died in October, 1903, while a student in Tarkio College; James Oscar, who died in February,
1904; and John E., who died June 1st, 1929, and whose wife and children are with us in Mount
Only one of the children, Mrs. Carroll CAMP, survives to join with the mother in sorrow
and to care for her in the evening of life.
Mr. WILSON came of that Scotch-Irish stock that
emigrated from North Ireland to the Carolinas from about 1720 on. In a brief sketch of his
life written by himself it is found that his grandparents were South Carolinians. The names
that appear in his ancestry as far back as his account goes, namely, KERR, BAXTER and WILSON,
are names prominent in the early history of the Associated Reformed Presbyterian church, which
was formed in 1782 by the union of two staunch Presbyterian bodies from Scotland and North
Ireland. With this church he united in early youth and he was long a faithful member of the
United Presbyterian church.
Mr. WILSON's parents moved to West Tennessee soon after their
marriage. They died when he was about six years old, and he with his brother, four years old,
and his sister, 18 months old, were taken to live with their grandmother KERR, then a widow
living near Monticello, in southern Arkansas.
It was not until he was thirteen years old
that the boy could attend school or Sabbath school. A short term at 13, two months at 14, a
short term at 15, and another short term a little later, made up his early schooling.
Through the Reverend Alexander MAYN, an uncle by marriage, the boy got a chance to see a
little more of the world, an ambition roused in him by a lady teacher when he was 15. This
minister took the young man, now 18, into his home near Longton, in southeastern Kansas,
employed him on his farm and gave him opportunity to go to school in winter. At 19, he went
with his uncle to Promise City, Iowa, where the latter was in charge of the United Presbyterian
church. Here the young man had the advantage of a six months' term of school, and of one hour
a day of private tutoring by his uncle during the summer.
While yet under 20, he started for
himself near Promise City, his uncle having retired from the ministry and moved to Indiana. He
had not a dollar, and had only one book - a Bible which had been given him when he left
Arkansas, and which he treasured to the end.
During the Promise City life he was, at least
part of the time, superintendent of the Sabbath school and leader of the singing.
Of the family life we have spoken, Mr. WILSON, and at his side his brave life-partner, have
suffered much of adversity and sorrow. To bury one child is hard. To see death take six, in
infancy, youth and young manhood is a life long sorrow.
With limited opportunity for schooling, our friend was remarkably well informed in the Bible
and christian truth. It was in this direction that his reading and interest ran in his mature
After coming to Ringgold county he sold sewing machines for the Singer company and for
fifteen years was salesman for sewing machines and pianos for W. A. ALEXANDER of Leon. Retired
in 1917 and went in the business of repairing machines.
In an acquaintance of slightly more
than a year, his pastor has noted his faithfulness, a christian quality which, the Bible says,
is rewarded with a crown of life. To the very last day that he could be there that chair of
his was occupied, and the pastor knew that the way to light up his face and send him home with
a song in his heart was to say something good about Jesus.
NOTE: Interment was at Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa.
Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, 2008
To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.
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