Biography of Robert H. Wilson
Indiana County, PA Biographies


ROBERT H. WILSON, of Saltsburg, is one of the most scientific, practical and successful civil engineers of this State, and during his professional career had charge of some very important engineering operations connected with municipal and industrial development of the county. He was born in South Bend township, Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, July 9, 1851, and is a son of James D. and Nancy (Wray) Wilson. His paternal great grandparents, Wilson, born respectively in Franklin and Adams counties, were among the earlier settlers of Washington and Allegheny counties, as were also his father's maternal grandparents, Henderson, who were natives of Lancaster and Chester counties. His paternal grandfather, Hugh M. Wilson, married Mary Henderson, a granddaughter of the Rev. Matthew Henderson, one of the pioneers of Washington county, Pennsylvania, and a participant in the original movement which culminated in the establishment of Jefferson college.

One of the sons of Hugh M. Wilson was James D. Wilson, the father of the subject of this sketch. James P. Wilson was born in Allegheny county, November 5, 1818. On March 24, 1847, he married Nancy Wray, who is a daughter of Robert and Abigail Wray, and was born in Armstrong county, August 11, 1825. In April, 1847, Mr. Wilson moved to his present farm of one hundred and eighty acres near Olivet village, in South Bend township, Armstrong county, which was purchased by his father in 1838 and then contained only one hundred and twenty acres. Mr. Wilson has given his time chiefly to farming except four years during which he was engaged in milling. He has served as a director of Apollo Savings bank for many years and is the last remaining one of the original members of Olivet U. P. church, of which his wife and children became members. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have been the parents of six children Robert H., Mary L., born June 5, 1854; Abigail, born Sept. 18, 1856; Hattie, born April 27, 1864; and Hugh and Sarah, born respectively in 1849 and 1860, both of whom died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, now well advanced in years, are in the enjoyment of the fruits of their many years of honorable and useful labor.

Robert H. Wilson was reared on the home farm. He received his education in the common schools, Elder's Ridge academy and the Western University of Pittsburgh, in which he studied civil engineering. Leaving the university, he entered upon the active practice of his profession, and met with such a measure of success that eventually his services were sought for by parties throughout the entire western part of the State. In 1889 his business had increased so in volume that he was compelled to seek assistance in order to take care of it, and accordingly associated in partnership with himself, Albert Smith, of this county, under the firm name of Wilson & Smith. They have offices at Saltsburg and Washington, Pa. In 1888 Mr. Wilson came to Saltsburg, where he has resided ever since.

On December 5, 1878, he married Ellen Blakely, daughter of James Blakely. To their union have been born five children: Florence, Karl, Zora, Irene and Robert.

Robert H. Wilson is a republican in politics and served as county surveyor of Armstrong county from 1879 to 1882. He is a member of the U. P. church and has served for many years as a trustee of Elder's Ridge academy. He has made a specialty of town and city work for some years, and his firm now has charge of large sewerage and water systems and is actively engaged in conducting the surveys of several important coal fields and the construction of some extensive colliery plants. At this time they have charge of the sewerage and paving at Washington and Monongahela City, Pa., besides having just completed a series of surveys embracing over six thousand acres of coal land and making extensive surveys of various gas fields. He is engineer in charge of the surveys and developments of the Maher Coal & Coke company of Blairsville, Pennsylvania. Mr. Wilson has kept abreast of the times in his chosen profession and enjoys the respect of his professional brethren and the confidence of a large and increasing clientelage.


From:
Biographical and Historical Cyclopedia
of Indiana and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania
Samuel T. Wiley, Historian & Editor
John M. Greshan & Co.
Philadelphia, 1891

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