George Spencer Wilson, superintendent of the Indiana state institute for the education of the blind at Indianapolis, was born at Greenfield, this county, September 10, 1858, son of John and Martha (Milton) Wilson, the former a native of ireland, of Scottish descent, and the latter of Indiana, of Virginia colonial descent, for many years prominent and well-known residents of Greenfield.
John Wilson was born in Moneymore, County Londonderry, in the north of ireland, April 11, 1811, and attended school in the city of Londonderry for a number of years. His parents were well-to-do residents of that city. He was educated at Oxford University with a view of entering holy orders, his great ambition having been to become a minister of the Church of England, with missionary powere in behalf of the masses of British india. After his ordination he was detailed to a mission in India, but his voice failing at time he was compelled to abandon his great ideal. In 1843 he came to the United States and presently came to Indiana, locating in Greenfield, where he spent the remainder of his life, one of the most highly esteemed residents of that city. He became a naturalized citizen in 1860.
Not long after coming to this state John Wilson married Martha Milton, who was born in Kentucky, July 26, 1825, and migrated to Rush county, Indiana, with her parents. She died at Greenfield in the fall of 1895. Mr. Wilson survived his wife less than one year, his death occurring on April 8, 1896. He was accompanied to the United States by one of his brothers, who son, George B. Wilson, is now owner of the old homestead of President Buchanan at Wheatland, Pennsylvania, the same furnishings that were used there during the President's life time still being retained by the present occupant.
George S. Wilson was reared in Greenfield, the city of his birth, and received his elementary education in the public schools of that city. He then took a special course at Indiana University, after which he entered the ranks of Hancock county's public school teachers. After teaching in district schools for several terms he was appointed principal of the schools of Cleveland, this county, and a year later was appointed principal of the schools at Charlottesville. Two years later he was appointed principal of the schools at Fortville and a year later became principal of the Greenfield high school, a position he held for six years, at the end of which time he was appointed superintendent of the Greenfield public schools, continuing in that responsible position for seven years, or until his appointment in 1898 to the position of superintendent of the state school for the blind at Indianapolis, which highly important position he ever since has held, during which time he has become one of the best-known educators of the blind in the United States.
In association with Thomas S. McAloney, superintendent of the Western Pennsylvania institution for the blind, and H. Randolph Latimer, executive secretary and head teacher of the Maryland school for the blind at Baltimore, Superintendent Wilson is now engaged on the great and important task of preparing a uniform system of type for the use of the blind, a new raised-letter system that will affect every blind person who reads punctographis type. This commission on uniform type for the blind was appointed in the summer of 1915 at a joint meeting of the American Association of Workers for the Blind and the American Association of Instructors of the Blind. The work of the commission consists of going over investigations and recommendations already made by a committee of ten blind persons, who, after several years of painstaking labor, originated a tentative uniform system of writing and printing. Just how long the commission of three will be at work on the project is now known. It will probably be a matter of years. But it is expected in the end to be one of the greatest benefits possible for blind people all over the world.
On February 11, 1893, George S. Wilson was united in marriage to Daisy D. Steele, who was born in this county, daughter of Hans and Eliza A. (Jackson) Steele, the former of whom died in 1876, and the latter of whom, one of the old residents of Hancock county, is still living at Greenfield, and to this union four children have been born, namely; Miriam, a senior at Butler College, Ione, also a student at Butler; George, a student of the Indianapolis grade schools and Helen Louise, also in school. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are members of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Wilson is a Republican and a member of the Columbia Club at Indianapolis. He retains his membership in the Temple Club at Greenfield and is a Mason and a member of the Knights of Pythias, in the affairs of which organizations he takes a warm interest.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Page 1093-1094.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI November 17, 2001.
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