James Benjamin Wilson was born Feb 2, 1859 in Clay Township, Owen Co., IN to John Wesley & Piety Jane Maners Wilson. Below is James's Obituary:
Bloomington (Monroe County, Indiana) Daily Telephone, September 12, 1956
(Note: Article is accompanied by a photo.)
JUDGE J. B. WILSON DEAD AT 97; DEAN OF LOCAL LAWYERS
Judge James Benjamin Wilson, 97, dean of Monroe County attorneys and Judge Emeritus of the Monroe circuit court, died Tuesday night in the Gosport Nursing Home where he had been a patient since his retirement from active legal practice a year ago. His residence, one of the city's landmarks, is at 410 N. Walnut St.
Judge Wilson was the oldest member of the Monroe County Bar Association and the
oldest living graduate of Indiana University, having earned his law degree in 1892.
His career was a colorful one. He was known as the most celebrated judge of his time in the county since his birthday was on February 22, George Washington's
birthday, a national holiday. For the past 20 years members of the local bar had celebrated his anniversary with a party, until this year, in the county courthouse. On his anniversary last February, the party was held in the Gosport Nursing Home.
Twice during his career his name was wide spread. Once when he was candidate for U. S. Senator from Indiana on the "Teddy" Roosevelt ticket in 1914, and during an unsolved murder case at Bedford in 1905 and 1906 when a
story hit the newspaper front pages over the entire country after the accused murderer was found not guilty from the "bench" of Judge Wilson.
Characterized by his erect stature, his cane and his hearing aid in later years, Judge Wilson was seen daily strolling the downtown streets of Bloomington as he
was accustomed to saying, "Keeping up with the times."
He had practiced law in Bloomington for 65 years and served two terms in the old
Lawrence-Monroe circuit court from 1902 to 1914. He had been Monroe County and Bloomington City Attorney.
For 35 years he was a member of the Speakers bureau of the Republican Committee.
His eloquence was a mark of his success and popularity as an attorney. Each year at his birthday celebration, his philosophies of life were noted.
At his 90th year party he said "I have no dread of passing years for old age has its joys the same as youth has its pleasure."
In 1952, the Indiana Odd Fellows Lodge had honored him in services at his home chapter at Worthington, for his 65 years as a member.
Born in 1859 at a farm home five miles from Spencer in Owen County, Judge Wilson was graduated from Spencer High School and taught school at 17, obtaining his law degree at Indiana University in 1892, at which time he opened a law office here. He formed a partnership with the late Joseph E. Henley in 1896. In later years he opened a partnership law office with his son, Fred, who died in 1940.
Mr. Wilson was next to oldest in a family of 10 children of the late John Wesley and Piety Jane (Maners) Wilson of Owen County. He was married to Ona Stephenson who died in 1910, and then in 1912 to Maude E. Showers.
At Indiana University he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta, social fraternity, and Phi Delta Phi, legal fraternity.
Mr. Wilson taught a Sunday School class at the First Methodist Church here for 17 years. Earlier he had served on the school board at Spencer.
Besides his long Odd Fellows affiliation, he was a member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge and Borrowed time Club.
Survivors, besides his son, Ben Wilson, N. Walnut St., are a stepdaughter, Mrs.
Burl Holland, N. Washington St., two sisters, Mrs. Emma Chadwick and Mrs. Effie
Hampton, both of Danville; a brother, W. Herschel Wilson of Chicago; four grandsons, Dr. Fred M. Wilson, Indianapolis; Dr. Ben J. Wilson, Dallas, Texas,
Dr. John W. Wilson, Johnstown, Pa., and James B. Wilson II of Huntingtonden (sic), Pa.; one granddaughter, Mrs. Nancy Dasey, Miami, Fla.; a step-grandson, Dr. Charles Holland Fowler, and 13 great grandchildren.
Memorial services for Judge Wilson will be conducted at 1 PM Thursday at the Day Funeral Home Chapel, Rev. Merrill B. McFall will officiate and burial will be at
Rose Hill Cemetery.
Active pallbearers will be Horace Karsell, David Rogers,Sylvan Tackitt, Nat U. Hill, Len Bunger and Lloyd Griffin.
Honorary pallbearers will be Herman B Wells, George Henley, Frank Regester, Donald Rogers, Q. Austin East, Eugene H. Johnston, George A. Chandler, James
Regester, Charles Waldron, James H. Ferguson, K. Edwin Applegate, Leroy Baker, R. I. Black, James Cotner, George Gregory, George E. Huntington, Sr., James
Kent, Robert McCrea, Norman Neely, Sam F. Sirois, William Henry Snyder, George M. Tomey, Richard L. Wilder, Harrell E. Young, Frank Beck, Dean Wampler and Arthur Rariden.
The body remains at the Day Funeral Home where friends may call.
The information below on Jesse E Wilson was taken from the Indiana County History Preservation Society
Jesse E. Wilson. This well-known attorney at law of Rensselaer, Indiana, like many of our prominent public men, began life on a farm and worked his way up from teaching a country school to the study of law, and from the bar to a prominent place before the public. He first saw the light of day in Clay Township, Owen County, October 4, 1867, and is a son of John W. and P. J. (Maners) Wilson. His father was a native of North Carolina, but moved to Owen County, this state, when about eight years of age. Here he became a prosperous farmer and married Miss P. J. Maners, whose father was a native of Tennessee. She is still living. John Wilson, the grandfather of our subject, came to Indiana in 1833, and was one of the pioneers of the state. He was formerly a slave owner, but, realizing the injustice of such bondage, he lived up to his convictions and set his slaves at liberty.
Jesse E. Wilson was the sixth child in a family of eleven children. They grew up to be a credit to their early teaching, and are now useful and honored citizens of Indiana, as follows: John F. is a farmer of Spencer, Indiana; James B. is an attorney at Bloomington, Indiana; Frank A. is Postmaster at Stinesville, Indiana; Charles E. is a traveling man from Indianapolis; Jesse E. is the subject of this sketch; Emma is the wife of B.B. DeMarcus, of Danville, Indiana; William H. is a traveling salesman of Indianapolis; Mack D. is a druggist at Spencer; and Effie resides in Danville. The other two children are dead and buried in the family lot in a cemetery near their old homestead, where also is the resting-place of their father.
The childhood and early youth of Mr. Wilson was spent on the farm in Owen County, where he attended the common schools. Later he entered the High School at Spencer, and after that engaged in teaching school for a period of four years. He then became a clerk in a dry goods store, remaining until he had secured sufficient means to defray his expenses through the State University at Bloomington, Indiana, from which he graduated in June 1895. He came to Rensselaer the 20th of the following month, and formed his present partnership with Mr. Ferguson. They are engaged in general practice, and have built up a clientele that bears favorable comparison with the old-established firms of the city. He appears to be particularly adapted to the legal profession and promises to occupy a high place in the legal fraternity. He belongs to the Uniform Rank of the Knights of Pythias, and is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons.
Mr. Wilson has been reared in the pure atmosphere of Christianity, his people being worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which he affiliates, although his name is not on the roll of membership. He is a young man of pleasing address and far more than ordinary ability, and his worth as a public speaker was soon recognized and taken advantage of by the Republican Party, in which he is an active and intelligent worker. He has gained an extended reputation as a stump speaker, having been called upon by the Central Committee to make political speeches in different parts of Indiana. He has a large fund of information and has entire confidence in the position he takes, giving unanswerable reasons for his views, and thus bringing his audience into sympathy with himself and his subject.
Article below is taken from the book Courts and Lawyers of Indiana, Volume 3