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The Wilson family, to which the subject of this sketch belongs, was one of the earliest settled in Washington county, Pennsylvania. His grandparents on his mother's side (the Hendersons) were from Lancaster and Chester counties, and settled at an early day in Washington county, and his grandparents on his father's side were from Franklin and Adams counties. The father of James D. Wilson, Hugh M. Wilson, married Mary Henderson, a granddaughter of the Rev. Matthew Henderson, the pioneer of Washington county, and prime mover in the establishment of Jefferson college. It is not out of place to state here (and it may be of interest to some readers who have hitherto been ignorant of the fact), that at a little meeting held under a tree in the pioneer settlement of Washington, Pennsylvania, the college we have named had its inception.

Rev. Henderson labored zealously for the establishment of that useful educational institution, and it is a worthy monument to his memory.

James D. Wilson was born, of the marriage of which we have spoken, in Allegheny county, November 5, 1818. He remained at home until 1847, in which year he was united in marriage with Nancy, daughter of Robert and Abigail Wray, who was born in this county, August 11, 1825, by Rev. Alex. Donaldson, D. D., March 24, 1847. In April following Mr. and Mrs. Wilson moved to the farm where they now reside, and which was purchased by his father in 1838. The farm, containing 120 acres, was deeded to Mr. Wilson by his father some time after his marriage. He has at different times since purchased land adjoining, till the farm now contains about 180 acres.

Mr. Wilson has followed farming all of his life except four years, when he was engaged in milling. He owns about 180 acres of good land, situated near Olivet Village, South Bend township.

He is a director of the Apollo Savings Bank, and has held that position for

about ten years.

To Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have been born six children, viz.: Robert H., born July 9, 1851; studied engineering at the Western University of Pittsburgh, county surveyor, married December 5, 1878, to Miss Emma L. Blakely, of West Lebanon, Pennsylvania; they have two children, Florence and Karl; Mary L., June 5, 1854; Abigail, September 18, 1856; Hattie, April 27, 1864; and Hugh and Sarah, born respectively in 1849 and 1860, both of whom died in infancy.

James D. Wilson and wife, together with all their children, are members of the United Presbyterian church at Olivet. He is the last one remaining of the original members of this congregation.  

Source: Page(s) 397, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
June 2000 by James R. Hindman for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by James R. Hindman for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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