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 From the Portrait and Biographical Record of Sheboygan County, Wis., 1898:

Ara Wilson, Page 342


ARA WILSON, one of the most prosperous farmers of Plymouth Township, owns a well-improved farm on section 32, where he has lived for forty-four years.  He was born in Montgomery County, N. Y., December 23, 1817.  His father Ezra Wilson, who was a native of the same State, was born April 1, 1790.  His parents emigrated from Massachusetts to New York in an early day.  Edith Porter, who became the wife of Ezra, and the mother of Ara, Wilson, was born in the Empire State in 1796.  In 1836 Ezra Wilson and wife removed to Jefferson County, of the same State, where the wife died in 1848.  Of their nine children but three are now living.  The father came to this county with his son Ara, and here spent his last days.  In politics, he was an old-line Democrat.  His death occurred in 1864.  The other members of this family are Elias and Mrs. Roxanna Chase, who lives in Brownton, Minn.

    Our subject was reared on a farm, and educated in the district schools of his native State.  When twenty-two years of age he commenced to learn the trade of a mason, which he followed in connection with farming for many years.

    On the 2d of May, 1842, Mr. Wilson was joined in wedlock with Miss Wealthy Lawrence, who was born in Lewis County, N. Y., February 22, 1818.  Her parents, Lewman* and Artemesia (Wetmore) Lawrence, were natives of Chenango County, though their parents came from Massachusetts.  Mrs. Wilson's father was born April 11, 1790, and her mother April 6, 1795.  The latter died in Jefferson County, December 10, 1842**, and was buried in the same cemetery as was Mr. Wilson's mother.  Mr. Lawrence spent his last days in this county, dying in March, 1873.  Mrs. Wilson is the third of thirteen children, of whom five are living:  Mrs. Lovina Fultz, of South Dakota; Howard, who lives in Plymouth; Mrs. Cynthia Beman, who resides in Minnesota; and Mrs. Jane Turner, who makes her home in Clark County, Wis.

    In 1849 Ara Wilson became a resident of Sheboygan County.  In partnership with his father he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, upon which he still resides.  Not an improvement had been made on the place.  Their first house was built of logs, and as they had neither shingles nor boards with which to cover it, they split small trees in two, hollowed them out like troughs, and laid them on after the fashion of tile.  Such a roof bade defiance to the rain, but was not snow-proof.  These crude buildings have long since been replaced by more substantial ones.  It is doubtful if any farm in the town has better buildings than those on Mr. Wilson's.  For many years after coming to this county, Mr. Wilson worked at his trade, as he could clear his farm faster with the money he could earn, then by doing the clearing himself; or, as he says, "I could clear it faster with a trowel than with an axe."  His last job of masonry was the foundation for his large barn, which he laid at the age of seventy-three years.

    Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are members of the Congregational Church.  In politics, he is a Republican, having cast his first vote for "Tippecanoe" in 1840.  The only official position that he has held is that of Township Assessor, as he has never been a man that sought places of public trust.  Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson.  Melissa, born April 16, 1843, in Jefferson County, N. Y., is the wife of William Chaplin, of Plymouth; and R. R., the only son, was born in the same county, August 15, 1846.  When only eighteen years of age he enlisted in Company D, Twenty-seventh Wisconsin Infantry, and served until after the close of the war, since which time he has never had good health.  The lady to whom he was married April 12, 1875, was Miss Fannie Reed, by whom he has three children, Mabel, Alice and George.  Mr. Wilson, Jr., is a Republican in politics, and a member of the Grand Army post of Plymouth.

    In early life Mr. and Mrs. Ara Wilson experienced hard times.  Their first chairs were purchased with money that they had made by selling maple sugar, though one to see their present home with all its comforts and happy surroundings could scarcely think that they had ever wanted for anything.

* Spelled "Luman" elsewhere (
** Date of death is shown as December 7, 1842 elsewhere (,