Richland County

Biography - Samuel C. Wilson

The dominating spirit of self-help is what has conserved the distinctive business success and prestige of the gentleman whose career we now take under consideration, who stands at the head of one of the leading industrial enterprises of Richland county, where from modest inception, he has built up one of the leading flouring mills in this part of the state, controlling a trade which ramifies throughout a wide area of country, and having the high reputation which is ever significant of personal integrity and honorable methods.

Samuel C. Wilson, of S. C. Wilson & Company, proprietors of the Butler Street Flour Mills at Olney, Illinois, was born near Maryville, Tennessee, March 17, 1844, the son of Joseph and Ann (Gault) Wilson, natives of Virginia, where they were reared. They married after coming to Tennessee. The subject's father was a farmer and a man of influence in his community. In April 1852, the family moved to Crawford county, Illinois, where they settled on a farm. The same year Mr. Wilson bought a farm in Denver township, Richland county, which was developed into valuable property. Joseph Wilson died at the age of sixty-nine years, his wife having passed away at the age of fifty-four years. Mr. Wilson was twice married. Eight children were born of the first union and two of the second, the subject of this sketch being the youngest of the first marriage.

Samuel C. Wilson came with his parents to Richland county in 1852. He was reared on a farm, and his education in those early days was very limited, but by home reading and study he gained a fairly good foundation for later learning, which he has received by contact with the world and general study. He remained under his parental roof until he was twenty-two years old, at which time he inherited a part of the old homestead, which he conducted in a very successful manner until 1876, having in the meantime bought additional land. He has been prosperous owing to his conservative methods, his careful business principles. He at one time owned six hundred and forty acres. In 1876 our subject came to Olney and bought a mill, the main part of the present building having been erected in 1861. When he purchased this property it was of the old burr system, with a capacity of fifty barrels per day. Since then the progress of the business has been constant, reaching its present proportions, large building and modern equipment, consisting of fourteen sets of rollers, with a capacity of two hundred barrels per day. Mr. Wilson has been very prosperous and he does a general milling business, handling large quantities of flour and feed. He manufactures the famous brand known as "Our Daily Bread"; this special grade of flour having long ago become known throughout this locality, and it took first premium at the state fair at Springfield, Illinois, 1908.

The firm consists of Samuel C. Wilson and John C. Page, under the name of S. C. Wilson & Company, and they employ considerable help, are always busy, and constantly adding new territory to their list.

The domestic life of Mr. Wilson dates from October, 1865, when he was first married to Emily J. Welty, a native of Hillsboro, Ohio, the daughter of Isaac and Mary A. (Barker) Welty, natives of Ohio. Seven children were born to the subject and wife, all of whom are now living, namely: Mary A., Martha A., Isaac N., William E., Charles F., Edwin O., and Thomas C. Mrs. Wilson passed to her rest March 3, 1901, and the subject married Jennie (Bradshaw) Lough, a native of Wayne county, Illinois.

Mr. Wilson in his political relations is a Democrat, having long been active in his party's affairs. In 1890 he was elected Treasurer of Richland county, and ably served one term of four years. In 1899 he was elected Mayor of Olney, serving one term of two years, being the first anti-saloon candidate ever elected Mayor of this city. His administration was regarded by the community as one of the best the town ever had and numerous improvements were inaugurated. After their license had expired all saloons were closed during the remainder of his administration. In the spring of 1908 Mr. Wilson was elected a member of the City Council. In his fraternal relations he is a member of the Masons and the Knight Templars. In religious matters he is a faithful attendant of the Presbyterian church, being one of the oldest elders in the church.

Mr. Wilson is a man of marked business enterprise and capability, and he carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes. The subject has long been an important factor in business circles and his popularity is well deserved, as in him are embraced the characteristics of an unabating energy, unbending integrity and industry that never flags.

Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 182-184.

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