Heritage \ Writings \
View Military Section.

Fitzland L. Wilson (1838-1922)
Owned Wilson Hoop Company in West Bay City, and a large farm in Hampton township.

Biography - Added June, 2010.

History of Bay County, Michigan - Gansser, 1905


Few citizens of Bay County are better known than Fitzland L. Wilson, who has achieved success along many lines and stands to-day as a representative of the class known as self-made men. Mr. Wilson was born after the death of his father, at Akron, New York, February 24, 1838.

The widowed mother took care of her fatherless son until he had reached the age of nine years, and then the little lad started out to be a wage earner himself. His beginning was in a tanyard, where he was given his board and $2.50 per month for his services; but two months in this situation proved to him that he was not fashioned to be a successful tanner, and he engaged with a neighboring farmer to work during the summers and to to school during the winter seasons. Little by little his small earnings, providently save, increased, so that by the time he was 18 years of age he felt justified in going to Akron and entering the Union School, paying for a part of his board and working for the other part. He followed out the same methods when, after several seasons of farm work and study at night by himself, he entered Oberlin College, where he took a special teacher's course, not being able to take the full college course.

Mr. Wilson then entered into teaching as a profession and followed the same in different parts of Ohio, -- in Delaware County, Pickaway County and in the city of Chillicothe. During all this time he was busied in studying out and endeavoring to solve construction problems, his natural bent being in the direction of machinery, and he finally went into the bridge building on an Ohio railroad and was thus engaged in 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War.

This great national crisis found the young teacher and embryo machinist and inventor a loyal, patriotic supporter of the government, and he enjoys the distinction of being the second man who enlisted in the “Continentals,” the first company that went out from Cleveland, for the 90-day service. This company remained at Camp Taylor from April until the middle of May, expecting to be mustered into the United States service, and during this period Captain Stacy came to the camp to get recruits to enter the Second Kentucky Regiment. Our subject was one of the 500 who went to Camp Clay where they remained until the new order of the government discharged all 90-day men who did not care to enlist for three years or the duration of the war. Mr. Wilson decided to resume bridge building and he continued until the road he was working on was captured in October, 1862, by the Confederate general, Kirby Smith.

Mr. Wilson then returned to New York on a pass from Gen. Lew Wallace, giving him permission to leave Covington and Cincinnati, and in the metropolis he remained until late in the fall, when he came to Michigan to visit a half brother, L. D. Lighthall, a resident of Ingham County. In February, 1863, he reenlisted for service in the Union Army and was mustered into Company B., -- Sixth Michigan Heavy Artillery, which was sent to serve under Generals Butler and Canby in the Gulf campaign. The regiment was used in garrisoning Forts Morgan, Wagoner and Port Huron, on the Mississippi and took part in the capture of Mobile. He was finally mustered out of the service on August 26, 1865, at Jackson, Michigan.

After the close of his military career, Mr. Wilson went into the mill business at Macon, Lenawee County, Michigan, where he continued for 20 months and then sold out his interest and moved to Ingham County. He then purchased a mill where he manufactured one of his own inventions which he had patented, the celebrated Wilson washboard, and continued in this industry until November, 1879. He had made many business friends by this time and shortly afterward was instrumental in organizing the Saginaw Barrel Company, a stock company. Mr. Wilson was elected superintendent of the work of this company and he remained a resident of Saginaw until May, 1882, when he built the Wilson hoop factory in West Bay City, which is now operated by the Goldie Manufacturing Company. This mill was entirely equipped with machinery invented by Mr. Wilson, himself, and here were manufactured the first elm hoops ever made in Bay County.

Mr. Wilson was always alive to all new industries, and when the beet sugar industry first attracted general attention, he was a leading investigator of its possibilities. His technical knowledge soon assured him of future success in sugar making and in 1898 he entered into the business as an expert and has continued ever since. He put out a large acreage of his own land and rented properties in sugar beets and has proven the complete success of this industry, conducted on his lines.

For the past 15 years Mr. Wilson has owned a magnificent farm of 240 acres, which is situated in sections 9 and 16, Hampton township, where he has carried on general farming, stock-raising and fruit-growing, under the very best possible conditions having spared neither time nor expense on his property. He has made this a model farm and has expended over $5,000 in buildings. The farm is now under rental, he having retired from its active management, his sugar interests having engaged his entire attention for some time. During 1900 he was associated with the Lansing Sugar Company, of Lansing, Michigan, and traveled through the country, lecturing in its interests through Ingham, Shiawassee, Genesee, Livingston and Jackson counties, placing before the farmers the advantages accruing from the culture of the sugar beet. His work met with much success.

On March 21, 1863, Mr. Wilson was united in marriage with Eleanor S. Reed, a lady whom he met in Ingham County while visiting his brother. Mrs. Wilson was born November 29, 1840, in Huron County, Ohio, and is a daughter of James P. Reed, who removed from Ohio to Ingham County, Michigan, in 1849. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have had three children: Carl F., who is a mail carrier in West Bay City; Alice L., who is the wife of Lee E. Joslyn, one of the leading attorneys of Bay City; Grace, who is the wife of William Crabb, of North Towanda, New York; James R., who is a farmer in Hampton township; Charles D., who is in business in Buffalo, New York; Clara, who is the wife of John Ingersoll, teller of the People's Savings Bank, of West Bay City; and George M., who is a resident of Buffalo, New York.

During all these years of activity, Mr. Wilson has continued to work at his various inventions and many of them are of a very practical character and had been patented and are in use in many of the manufacturing centers. Although he has been an active supporter of the Republican party all his life, he has accepted little in the way of political reward, his convictions being those of principle. His first vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln and each successive Republican candidate has received his generous support. During his residence in Ingham County he served as a justice of the peace, an office to which his sterling character, experience of men and things and his stern sense of justice, brought most desirable qualifications. He belongs to H. P. Merrill Post, No. 419, G. A. R., of Bay City and is a valued comrade. His fraternal associations are mainly with the various Masonic bodies, -- he holds membership in Wenona Lodge, No. 296, F. & A. M., of West Bay City; and of Blanchard Chapter, No. 59, R. A. M., of Bay City.

Additional Notes:

    1800 - Census: Saginaw, Saginaw, Mich.
    Wilson, Fitzland - b. 1840, NY (Washbord Mfg.)
    Nellie, wife - b. 1841, Ohio.
    Carl, son - b. 1864, MI
    Allie, dau. - b. 1867, Mich.
    James, son - b. 1873, Mich.
    Charlie, son - b. 1875, Mich.
    Clara, dau. - b. 1878, Mich.
    Grace, dau. - b. 1871, Mich.

    1886 - Bay City Directory.
    Wilson, Carl F. - Bookkeeper, bds F L Wilson
    Wilson, Fitzland L - (Wilson Hoop Co.), res cor Indianaa and Walnut, 3d ward
    Wilson Hoop Co. - (Fitzland L Wison, Alexander Bush, Isaac and Wm. G. Pierce) hoop mnfrs, e s Washington nr. Main, 5th ward
    Wilson, James - Packer John Welch, bds Thomas Wilson
    Wilson, James - labore, Bds Clifton house.
    Wilson, John - bartender J E carse, bds Wm Lounsberry
    Wilson, John - laborer, bds Clifton house
    Wilson, Thomas - res s e cor Crapo and Alexander, 5th ward
    Wilson, Thomas Jr. - cooper, bds Thomas Wilson
    Wilson, Wm. - lab Conderman & Hogan, bds Thomas Wilson
    Wilson, Wm. - blacksmith, res n s 6th 1 w of Sophia, 1st ward

    1893- The National Cyclopedia of American Biography - 1921. Alice L. Wilson, daughter of Fizland L. Wilson, married Lee Everett Joslyn on June 29, 1893. They had four children: Lee E., Jr.; Alan W.; Laura Alice and Mary Anna.

    1900 - Census: West Bay City, Bay, Mich.
    Wilson, Fitzland - b. Feb. 1838, NY
    Eleanor, wife - b. Nov. 1840, Ohio
    Charles, son - b. Nov. 1876, Mich.
    Clara, dau. - b. Sep. 1879, Mich.
    George M., son - . Oct. 1882, Mich.
    Taylor, Elvira J., aunt - b. Aug. 1829, NY

    1922 - Michigan Deaths: Detroit, Wayne, Mich.
    Fitzland Wilson, b. 1839, died Jul. 3, 1922. He was the son of Fitzland L. Wilson and Clamso Draper.

Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Wilson Hoop Co.
Bay Co. Civil War
People Referenced
Bush, Alexander
Butler, Gen.
Canby, Gen.
Crabb, William
Draper, Clamso (mother)
Ingersoll, John
Joslyn, Alan W. (g-son)
Joslyn, Laura A. (g-dau)
Joslyn, Lee E. (son-inlaw)
Joslyn, Lee E. Jr. (g-son)
joslyn, Mary A. (g-dau)
Lighthall, L.D. (h-bro.)
Lincoln, Abraham
Pierce, Isaac
pierce, Wm.
Reed, Eleanor S. (wife)
Reed, James P.
Smith, Kirby Gen.
Stacy, Capt.
Taylor, Elvira (aunt)
Wallace, Lew Gen.
Welch, John
Wilson, Alice L. (dau)
Wilson, Carl F. (son)
Wilson, Charles D. (son)
Wilson, Fitzland L. (subject)
Wilson, Fitzland L. (father)
Wilson, Geo. M. (son)
Wilson, Grace (dau)
Wilson, James R. (son)
Wilson, Thomas
wilson, Wm.
Subjects Referenced
2d Ky Reg., Co. B
6th MI Heavy Art.
Akron, NY
Bay Co., MI
Buffalo, NY
Chllicothe, OH
Civil War
Cleveland, OH
Conderman & Hogan
Delaware Co., OH
Detroit, MI
Hampton Twp. Bay, MI
Huron Co., OH
Ingham Co., MI
Goldie Mfg. Co.
Jackson, MI
Lansing, MI
Lansing Sugar Co.
N. Towanda, NY
People's Savings Bank
Pickaway Co., OH
Saginaw, MI
Saginaw Barrel Co.
West Bay City, MI
Wilson Hoop Co.
Wilson washboard
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.