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Abijah and Allen Wilson Families
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Alternate Spellings - None Found

Links - Other Wilson Families in Mercer County, Wilson Civil War Letters, Woodward , Randolph, Shaunce, Shields, Levi Willits family, Isaac Willits Family, Seastone, Stephens/Stevens, Cox , Duffield, see Noland, John and Lydia Martin Woodward, Lavina Wilson Woodward Diary

Contacts - We are grateful to Sharon Woodward for help with the Wilson/Woodward connections. Stan Drake is also researching the Wilson/Woodward family and furnished us with Civil War letters written by Captain William A. Wilson, "Cap" Wilson's obituary and Henrietta Dryden Wilson's obituary. Jane Slaughter is a descendant through the Shields/Wilson connection and has also been a great help. We appreciate Jerry Hagge sending us information from the booklet "Wilson's of Illinois and Iowa and Associated Families" dated March 1, 1995, by Patricia Wayne. This booklet deals with the ancestors and descendants of Abijah and Allen Wilson of Connecticut who came to Mercer County in the 1830's. It is well researched and we have permission to use some of the information. If anyone would like to purchase a copy of the booklet from Patrica Wayne, contact Web Master Nadine Holder on the About Us Page as I have her address information.



Two brothers, Abijah and Allen Wilson, settled in Mercer County in the mid 1830's. Abijah Wilson purchased the W2SE and S2SW Section 33 T15N R5W on 6/8/1835. Allen Wilson purchased the W2NW Section 33 on the same day and added the SENW Section 33 on 7/22/1836. They paid $1.25 per acre for the land. Some of this land is still in Wilson hands on the 1875 plat map of Eliza Township. The ancestry of Abijah and Allen Wilson is given in the "Wilson's ... and Associated Families" booklet mentioned above and it tells us their parents were Abner and Dorcas Catlin Wilson of Litchfield, Connecticut.

Abijah Wilson Family

Abijah's tombstone in the Shields Cemetery gives his birthdate as August 18, 1784 and his death date as 4/10/1847. The Wilson booklet gives his birthdate as 8/18/1785 in Litchfield, Connecticut.

The family moved to New York in the early 1800's and Abijah married Nancy [surname unknown] in New York.

Abijah Wilson is found in the 1840 census in future Eliza Township: 1 male 50-60 (Abijah), 1 male 20-30 (Nelson), 1 male 15-20 (Unknown); 1 female 40-50(Nancy), 1 female 10-15 (Lucy). The unknown male is not necessarily another son as he might have been a hired hand. He might also have been a son, as a Thomas Wilson married a Jane Irwin on 9/9/1847 in Mercer County. They are not found further in Mercer County and the name is too common to trace them. An argument for this is that Nelson Wilson named his oldest son Thomas which might have been in honor of his brother.

Nancy Wilson Randolph

Abijah's widow, Nancy Wilson, married Hartshorn Randolph on 4/4/1850 in Mercer County. She is found with him in the 1850 census living next to the Allen Wilson family, thus implying they were living on the Abijah Wilson property: #668 Hartshorn Randolph, 45, farmer, born Pa; Nancy, 54, born New York; Jane Randolph, 18, Pa; James Randolph, 15, Pa; Charlotte Randolph, 13, Pa; Hartshorn Randolph, Jr., 10, Pa; John Randolph, 21, Pa; Henry Randolph, 20, born Pa. At the first town meeting in Eliza Township in April 1854 H. Randolph was elected commissioner of highways. He died soon after on 9/12/1855, age 50 yr 5 mo 14 dy and is buried in Eliza C emetery. We will be putting up a Randolph page since the family lived in Eliza Township. We have no information on Nancy's death date or burial but she is not found in the 1860 census in Mercer County.

Nelson and Emma Shaunce Wilson

Son Nelson Wilson was born about 1817 in New York. He married Emma Shaunce, daughter of David and Hannah Bolton Shaunce, on 12/21/1840 in Mercer County.

Nelson Wilson is found in 1850 near his mother Nancy Wilson Hartshorn (probably on Abijah's property): #670 Nelson Wilson, 33, farmer, born New York; Emma Wilson, 33, born NY; Thomas Wilson, 10, born Maine; James S. Wilson, 7, Il; William S. Wilson, 5, Il; Mary J. Wilson, 3, Il; Charles Wilson, 8/12, Il. It is curious that the oldest son is listed as born in Maine - did they take a journey to the northeast of the country to visit relatives? Was he an orphan boy that they took in and raised as their own? There were a number of Maine families in Mercer County at a very early date. Since Nelson and Emma married in December of 1840 neither the age or the birthplace makes him a credible son.

Nelson and Emma are gone from Mercer County by 1860. They went to Minnesota but by 1880 they are found in Atlantic Township, Cass County, Iowa: Nelson Wilson, 63, laborer, born NY, parents born NY; Emma, 63, born NY, father born Germany, mother born NY; Charles E. Wilson, son, 33, born Il; George N. Wilson, 21, born Minnesota.

Lucy Wilson Shields

Daughter Lucy Wilson was born 8/24/1829 in Illinois [Adams Co]. She married William Shields, son of John and Eleanor Shields on 4/12/1849 in Mercer County. There is a sketch of William Shields in the History of Mercer County 1882 which is where we make the connection that Lucy was a daughter of Abijah. Page 291: "William Shields came to Mercer County in the spring of 1840, and first settled in New Boston Township, after which he moved to Eliza and settled on section 33, land then owned by Abijah Wilson, whose daughter Lucy he married April 12, 1849."

In 1850 William and Lucy were living next to William's parents in New Boston Township: #354 William Shields, 32, farmer, born In; Lucy, 20, born Il; Leander, 5/12, Il. #353 John Shields, farmer, born Va; Eleanor, 53, Ky.

William and Lucy had a son Elmore, born 8/13/1852 and died 8/11/1857, and buried in Shields Cemetery. They had another son Albert, born 12/18/1856 and died 8/24/1857, and buried in Shields Cemetery. Because both boys died in August 1857 it is likely they died of disease.

William and Lucy are found in Eliza Township in 1860: #2689 William Shields, 42, farmer, born In; Lucy, 33, born Il; Leander Shields (male), 11, Il; Maria Shields, 8, Il; Stephen A. D. Shields, 2, Il. A Stephen Dodson, age 18, born Il, is with them. We do not know the connection but it appears that Stephen Shields, age 2, was named for him and is probably Stephen A. Dodson Shields.

Another tragedy is recounted in the Aledo Weekly Record, Feb 16, 1864: "Died in Eliza Township February 7 at the residence of son William, Mrs. Ellen Shields, age 61 years. She took strychinine by mistake instead of quinine and efforts to revive her failed." The DAR Cemetery records give her death date as Feb 7, 1861 in error.

William and Lucy are still in Eliza Township in 1870: #158 William Shields, 50, farmer, born In; Lucy, 40, born Il; Lucinda [Leander?], 20, born Il; Ira Shields, 7, Il; Joe Shields, 5, Il.

In 1880 in Eliza Township: William Shields, farmer, 60, born In, father born Tn, mother born Ky; Lucy, 50, Il, parents born NY; Ira Shields, 17, Il, works on farm; Joe Shields, 15, Il, Works on farm.

Joe and Leander Shields are found in Shields Cemetery: Joe Shields, May 22, 1865-March 2, 1883, aged 17y 9m 10d; Leander Shields died Sept 14, 1878, aged 28y 6m 25 dy.

William Shields (June 9, 1818-December 26, 1892) and Lucy Wilson Shields (August 24, 1829-February 1, 1892) are buried in Shields Cemetery with their children. There is a photo of the Shields Cemetery as well as map location on our Cemeteries page.

Only daughter Maria and son Ira lived to have families of their own. Maria Wilson married Levi Perry Willits, son of James and Sarah Myers Willits on 3/16/1871 in Mercer County. They are found in Grant Township, Adams County, Iowa in 1880: L. P. Willets, 39, born In, parents born In; Maria, born Il, father born In, mother Il; Victor Willets, 6, born Ia; Britt Willets (son, middle name Leander), 4, Ia; Dott Willets, 3, Ia; Glenn Willets, 10 mo, Ia. With them are Jacob Bruce, works on farm, 20, born Mo, and Eva Fisher, cook, 22, born Ia.

Ira Shields married Dora S. Seastone, daughter of John and Emma Johnson Seastone, on 10/5/1887 in Mercer County. They had one son, Lloyd B. Shields, born 1888 (apparently in Iowa), died 1947 and buried in New Boston Cemetery. Ira died 1907 and Dora died 1930 and are buried in New Boston Cemetery. Dora married a Shanahan after Ira's death but she is buried beside Ira.

Ira and Dora's son Lloyd is found in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois in 1920: Lloyd B. Shields, stationary salesman, rent at $45 mo, age 31, born Iowa, parents born Il; Stella B. Shields, age 31, born Nebraska, father born Maine, mother born Illinois. In 1930 they are at 538 Woodlawn Avenue where Lloyd is the Building Supervisor: Lloyd B. Shields, rent at $105 mo, 41, born Ia, parents born Il, married at age 27; Stella E. Shields, 41, born Ne, father born Maine, mother born Il; Ben Shields, 10, born Il; William S. Shields, 4, Il; Victor A. Shields, 1, Il.

Allen Wilson Family

Allen Wilson was born 7/23/1784 in Litchfield, Connecticut, and died 2/4/1854 in Mercer County. The dates are from his tombstone in Shields Cemetery and since the tombstone was more than 100 years old when it was read the correct birthdate may be more like 1787 per the 1850 census. He married Henrietta Dryden, daughter of William and Rachel Morgan Dryden, on 11/30/1828 in Shelby County, Indiana. The marriage record is as Henrietta Grimes and Allen Wilson as she was a widow. According to her tombstone she was born 9/8/1793 and died 3/28/1894 in Mercer County. She was the oldest person living in Mercer County when she died. Her birthplace was Maryland. There is a great deal about the Grimes family in Patricia Wilson's "Wilson Family" document.

Stan Drake kindly furnished us with Henrietta's obituary. We believe it is worth reproducing in full given the great span of her life:
"Henrietta Wilson was born September 8, 1793, in the state of Maryland and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs John Stevens, in this township, Wednesday, March 28, 1894, and will be buried at 2 PM today in the Shields cemetery; Funeral services from the home, Rev. Puffer officiating. The deceased was the youngest daughter of William and Rachel Dryden and when quite young moved with her parents to Ohio where she grew to womanhood. When quite young she was married to Noble Grimes and a short time after marriage they moved to Indiana where the young husband died. A few years afterward she married Allen Wilson. In 1835 they moved to this state and settled on what is now the Fred Muhlenburg farm in Eliza township. in the spring of 1854 her husband died and was buried in the Shields cemetery. For the past twenty years she has made her home with her daughter, Mrs. John Stevens. To her first marriage were born three children, Wm. Grimes and Rachel Duffield, deceased, and Noble Grimes who resides in Oregon and is nearly 75 years old. To the last union were born seven children, Sara Shields, Capt. W. A. Wilson of Ainsworth, Iowa, Chauncey Wilson of Medford, O.T., Lavena Woodward and Jay Wilson of Belle Plaine, Iowa, Mrs Louisa Stevens of this township and Allen who died while serving his country in the Civil war.

"Henrietta Wilson was the oldest person in Mercer county and perhaps the oldest Methodist in the world, having belonged over 80 years. Think of it, born in 1793 when Washington was President, at a time when steamboats, electricity or railroads were not thought of, when Ohio and Indiana fromed a part of the northwest territory. What wonderful changes in national life, commerce and education she has lived to see and during all these years she has been blessed with a keen sight, a good hearing and a memory of which any one might be proud. At one time she was a passenger from New York to Albany on the Clermont, Robert Fultons first steamboat.

"For the last twenty years she has made her home with her daughter, Mrs. John Stevens, and has devoted a great deal of her time to the study of the Bible and especially to the gospel of St. John. For a few days before her death she had not been feeling as well as usual but when asked how she felt replied she did not have an ache or pain but was full of glory and that the end was near at hand. The morning of her death she was up early and asked if breakfast was ready. Her daughter told her is was not and gave her a cup of coffee which she drank and in a few minutes asked to be helped to her bed where she died, after telling Mrs Stevens to tell the family good-bye for her."

The family is found in the 1840 census in T15N R5W (future Eliza Township) Mercer County: 1 male 40-50[Allen]; 1 male 10-15 [Noble Grimes]; 2 males 5-10 [William and Chauncey]; 1 male under 5[Jay]; 1 female 40-50[Henrietta]; 1 female 15-20[Rachel Grimes]; 1 female 10-15[Sarah], 1 female under 5[Lavina]. The two Grimes children are stepchildren of Allen per the 1850 census. Rachel married David Duffield 3/16/1854 in Mercer County. Noble married Margaret Jackson 1/24/1851 in Mercer County (we do not know the parents of Margaret.)

The family is found in T15NR5W in 1850:#667 Allen Wilson, 63, farmer, 3000, Conn; Henrietta, 52, Md; Rachel Grimes, 28, In; Noble Grimes, 24, In; Sarah Wilson, 20, In; William, 18, farmer, In; Nancy[actually Chauncey], 16, Il; Lavina, 14, Il; Jay, 12, Il; Louisa, 10, Il; Allen, 6, Il.

Widow Henrietta is censused as Harriet Wilson in Eliza Township in 1860: #2693 Harriet Wilson, 62, farmer, Md; Jay, 21, Il; Louisa, 19, Il, Allen, 16, Il.

Henrietta is either missed in Mercer County in the 1870 census or was visiting somewhere. She is living with son William A. Wilson in 1880 in New Boston, age 83, born Ohio, parents born Virginia. Someone in the household gave incorrect information as they gave William's father born New York, and mother born Ohio. The 1914 Past and Present of Mercer County History tells us that Henrietta was receiving an $8 a month pension in 1884 in New Boston Township.

Sarah Wilson Shields

Daughter Sarah B. Wilson married Richard Shields, son of John and Eleanor Shields, on 4/26/1851 in Mercer County. Richard Shields was brother of William Shields who married Lucy Wilson, daughter of Allen's brother Abijah. Richard was born 9/19/1824. Sarah died 1/14/1896 and Richard died 9/19/1901 in Stilwell, Kansas and are buried in Aubrey Cemetery. They had children: John A. Shields, born about 1855 in Mercer County: Rose Ella Shields born 12/1/1856; Allie M. Shields, born about 1863 and Ettey Shields, born about 1865. There is more on this family on the Shields page.

William and Keziah Woodward Wilson

The History of Mercer County 1882 has considerable history of William A. Wilson. He married Keziah Woodward, daughter of Jehu and Keziah Henry Woodward, on 9/24/1857 in Mercer County. With the help of Sharon Woodward, a descendant, we have connected Jehu Woodward to the Woodwards who came to Pennsylvania in the late 1600's (See Woodward Web Site - John and Lydia Martin Woodward. William and Keziah had children: Allen Jay Wilson, born about 1859; Edd S. Wilson, born 1860; Dick Wilson, born about 1862; Resaca Battle Wilson, born 1864; General Philip Sheridan Wilson, born about 1866; John S. Wilson, born about 1869; Harvey Wilson, born about 1872; Louie Wilson, born 8/21/1874, died 7/31/1875, bur Shields Cem; Grace Wilson born 4/1877, d 10/14/1879, bur Shields Cem; Bert M. Wilson, born about 1879 and Frank M. Wilson.

William and Keziah are found in Aledo in 1860: #1280 William A. Wilson, 29, farmer, born In; Keziah, 19, Pa; Allen J., 1, Il; William Woodward, 15, laborer, born Pa [brother of Keziah].

In August 1861 William Wilson, James Mannon, and Sanderson Rodgers raised Company K, 102nd Regiment composed of men from the north part of the county. Keziah's brothers, William and Laughlin Woodward, and William's brother, Allen Williams, were among the recruits. William Wilson was First Lt and was promoted to Captain when Sanderson Rodgers resigned in March 1863. William resigned in October 1864.

A Wilson researcher, Stan Drake, has furnished us with letters written by William A. Wilson during the Civil War - with his permission they are reproduced on the Wilson - Civil War page, along with an obituary for Captain "Cap" Wilson also furnished by Stan.

William and Keziah are in New Boston Township in 1870: #128 William A. Wilson, 39, farmer, born In; Kate, 30, Pa; Jay, 12, Il; Edd, 10, Il; Dick, 7, Il; Rusa (f), 6; Genl Phil Sheridan, 4, Il; John, 1, Il. In 1880 they are in still in New Boston Township: William Wilson, farmer, 48, In, father born NY, mother born Ohio; Kate Wilson, 38, Pa, father born NY, mother born Pa; Alen J. Wilson, works on farm, 21, Il; Ed S. Wilson, works on farm, 20, Il; Dick Wilson, works on farm, 18, Il; Ressu Wilson (dau), 16, Il; General P. S. Wilson, works on farm, 14, Il; John S. Wilson, 10, Il; Harvey Wilson, 8, Il; Birt Wilson, 1, Il; Henrietta Wilson, mother, 8 born Ohio, parents born Virginia. On the 1875 New Boston plat map William has land in Section 7 and Section 18, adjoining. William was on the board of trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church Society in 1882.

Son Edd S. Wilson married Cassie Willits, daughter of Jesse Franklin and Rebecca Goddard Willits (Isaac Willits Page), on 9/25/1884. Edd died on 5/2/1885, age 24 yr 8 mo 2 dy and is buried in Shields Cemetery. Cassie married Frank B. Huston in 1888. Daughter Ressa Willits married Cassie's brother Burt Willits on 1/17/1884. Son Dick Wilson married Mary Ella Nora Cole on 2/9/1880 in Mercer County. We have nothing further on the other children. They may have married in Iowa as father William went to Iowa.

Keziah's tombstone in Shields Cemetery reads Kate Wilson, wife of W. A. Wilson, died May 7, 1884, age 42 yr 6 mo 9 dy. William Wilson attended the funeral of brother-in-law Richard Shields according to Richard Shields' obituary. The obituary states that W. A. Wilson and family of Ainsworth, Iowa, brother-in-law of Richard Shields came to Stilwell to attend the funeral, returning home 24 Sept (1901) (obituary information courtesy Jane Slaughter).

Chauncy and Nancy Holstein Wilson

Chancy Wilson married Nancy Jane Holstein on 12/10/1854 in Mercer County, Illinois and they went to Iowa soon after their marriage. They are found in Belle Plaine, Benton County, Iowa in 1880: Chauncey Wilson, retired farmer, 46, born In, father Ct, mother Oh; Nancy Wilson, 39, born Pa; Orlondo Wilson, 18, Ia; Vi, 15, Ia; Guy, 13, in school, Ia; Frank, 10, in school, Ia; Elmer, 8, Ia; Lou (dau), 6, Ia; Harvey, 4, Ia.

Lavina Wilson Woodward

Lavina Wilson married Laughlin H. Woodward, brother of Keziah Woodward who married her brother William, on 10/22/1853 in Mercer County. They too are found in Belle Plaine, Benton County, Iowa in 1880: Laughlin Woodward, Grocer's Clerk, 50, born Pa; Lovena Woodward, 45, Il; Josie, 18, Il; Jennie, 16, Il; Lulu, student, 13, Ia; Rosie, student, 10, Ia; Allie, 9, Ia; Gracie, 4, Ia. Lavina kept a wonderful diary in 1910 which we have appended along with more information on the family (Click). Daughter Lulu (married Theodore Stoik) also made some entries in the diary after Lavina was no longer able to. 1875 Eliza plat map a J. Wilson has land in Sec 33 as does William Shields (son-in-law of Abijah). This is probably Jay Wilson, son of Allen. They are still found in Eliza Township in 1880: Jay Wilson, farmer, 41, born Il, father born NY, mother born Oh; Jane C. Wilson, 32, born Il, father born In, mother born Ky; Court A. Wilson, 10, Il; Ova E. Wilson, 8, Il; Myrtle, 4, Il; Elmer Garret, farm laborer, 24, born Il. We understand they may later have joined family in Belle Plaine, Benton County, Iowa.

Louisa Wilson Stevens

Louisa J. Wilson married John Stephens 9/1/1864 in Mercer County (the name is Stephens on the license, though census records later show Stevens.) They are found in 1870 in New Boston Township two doors from John's parents John, Sr. and Elizabeth (we will be putting up a Stephens/Stevens page): John Stevens, Jr, farmer, 31, born Pa; Louisa, 29, born Il; Nellie, 4, born Il; Kate, 2, born Il. John and Louisa also had a son Fred, born about 1876, who married Eva May Cox, daughter of Charles Henry Cox, who is buried in Eliza Creek cemetery.

Allen Wilson, Jr.

Allen Wilson was born 3/18/1844 in Mercer County and died 3/3/1863 at Gallatin, Tennessee, in the Civil War [dates from tombstone, Shields, Cemetery]. Allen was a corporal in Co K, 102nd Illinois Infantry which was formed with others by his brother William A. Wilson. His death occurred two days after William became Captain of the company. "Civil War Medicine, Care and Comfort of the Wounded" under heading of March 15, 1863 states "The armies in Tennessee had gone into winter quarters in February, when the weather got too rough for further campaigning..." The History of the 102nd in the "Adjutant General's Report - State of Illinois" dates the next campaign as May 1, 1863. It seems likely then that Allen died of disease, as a great percentage of the soldiers did. His mother, Henrietta Wilson, received an $8.00 per month pension starting September 1868 as a dependent mother.





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