Wilson, Isaac G.

Born: 1816-04-26 New York

Died: 1891-06-08 Geneva, Illinois

Flourished: Kane County, Illinois

Born in Middlebury, New York, Isaac G. Wilson was a clerk, lawyer, judge, and military officer. At age twelve, he was sent to school in Wyoming County, New York. While studying, he also worked as a clerk in a store until 1834, when he entered Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. After graduating in 1838, he relocated to Illinois and began studying law at the Chicago law firm of Justin H. Butterfield and James H. Collins. In 1840, he enrolled in Harvard College’s Cambridge School of Law, from which he graduated in 1841. After gaining admission to the bar in July of that year, he returned to Chicago briefly before settling in Elgin, Illinois and opening his own law practice. He married Caroline S. Clark in 1843 and the two eventually had at least five children together, although not all survived to adulthood. In 1851, voters elected him circuit judge. With the exception of a brief stint as a colonel in Company HQ of the Fifty-Second Illinois Infantry in late-1861—from which he resigned in December 1861—Wilson maintained his position as a circuit court judge until 1867. His wealth grew over the course of his career: in 1850 he owned $1,500 in real estate, but by 1860 his real estate holdings had increased to $13,000 and he owned another $8,000 in personal property.

Commemorative Biographical and Historical Record of Kane County, Illinois (Chicago: Beers and Leggett, 1888), 198-99; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Kane County, 4 September 1843, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Geneva, Kane County, IL, 135; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Geneva, Kane County, IL, 668; Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Gravestone, West Side Cemetery, Geneva, IL.