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Wilson, Robert L.

Born: 1805-09-11 Pennsylvania

Died: 1880-03-17 Whiteside County, Illinois

In 1810, Wilson and his family moved to Ohio. After receiving a rudimentary education, he became a school teacher. In 1831, he moved to Kentucky, where he began studying law. He married his wife, Eliza J. Kincaid, in 1833, and shortly after moved to Sangamon County, Illinois. He and his wife had six children. He was then elected into the Illinois House of Representatives for one term, 1836 to 1838, representing Sangamon County. Along with the other six representatives including Abraham Lincoln and the two senators from Sangamon county, Wilson was part of what was known as the "Long Nine." After serving out his term, in 1840 he moved his family to Sterling, located in Whiteside county. He owned $4,000 in real estate in 1850. He was appointed clerk of the Circuit Court and was reelected five times until 1860. He also served as a probate judge. Wilson was in Washington D.C. when Ft. Sumter fell in 1861. He enlisted as a private in Cassius M. Clay's battalion, which protected Washington D.C. until the New York regiment arrived. Upon returning to Illinois, he assisted with raising the Company A, 34th Illinois Infantry. He was elected captain but declined. Wilson wrote to President Abraham Lincoln asking to be the quartermaster. President Lincoln instead appointed Wilson as the paymaster, which was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August of 1861. Wilson was then sent to St. Louis, where he resided until 1863. After the fall of Vicksburg, Wilson was ordered to Springfield, Illinois. He was promoted to rank of Colonel for meritorious services.

John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 46, 775-77; Gravestone, Plot: Lot 151, Section 15, Riverside Cemetery, Sterling, IL; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 206; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Whiteside County, IL, 403.