Rollin J. Wilson, a prominent representative of the bar, who since 1877 has engaged in practice in Jefferson
county, was born in Fairfield, October 18, 1853. He is a representative of one of the prominent families of the
state, and is fortunate in having back of him an ancestry honorable and distinguished. His father was James F.
Wilson, United States senator from Iowa, and his mother, Mrs. Mary A. K. (Jewett) Wilson. Both were natives of
Newark, Ohio, where they were reared and married, coming to Fairfield in the winter of 1852-3. Their family numbered
three children, Rollin J., Mary B. and James F., all of this city.
Throughout his entire life Rollin J. Wilson has resided in Fairfield and in the private and public schools began
his education, passing through consecutive grades up to the time when he entered the State University at Iowa City.
He there completed a course by graduation with the class of 1875 and later took up the study of law in Fairfield,
being admitted to the bar in 1877, since which time he has continuously practiced in this city. He has had a distinctively
representative clientele and has been connected with much important work in the courts, where he has won favorable
verdicts by reason of his clear reasoning and logical deductions. By election he filled the office of county attorney
four years, proving a most capable official in that connection. He was the first person chosen to the office by
election and continued therein for two terms. He had previously been appointed by the board of supervisors. For
twenty years he was local attorney for the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and also for the Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy railroad companies. Aside from the practice of law he is well known in business circles in Fairfield
as the president of the First National Bank. Moreover he has been closely associated with many of the public interests
of the city whereby its welfare and interests have been conserved. He is now president of the Fairfield free public
library and is secretary of the board of trustees of Parsons College. He was for nine years a member of the school
board, serving two terms as president of Fairfield Independent District.
On the 13th of October, 1881, Mr. Wilson was married to Miss Mary Atchison McKemey, a native of Fairfield, and
a daughter of Joseph Alison and Cynthia A. McKemey. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson was blessed with two daughters:
Mary Louise, now the wife of J. P. Morehead, of Fairfield; and Helen C., the wife of Edward C. Peters, of Fairfield.
Mr. Wilson holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Knights of Pythias and A. O. U. W. He votes
with the republican party, to which he has given his allegiance since age conferred upon him the right of franchise.
Those who know him, and his friends are many, accord him the high regard which is uniformly given in recognition
of genuine personal worth and ability. For fifty eight years he has lived in Fairfield and every event which has
had special significance in relation to the history of the city is familiar to him and it is well known that his
influence and aid can be counted upon to further every movement that tends to benefit the county.
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Jefferson County, IA
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