Reconstruction of The Alexander Willson Family with the help of History

The Wilson family was of Scot origin.

The name appears with both Wilson and Willson.. After 1880 only Wilson seems to appear in documents.

Sometime around 1726 The Willson's had left the shores of Scotland, and settled in the Old Dominion. (Per Walter Wilson Biography) Alexander Willson was born in Hampshire Co., VA abt 1750. (LDS site info.)

About 1770 Alexander Willson took a wife. Her name was Nancy. (Widow to Alexander mentioned in land grant.) (I believe with no proof that perhaps Nailer was her maiden name because Samuel Nailer was her second son's name.)

About 1771 Alexander and Nancy's first child was born. A girl named Mary Willson. Everyone called her "Polley". (Per LDS site.)

The family was on the move from Virginia to make their way toward Kentucky when in about 1772 Alexander and Nancy had another little girl. They named her Elizabeth she was born in Lawrence Co., Illinois (LDS site info.)

1773 Daniel Boone brings his family to Kentucky but turns back when one son is killed in an Indian attack. ( per History of Kentucky pioneers, by State of Kentucky.)

Wednesday, June 14, 1775 the U.S. Army founded. Thursday, June 15, 1775 George Washington appointed commander-in-chief of the American Army.

1776 The Willson's along with other pioneer families make their way to Kentucky. ( per History of Kentucky pioneers, by State of Kentucky.)

The entrance of the pioneers into Kentucky must be by one or the other of two routes. One mode of reaching the Kentucky hunting grounds was one less convenient and even more dangerous. It is assumed our ancestors took the better route marked by Daniel Boone.

From the frontier settlements of Virginia our Willson ancestors would take his way southwestward, following the trend of the mountains and the valleys, till East Tennessee and the valley of the Holston were reached. Then an arduous journey across the Cumberland Gap and the rugged hills beyond it brought him, as he kept toward the northwest, to the waters of the Kentucky and of Salt River, and to that pleasant land of the Kentuckian, the "Bluegrass." But the journey was one of quite six hundred miles, and it traversed an inhospitable and dangerous region. No white inhabitant was to be found in all its length. From the Holston River to the Kentucky hostile Indians were numerous. There was no road, and the direction of the trail was only indicat ed by occasional choppings made upon the trees. It was in 1775 that this "marking the road" was done by Boone, to serve for others' use. For him neither marks nor compass nor directions were necessary. His instinct served him better than any such aids.

It was by this route that Boone and his comrades entered Kentucky, and by it came most of the early pioneers. It was aptly called, by a name that still adheres to the excellent thoroughfares that have supplied its place, the Wilderness Road. (The Kentucky Pioneers by John Mason Brown, reprinted from Harper's new monthly magazine volume LXX)

It was in Harrodsburg, Mercer Co., Kentucky January 18 1782 Walter Willson was born. Per biography account.)

March 7, 1784 Samuel Naylor Willson was born. If the family had left Kentucky yet is unknown.

Sometime after Walter's birth the Willson family relocated to Vincennes, in Knox Co., Indiana.

The original boundaries of Knox County embraced one-third of the present State of Indiana

Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana is the oldest city in Indiana, Vincennes was named after François Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes. It began as a French fur trading outpost founded in 1732. The City of Vincennes is the County Seat of Knox County, Indiana. It is located on the Wabash River in the southwestern quadrant of the state. Vincennes is 51 miles north of Evansville, Indiana, and 56 miles south of Terre Haute, Indiana.

Vincennes was the site of an important Revolutionary War battle, and was the home of U.S. President William Henry Harrison. It was also the center of government for a huge frontier territory.

"Alexander Wilson signed his name boldly on 16 March 1786 with other "inhabitants...of Post St. Vincent" (Vincennes, Indiana) to an appeal to George Rogers Clark for aid in defense against the Indians. (Draper Mss 53J23)

Within three weeks (April 5/6) he was killed by Indians in a fight at the Blue Springs across the Wabash River from the Vincennes Fort. On 1 June 1786 "Widow Willson" joined with other "Americans at Vincennes" to petition the U.S.. Congress for stronger defense -too late for the widow and her small children. (Draper Mss 53J31) Information per John Stutesman, Jr... in in book. (Draper papers)

Clark's journal details settlers' losses. This account was written just one month before Alexander himself was killed.

(George Rogers Clark is just 24 years old and has just been named a major in the newly organized Kentucky militia. He headquarters at Fort Harrod in a blockhouse above the southwest corner. For a few months he has been keeping a diary that reveals the desperation of the settlements:) " March 6th - Thomas Shores and William Ray killed at Shawnee pring....March 18th - A small party of Indians killed and scalped Hu gh Wilson....March 19th - Archibald McNeil died of his wounds....March 28th - A large party of Indians killed and scalped Garret Pendergreet, killed or took prisoner Peter Flin." (We do not know if Hugh Wilson is a relative.)

Settlement of the estate of Alexander Willson including a land grant for his valiant service in the Vincennes militia, proves that his widow was Nancy, who later (1809) married John Johnson, then, again widowed, married (1814) John Couret White.

Exactly how Nancy and the children survived is unknown. Mary and Elizabeth were a little older, but Walter was only 4 years old, Samuel 2 years old. Not old enough to hunt or fish yet. She may have had her relatives there to help her. There are several families shown on early census with the Wilson and Naylor (if that is her maiden name) close by.

June 25, 1796 Elizabeth Willson marries John McBain in Jefferson Co., Kentucky. (Information per John Stutesman, Jr. in his book.)

January 20, 1799 Mary Polly McBain is born to Elizabeth and John McBain in Louisville, Kentucky. (Information per John Stutesman, Jr. in his book.)

Walter Wilson married, April 10, 1804, Mary Williams. (Per American Biographical History of Eminent and Self Made Men of the State of Indiana-published by Western Biographical Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1880 11th Congressional District-P-46" He was 22 years old. Any of the following people could be her father or other relative taken off the 1807 list of voters there.
Williams, Francis IN KNOX CO. 2 1807 VOTER LIST
Williams, James IN RANDOLPH CO. 36 1807 VOTER LIST
Williams, Joseph IN KNOX CO. 3 1807 VOTER LIST
Williams, Joseph IN KNOX CO. 11 1807 VOTER LIST
Williams, Josiah IN CLARK CO. 29 1807 VOTER LIST
Williams, Regin IN KNOX CO. 4 1807 VOTER LIST
Williams, Thomas IN DEARBORN CO 27 1807 VOTER LIST
Williams, Wi lliam IN KNOX CO. 3 1807 VOTER LIST

Walter is a member of the Indiana Territorial Council, 1805-15.

1807 Tax roll Knox Co., IN Walter and Samuel N. Wilson are listed as tax payers.

American State Papers, U.S. Congress, Series 8, Public Lands.
Volume 7, page 723 -Locations entered at Vincennes, under the act of Congress of February 13, 1813, from 12th July to 30th September, 1813.
Number drawn: 186. Name and Quantity: Walter Wilson, in right of heirs of Joseph Pancake, 100 acres. Where located: I locate 100 acres of land, granted the heirs of Joseph Pancake, deceased, on the west and north of 20 acres of land located by me, as one of the heirs of Alexander Wilson, deceased.
Walter Wilson, Assignee.

On 5 Jan 1815 A Sale bill of the personal Estate of James Bafs late of Knox County: Names Property Sum (along with other names) (Names are related to Wilsons somehow)
William Bafs 1 Sma ll Kettle 1.12
John McBain 1 Small pot , water buckets 1.12½
Benjamin T Beckes 1 Do 0.1&¾
Walter Wilson 6 chears 4.00 (I believe this is chairs)
Benjamin T Beckes 1. Bed and bedding & bedstead 19.75
Joseph Harber 1 paire of tougs & pot tramble 2.00
John Reel 1 steer calf 2.25
Walter Wilson 1 padlock & cifter 0.50
John McBain 1 Soop spoon 0.67
John Reel 1 small paper of powder 0.54
I do hereby certify that the within is the true sale bill of the personal Est of James Bafs late of Knox County dec given under my hand this 4th day of Feb 1815. Signed Eth. T. Bafs

About 1789 Mary Willson marries Edward Danford or Dantford. They have a child Elizabeth Knox Danford. September 30,1790 (She Elizabeth, eventually marries Samuel Lane)

Febuary 7, 1798 Mary Willson Danford marries Joseph Harber in Jefferson Co., KY ( per LDS site.)

Forteen years after Alexander was killed, July 29, 1809 Na ncy marries John Johnson, but within 5 years is widowed again.
May 11,1814 Nancy marries John Couret White.
April 28, 1835 John White dies in Sullivan County, Indiana

On the 2nd of September 1815, the Estate Records in Gibson Co., Indiana the Coleman Estate show buyers: Samuel N. Wilson, and Walter Wilson.

Per biography of General Walter Wilson by unknown author unknown date - found in Cass Co. Historical Society.

"General Walter Wilson-Late of Indiana was born in the vicinity of Harrodsburg, Mercer County, KY., January 18, 1782. His father came from Virginia to Kentucky about 1776 with a small colony of frontiersmen.

Less than a half century previous the paternal ancestors of the Kentucky pioneers had left the shores of Scotland, and settled in the Old Dominion.

The opportunities for acquiring even an introductory knowledge of the primary branches of learning were extremely rare in the locality where Mr. Wilson spent his youth. He had but little school discipline, but that discipline enjoyed by one of his practical good sense and mental balance was sufficient to lay the groundwork for a sucessful life. His mind was of that eminently practical type which readily compensated for any deficiency in acquisition, by intensively adapting means to the necessities of the situation.

This peculiarity became one of the leading features of his eventual life.

His occupation was that of a farmer. The demands of the public service in the field or in the halls of the Legislature did not wean him from these pursuits in his latter days. While still a young man his family settled at old Post Vincennes, in what is now Knox County, Indiana, then the center of the civil and military affairs of the North-West Territory. His superior qualifications as a pioneersmen soon became apparent. In 1811 Governor Harrison sent him on an importa nt mission to the Prophet's town on the Upper Wabash. On his return from the successful accomplishment of this daring feat, he was again sent out by the Governor, to meet Tecumseh and express to him Governor Harrison's disapprobation of that warrior's conduct in violating his agreement to visit Vincennes for the purpose of a conference attented by a few only of his wisest councelors. He met the notable warrior, on his approach to Vincennes, about 20 miles above the town, July 11, 1811, and by promtly delivering the message according to instructions, prevented Tecumseh's contemplated display.

The same year he was appointed at a public meeting of the citizens of Vincennes, one of a committee to carry out the spirit of a series of resoultions declaring the danger to which the people of the territory were exposed on account of the numerous acts of hostility on the part of the Indians at Prohet's town, and to request the Pre sident of the U.S to forcible disperse them. An expedition of which he was the leading spirit, was rapidly fitted out, and started to execute summariy this purpose.

Proceeding up the river, they halted and built Fort Harison. They reached Prohet's town on the evening of Nov. 6. The battle of Tippecanoe, on the following day, attsted the material of which the expedition was composed. In that bloody attack upon the Mississinawan town, Colonel Wilson commanded the left flank of the advancing columns, in the battle which occurred in July 1813. He continued in active service during the succeeding campaigns against the Indians, until the cecession of hostilities, acquitting himself with the highest credit as an officer and soldier. In recognition of his ability he was elected a member of the Legislative Council of the Territory from Knox County, in 1810, and continued a member during several sessions. He was also a member of the first session of the Legislature, after the organization of the state goverment in 1816. About 1821 he became a resident of Gibson County, and of Eel River, within the present limits of Logansport. In 1831-32 he represented his district Carroll and Cass Counties in the State Legislature.

General Wilson was an active member of the Masonic Fraternity, and probably received the first degree in Vincennes Lodge #1. When the Eel River Seminary Society was organized he took an active interest in its affairs and assisted, acording to his means, in prooting its usefulness.

General Wilson was above the medium height, muscular and of a robust constitution. His manner was reserved and positive, yet courteous, affable and dignified. Honest and straightforward in his dealings with others, faithful to his convictions of right, he was one of natures's noblemen.

After a short illness he died March 18, 1838 and was buried by the members of the Tipton Lodge, with the usual Masonic honors."

His Tombstone says he was "honest, brave and patriotic."

Buried at Wilson Family Cemetery, Logansport, IN

Photo of stone taken 2005 and newspaper account about historical graveyards has photo taken. MCHS provided photo from Newspaper.

Roll of a Company of Indiana Militia, Captain Walter Wilson, commanding From September 18 to November 18, 1811 *(Members associated with Wilson family somehow)

*Walter Wilson, Captain-*Benjamin Beckes, Lieutenant-Joseph Nacomb- Ensign
Thomas J. Withers, Sergeant John Decker, Sergeant-*Thomas White, Sergeant
Isaac Minor, Sergeant-Daniel Risley, Corporal -William Shuck, Corporal -John Gray, Corporal-Peter Brenton, Corporal

William Gamble-Batost Chavalar-Joseph Harbour-James Jardon-John Anthis-*Louis Reel, died Oct.13.1811-Richard Greentree-Jacob Antis-*Nathan Baker -Sinelkey Almy-Moses Decker-Woolsey Pride-*Abraham Pea- William Pride-Jacob Harboson
Joab Chappell-John Risley -Isaac Walker -James Purcell -William Brenton -Thomas Chamers-Adam Harness -John Chambers -Louis Frederick -Asa Thorne - Samuel Clutter -James Walker -John Bargor -Peter Bargor -Joseph Woodry - Robert Benton
Thomas Milbourne-Benjamin Walker Sutten Coleman-Robert McClure -John Waker -David Knight

1807 Tax roll Knox Co., IN

1820 Knox County Indiana census
Last Name First Name Initial Page # White Males
WILSON Samuel N 092 300010

1830 Knox County Indiana Census;
271 WILSON Saml N. 01300011

Walter and Mary's children:
first son was Alexander Wilson. Per information from a manuscript written for MCHS by Nellie Stevens Rettig, granddaughter of Alexander Wilson:
Alexander Wilson was the eldest son of General Walter Wilson. He was born at Vincennes in Jan of 1805. He moved to Logansport in 1827. On 2 8th of May 1829 he married Matilda Thorp. She was the dauther of Moses Thorp.

After Alexander and Matilda were married they went to houskeeping there and kept the first public house or tavern. They moved to Peru in Oct. of 1834. (Per newpaper accnt, Matilda had the first white wedding in Cass Co., Indiana.

Mr. Wilson build a two-story frame house on the North East corner of 2nd and Miami streets. Which they occupied as a dry goods store and swelling. The building was called Wilson's Row. In 1840 he secured land in Washington twp. where he built a brick house on Strawtown Pike about a mile south of Peru.

In 1839 he shipped pork on the canal to NY, but it was a financial failure because of the low water in the Maumee River.

In 1840 he built flat boats and shipped pork to New Orleans, Mr. Wilson often went with the boats and sometimes took his family with him. At nights the boats were tied up to the bank and Al exander would entertain all aboard by playing the fiddle.

He was a public spirited man, served as commissioner of Miami Co. he was on the commissionwhen the covered bridge was built at the foot of Brodway in 1844. In 1839 and 1840 he represented Miami Co. in the State Legislature, he traveled on horseback or stage.

Per L.S. newspaper: Alexander was an Indian trader; also a contractor; voted in the first Cass Co. election November 1829; on the first traverse jury. He and Thos. Scott constructed sections 147 & 153 of the Wabash Valley & Lake Erie Canal 1838. Partner with father -in-law Moses Thorp in a hotel at NW Walnut & Market Sts; Wilson & Thorpe Tavern was a two story frame.

He was a sutler* in the Mexican war, having gone out in 1846, and was killed three days after peace was declared. Lived in Peru, Indiana, moved from Cass County to Miami County in 1834.
*A sutler is a person that follows the Army troops and sells them goods.

Photo of brick home on Strawtown Pike Alexander built in 1845 on file with Miami Co. Historical Society, History bulletin, "Many elite social functions took place here."

Indiana Census, 1790-1890 census for 1840
ALEXANDER WILLSON (shows two ll's)
State: IN County: Miami County Township: Peru Year: 1840 Record Type: Federal Population Schedule
Page: 036 Database: IN 1840 Federal Census Index

Voted in the first Cass Co. election, was on the first traverse jury (per Logansport Star)

Alexander and Thos. Scott constructed sections 147 and 153 of the Wabash Valley and Lake Erie Canal., 1838 State representative from Miami and Fulton counties: was then at Peru (Per Logansport Telegraph.) Partner with father-in-law Moses Thorp in a hotel at NW Walnut 2nd & Market streets: Wilson and Thorp Tavern was a two story frame (per Logansport Star)

Thomas Wilson son of Walter and Mary: 1824 living in Princeton, Knox Co., In; 1829 living in Clay twp;1837 living in Clay twp.made a judge per (L.T.) newspaperlived N. of Eel river, S. of Chase Rd., E. of the Michigan Rd. on W1/2 S19, Clay Tp.; gate to the home was at the bridge across Horney Run Creek);1866 adms of Patrick Lynch dec'd.; per (L.J.0 1859, Cass Co. Temperance Society; per (D.P.) newopaper or (L.J.) on the Union ?Congressional Central Committee; per L.J. newspaper.April 1838 candidate for town board; April 1837 treasurer of the Eel River & Michaigan Rd. Free Bridge; had the subscription books of the company at his store; commissioner of the road compant; 6-29-1838, a speaker in the Logansport Lyceum series; per L.T newspaper.

Son of Walter and Mary John M. Wilson Col. Per Biographical and genealogical history of Cass, Miami, Howard and Tipton Counties 1898: "Soldier in the war with Mexico, raised a company of vol unteers and served during the war as captain. He entered the army of the Union in the war of the Rebellion as captain in the Thirteenth regiment of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry, was promoted to the position of major and lieutenant-colonel of that regiment, and was mustered out August 5, 1864. He re-entered the service as colonel of the One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Regiment and served as such to the close of the war. By profession he was a lawyer and after the war he resumed practice, in Peru. His death occurred a number of years ago."

John M. Wilson Regiment Name 155 Indiana Infantry Side Union Company F&S Soldier's Rank_In Colonel Soldier's Rank_Out Colonel Film Number M540 roll 84 Married Myra Unknown and had children Charles and Sarah Wilson practiced law in Peru for years.

Daughter: Mary Ann Wilson married about 1824 to George Smith (their daughter Indiana married Judge Daniel Pratt BALDWIN) Resided S&E of Broadway. Levi Smith was her adms per Logansport Journal.

Son of Walter and Mary : William R. WILSON b. 28 Jan 1818 married (1) Martha A. Campbell
Had a stage line with Saml. L. McElheny, had a livery stable, facing the Wabash Valley and Lake Erie Canal 5th St. the first 20 feet S. of Broadway Lot 59 OP; Trustee of First Universalist Church; postmaster befoe 1865, appointed for 4 more years 12-1865, did pork packing in the express office at 417 E. Market St.

Per newpaper Sunday Nov. 27, 1983 article: William, youngest child of Walter and Mary Wilson became postmaster of Logansport, and also served as city marshal and city councilman.

William R. WILSON Age: 62 Estimated birth year: <1818> Birthplace: Indiana Relationship to head-of-household: Self Home in 1880: Logansport, Cass, Indiana Marital status: Married Race: White Gender: Male Spouse's name: Martha A. WILSON
1880 Federal Census William WILSON Self M Male W 62 IN --- ---
Martha A. WILSON Wife M Female W 50 DE Keeps House DE DE
Amy A. CHANDLER Dau D Female W 27 IN At Home IN DE
Walter W. CHANDLER GSon S Male W 5 IN --- IN
William W. WILSON Son S Male W 25 IN Watchmaker And Jeweler IN DE
Lincoln WILSON Son S Male W 19 IN Clerk Bookstore IN DE
Thirza CAMPBELL MotherL W Female W 75 DE At Home GER GER

Source Information: Census Place Logansport, Cass, Indiana Family History Library Film 1254268 NA Film Number T9-0268 Page Number 320C

Children per Brien Campbell of William Byron W. WILSON b: 3 Aug 1850 (Married Gracie Hare at the home of ther mother on 7th St.Per newpaper (L.S.)
1880 Census living with Byron Lincoln WILSON b: 16 Nov 1860
William W. WILSON b: 9 Mar 1855(married Anna Chandler and had Indice and Beth Wilson)
Amy Ann WILSON b: 24 Jul 1852 (Ameylh A. WILLSON) (married Elisha Chandler and had Anna, Nida and Walter W. Chandler)
Carrie Theresa WILSON b: 10 Jan 1858
Hamlin WILSON b: 16 Nov 1860
Edwin WILSON b: 30 Jul 1863

Marriage 2 Sarah Bell Unknown WILSON b: in Maryland
Married: 13 Dec 1838
Mary Eliza WILSON b: 29 Oct 1840 (married Sylvester Conkling)
David Walter WILSON b: 15 Mar 1842
Alexander WILSON Lieutenant b: 5 Jan 1844 (Newspaper account: Drowned in the Neosho River near Humboldt, Allen County, KS South of Iola; happened June 1867: had gone to Kansas in 1866: went into the cattle business with some young men: he crossed the river the day before: when he returned it was not fordable: he waited for some time and then urged his horse in and help onto its tail: became separated: made it to the middle of the river and then went down: May, 1861 to Augst 1862, post office clerk, sergeant in Co., G, 73rd Indiana Volunteers: spent 2 years in Libbey Prison: DCJ wrote a poen in his memory fro NWC U niversity at Indianapolis:(I believe this was Dewitt C. Justice from North Western Christian University):Rev. Safety Layton, Broadway NE Church pastor held the sevices July 7, 1867, buried on Thomas J. Wilson's farm.)

Marriage 3 Amy Ann HENRY
Married: 1845
Freeman H. WILSON


Samuel Nailer Wilson son of Alexander and Nancy Unknown Wilson: 1807 Tax roll Knox Co., IN

1820 Knox County Indiana census
Last Name First Name Initial Page # White Males
WILSON Samuel N 092 300010

1830 Knox County Indiana Census;
271 WILSON Saml N. 01300011

Per Willson family forum Dave Cheesman :
Family legend tells of a Sam and Walter Wilson who were forced out of Fort Vincennes, Indiana in the late 1700's when they were among white settlers chased out of the region because a party had avenged the death of a settler w ho was scalped for his blond hair. They later returned. Samuel Naylor Wilson (1776-1832) appears with Walter Wilson in the 1807 Indiana Territory Census among the voters of Harrison Township, Knox County, Indiana. Samuel Naylor Wilson, my maternal 3 times great-grandfather, served in Walter Wilson's Militia in 1810 when an Indian attack on Vincennes was anticipated but did not happen. Capt. Walter Wilson commanded a company of infantry under William Henry Harrison and played a major role in the November 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. Samuel Did not participate in the battle as he was placed on guard duty at Vincennes. He had recently (August 1811) married Sarah Baker (born 1779 PA), daughter of Isaac Baker. Samuel and Sarah had the following children, all born in Knox County, Indiana: John Baker Wilson, born 1818, married Lydia "Lidda" Plough, 02 APR 1858; Walter Beckes Wilson, born ca 1820; Russell Wilson, born ca 1822; Nancy Wils on, born ca 1824, married M. J. Beckes, 1868; Angeline Wilson, born 1825; and Sarah Jane Wilson, born 1829, married Thomas Beckes.

Submitted by Carolyn Beron
Copies of family information are available at the Miami Co., IN Historical Society genealogy dept. in Peru, Indiana. Copies will be mailed upon request.

Deb Murray