It is remarkable how many excellent mechanics there are in the reservation portion of Nez Perces County and as a pioneer of them all, as well as a leader in both proportions of business, and excellence of equipment, we are constrained to mention the well known gentleman whose name is at the head of this article. Mr. Wilson is a pioneer in that he was among the very first settlers in the reservation country, and also in that he erected one of the first blacksmith shops in Nezperce. To the prosecution of the business he has steadily devoted his labor and excellent skill since that date and it is without doubt that he has today one of the best paying concerns in the state. Recently, Mr. Wilson took as partner in business Mr. Davis, and the firm is known as Wilson & Davis. Mr. Wilson is a first class mechanic in both wood and iron, and handles a number of men in his shop. His shop is now one of the finest to be found. It is fully equipped with all modern and up to date appliances and is a model of neatness and order. The upper story is arranged for a nice hall to accommodate theatrical entertainments, it being provided with good stage, curtains and scenery. It is of note that when Mr. Wilson came to this town in the fall of 1896, he was not well provided with finances, and when he erected the first shop in February, 1897, he had but fifty dollars. With this humble start, by industry, executive ability, and excellent skill of Mr. Wilson, there has been evolved a business, as stated above, second to none in the state; he has since purchased his partner’s interest. The equipment, buildings, land, and so forth, all belong to Mr. Wilson, personally, and are at a low estimate worth over five thousand dollars. In addition to this Mr. Wilson owns a seven room cottage of neat and tasty architectural design, which is his family home.
Reverting more to the early life of our subject we note that he was born in Morgan County, Illinois, on March 9, 1862, being the son of Henry and Harriet (Breckon) Wilson. The father was born in Illinois in 1833, of English parents, and now lives in Central City, Nebraska, retired. The mother of our subject was born in England in April, 1833, came to the United States when she was six years old with her parents, who are dead. She was married in 1854.
Edward was reared on a farm, educated in the common schools and then took a course in mechanical drawing. When twenty-three, he went to Nebraska and opened a blacksmith shop. Eleven years were spent there and a move was made to Moscow; then he operated a shop in Cornwell, after which he came to Nez Perce, as stated above. Mr. Wilson has two brothers, Lincoln, a blacksmith in Wyoming, and Albert, a Methodist preacher.
At Archer, Nebraska, on September 6, 1888, Mr. Wilson married Miss Viola V., daughter of Jacob B. and Martha Templin, natives of Ohio. The father was a merchant and operator of creameries in Archer. Nebraska. He was a popular and prominent man and held many public offices. He is a veteran of the Civil war and carries a wound in his hip, which crippled him for life. He served in the Ohio Cavalry all through the conflict. Mrs. Wilson was born on May 19, 1871, and has the following brothers and sisters; Wilbur, a farmer at Archer, Nebraska; Leonard, residing with his parents; Ollie, wife of George Ayers, County attorney of Merrick County, Nebraska; Clara, wife of Roy Farnham, a farmer near Wheatland, Wyoming; Jessie, a student in Lincoln University: Alice, at home.
Mr. Wilson is a member of the I. O. O. F., North Star Lodge, No. 56, of Nez Perce; of the M. W. A. and the W. W., both of Nez Perce. He and his wife also belong to the auxiliaries of the last two orders. They are prominent members of the Methodist Church and have an excellent standing in the community. To Mr. and Mrs. Wilson there have been born six children, Harry, Pearl, Lloyd, Roy, Earl, Glenn.
His father served in Company D, 101st Illinois Volunteer Infantry for three years “from enlistment to the close of the war under General Sherman, and on the march to the sea, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga and Peach Tree Creek.
Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903