Wilson, John L. (of Joliet/Chicago, Illinois)

Born: 1812-XX-XX New York

Died: 1888-04-13 Chicago, Illinois

Flourished: Joliet, Illinois

John L. Wilson was a merchant, village official, sheriff, newspaper publisher/manager and pioneer settler of Joliet, Illinois. In March 1835, Wilson moved with his brothers from Albany, New York to Joliet. In 1836, he opened a store on the east side of the square, south of the village hall. He became involved in the local politics, and in 1838 and 1840, he ran unsuccessfully, as a Whig, to represent Will County in the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1840 and 1841, he served as a trustee for the village of Joliet. In January 1844, he married Marie E. Wilson, with whom he had six daughters. In 1847, he was a delegate from Will County to the Northwestern River and Harbor Convention in Chicago. In 1850, he moved from Joliet to Chicago, settling in the city's Eighth Ward. He owned real property valued at $800. After the Whig Party collapsed, Wilson became a Republican, and in 1857, he won election as sheriff of Cook County. In 1860, Wilson was living in Chicago's First Ward and had a personal estate of $600. In 1861, he became publisher and business manager of the Chicago Journal, a position he held until 1865.

Obituary, The Chicago Tribune 14 April 1888, 7:6; W. W. Stevens, Past and Present of Will County, Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1907), 128; Souvenir of Settlement and Progress of Will County, Ill. (Chicago: Historical Directory, 1884), 154, 155, 258; The History of Will County, Illinois (Chicago: Wm. Le Baron, Jr., 1878), 281, 373, 385, 449; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Du Page County, 11 January 1844, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Ward 8, Chicago, Cook County, IL, 403; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 1, Chicago, Cook County, IL, 156; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 57; Gravestone, Rose Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum, Chicago, IL.