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The Scotch-Irish in America
Proceedings of the Third Congress at Louisville
Thomas Wilson, Freeland, Pa.


The community was shocked Monday to learn that Thomas Wilson —whom nobody knew was sick—had died suddenly in Freeland. The sad event took place on Sunday night about 11 o'clock. Mr. Wilson had been ailing with a cold for many weeks, but on the Thursday preceding his death he was suddenly taken ill at the new banking institution, Citizens' Bank of Freeland, of which he had been elected cashier only a month ago. Medical aid was summoned, but his condition was not considered fatal, though he suffered intense pain and had to be kept under the influence of opiates. The cause of death is given as pneumonia, though that is not the diagnosis arrived at by the physicians, who, so far as can be learned, attributed it to some abdominal obstruction.

Mr. Wilson was a native of the north of Ireland, and came to this country when a mere lad. He came to Wilkes Barre from Summit Hill, and made a reputation as a most honorable business man. This reputation he ever maintained, and those who knew him best say they would not have hesitated to trust their all in his care.

He had a natural aptitude for banking, and became cashier of the First National Bank of Wilkes Barre, a position which he filled with entire satisfaction, retiring in 1879. He had invested rather heavily in local real estate; but hard times coming, he had difficulty in meeting his payments. He therefore voluntarily turned over his entire property to his creditors, not keeping out a home or even a dollar for himself. The handsome home, costing $23,000, is now owned by William S. McLean. Mr. Wilson then went to Colorado and sought to repair his shattered fortunes, but he subsequently returned and engaged in the real estate business in Wilkes Barre. In this he was succeeding when the new bank at Freeland, of which Joseph Birkbeck, of this city, is a leading spirit, offered Mr. Wilson the cashiership, and the same was accepted. Mr. Wilson went to his new post a few weeks ago, and at once became a general favorite in Freeland. It seemed as if life was opening up anew to him, and when here last week he seemed a young man again. But he was not an old man—only sixty-two on the 24th of last January. During his brief illness he was attended by the most skilled medical practitioners of Freeland, and on Sunday he was visited by two of the local clergy, who held services in his room. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Wilson was twice married. His first wife was a daughter of the late Alexander McLean and a sister of William S. McLean. Two sons are the issue of that union : Leslie Wilson, in the grain business in Scranton; and Thomas Wilson, who is lumbering at Lenoir, N. C. His second wife, who was with him during his illness, is Harriet, daughter of one of Wilkes Barre's old-time physicians, Dr. Latham Jones. A daughter, Annie, was born to them, and she survives to mourn.

Mr. Wilson was a grand, good man; of quiet demeanor and unostentatious walk in life; yet his energy was unbounded and his integrity was unquestioned.

Note.—We have not yet been able to obtain sufficient facts for the obituary notices of other members of our Society who have departed this life; but hope to secure them in time for the next edition of this volume or for succeeding volumes.

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