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The ancestry of this pioneer of Shelby county is lost in the person of his father, Jeremiah, who was a resident of Virginia prior to the period of the Revolution. It is certain he was of Irish descent, if not a native of Ireland. His son John was born in Grayson County VA in the year 1774, during that agitation and unrest which was nerving the infant colonies for the supreme moment which came but two years later, and saw defiance flaunted in the face of the mother country. There is nothing of moment connected with his youth, and so he is found to have remained at his father's home until about 1799 when he married Anna Webb, who was a native of Georgia, a lady of much refinement and a descendant of the royal family of England. When but a child, she had been
entrusted to carry several military dispatches of great importance during the closing scenes of the Revolution. In this capacity she won many expressions of gratitude and admiration for her sagacity and daring. In 1801, Mr. Wilson, with his wife and one child, came to Warren County, Ohio, then a part of the Northwest Territory. Here he remained until March 1807, when with his wife and three children, he came to the newer community of the north Miami (Valley) and settled within the present limits of Washington Township. Here he entered 160 acres of land in section 7, and erecting a cabin, went bravely to work to carve a farm from the almost unbounded wilderness. It could scarcely have been a cheerful task, for aside from the arduousness of the labor incident to his situation, he found himself practically isolated from society, for he had overstepped the boundary of civilization. Still,he went about his task with that determination which always wins, and directing his whole energies to the development of his home farm, he was soon enabled to reach out and acquire other lands, until at his death, he was able to give a farm of 160 acres to each of his children.
At the organization of the county June 7, 1819, we find him a member of the first board of County Commissioners, which met in regular session at Hardin. During the succeeding years he devoted his time to farming and the acquisition of farm lands, and was at all times considered one of the most energetic and public spirited citizens of the county.
John Wilson died June 7, 1841 when a tree limb fell on him. His wife survived until 1847, when she passed from life and was laid by his side in the old cemetery at Hardin. Their children were named Jesse H., born November 12, 1800; Sally, born January 1, 1803; and Hiram, born November 5, 1804.
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