Wilson, Walter T - Erie County

WALTER T. WILSON. In the life of Walter T. Wilson is presented a career consistent in its devotion to large business interests and notable for the ability displayed in the conduct of important enterprises. Mr. Wilson is not only a superior man of affairs but a strong and valuable type of citizen.

The Wilson family is of English origin. Walter Wilson, the great grandfather of Walter T. Wilson, at an early period came from England to America and settled in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the father of Walter Wilson, the second of the name, who was born in Baltimore and who in 1846 became a resident of Burlington, New Jersey. By occupation he was a West India trader. He died in 1846. He was the father of Guilford Reed Wilson, who was born in Burlington, N. J., October 19th, 1813, and was the father of the subject of this sketch. While yet a youth, Guilford R. Wilson went to Pennsylvania and afterward to Corning, N. Y., engaging in the lumber business and also becoming interested in the Blessburg coal mines. In 1842 he removed to Buffalo and embarked in the coal and iron business in which, under the firm style of G. R. Wilson & Co., he continued on an extensive scale until his death in 1877. He was a director in several banks and a member of the Board of Trade and the Buffalo Coal Exchange.

Mr. Wilson was originally a Whig, and later a Republican. He was a member of the Episcopal Church, but attended Presbyterian worship, and during the last years of his life was President of the Board of Trustees of the First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo. He was among the early members of the Buffalo Club.

March 31, 1846, Mr. Wilson married Jane Corning Townsend, daughter of the late Judge Charles Townsend. Their children were: Walter T.; Gertrude Corning, who married William C. Francis of Buffalo; Jennie Clifton, who died in youth, unmarried; Guilford Reed, who was engaged in the planing mill business and who died in 1898 as the result of illness contracted while serving during the Spanish-American War in the Commissary Department, with the rank of Captain in the 65th Eegiment; Charles T., who married Stella Granger; Arthur W., who died in youth; Clarence W., now deceased; and Edward E., also deceased.

Guilford E. Wilson died in Buffalo, February 18, 1877. His widow's death occurred in 1898.

Walter Townsend Wilson was born in Buffalo, March 28th, 1847. He attended the public schools of that city and finished his education at the school of Prof. Briggs. Leaving school at the age of eighteen, Mr. Wilson became a clerk in his father's office. Subsequently he engaged in the coal and iron business, and in 1868 was admitted partner in the firm of G. E. Wilson & Co., located at the corner of Ohio and Elk Streets. In this association he continued to the time of the death of his father, Guilford E. Wilson, when he closed up the affairs of the firm, and since then has been engaged in the leather belting business, being one of the proprietors of the well-known enterprise known as the Bickford & Francis Belting Company. This firm is one of the leading houses of its kind in the United States.

Mr. Wilson is a director of the Commonwealth Trust Company, secretary and manager of the Buffalo Planing Mill Company, and is identified with various other industrial and financial undertakings of importance.

In politics he is a Republican. In 1886 he was elected Alderman from the 16th W^ard.

He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, belongs to the Historical Society, the Saturn Club, and other organizations of a social or scientific character.

In January, 1875, Mr. Wilson married Miss Jennie Morse, daughter of David E. Morse. Their children are Walter Morse, who is associated with his father in the belting business and who is a 1st Lieutenant in the 65th Eegiment N. G. N. Y. and served in the Spanish-American War; Gertrude, wife of the Rev. John Stockton Littell, pastor of St. Luke's Episcopal Church at Brockport and whose children are John, Margaret and Gertrude; and Margaret.

SOURCE:  Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I