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Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 4/4/2020 at 22:58:25

PROF. J. G. WILLSON - J. G. Willson was born in Ross Co., Ohio, on the 15th day of March, 1812, and was the eldest of seven children, whose parents were Wm. Wilson and Mary Gaston. His parents were agriculturists, and distinguished for intelligence and piety. They were in fair circumstances in life, and gave their children a liberal education. The subject of this sketch was early inured to labor, and at the age of sixteen entered the Ohio University at Athens, Ohio, which was then under the presidency of Rev. R. G. Willson, who was a relative of the subject of this sketch. He remained at the Ohio University for three years, when he began the study of medicine in Wilmington, Ohio, under the supervision of Dr. Uriah Farquar, then eminent as a medical man. He continued his reading of medicine under the direction and advice of Dr. Farquar, for a period of one year. He then entered the Western Reserve College, under the presidency of Dr. Chas. B. Storrs, and graduated with the honor of the philosophical oration. He then renounced his intention of a medical education, and began the reading of theology under the instruction of Dr. S. Crothers, of Greenfield, Ohio. He pursued studies of a theological nature under Dr. Crothers for a space of two years. His studies were then continued at the Indiana Theological Seminary, at South Hanover, then under the presidency of Dr. John Matthews, for a space of one year. His theological course was completed at Lane Seminary, Cincinnati, which was then under the guidance of the renowned Dr. Lyman Reecher. In the year 1839, he founded the 2d Presbyterian Church, at Lafayette, Ind., and was pastor of that church for twelve years. He was at this time elected Professor of the Natural Sciences, in Milwaukee University, whose arduous duties were discharged for a space of four years. About the year 1854, he became editor of the Chicago Evangelist, which engrossed his attention for one year. The arduous labors of his life, of so varied and intellectual a nature, made it necessary at this time to take a recreation of one year, which was devoted to travel and observation on Lake Superior. His energies and general health were much improved by this tour, and he immediately assumed the pastorship of the Baldwin Presbyterian Church, at Terre Haute, Ind., where he remained for four years. It maybe here in taste to observe that the Professor had during all this time, in spite of the demands of his avocation, time to contribute articles on various subjects to the leading literary and religious periodicals of the day. His work of this nature was voluminous; and it may be proper to remark that his industry and powers must have been remarkable to permit of such a constant drain on his physical and mental resources. At this time his health completely failed, and, in spite of efforts and travel for the purpose of recuperating his energies, his health has never been completely restored. Although the precarious condition of his health would seem to oppose it, he nevertheless, in 1861, assumed the duties of Professor and Lecturer on Mental and Moral Philosophy, in the Glendole Female College, Ohio. Seeking health by change of climate, he assumed the editorship of the St. Paul Daily Press, which he continued for about one year. He then resumed pulpit labors, but soon broke down and then undertook the milling business at West Point. He then came to the conclusion that he could never resume a profession demanding public speaking, and bought the Fort Madison Plain-Dealer, whose conduction and management has been entirely in his hands ever since. In 1839, the Professor was united in marriage to Maria Bradley, a native of Salem, Ind., and a lady distinguished for piety and education. He is the father of one child. In politics he is a Republican; in religion a Presbyterian. We find him to-day in but moderate health; but the intense demands of his life pursuits have not entirely exhausted his nervous energies. His time is entirely consumed in the editor ship of the Fort Madison Plain-Dealer. He advocates home manufactures, improved modes of farming, water-line freights, competition with the railroads, and the building of the Fort St. Philip canal below New Orleans, with all the questions affecting the progress of the age.

Illustrated Historical ATLAS of Lee County, IOWA
A. T. Andreas
Chicago, ILL.

Transcription by Mary H. Cochrane, Volunteer


Lee Biographies maintained by Sherri Turner.
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