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Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Clara Wilson Letters
MsC 856
Collection Dates: 1866 -- 1894
.25 ft.

Shares a box with MsC854

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

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Acquisition and Processing Information: This collection is a gift of bookseller Marc Selvaggio in 2006.

Photographs: None

J.J. Wilson Letter

Scope and Contents

Thirty letters, one architectural drawing, and two envelopes. These appear to be the letters of Clara Bovee Wilson. They are mostly from her husband, J.J. Wilson, but there are letters from her sisters and cousins here as well. The first letters are from J.J. as he scouts out a place for them to live, probably writen to her while she stayed behind in Whitewater, Wisconsin. Most of the remainder of the letters were to her when she went to visit relatives or in one case apparently to take their daughter Lenette to seek medical treatment.

Biographical Note

Clara Bovee Wilson was born in Amsterdam, New York. J. J. Wilson was born in Onondaga County, New York on May 5, 1828. In 1843 he moved to Walworth County, Wisconsin. In Wisconsin he married Clara and started a family.  In 1870, he moved to Algona, Iowa, where he started a lumber company. His business letterhead from 1875 reads "Manufacturers & Dealers In Lumber, Lath, Shingles, Dressed Flooring & Siding, Gutters, Mouldings, Sash, Glass, Doors, Blinds, Cedar Posts, Building Paper, Lime, Cement, Stucco. Also Dealers in Grain, Pork Hides and Salt." Clara eventually joined him in Iowa. They had two children, Lenette (called Nettie) and Henry. He eventually bought a flour mill in Algona. J.J. Wilson served as mayor of Algona in 1876, 1877, 1880, and 1881. The History of Kossuth County, Iowa states that J. J. served two terms in the state legislature, but does not give the dates. This book also states, "He was greatly interested in educational work and took an active part in the building of Algona College."  J.J. died in 1895; it is unknown when Clara died.

Reed, Benjamin F. The History of Kossuth County, Iowa. Chicago: S.J.. Clarke Pub. Co., 1913

J Roethler, 1/2007

Box Contents List

Architectural drawings


Letters, 1866 -- 1894