Ossett - the history of a Yorkshire town



Ossett Wilsons to the USA

Mark and Betsy Wilson - The Pioneers
Mark Wilson was the last child of Robert and Willis Wilson and was born 2nd May 1811 in Ossett, Yorkshire, the youngest of ten children. He was married to Elizabeth (Betty or Bessy) Naylor (born in 1812 at Dewsbury) on the 28th December 1834. Mark's occupation in the 1851 Census is given as Iron Founder and, sometime before this, he had established the very first iron foundry in Ossett, located off Field Lane, adjacent to what is now the cemetery of Ossett Holy Trinity Church.

Two of Mark's older brothers John Wilson (born 1794) and Benjamin Wilson (born 1797) became successful businessmen involved in woollen cloth manufacturing in Ossett. John Wilson had built Northfield Mill in Church Street, employing six men and 10 children by 1851. The rest of the Wilson family in Ossett, with the notable exception of Mark, were all employed in the cloth manufacturing business.

LeedsThe Leeds Foundries
Because the eldest son, John W. Wilson was born in Leeds in 1836, it is very likely that Mark was living and working there at that time. In 1834 at Kirkstall, just three miles from Leeds; there were two extensive iron foundries; one manufactured anvils, vices, spades, agricultural instruments, and at the other boilers, steam engines and hydraulic presses.

Infant mortality
Looking into the reasons why Mark and Betsy decided to make the move to the USA. We know that they had eight children and that four died in infancy, son George was still alive in 1851 at the age of 11 and was already working as a Green Sand Moulder, probably in his father's foundry with his elder brother John.

John W. Wilson born 8th March, 1836 Leeds, Yorkshire
Hannah Wilson christened 18th March 1838 Ossett, Yorkshire - died 1842
George Wilson christened 20th April 1840, Ossett, Yorkshire - died 1854
Maria Wilson christened 10th July 1842, Ossett, Yorkshire
Willis Wilson (F) christened 24th November 1844, Ossett, Yorkshire - died young?
Mark Wilson christened 24th January 1847, Ossett, Yorkshire - died young?
Robert Wilson born 10th June 1850, Ossett, Yorkshire
Frederick Wilson born 1853, Ossett, Yorkshire

Healthcare facilities were poor and disease was rife. We know that by 1841, Mark and Betsy were living in Ossett (1841 Census) and it is possible that Mark was employed in the iron foundries at nearby Wakefield or possibly had his own foundry by then. Wakefield was a centre for coal mining, engineering, clothing manufacturer and agriculture and was altogether a more pleasant place than Leeds.

By the time of the 1851 Census, Mark and Betsy had five children living at home - John (15), George (11), Maria (8), Willis (6), and Mark (4). Interestingly, there is no record of Robert, who was born in June 1850. At this time Mark Wilson was still employed as an Iron Founder and the family lived at Street Side, Ossett, Yorkshire.

Below: Mark and Betsy Wilson in old age at Macomb, Illinois

Mark and Betsy Wilson

And so to America
Two of Mark's nephews Henry and Benjamin Wilson, the sons of Mark's oldest brother John Wilson had left England in 1849 on an assisted passage bound for Australia. Their younger brother Francis joined them in Australia in about 1853 and the three of them set up a Drapery business in Geelong, near Melbourne. These events may well have influenced Mark and Betsy and given them the idea of making a new life in the USA.

By 1856 we can speculate that four of their children had already died in infancy. Life had dealt the Wilsons several cruel blows and perhaps Mark and Betsy Wilson felt their future lay elsewhere? They were relatively old - both aged 45 years when they left England for the USA. Once again Mark demonstrated his individuality by choosing to immigrate to the USA rather than to Australia, which would prove to be more of a traditional Wilson destination. Two more Ossett Wilsons, Albert and Bunting Wilson, nephews of Henry, Benjamin and Francis Wilson were to move to Australia in 1872 and 1877 respectively.

I have not yet found a record of who travelled to the USA with Mark and Betsy in 1856, despite searching all the passenger manifests currently available for ships leaving England for the USA in 1856. It is known that they stayed the first winter (of 1856/57) in Boston, before moving to work in the iron foundries and coalmines of St. Louis. The most likely ports of embarkation in England would be Hull or Liverpool, both within easy reach of Ossett.

US Map

After living in St Louis for several years, Mark and Betsy settled at Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois. It is likely that they were influenced to take up farming in Illinois by the Homestead Act.

The Homestead Act of 1862
In 1862, the Homestead Act is passed, entitling any citizen or person who intends to acquire citizenship, who is twenty one years or older and the head of a household, to acquire 160 acres of land in the public domain by settling on them for five years and paying a small filing fee. The law would takes effect on January 1st, 1863.

Emmet Township

In 1863, the Wilsons moved to Emmet Township, McDonough County, Illinois. John Wilson, the eldest son, acquired 160 acres of land almost certainly as a result of the Homestead Act. Mark and Betsy Wilson, who would now be 52 years of age, lived with their son John on the new homestead. They later moved in to live with younger son Robert.

They both died at Emmet Township, McDonough County, Illinois - Mark Wilson on 8th June 1881 aged 70 and Betsy (Naylor) Wilson 5th December 1877 aged 65. They were buried on eldest son John W. Wilson's farm in Section 33 of the township. The grave has subsequently been destroyed.

Published in the Emmet Twp Pioneers - 276
A former neighbour of the Mark Wilson family, reported as a young man, seeing three bouquets of flowers lying in the pasture of this property. He did not remember seeing any stone markers, but presumed these were placed in memory of Mark and Bessie Wilson.  This pasture is located to the west of the curve in road 1250 N in Section 33.

Emmet Layout


The Next Wilson Generation - John, Maria, Robert & Fred

John W. Wilson, the eldest son of Mark and Betsy was born in Leeds, Yorkshire on March 8th 1836. His occupation in the 1851 census was that of Green Sand Moulder, living at Street Side, Ossett, Yorkshire with his mother and father Mark and Elizabeth.

John W. Wilson married Mary Ann Teasdale (born Kendal, Westmorland 19th April 1835) on September 27, 1859 in St Louis, Missouri. The 1900 census shows us that Mary Ann came to the USA in 1857 and probably settled with her family in St. Louis before meeting John Wilson. John and Mary Ann had eight children:

George Wilson born 1860, St Louis - died as a baby
Mark Wilson born 2nd June 1862, St. Louis
John T Wilson born 4th March 1864, Emmet Twp, IL
Albert Wilson born 9th February 1866, Emmet Twp, IL
Willis M. Wilson born 1868
Mary Wilson born March 1870
Laura Wilson born 19th February 1872
G. Frederick Wilson born 9th November 1875

Below: John W. Wilson and his wife Mary Ann

John W Wilson and Mary Ann

The following information about John W. Wilson is from the History of Emmet Township, McDonough County, Illinois, USA - dated 1885. This is an excellent document with a detailed description of Emmet Township and its founding residents, including John W. Wilson of Ossett, Yorkshire:

“John W. Wilson is a son of Mark and Elizabeth Wilson, and was born in Yorkshire, England, March 8, 1836. The family emigrated to America in 1856, spent one winter in Boston, and then removed to St. Louis, where they remained until 1863. In that year they came to this county, and located on the west half of the southwest quarter of section 33, Emmet Township, where the parents are buried.

John W. was united in marriage September 27, 1859, with Mary Ann Teasdale, a native of Kendall, Westmorland, England. On his marriage the young couple set up housekeeping on their own account, John working in the foundry at St. Louis, at the time.

In 1863 he purchased a farm in this place to which he removed a few years later. In 1873 he purchased his present homestead. Mr. Wilson is a moulder by trade, and followed that occupation in his native country, also in Boston and St. Louis, as above stated. His farm contains 160 acres of well-improved land, his residence and other buildings are well built and convenient, and his place is altogether a desirable one.

In 1854 the coal bank on the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 32 was opened. The present owner of the land is J. W. Wilson, who purchased it in 1866, but had previously worked the same for about three years. After he purchased the bank he began taking out about 50 bushels of coal per day. The vein is 26 inches in thickness and extends over about eight acres of land, although it originally covered about 18 acres. The product of the mine is as good a grade as is found, and sells at 8 cents per bushel, yielding a good profit yearly. This was called Randolph Mine.

Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have a family of eight children - George, Mark, John T., Albert, Willis, Mary, Laura and Frederick.

Politically, Mr. Wilson is a supporter of the Greenback party, and religiously, is an Episcopalian.”

In the 1915 edition of the History of McDonough County, the following additional information is provided:

The mining portion he subsequently sold and purchased 40 acres additional, and on this tract of 120 acres he is engaged in general farming and raising cattle, hogs and horses. He is an industrious, careful and thrifty farmer. Mr Wilson has held office of School Trustee, and has also served as Justice of the Peace.

John W. Wilson died 13th December 1910 and is buried in Oakwood cemetery, Macomb, Illinois. Mary Ann Wilson died 24th January 1927 in Macomb, Illinois. She was the daughter of John Teasdale and Mary Hall and was born 19th April 1835 in Kendal, Westmorland (now Cumbria), England.

Maria Wilson
Maria Wilson was born in Ossett, Yorkshire on 4th June 1842 and she married William Henry Allpress in Macomb, Illinois on the 8th March 1863. Maria died in Springdale, Arkansas on the 11th February 1899. William H. Allpress was born 29 September 1831 possibly in France to an English father and possibly a French mother. He migrated to the USA in 1854 from Cambridgeshire and died 21 March 1921 in Naper, Nebraska.

Below: Maria Wilson and husband William H. Allpress circa 1870

Maria Wilson and William H. Allpress

They had 10 children as follows:

Willis Ann Allpress was born 11th February 1865 in Macomb, Illinois and died 19th August 1942 in Lynch, Nebraska. She married Orlando G. Sprenkle on 21st January 1891 in Lynch, Nebraska.

Emma Jane Allpress was born 16th September 1866 in Wilwaukee, Wisconsin and died Redding California. On 16th May 1886, she married Frank Allison (born 10th September 1861 Bushnell, Illinois and died 2nd August 1896 Prairie Grove, Arkansas).

William H Allpress born 7th July 1868 in LaPlata, Missouri and died 12th March 1937 Burke, Nebraska. He married Minnie Chamberlain born about 1874 in New York on 10th October 1899 and by 1920 was farming in Keya Paha Nebraska. In the 1920 US census, father William Allpress aged 88 is also living with them and both his parents are shown as being English.

Bessie Allpress was born 25th December 1869 in LaPlata, Missouri and died 16th October 1948 in Clarkson, Nebraska. She married James Bennett Rinehart (born 1867 in Illinois and died in 1944 in Naper, Nebraska) on the 9th March 1902 and they had three children: Marion Edith born 14-12-1907; Thomas Bennett born 4-10-1909 and Nellie Elizabeth born 21-12-1911.

Oliver Allpress was born 16th December 1871. He married Phoebe Claypool born about 1872 in Missouri. By the time of the 1920 US census he was a farmer living in North Elm Street, Nowata City, Oklahoma with no children living at home.

Henry Allpress born 31st October 1873 in La Plata, Macon, Missouri and died 12th September 1938 Burke, Nebraska where he was a farmer. He married Myrtle Kelly in March 1903. By 1920 they had seven children: Bertha 15, Harry 14, Howard 12, Albert J. 11, Lloyd 8, Minnie 6 and Thom 4.

Annis Allpress born 8th March 1876 in Clarence, Missouri and died 14th December 1956. She married Frank McCluhen on 1st July 1906.
Julia Allpress born 12th January 1878 in Clarence, Shelby Co. Missouri. She married Marian Roberts in June 1900.

Julia Allpress married Marion Roberts in Nebraska in 1900. Left homestead in South Dakota and moved to Missouri. Possibly to farm near Clarence in Shelby Co. originally owned/worked by Julia's father, William Henry Allpress.

Nellie Belle Allpress born 21st December 1881 in Nevada, Missouri. She married William Henry Yenglin (born December 11, 1876 in Iowa) on 22nd October 1909) in Fairfax, Gregory, South Dakota.

Fred Ellis Allpress was born 21 August 1887 in Naper, Boyd Co. Nebraska. He married Weibka Margaretha Grantz (born 3 Dec 1887 in Sterling, Logan, Colorado) in Carlock, Gregory, South Dakota on 20 Jan 1909. They had Ruby Lillian Allpress born 15th June 1920 Clearfield, Tripp Co. South Dakota.

Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson was born in 10th June 1850, in Ossett, Yorkshire, England. He married Nancy Dorcus Bowen (born 25th May 1856 in Illinois) on the 20th March 1878 at Chalmers Township, McDonough County. Nancy’s parents were Tillman L. Bowen and Lydia (Rich) Bowen, natives of Chalmers Township, Illinois where Nancy was a schoolteacher before she married Robert Wilson.

Robert Wilson’s occupation is listed in the 1880 census as farmer at Emmet Township, Illinois. By this time, his father Mark was living with them, but was to die shortly afterwards on the 8th June aged 69 years.

In 1883 Robert Wilson moved his family west and settled in Jacksonville in the Rogue River Valley, near Medford, Oregon. Robert Wilson was a farmer in Jacksonville until 1909 when, because of ill health; he gave up farming, and moved to live at 17 South Peach Street, Medford.

Below: Robert Wilson and his family in about 1900. There were seven children in total. Top Row L to R: Grace & Charley Schleichert (her new husband), Willard Wilson and Maud Wilson. Middle Row L to R: Robert Wilson, Nancy Wilson and Nancy (Bowen) Wilson. Bottom Row, L to R: Frank Wilson, Anna Wilson and Jessie Wilson.

Robert Wilson and Family 1900

Maud Elizabeth Wilson was born 28th February 1879 at Macomb, Illinois. She married John Emery Day, car mechanic, (born 1871 in Sparta, Wisconsin) on 16th August 1905 at the house of her father Robert. Sadly John E. Day died 10th January 1917 of pneumonia in El Centro, California aged just 45. By 1920, Maud and her three children, Glenn, aged 13, Wanda, aged 11 and Emery aged 3 were living next door to her mother Nancy Wilson at 15 South Peach Street. In about 1921, Maud and the children moved to Portland, Oregon, living at 3028 N.E. Couch at the time of Maud’s death. Maud (Wilson) Day died 28th November 1939 aged 60 from heart disease in Portland; she is buried in Medford, Oregon. Maud and John Day had a daughter, Wanda Varian Day, born 6th Aug 1908 (died in 1968) who never married and two sons - Glenn Day and Emery Day about whom nothing is yet known.

Grace Isabelle Wilson was born 13th March 1880 at Macomb, Illinois and she married Charles Schleichert, a teamster, (born 1877 in Spokane, Washington) on 8th June 1899 at the home of her parents Robert and Nancy. In 1910, they were living at 17 South Peach Street in Medford with five children, very close to Grace’s parents. Later, they lived on a ranch at Griffin Creek, near Medford and by now had six children – five girls: Alice (born 1900), Maude (born 1901), Minnie (born 1903), Bertha (born 1905), Jessie and a son, Robert Schleichert, who was born in 1907. Charley Schleichert died of a heart attack whilst chopping wood on his ranch at the age of 45 on 21st September 1922 and two years later, Grace also died of a heart attack 22nd June 1924, aged 44, in Medford whilst returning home from a day out in the car with her friends.

Willard T. Wilson born 12th October 1881 at Quincy, Illinois and died aged 75 on 29th September 1957. Until his parent’s deaths, he lived at home at 17 South Peach Street, Medford and was employed as a carpenter in the building trade. Later, he lived at Central Point, Oregon and worked the last eight years of his life for the Oregon Fish and Game commission. As far as is known, Willard T. Wilson did not marry and he died in testate. His brother-in-law, George H. Eads had to petition the State Court of Oregon for the settlement of the estate. Willard left quite an extensive estate, including 13.55 acres of land, described as lots 11, 12 and the west half of lot 13 Pittview sub-division, Jackson County, Oregon, valued then at $10,000 US. Willard had also loaned $6,500 US to Kenneth A. and Wanda D Goebel at a repayment interest rate of 6%, payable from 1st April 1958. There was also $8,350 US in bank savings plus some US savings bonds. The total value of the estate was $19,346 US and included a 1952 Dodge sedan automobile. Willard is buried in the Wilson family grave at the IOOF cemetery Medford, Oregon.

Anna C. Wilson was born 8th January 1884 at Medford, Oregon and she married George H. Eads, drayman, (born 1882 in Iowa) on the 7th December 1904 at the Court House in Medford. They had a boy, Willard Vernon Eads, born 27th August 1905, but sadly he died in infancy from ileocolitis in October 1905 aged just one month. They also had a daughter; Irene E. Eads (born 1908) who married a man called Merryweather and had a daughter herself. In 1910 they were living at 11th Street, Medford and by 1916; George H. Eads was running the Eads Transfer and Storage Company with his brother Everett. The Eads brothers continued with this business for many years. By 1920, George and Anna had moved to 25 South Peach Street, close to Anna’s parents and George was managing the removal & storage business. Anna was living at 123 South Keane Way Drive, Medford when she died, aged 80, on the 18th December 1964. Her husband survived her and died in September 1969 at the home of his daughter Mrs Irene Merryweather, 6484 Oakridge Way, Sacramento, California. George and Anna (Wilson) Eads are both buried in the Siskiyou Memorial Park, Medford with their son Willard.

Jessie B. Wilson was born 8th July 1886 at Medford, Oregon. In 1919 she was still unmarried and living in Santa Paula, Ventura County, California. By 1920, Jessie was back in Medford living with her parents and was working as a schoolteacher in a public school. She married Cabell Breckenridge Garnett (born 24th July 1868 in Locust Dale, Madison County, Virginia) who was 18 years older than Jessie and therefore must have been in his fifties when they married. Jessie Wilson died 6th February 1964 aged 75 in Los Angeles County, California. At the time of her brother Willard’s death in 1957, Jessie was living at Women’s Cottage, 220 Veterans Administration Branch, Los Angeles 25, California. Her husband Cabell, who died February 17th 1951 aged 82, also in Los Angeles County, California, predeceased her.

Nancy Bowen Wilson was born 30th May 1888 at Medford, Oregon and she married Fred Stewart Day, carpenter, (born 1886 in South Dakota) on 30th November 1905 at the house of David L. Day, Fred’s father. The couple had a daughter Juanita Nancy Day, born 17th January 1907. In 1910 they were living with Fred’s parents David and Hattie S. Day and their two sons John (39) and Dave (36) at 24 Mistletoe Street, Medford. By 1920 Fred and Nancy had moved to 448 East Ash Street, Medford and mother-in-law Hattie S. Day was now living with them and daughter Juanita – no further children being born. By now, Fred Day was working as a machinist in an auto garage. Nancy (Wilson) Day died on May 28th 1958 aged 69 years and was living at 506 (10) Penn Street, Pasadena, California at the time of her death. Interestingly, the two Wilson sisters Nancy and Maud married the Day brothers, Fred and John.

Frank M. Wilson was born 10th March 1890 at Medford, Oregon. In 1910, Frank was lodging with the Burns family in Creswell, Lane County, Oregon where he was working as a carpenter in the building trade. Not much is known about Frank, except that he lived at Walla Walla, Washington for some part of his life. In the 1920 US census, Frank N. Wilson (29) was working as a labourer at Duggebulton Farm, Lower Dry Creek in Walla Walla and living with his wife Mabel G. Wilson aged 29 who had been born in Oregon. By the time of his mother’s death in 1935 it is assumed that he was already dead. In Nancy Wilson’s Will, she instructs the executors to search for the whereabouts of Frank Wilson. She states in the probate record of 1938 that she had enquired and that she had written letters to places she thought he might be at, but all correspondence had returned to her and she was unable to find the whereabouts of the said Frank M. Wilson. The probate record further states that Frank M. Wilson “cannot be found either in the State of Oregon or without, and that his whereabouts, if any, are unknown and have been unknown for the past 25 or 30 years.” The conclusion being that Frank M. Wilson was deceased and that he left no lineal descendants. In fact, Frank M. Wilson had moved to Prescott about 10 miles north of Walla Walla in Washington where he was a farmer like his father. His obituary in the Walla Walla Daily Bulletin, on Monday, October 10th 1927 reports “Frank N. Wilson died Sunday evening at his residence 904 Edith Avenue. He was 37 years old and is survived by his wife, mother, four sisters and one brother. Mr. Wilson farmed near Prescott. He was a member of the Christian church.”

Robert Wilson died aged 68 from heart problems on the 10th April 1919 in Medford, Oregon and Nancy (Bowen) Wilson died aged 78 on the 9th May 1935 in Medford, Oregon. Nancy left a very detailed Will with an estate valued at $3,923 USD, which included four houses valued at a total of $3,400 USD. Robert and Nancy Wilson are both buried in the family grave at the IOOF cemetery in Medford with son Willard T. Wilson.

Frederick Wilson
Fred Wilson was born in Ossett Yorkshire in 1853. Frederick moved to the USA with his parents Mark and Betsy Wilson in 1856. He then seems to have travelled around quite a bit. In a letter to his nephew Mark Wilson dated February 1882 he was living in Medford, Oregon. He comments that he does not like Oregon and talks about going to California to see the “big trees” and then back home to Illinois by way of Colorado. He clearly had a bond with nephew Mark Wilson and when Mark was 21 years of age (1883) he went to California to work in the redwoods at Humboldt Bay. It is possible that he and Fred Wilson worked together there. Claude Frederick Wilson - Mark Wilson’s son was named after his Uncle Fred. Frederick Wilson may have married a lady called Sally Tipton, but this has not yet been verified. Very little is known of his later life and there is no record of his death or marriage in the USA.

The Third Generation of USA Wilsons

George Wilson was born in St Louis, Missouri to John W. Wilson and Mary Ann Teasdale in 1860, when John W. Wilson was working in the iron foundries. Strangely, “George Wilson” is listed as being aged 6 years old the 1880 census. However, I suspect this is a mistake since Frederick Wilson was born in 1874 and was 6 years old at the time of the census. It is possible that George Wilson died in infancy or had moved away by the time of the 1880 census since there is no further record of him.

Mark Wilson born 2nd June 1862 in St. Louis, Missouri was John W. Wilson’s second son. He married Mary L. Rorer (born 4th February 1870 in McDonough County, Illinois) on the 24th January 1889 in McDonough County. Mark Wilson died 19th October 1927 in Emmet Township and his wife Mary on 14th September 1931 in McDonough County.

Mark Wilson and wife Mary

Above: Mary and Mark Wilson, the son of John W & Mary A. Wilson. He was a coal miner for a short while then bought a farm in Emmet Twp.

The following is from the History of McDonough County - 1915:
Mark Wilson who is successfully cultivating a farm of 110 acres which he owns in Section 32 and 33 Emmet Township, McDonough County, Illinois was born June 2nd 1862 in St Louis County, Missouri, a son of John W. and Mary A. Wilson, natives of England, which was also the native land of the grandfather, Mark Wilson. John W. Wilson, the father was by trade a moulder, and was also engaged in coal mining until his son Mark was one year old, when he moved to a farm in McDonough County containing coal land, upon which he operated a mine. Mark Wilson, the son, lived with his parents until he was 21 years old, when he went to California and worked in the red woods at Humboldt Bay for a year and a half. He then returned home and bought a farm in Emmet Township, McDonough County, where he lived five years. At the end of this period he sold out and bought another farm in Emmet Township, which he cultivated for six years. This he also sold and removed to Macomb, where he spent one year, and then purchased his present farm, where he has lived since 1899.

Mr Wilson was married January 24th 1889, to Mary L. Rorer, who was born in McDonough County, where she attended the public school. Three children have blessed their union, namely: Ralph Ernest, Mark Earl and Claude Frederick. Mr Wilson is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church; politically he is a Republican and has held the office of Town Collector two terms. He was elected Supervisor in the spring of 1904, and has rendered faithful and efficient service in both positions. Fraternally, he is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF).

Mark and Mary (Molly) Wilson had three sons:

Ralph Ernest Wilson born 27th October 1889
Mark Earl Wilson born 2nd April 1891
Claud Frederick Wilson born 3rd August 1895 at Emmet Twp, IL

John T. Wilson
John T. Wilson was the third son of John W. Wilson and was born in Emmet Twp in 1864 and died in 1937. In the 1900 census, 36 year-old John Jr. is shown as being single and living at home with his parents. His occupation is shown as a hardware dealer. He married Mary F. Harding (born about 1880 in Kentucky). They had one daughter, Clara Rose Wilson born in 1908 who remained unmarried. By the 1920 census, the family were living in Macomb City and John is shown as having no occupation.

Albert E. Wilson
Albert E. Wilson was the fourth son of John W. Wilson and was born in Emmet Twp on the 9th February 1866 and died September 1934. He married Elizabeth Sullivan (born 1868 in England) in about 1890, possibly in Oregon. In the 1900 US census Albert was living in Emmett Twp where he worked as a farmer. They had two children:

Arthur Albert Wilson was born 1891 in Oregon. By 1920 he was working as a railway signalman in Grand Island Nebraska and was married to Matlie (Matilda?) Dean, born in about 1894 in Illinois. They had three daughters in 1920: Alberta born 1913 in Canada: Mildred born 1917 in Nebraska and Winifred born August 1919 in Nebraska. They also had a son born after 1920, Arthur Dean Wilson.

Laura May Wilson was born 18th November 1896 in California. By 1920, Laura had married Elmer Howard Campbell who had been born 2nd September 1895 in Illinois and they had one son – Robert Campbell born 1916 in Illinois. Elmer Campbell was a barber in a barber’s shop and the family were living at 49 Maple Street in Chatsworth Twp, Livingston County, Illinois.

By 1920 Albert Wilson was a miner living in Cuba City in Fulton County, Illinois with his wife, 52 year-old Ina who was a self employed baker.

Willis Maria Wilson
Willis Maria Wilson was the first daughter of John W. Wilson and was born Emmet Twp. in 1868 and died in 1935. She never married. In the 1920 census she is living with brother Fred, sister Laura and her mother Mary Ann and is working as a stenographer in a real estate office.

Mary Wilson
Mary Wilson, John W. Wilson’s second daughter was born Emmet Twp in March 1870. Since she is not shown on the 1880 census, it seems likely that she died either at childbirth or during infancy.

Laura Wilson
Laura Wilson, John W. Wilson’s third daughter was born in Emmet Twp on 19th February 1872 and died 15th December 1971 at the advanced age of 99 years in the Sunset Home, Quincy, Illinois after and extended illness. She had lived at the Sunset Home in Quincy for 20 years. Laura never married and was a lifelong resident of Emmet Township. She was a graduate of the Macomb Business College and the Gregg School in Chicago. She was a member of the Lamoine Bible Club and one of the first members of the Macomb Methodist Church. In the 1910 census she is living with unmarried brother Fred Wilson and their parents on the farm and working as a nurse at home, presumably looking after her then 74 year-old parents. By the 1920 census she is shown as working as a sales lady in a stationary store and was still living with her brother Fred.

Mark Wilson and Family

Above: Some of the USA Wilson family at Easter 1918. Left to Right: Willis Wilson (Age 50), Mark Wilson (Age 56), Eva May Wilson (Age 27), Mark “Bud” W. Wilson in pram (Age 6 months), Mary Ann Wilson (Age 83), Mary Wilson (Age 48), Laura Wilson (Age 46) and Fred Wilson (Age 44)

Frederick Wilson
Frederick Wilson was the youngest son of John W. Wilson and was born Emmet Twp. on the 9th November 1875 and died in 1956. He remained unmarried. By the 1920 US census, he was a farmer in Emmet Township with his 84 year-old mother and two unmarried sisters Willis (51) and Laura (47) living with him.

The Fourth Generation

Mark Wilson (son of John W. Wilson) and Mary (Rorer) Wilson had three sons:

Ralph Ernest Wilson
Ralph Ernest Wilson (born 27th October 1889 in Emmet Twp) married Eva May Sticklen (born 8th August 1893 in Emmet Twp) on the 20th October 1914. In 1931 Ralph Wilson had both his arms amputated after an accident on his farm in Industry Township when he was accidentally dragged into a corn-cutting machine.

They had seven children:

Maurice Ralph Wilson born 17th December 1915, Emmet Twp and died 17th December 1915
Mark “Bud” William Wilson born 24th October 1917 Illinois and died 9th August 1990
Lloyd “Jim” Sherman Wilson born 3rd April 1919 Emmet Twp and died 2nd March 2003
Betty Jean Wilson born 21st April 1923 Emmet Twp
Dorothy Jane Wilson born 16th November 1924 Emmet Twp
Virginia Ruth Wilson born 30th October 1926, Colchester, Illinois
Mary Anna Wilson born 4th May 1931, Industry Twp. McDonough County, Illinois

Ralph Ernest Wilson died April 1977 at Industry, McDonough County, Illinois and Eva died 9th November 1967 at Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois.

Mark Earl Wilson
Mark Earl Wilson (born 2nd April 1891 Emmet Twp) married Ursa Idell Baumgardner (born 1st March 1900 in Multomea, Oregon) on the 17th June 1922. In 1920, Mark Earl was serving in the US Navy in the Hospital Corps.

They had one son Leonard Wilson (born 21st August 1924, Macomb, Illinois)

Mark Earl, known as Earl was a Christmas Tree Farmer in Emmet Township and a college football coach. He died in September 1973 and is buried in Fandon Cemetery, Bethel Township, Illinois. Mark’s nickname was “Curly” and he and his wife Idell had a cabin on Lake Michigan where they spent summers during their twilight years.

Claude Frederick Wilson
Claude Frederick Wilson (born 3rd August 1895) married Lucille Martha Bartholomew (born 8th January 1903 in Evart, Osal County Michigan) on the 11th April 1925 in Niles, Michigan. Claude Wilson was the owner of a lumber company. As a young man, he served in the US Navy during WW1 and later he taught school for one year in Puerto Rico.

They had two children:

Gwendelyn Wilson born 23rd April 1929 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. She married William David Batey on 24th June 1949 and then Ralph Johnson. Gwen now lives in North Logan, Utah.

John Mark Wilson born 29th March 1934 in Indiana

Claude Frederick Wilson died 24th October 1967 at Royal Oak, Oakland, MI and was buried 27th October 1967 in Troy, Oakland, MI.

These Wilson families have living descendents in McDonough County, Illinois and in other parts of the USA.



Leeds - The beastliest place, one of the nastiest I know - Charles Dickens 1847
Leeds is about 8 miles from Ossett and the nineteenth century saw the most extensive expansion of Leeds in its history, for Leeds was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution. It was a period of great wealth for the city, but unfortunately it was also a period of great poverty for many of the workers who flocked to its growing industries. There was intense exploitation of the working class through starvation wages and long hours, especially during the first seven decades of the Industrial Revolution. Thus the seven-year-old boys working 15 hours a day in monotonous toil with fingers cut off and limbs crushed in machinery in the hell of the iron foundries.

Just how badly the industrial boom affected Leeds is illustrated in the following article written by T.J. Maslen, a retired officer of the East India Company. It describes Leeds as a scene from Hell in 1843:

'I shall also notice the pretty condition of the river Aire, which runs through Leeds. Instead of being an ornament to the town, and a minister of pleasures to its citizens, by boating, swimming and fishing, its banks are crowded and shut up with buildings, and its waters are like a reservoir of poison, carefully kept for the purpose of breeding a pestilence in the town.

In that part of the river, extending from Armley Mills to the King's Mills, it is charged with the drainage and contents of about two hundred water-closets, cesspools, and privies, a great number of common drains, the drainings from dung-hills, the infirmary, (dead leeches, poultices for patients etc), slaughter houses, chemical soap, gas, drug, dye-houses, and manufacturers, spent blue and black dye, pig manure, old urine wash, with all sorts of dead animal and vegetable substances, and now and then a decomposed human body; forming an annual mass of filth equal to thirty millions of gallons! This was, until lately, the delicious nectar, the delectable water that went to make tea, to be carried to the lips of the beautiful young ladies of Leeds, (and they are the loveliest girls in the world) and to cook the victuals for the inhabitants'.

Faced with the terrible conditions in Leeds, no wonder the Wilsons moved back to Ossett and then on to the USA. However, things didn't improve much since a few years after they arrived, the American Civil War started and St. Louis, Missouri where they lived from 1858 - 1863 was significantly affected.

The American Civil War Period 1861 - 1865
The war caused many difficulties in St. Louis, such as the cessation of river traffic from the South. This had a severe effect on local business, retarding the City's progress and eventually causing it to lose ground to Chicago in its race to be the leading city of the Middle West. St Louis would be a difficult place to live in 1861. There were significant numbers of Confederate sympathisers and the state of Missouri was torn between joining the Confederacy and supporting the President Abraham Lincoln’s Union. In the Camp Jackson Massacre of May 1861, Federal troops fired on a crowd of civilians in St. Louis, killing over 30 men, women and children.

How the Township System Works.
A specific township is identified as being north or south of a particular baseline and east or west of a particular principal meridian. For example, T3N, R1E of the 3rd Principle Meridian is the third township north of the baseline in the first range east of the Third Principle Meridian. This particular 36 square-mile area is located in southern Illinois. The land description generally starts with the smallest part of the description and proceeds to the largest definition. For example, SE1/4 of NW1/4 of Section 3, T3N, R1E, 3rd PM would be the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 3 in township 3 north, range 2 east of the 3rd Principle Meridian. You may find some irregularly shaped townships and sections, which result from surveying errors and other difficulties.