J. WILSON HARPER, a prosperous farmer of Harrison township, was born in Switzerland county, Indiana, in 1846, and is a son of John and Janette (Miller) Harper, the former a native of Scotland. The parents are mentioned at length in connection with the sketch of Robert A. Harper, found elsewhere in this work. J. W. Harper came with the family to Benton county in 1854, and there received a common school education. He remained on the home farm until twenty-three years of age. After his marriage he bought eighty acres of land, and has since lived on this farm continually, except for three years spent in Vinton; he has added land from time to time as he was able, and now owns two hundred and sixty acres in sections 22 and 23, Harrison township, having two hundred and twenty acres under cultivation. The improvements and conveniences enjoyed by the family have been due to his own efforts, and the residence now has a fine surrounding of shade trees; the buildings on the farm are kept in good shape. Mr. Harper has retired from active life, but still resides on his farm, and controls the land, having it worked on shares. He is an old resident of the community, in which he has many friends, and he takes an active interest in public affairs. Mr. Harper is a Republican in political views, but votes independently on local questions. He has filled several township offices, and gives his support to any worthy cause. He belongs to the Christian church.
Mr. Harper married (first) Annie, daughter of David and Grace McNie, and they became parents of two children, namely: Albert S., a dentist of Oelwein, Iowa, and Wilson Foreman, assistant clerk of court at Vinton. Mrs. Harper died in 1884, and for five years Mr. Harper's mother kept house for him. Later he married Jiles, daughter of Robert and Jane (McAuley) Armstrong, of Brooklyn, born and reared in New York City.