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lege, when he began the study of medicine at
Quincy, graduating from the Medical Department
of Illinois College in 1848. During a part of the
latter year he edited a Free-Soil campaign paper
("The Tribune") at Quincy, and, later, "The
Western Temperance Magazine" at the same
place. In 1849 lie began the practice of his pro-
fession at St. Louis, but the next year removed
to CoUinsville, III, remaining until 1857, when he
took charge of the Department of Languages in
the newly organized State Normal University at
Normal. The second year of the Civil War (1862)
he enlisted as a private in the Ninety-seventh
Illinois Volunteer Infantry, but was .soon after
commissioned as Surgeon with the rank of Major,
participating in the campaigns in Tennessee and
in the first attack upon Vicksburg. Being dis-
abled by an attack of paralysis, in February, 1863,
he was compelled to resign, when he had suffici-
ently recovered accepting a position in the office
of Provost Marshal General Oakes, at Spring-
field, where lie remained until the close of the
war. He then became Grand Secretary of the
Independent Order of Odd-FeUows for the State
of Illinois — a position which he had held from
1856 to 1863 —remaining under his second appoint-
ment from 1865 to "69. The next year he served
as Superintendent of Schools at Springfield.
meanwhile assisting in founding the Springfield
public library, and serving as its first librarian.
In 1870 he accepted the professorship of History
in the West Side High School of Chicago,
which, with the exception of two years (1884-86),



he continued to occupy for more than twenty-
five years, retiring in 1898. In the meantime.
Dr. Willard has been a laborious literary worker,
having been, for a considerable period, editor, or
assistant -editor, of "The Illinois Teacher," a con-
tributor to "The Century Magazine" and "The
Dial" of Chicago, besides having published a
"Digest of the Laws of Odd Fellowship" in six-
teen volumes, begun while he was Grand Secre-
tary of the Order in 1864, and continued in 1873
and '83; a "Synopsis of History and Historical
Chart," covering the period from B. C. 800
to A. D. 1876— of which he has had a second
edition in course of preparation. Of late years
he has been engaged upon a "Historical Diction-
ary of Names and Places," which will include
some 12,000 topics, and which promises to be the
most important work of his life. Previous to tlie
war he was an avowed Abolitionist and operator
on the "Underground Railroad," who made no
concealment of his opinions, and, on one or two
occasions, was called to answer for them in
prosecutions under the "Fugitive Slave Act."
(See "Underground Railroad.") His friend
and classmate, the late Dr. Bateman, says of
him: "Dr. Willard is a sound thinker; a clear
and forcible writer; of broad and accurate
scholarship; conscientious, genial and kindly,
and a most estimable gentleman."

WILLIAMS, Archibald, lawyer and JHrist,
was born in Montgomery County, Ky., June 10,
1801 ; with moderate advantages but natural
fondness for study, he chose the profession of
law, and was admitted to the bar in Tennessee
in 1828, coming to Quincj', 111., the following
year. He was elected to the General Assembly
three times — serving in the Senate in 1832-36, and
in the House, 1836-40 ; was United States District
Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, by
appointment of President Taylor, 1849-53; was
twice the candidate of his party (the Whig) for
United States Senator, and appointed by Presi-
dent Lincoln, in 1861, United States District
Judge for the State of Kansas. His abilities and
high character were widely recognized. Died,
in Quincy, Sept. 31, 1863— His son, John H., an
attorney at Quincy, served as Judge of the Cir-
cuit Court 1879-85.— Another son, Abraham Lin-
coln, was twice elected Attorney-General of



WILLIAMS, Erastus Smith, lawyer and ju-
rist, was born at Salem, N. Y., May 22, 1831. In
1842 he removed to Chicago, where, after reading
law, he was admitted to the bar in 1844. In 1854
he was appointed Master in Chancery, which



HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ILLINOIS.



.-.!H



Dfiiee he filled until lS6;i, when he was elected a
Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
After re-election in 1870 he became Chief Justice,
and, at the same time, heard most of the eases on
the equity side of the court. In 1879 he was a
candidate for re-election as a Republican, but
was defeated with the party ticket. After his
retirement from the bench he resumed private
practice. Died, Feb. 34, 1884.

WILLIAMS, James R., Congressman, was
born in White County, 111., Dec. 27, 1850, at the
age of 25 graduated from the Indiana State Uni-
versity, at Bloomington, and, in 1876, from the
Union College of Law, Chicago, since then being
an active and successful practitioner at Carmi.
In 1880 he was appointed Master in Chancery and
served two years. From 1882 to 1886 he was
County Judge. In 1892 he was a nominee on
the Democratic ticket for Presidential Elector.
He was elected to represent the Nineteenth Illi-
nois District in the Fifty-first Congress at a
special election held to fill the vacancy occasioned
by the death of R. \V. Townshend, was re-elected
in 1890 and 1892, but defeated by Orlando Burrell
(RepubUcau) for re-election in the newly organ-
ized Twentieth District in 1894. In 1898 he was
again a candidate and elected to the Fifty-sixth
Congress.

WILLIAMS, John, pioneer merchant, was
born in Bath County, Ky., Sept. 11, 1808; be-
tween 14 and 16 years of age was clerk in a store
in his native State; then, joining his parents,
who had settled on a tract of land in a part of
Sangamon (now Menard) County, 111., he found
employment as clerk in the store of Major Elijah
lies, at Springfield, whom he succeeded in busi-
ness at the age of 22, continuing it without inter-
ruption until 1880. In 1856 Mr. Williams was
tlie Republican candidate for Congress in the
Springfield District, and, in 1861, was appointed
Commissary General for the State, rendering
valuable service in furnishing supi)lies for State
troops, in camps of instruction and while proceed-
ing to the field, in the first years of the war ; was
also chief officer of the Illinois Sanitary Commis-
sion for two years, and. as one of the intimate
personal friends of Mr. Lincoln, was chosen to
accompany the remains of the martyred President,
from Washington to Springfield, for burial.
Liberal, enterprising and public-spirited, his name
was associated with nearly every public enter-
prise of importance in Springfield during his
business career — being one of the founders, and,
for eleven years President, of the First National
Bank; a chief promoter in the construction of



what is now the Springfield Division of the Illi-
nois Central Rjiilroad, and the Springfield and
Peoria line; a Director of tlie Springfield Iron
Company ; one of the Commissioners who con-
structed the Springfield water-works, and an
officer of the Lincoln Monument Association,
from 1865 to his death. May 29, 1890.

WILLI.IMS, \orman, lawyer, was born at
Woodstock, Vt., Feb. 1, 1833, being related, on
both the paternal and maternal sides, to some of
the most prominent families of New England.
He fitted for college at Union Academy. Meriden,
and graduated from the University of Vermont
in the class of 1855. After taking a course in
the Albany Law School and with a law firm in
his native town, he was admitted to practice in
both New York and Vermont, removed to Clii-
cago in 1858. and, in 1860, betuvme a member of
the firm of King, Kales & Williams, still later
forming a partnershij) witli Gen. John L. Thomp-
son, which ended with the death of the latter in
1888. In a professional capacity lie assisted in
the organization of the Pullman Palace Car Com-
pany, and was a member of its Board of Directors ;
also assisted in organizing the Western Electric
Company, and was prominently identified with
the Chicago Telephone Company and the Western
Union Telegraph Company. In 1881 he served as
the United States Commissioner to the Electrical
Exposition at Paris. In conjunction with his
brother (Edward H. Williams) he assisted in
founding the pubUc library at Woodstock, Vt.,
which, in honor of his father, ret^eived the name
of "The Norman Williams Public Library."
With Col. Huntington W. Jackson and J. Mc-
Gregor Adams, Mr. Williams was named, in the
will of the late Jolin Crerar, as an executor of the
Crerar estate and one of the Trustees of the
Crerar Public Library, and became its first Presi-
dent; was also a Director of the Chicago Pub-
lic Library, and trustee of a number of large
estates. Mr. Williams was a son-in-law of the
late Judge John D. Caton, and his oldest daughter
Ijecame the wife of Major-General Wesley Mer-
i-itt, a few months before his death, which oc-
curred at Hamilton Beach, N. H., June 19, 1899
— his remains lieing interred in hLs native town
of Woodstock, Vt.

WILLIAMS, Robert Ebenezer, lawyer, born
Dec. 3, 1825, at Clarksville, Pa., his grandfathers
on both sides being soldiers of tlie Revolutionary
War. In 1830 his parents removed to Washing-
ton in tlie same State, where in boyhood lie
worked as a mechanic in his father's shop,
attending a common school in the winter until



592



HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ILLINOIS.



he readied the age of 17 years, when he entered
Washington College, remaining for more than a
year. He then began teaching, and, in 1845
went to Kentucky, where he pursued the business
of a teacher for four years. Tlien he entered
Bethany College in West Virginia, at the same
time prosecuting liis law studies, but left at the
close of his junior year, when, having been
licensed to practice, he removed to Clinton,
Texas. Here lie accepted, from a retired la^vyer,
the loan of a law library, which he afterwards
purchased; served for two years as State's Attor-
ney, and, in 1856, came to Bloomington, 111.,
where he spent the remainder of his life in the
practice of his profession. Much of his time was
devoted to practice as a railroad attornej', espe-
cially in connection with the Chicago & Alton and
the Illinois Central Railroads, in which he
acquired prominence and wealth. He was a life-
long Democrat and, in 1808, was the unsuccessful
candidate of his party for Attorney-General of
the State. The last three years of his life he had
been in bad health, dying at Bloomington, Feb.
15, 1899.

WILLIAMS, Samuel, Bank President, was born
in Adams County, Ohio, July 11, 1830; came to
Winnebago County, 111., in 1835, and, in 1842,
removed to Iroquois County, where he held vari-
ous local offices, including that of County Judge,
to which he was elected in 1801. During his
later years he had been President of the Watseka
Citizens' Bank. Died, June 16, 1896.

WILLIAMSON, RoUin Samuel, legislator and
jurist, was born at Cornwall, Vt., May 23, 1839.
At the age of 14 he went to Boston, where he
began life as a telegraph messenger boy. In
two years he had become a skillful operator, and,
as such, was employed in various offices in New
England and New York. In 1857 he came to
Chicago seeking employment and, through the
fortunate correction of an error on the part of
the receiver of a message, secured the position of
operator and station agent at Palatine, Cook
County. Here he read law during his leisure
time without a preceptor, and, in 1870, was
admitted to the bar. The same year he was
elected to the lower House of the General
Assembly and, in 1872, to the Senate. In 1880 he
was elected to the bench of the Superior Court of
Cook County, and, in 1887, was chosen a Judge
of the Cook County Circuit Court. Died, Au-
gust 10, 1889.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, in the southern part
of the State, originally set off from Franklin and
organized in 1839. The county is well watered.



the principal streams being the Big Muddy and
the South Fork of the Saline. The surface is
undulating and the soil fertile. The region was
originally well covered with forests. AU the
cereals fas well as potatoes) are cultivated, and
rich meadows encourage stock-raising. Coal and
sandstone underlie the entire coimty. Area, 440
square miles; population (1880), 19,324: (1890)
22,226.

WILLIAMSVILLE, a village of Sangamon
County, on the Chicago & Alton Railroad, 12
miles north of Springfield ; has a bank, a news-
paper and coal-mines. Population (1890), 444.

WILLIS, Jonathan Clay, soldier and former
Railroad and Warehouse Commissioner, was born
in Sumner County, Tenn. , June 27, 1826 ; brought
to Gallatin County, 111., in 1834, and settled at
Golconda in 1843; was elected Sheriff of Pope
County in 1856, removed to Metropolis in 1859,
and engaged in the wharf-boat and commission
business. He entered the service as Quarter-
master of the Forty -eighth Illinois "Volunteers in
1861, but was compelled to resign on account of
injuries, in 1863 ; was elected Representative iv
the Twenty-sixth General Assembly (1868),
appointed Collector of Internal Revenue in 1869,
and Railway and Warehouse Commissioner in
1892, as the successor of John R. Tanner, serving
until 1893.

WILMETTE, a town in Cook County, 14 miles
north of Chicago, on the Chicago & Northwestern
Railroad. It is a handsome suburb of Chicago,
located on the shore of Lake Michigan, which is
here bordered by a bluff about 100 feet higk.
Population (1880), 419; (1890), 1,458.

WILMINGTON, a city of Will County, on the
Kankakee River and the Chicago & Alton Rail-
road, 53 miles from Chicago and 15 south-south-
west of Joliet ; has considerable manufactures, a.
national bank, a graded school, several cliurche*
and two newspapers. Wilmington is the location
of the Illinois Soldiers' Widows' Home. Popu-
lation (1880), 1,872; (1890), 1,.576.

WILSON, Charles Lush, journalist, was bora
in Fairfield County, Conn., Oct. 10, 1818, edu-
cated in the common schools and at an academy
in his native State, and, in 1835, removed to Chi-
cago, entering the employment of his older
brothers, who were connected with the construc-
tion of the Illinois & Michigan Canal at Joliet.
His brother, Richard L. , having assume
of "The Chicago Daily Journal" (the
of "The Chicago American'"), in|1844, Charles L.
took a position in the office, ultimately securing
a partnership, which continued until the death



HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ILLINOIS.



593



of his brother in I806, when he succeeded to the
ownership of the pajjer. Jlr. Wilson was an
jirdent friend and supporter of Abraham Lincoln
for the United States Senate in 1858, but, in 1860,
favored the nomination of Mr. Seward for the
Presidency, though earnestly supporting Mr. Lin-
coln after his nomination. In 1861 he was
appointed Secretary of the American Legation at
London, serving with the late Minister Charles
Francis Adams, imtil 1864, when he resigned and
resumed his connection with "The Journal." In
1875 his health began to fail, and three years
later, having gone to San Antonio, Tex., in the
hope of receiving benefit from a change of cli-
mate, he died in that city. March !), 1878.—
Richard Lush (Wilson), an older brother of the
preceding, the first editor and publisher of "The
Chicago Evening Journal," the oldest paper of
consecutive publication in Chicago, was a native
of New York. Coming to Chicago with his
b'-other John L., in 1834, they soon after estab-
lished themselves in business on the Illinois &
Michigan Canal, then in course of construction.
In 1844 he took charge of "The Chicago Daily
Journal" for a publishing committee which had
jmrchased the material of "The Chicago Ameri-
can," but soon after became principal proprietor.
In April, 1847, while firing a salute in honor of
the victory of Buena Vista, he lost an arm and
was otherwise injured by the explosion of the can-
non. Early in 1849, he was appointed, by Presi-
dent Taylor, Postmaster of the city of Chicago,
but. having failed of confirmation, was compelled
to retire in favor of a successor appointed by
Millard Fillmore, eleven months later. Mr.
Wilson published a little volmne in 1842 entitled
"A Ti-ip to Santa Fe," and, a few years later,
a .story of travel under the title, "Short Ravel-
lings from a Long Yarn." Died, December, 1856.
— John Lush (Wilson), another brother, also a
native of Mew York, came to Illinois in 1834, was
afterwards associated with his brothers in busi-
ness, being for a time bu.siness manager of "The
Chicago Journal;" also served one term as Sher-
itT of Cook Coimty. Died, in Chicago, April 13,
1888.

WILSOJf, Isaac Grant, jurist, was born at
iliddlebury. N. Y.. April 26, 1817, graduated
from Brown University in 1838, and the same
year came to Chicago, whither his father's
family had preceded him in 1835. After reading
law for two years, he entered the senior class at
Cambridge (Mass.) Law School, graduating in
1841. In August of that year he opened an
oflfice at Elgin, and, for ten years "rode the cir-



cuit." In 1851 he wiis elected to the bench of
the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to fill a vacancy,
and re-elected for a full term in 1855, and again
in '61. In November of the latter year lie was
commissioned the first Colonel of the Fifty-
second Illinois 'Volunteer Infantry, but resigned,
a few weeks later, and resmned his place upon
the bench. From 1867 to 1879 he devoted him-
self to private practice, which was largely in
the Federal Courts. In 1879 he resumed his seat
upon the bench (this time for the Twelfth Cir-
cuit), and was at once designated as one of the
Judges of the Appellate Court at Chicago, of
which tribunal he became Chief Justice in 1881.
In 1885 he was re-elected Circuit Judge, but died,
about the close of his term, at Geneva, June 8,
1891.

WILSON, James Orant, soldier and author,
was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, April 28, 1833,
and, when only a year old, was brought by his
father, William "W^ilson, to America. Tlie family
settled at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., where James
Grant was educated at College Hill and under
private teachers. After finisliing his studies he
became his father's partner in business, but, in
1855, went abroad, and, shortly after his return,
removed to Chica.go, where he founded the first
literary paper established in the Northwest. At
the outbreak of the Civil War. he disposed of his
journal to enlist in the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry,
of which he was commissioned Major and after-
wards promoted to the colonelcy. In August,
1863, while at New Orleans, by advice of General
Grant, he accepted a commission as Colonel of
the Fourth Regiment United States Colored
Cavalry, and was assigned, as Aid-de-camp, to
tlie staff of the Commander of the Department of
tlie Gulf, filling this past until April, 1865.
When General Banks was relieved. Colonel Wil-
son was brevetted Brigadier-General and placed
in command at Port Hudson, resigning in July,
1865, since which time his home has been in New-
York. He is best known as an author, having
published numerous addresses, and being a fre-
([uent contributor to American and European
magazines. Among larger works which he has
written or edited are "Biographical Sketches of
Illinois OflJicers"; "Love in Letters"; "Life of
General U. S. Grant"; "Life and Letters of
Fitz Greene Halleck" ; "Poets and Poetry of
Scotland"; "Bryant and His Friends", and
"Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography."

WILSO\, James Harrison, soldier and mili-
tary engineer, was born near Shawneetown, 111..
Sept. 2. 1837. His grandfather, Alexander Wil-



594



HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ILLINOIS.



son, was one of the pioneers of Illinois, and
his father (Harrison Wilson) was an ensign dur-
ing the War of 1813 and a Captain in tlie Black
Hawk War. His brother (Bluford Wilson)
served as Assistant Adjutant-General of Volun-
teers during tlie Civil War, and as Solicitor of the
United States Treasury during the ' 'whisky ring"
prosecutions. James H. was educated in the
common schools, at McKendree College, and
the United States Military Academy at West
Point, graduating from the latter in 1860, and
being assigned to the Topographical Engineer
Corps. In September, 1861, he was promoted to
a First Lieutenancy, then served as Chief Topo-
graphical Engineer of the Port Royal expedition
until March, 1862; was afterwards attached to
the Department of the South, being present at
the bombardment of Fort Pulaski; was Aid-de-
camp to McClellan, and participated in the bat-
tles of Soutli Mountain and Antietam ; was made
Lieutenant-Colonel of Volunteers in November,
1862; was Chief Topographical Engineer and
Inspector-General of the Army of the Tennessee
until October, 1863, being actively engaged in
the operations around Vicksburg; was made
Captain of Engineers in May, 1863, and Brigadier-
General of Volunteers, Oct. 31, following. He
also conducted operations preliminary to the
battle of Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge, and
for the relief of Knoxville. Later, he was placed
in command of the Third Division of the cavalry
corps of the Army of the Potomac, serving from
May to August, 1864, under General Sheridan.
Subsequently he was transferred to the Depart-
ment of the Mississippi, where he so distinguished
himself that, on April 20, 1865, he was made
Major-General of Volunteers. ■ In twenty-eight
days he captured five fortified cities, twenty-
three stands of colors, 288 guns and 6,820 prison-
ers — among the latter being Jefferson Davis. He
was mustered out of the volunteer service in
January, 1866, and, on July 28, following, was
commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel of the Thirty-
fifth United States Infantry, being also brevetted
Major-General in the regular army. On Dec. 31,
1870, he returned to civil life, and was afterwards
largely engaged in railroad and engineering oper-
ations, especially in West Virginia. Promptly
after the declaration of war with Spain (1898)
General Wilson was appointed, by the President,
Major-General of Volunteers, serving until its
close. He is the author of "China: Travels and
Investigations in the Middle Kingdom" ; "Life of
Andrew J. Alexander"; and the "Life of Gen,
•U. S. Grant," in conjunction with Charles A.



Dana. His home, in recent years, has been in
New York.

WILSON, John M., lawyer and jurist, was
born in New Hampshire in 1802, graduated at
Bowdoin College in 1824 — the classmate of Frank-
lin Pierce and Nathaniel Hawthorne ; studied law
in New Hampshire and came to Illinois in 1835,
locating at Joliet; removed to Chicago in 1841,
where he was the partner of Norman B. Judd,
serving, at different periods, as attorney of the
Chicago & Rock Island, the Lake Shore & Michi-
gan Southern and the Cliicago & Northwestern
Railways; was Judge of the Court of Common
Pleas of Cook County, 1853-59, when he became
Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Chicago,
serving until 1868. Died, Dec. 7, 1883.

WILSON, John P., lawyer, was born in White-
side County, 111., July 3, 1844; educated in the
common schools and at Knox College, Galesburg,
graduating from the latter in 1865; two years
later was admitted to the bar in Chicago, and
speedily attained prominence in his profession.
During the World's Fair period he was retained
as covinsel by the Committee on Grounds and
Buildings, and was prominently connected, as
counsel for the city, with the Lake Front litiga-
tion.

WILSON, Robert L., early legislator, was born
in Washington County, Pa., Sept. 11, 1805, taken
to Zanesville, Ohio, in 1810, graduated at Frank-
lin College in 1831, studied law and, in 1833,
removed to Athens (now in Menard County), 111. ;
was elected Representative in 1836, and was one
of the members from Sangamon County, known
as the "Long Nine," wlio assisted in securing the
removal of tlie State Capital to Springfield. Mr.
Wilson removed to Sterling, Whiteside County,
in 1840, was elected five times Circuit Clerk and
served eight years as Probate Judge. Immedi-
ately after the fall of Fort Sumter, he enlisted as
private in a battalion in Washington City under
command of Cassius M. Clay, for guard duty
until the arrival of the Seventh New York Regi-
ment. He subsequently assisted in raising
troops in Illinois, was appointed Paymaster by
Lincoln, serving at Washington, St. Louis, and,
after the fall of Vicksburg, at Springfield — being
mustered out in November, 1865. Died, in White-
side County, 1880.

WILSON, Robert S., lawyer and jurist, was
born at Montrose, Susquehanna County, Pa., Nov.
6, 1812; learned the printer's art, then studied
law and was admitted to the bar in Allegheny
County, about 1833; in 1836 removed to Ann



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