Contributed by Charlene Holland

Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas
The Southern Publishing Company, Chicago and Nashville, 1891.


      Sidney Wilson is one of the most influential men in Scott County, Ark., and he ranks among its most talented and successful lawyers. He was born in the Buckeye State, in 1835, being the eldest of five children born to Sterns and Clarissa (Gilder) Wilson, both of whom were born in Virginia, and removed to the State of Ohio during the early history of that region, being residents thereof during the Black Hawk War. During this time they moved to Chicago, and owned a farm in what is now a portion and part of that city, but in 1846 removed to Iowa only to return to Illinois a short time after. He passed from life in Kansas, in 1878, his widow dying in 1880. Mr. Wilson was a drummer boy in the War of 1812, and was a drum major in Taylor's command during the war with Mexico, but after taking part in the battle of Monterey, returned home on account of sickness. He became a substantial farmer, and was also something of a musician. Sidney Wilson was educated in the Chicago Catholic College, and in the academy at Wheatland, but in 1857 gave up all other branches to take up the study of law, and in 1860 was admitted to the bar in 1862 he went to Montana, soon after the Fairweather boys had discovered Alder Gulch, at Virginia City, and helped to make the first road from Red Buttes to the headwaters of the Yellowstone River. He had many encounters with the Indians, in one of which he was wounded. He has prospected in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada, and while in Montana went 400 miles north to British America, and was at the Coutney Mines for three months, during which time the minors had frequent trouble with the Indians. In 1866 he went to St. Joseph, Mo., and was engaged in freighting goods across the plains to Salt Lake City and Montana until 1860, when he located in St. Clair County, where he taught two terms of school. He was admitted to the bar of Osceola March 25, 1868, but prior to that had been admitted at Troy, Kas. in 1867. In 1869 he moved to Hermitage, Mo., where he entered on the practice of law. He has been admitted to county, circuit and supreme courts, practiced in the various places, in which he has lived, and has bad all kinds of cases. His many changes of residence have been made on account of ill health, but his health has been comparatively good since locating in Scott County, Ark., in the development progress of which county he takes great interest. He served as prosecuting attorney of Hickman County, Mo., for four terms, his first appointment being receiver in 1870, his elections taking place in 1872-73. He resigned in the spring of 1876, and moved to Lake City, Colo., and in September of the same year was admitted to the Supreme Court of that State. He was also admitted to the bar in New Mexico, in April 1879. In l880 he went to Scott County, Mo., but two years later returned to Colorado, and after residing at Aspin until 1883, he came to Greenwood, Ark. Since 1884 he has been a resident of Waldron, and has been a leading practitioner of Scott County ever since. He prospected for minerals soon after coming here, and discovered the prospects for coal oil, and afterward became one of the stockholders of a company organized for its development. In 1889 he formed his present partnership with B.F. Wolf, and has since been associated with him. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since 1872, and his wife, whom he married July 18, 1857, in Illinois, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her maiden name was Zerilda Harwood, a native of Indiana, and she has borne Mr. Wilson three children: Clara Isabelle (wife of J.J. Smiley, an engineer and bridge builder; he is now in Tampico, Mexico, where he has charge of harbor construction; his home is in Kansas City, Mo.), Hattie and Allie (the other two, now living with their parents).

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