EBENEZER ERSKINE WILSON

Company "C" 2nd West Virginia Cavalry


Submitted by John A. Jackson.

From History of Montgomery County, Kansas, By Its Own People, published by L. Wallace Duncan, Iola, Kansas, 1903, pgs. 256-257:

EBENEZER ERSKINE WILSON – One of the incorporators of the county seat of Montgomery county and the pioneer merchant of that city, was the late subject of this memoir, E. E. Wilson. His life, from that August day in 1869, when he first occupied a spot on the Independence townsite, to the day of his death, August 28th, 1894, was a leading and active spirit in the public affairs of the county and by the character of his citizenship was the confidence and esteem of his city and county.

Ebenezer E. Wilson was a native of the “Keystone State.” He was born at Elizabeth, in Allegheny county, November 21st, 1838, and was reared on his father’s farm. His father provided him with only the advantages of a country school education. When the Rebellion came on his patriotic enthusiam led him to enlist as a private soldier at McKeesport, Pennsylvania, April 22nd, 1861, but he was rejected because of a crippled hand. September 25th, the same year, he enlisted in Company “C”, of the 2nd West Virginia Cav., and passed into the service without question. His record shows his service to have been meritorious and he received promotions from the ranks to a captain’s commission, as follws: Sergeant, November 1st, 1862; Orderly Sergeant, October 16th, 1863; Second Lieutenant, April 9th, 1864; First Lieutenant, November 26th, 1864; Captain, January 7th, 1865, and, as such, was mustered out at Wheeling, West Virginia, June 30th, 1865.

Returning home he remained a citizen of his native state ‘till March, 1867, when he immigrated to Kansas, settling at Fontana, where he maintained his residence ‘till August, 1869, when he drove into Montgomery county with the goods necessary to stock a small store in the proposed town of Independence. It was the first stock of goods brought to the place and the expense of getting them to their destination was $2.25 per hundred pounds. The building in which he installed it was one with dimensions 14x24 feet, and cost $500.00. It was one story high and the business that was done within its walls rendered it an important mart of trade in those days. In company with F. D. Irwin, he began business October 1st, and the partnership lasted two years. He was one of the earliest business men of Elk City, where he was identified perhaps two years, but his chief concern was for his favorite, Independence, and he maintained his residence there in almost unbroken continuance for twenty five years. His high standing as a citizen commended him to the best considerations of the voters of the town and county and he held several offices, beginning with that of Mayor of Independence. He was a member of the board of trustees, who incorporated the town July 23rd, 1870, and the next year was elected its chief executive officer. In 1874, he was appointed deputy county treasurer and did the work of the office as such ‘till 1882, when he became treasurer himself. He was appointed postmaster of Independence by President Harrison, and died the incumbent of the office. He was prominent in the Grand Army, was post commander of McPherson Post, and was president of the Independence Reunion in 1881 and 1882.

Mr. Wilson was first married to Rebecca Braden, a lady of Washington, Pennsylvania, who died in a few months, at Grand View, Illinois, January 30th, 1872, he married Morna Moore, a native of Knox county, Illinois. January 30th, 1890, she died, leaving children: Zell, wife of Assistant General Freight Agent of the Mo. Pac. Ry., Arthur T. Stewart, of St. Louis, Mo.; Albert E., manager of the Hall-Baker Grain Co’s elevator business in Coffeyville; Sallie B. and Floyd M., twins, born March 15th, 1878, Jennie M., wife of Thomas Wagstaff, of Coffeyville, born May 25th, 1880; and George T., born March 24th, 1883, who is the state grain inspection department at Coffeyville.

Albert E. Wilson, second child of our subject, was born in Independence, Kansas, February 24th, 1876, and grew up and was educated in the public schools of that city. He took a course in shorthand in St. Louis, Mo., and at nineteen years of age began life as stenographer for Hall and Robinson, in the grain business in Coffeyville. He filled this position for eighteen months and was then made the company’s bookkeeper, in which capacity he served two years, being then made manager of the firm’s business in Coffeyville, in 1899. This firm was one of the leading exporters of grain in the west and their business in Coffeyville marks this city as one of their most important points. Like his father, Mr. Wilson is a Republican, and was a delegate from Montgomery county to the state convention in 1902, where he helped nominate W. J. Bailey for Governor of Kansas. He is committeeman for the third ward of Coffeyville and is secretary of the city central committee of his party. His is a Master Mason, an Elk and is unmarried.


From “History & Families Montgomery County, Kansas 1869-1994” published by Turner Publishing Company, Paducah, Kentucky, 1995:

EBENEZER ERSKINE WILSON a Kansas pioneer, was born Nov. 21, 1838 in Elizabeth, Pa. During the Civil War he enlisted Sept. 25, 1861, became a member of the (West) Virginia Cavalry, served through the war, rising from the ranks to the position of Captain; was present at the surrender at Appomattox; was mustered out June 30, 1865, and returned to his family home.

He went to Osage Indian Territory in Kansas in 1867; became part of a group of young men who founded Montgomery County on June 3, 1869; a year later organized a town company in founding Independence (incorporated July 23, 1870). He was elected President of that company; was first mayor; first express agent; and with partner, F. D. Irwin had the first general store which opened Oct. 1, 1869. June 1, 1870 he saw the first stage coach arrive.

On Jan. 1, 1872, he married Morna Moore of Independence, a native of Illinois.

Ebenezer was the Deputy County Treasurer 1874-81; County Treasurer 1881-86; served as Postmaster from Dec. 1889 until May 1, 1894 when he resigned due to ill health. In 1881 he wrote the first history of the County – original in Archives of Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka.

Ebenezer died in Independence, Aug. 1894; his wife died Jan. 1890; both are buried there in Mount Hope Cemetery.

Ebenezer and Morna had six children, all born in Independence; Zell, married Arthur Stewart. They lived in St. Louis. He was in offices of Santa Fe Railroad; Albert (known as Bert), married Vera Doyle; Jane, married Tom Wagstaff who became a prominent lawyer in Independence; Floyd, married Bertha (?). He founded a very successful alfalfa company in Colorado; Sally, married Will Forker. They lived in Calfornia; and George, lived in Texas, married late in life.

Albert, born Feb. 24, 1876, and Vera married June 2, 1909 in Coffeyville. (Previously he had moved from Independence); at this time he owned a very profitable grain business. Vera Doyle, two years earlier, came from Hastings, MI to teach in the high school.

Bert and Vera had two children: Albert E. Jr. and Harriet, both born in Coffeyville. In 1930, the family moved to Chicago, at which time Al was attending Kansas University. After graduation he became affiliated with Ralston-Purina in St. Louis. Dec. 27, 1938, he married Virginia Moran in Houston, TX. They lived in St. Louis until some years later when he became associated with Pfizer Co. and they moved to New Jersey; now retired in Wilington, DE; have one daughter, Virginia, who live near them.

During World War II in Chicago on April 10, 1943, Harriet married Capt. Walter E. Spicer Jr. of Elizabethton, TN, a graduate of Vanderbilt University. In 1947, when released from active duty, he became affiliated with Lambert Pharmacal Company, later known as Warner-Lambert. Harriet and Walter lived in five states until early retirement when they settled in Florida, now living in Winter Haven.

Harriet and Walter had two sons: Walter E. III (Terry) born in Chicago, now a First Vice-President of a large bank in California, and Richard Albert, born in Montclair, NJ, now a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI. Both are married and have a family. Submitted by Harriett W. Spicer.


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