According to family, Wilson John Neill was born April 7, 1822, to James and Mary Wilson Neill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents had come from Ireland. In 1860, he was a shoemaker as was his father before him. He lived in Springfield, Clark Co, Ohio, with his wife, Eliza and their children Oliver, Willis, Anna, and Victor. Also, in the home were his 14- year old son, Joseph, and 11- year old daughter, both children born to Wilson and his first wife, Eliza Ambrose, who died in 1848. Sometime after the birth of Wilson’s son, Burton in 1860, he and his wife, Eliza, followed her parents, John and Anna Hull Judy to Lawrence Co, Illinois.
On September 9, 1862, Wilson joined Co I ,130 Ill Infantry as a 2nd Lt for 3 years at Sumner. He was 41 and he stood 5’8” tall, with light hair, blue eyes and light skin when he mustered in at Camp Butler, Illinois. He was commissioned 2nd Lt on October 25, 1862.
Wilson was involved in the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, among other battles. He was transferred to Co G, 77 Ill Infantry and later back to Co I, 130th infantry. He was present at the Battle of Sabine Crossroads and Pleasant Hill in April, but barely escaped being taken prisoner as were many others of the 77th and 130th Infantry. He reenlisted for three years as a 1st Lt in Co I, 130th August 14, 1865 at New Orleans, Louisiana, and was discharged there the next day, August 15, 1865.
Wilson returned home to his family and moved them to Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri, where he worked in a shoe shop in 1870. Added to their family by this time was a 7-year old daughter, Nellie, who had been born in Illinois in 1863. The 1880 census found them in Lawrence, Douglas Co, Kansas where Wilson was the foreman in a shoe factory. Their son, Oliver and his young family, lived next door; he also worked in the shoe shop. The 1885 census of Topeka, Shawnee Co, Kansas, lists Wilson as a 63-year old shoemaker, a veteran of Co I, 130 Ill Infantry, who had come from Illinois to Kansas with his family. He filed for his pension from the 130th and the 77th Ill infantry on January 25, 1888, from Kansas. Wilson died in 1892, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Kansas City, Jackson Co, Kansas. His widow, Eliza filed for her pension May 18, 1892, from Missouri. She later moved to Chicago and lived with her daughter, Zella Fowler, where she died. Researched and written by J. Brunson.