John Fry Wilson, attorney and leading citizen of Columbus, is a native of Ohio, a descendant of two early families
of this state. He is a son of Colonel Harrison and Mary Caroline (Fry) Wilson, natives of Ohio.
Harrison Wilson was born near Cadiz, March 15, 1840, the son of Thomas and Mary Wilson, and the grandson of Thomas
Wilson, Sr., who served in the Revolutionary War. Thomas Wilson, Jr., removed to Belmont County, Ohio, in 1846.
In 1854 Harrison Wilson entered a manual labor university at Athens, Ohio, spending two years there, and paid for
his tuition and board by working for eight cents an hour. He began teaching school when he was fifteen years of
age, at Harriettsville, in Noble County. After dismissing his school one afternoon in May, 1861, he wrote on the
blackboard, "Gone to the war." That night he walked eighteen miles to Suinmerfield, and volunteered in
the company of Captain John Mosley, which company was assigned to the Twenty fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His
brothers, William and Lewis, had already enlisted, and his other three brothers, Thomas, John and Mordecai, later
enlisted. William was for a long time a prisoner of war in Libby Prison, and Lewis was killed at the battle of
Gettysburg, while ranking as a second lieutenant.
Harrison Wilson served seven months as a private in the Twenty fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, then received a commission
as a second lieutenant and was transferred to the Twentieth Regiment, recruiting in Cincinnati. He was assigned
to Company I and successively held commissions of second lieutenant, first lieutenant, adjutant, major, lieutenant
colonel and colonel of the Twentieth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was an efficient and gallant officer,
enjoying the confidence of his superior officers and the admiration of his men. He was mustered out with his regiment
on July 15, 1865.
After the war Colonel Wilson settled in Sidney, Ohio, where he read law with General James Murray. He was admitted
to the bar and began the practice of his profession. He gained a high position at the bar of that section of the
state. In 1895 he was elected circuit judge of the Columbus Circuit, and continued on the bench until 1909, when
he returned to the private practice of law in Columbus, in partnership with his son, John Fry Wilson. In 1911 Colonel
Wilson retired from active practice and removed to Nordhoff (Ojai), California. He died in December, 1929.
On January 1, 1867, Colonel Wilson married Mary C. Fry, who was born at Port Jefferson, Shelby County, Ohio, October
10, 1844. Her death occurred at her California home on November 23, 1917. She was the daughter of John Thornton
and Margaret (Shaw) Fry, and the granddaughter of Christian Fry, who was born in Kentucky in 1786, from which state
he came to Ohio when a young man, locating on Paint Creek, in Ross County, where he married Jane Robinson, and
a short time afterwards removed to Sidney, and engaged in mercantile pursuits for a number of years.
John Fay Wilson, the subject of this sketch, was born at Sidney, Ohio, July 26, 1869, and there spent his boyhood
and attended the public schools. He read law under his father's tutelage, then entered the Cincinnati Law College,
from ihich he was graduated in 1900, with the degree of LL. B., and soon thereafter was admitted to the bar. He
entered the practice of his profession at Sidney, Ohio, where he continued until 1901. He then removed to Columbus
and has since been engaged in practice here, with high standing at the bar. Since 1910 he has been the senior member
of the well known firm of Wilson & Rector. He is a noted corporation lawyer.
Mr. Wilson is a member of the Columbus Club, Scioto Country Club, Franklin Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association,
American Bar Association, and the American Society of International Law.
On December 15, 1891, Mr. Wilson was married to Margaret L. Widener, of Sidney, Ohio, the daughter of William and
Susan C. (Mitchell) Widener.
History of Franklin County, Ohio
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Indianapolis 1930
Franklin County, OH
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