Charles L. Wilson. One of the vigorous, able and popular representatives’ of the newspaper fraternity in the State of Oklahoma is Charles Luther Wilson, who is editor and publisher of the Weekly Messenger, and postmaster at Cherokee, the judicial center and metropolis of Alfalfa County.
Mr. Wilson is a scion of fine old Southern ancestry and was born on a farm in Pendleton County, West Virginia, on the 13th of February, 1868. He is a son of George Thomas Wilson and Mary Eunice (Kile) Wilson. George T. Wilson was of the same family line as President Woodrow Wilson, was born in the same county as was the present President of the United States and was active in the same Presbyterian Church, at Staunton, West Virginia, of which the father of the President was pastor for a long period. George T. Wilson was a man of fine intellectual attainments and much of his active career was devoted to the pedagogic profession, in which he specialized as a teacher of languages. He was a gallant soldier of the Confederacy in the Civil war, during the entire period of which he was in service as a member of a Virginia regiment that was much of the time attached to the command of General “Stonewall” Jackson. He was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and after the close of the war he was a resident of West Virginia until 1873, when he removed with his family to Illinois. There he remained until 1885, when removal was made to Harper County, Kansas, where he passed the residue of his life and where he was engaged in the mercantile business at Crisfield for fifteen years prior to his death, which occurred on the 27th of June, 1903. He was a man who took deep interest in public affairs, was an able orator and writer, was uncompromising in his allegiance to the democratic party, was affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the United Confederate Veterans, and both he and his wife were earnest members of the Presbyterian Church. The marriage of George T. Wilson and Miss Mary E. Kile was solemnized in 1860, she having been a daughter of Isaac Kile, a native of Germany. Mrs. Wilson was born at Uppertract, Pendleton County, West Virginia, on the 26th of November, 1839, and she survived her husband by about five years, her death having occurred at Crisfield, Kansas, on the first of January, 1908. Of the family of five sons and three daughters all survive the honored parents and their names are here indicated in respective order of birth: William Z., Lee B., Cora, Charles L., Maggie D., Arthur, Frederick T., and Effie D.
Charles L. Wilson was about five years of ago at the time of the family removal from West Virginia to Vermilion County, Illinois, where he was reared to adult age and was afforded the advantages of the public schools, as well as being fortified by the gracious influences of a home of distinctive culture and refinement. In 1885, at the age of seventeen years, he accompanied his parents on their removal to Kansas, and in the Sunflower State he served a virtual and thorough apprenticeship to the printer’s trade. As a journeyman he worked at his trade at various places in Kansas until 1889, when he came to Oklahoma, at the time when the new territory was thrown open to settlement.
In 1894 Mr. Wilson engaged in the general merchandise business at Driftwood, in what is now Alfalfa County, and at the same time he entered claim to a homestead of 160 acres of land, situated near that village. In 1901 he removed his stock of merchandise to Cherokee, and in 1905 he sold his stock and business to turn his attention to the newspaper business, in which he had received excellent experience in earlier years, as previously noted in this article. On the first of February, 1905, Mr. Wilson became the founder of the Cherokee Weekly Messenger, which is an exponent of the principles of the democratic party and which he has made a specially effective force in exploiting and furthering the attractions and advantages of Alfalfa County and the City of Cherokee. The newspaper and job-printing plant of the Messenger are of modern order, and the facilities include the latest model of the Linotype typesetting machine. The Messenger is the only democratic paper in Alfalfa County, is ably and vigorously edited and is a model in makeup and letterpress. The paper has an excellent circulation of representative order, its advertising patronage is liberal and the business in general is established on a substantial and profitable basis. Mr. Wilson is a leader in public sentiment and action in Alfalfa County and is a progressive and loyal citizen who has the high regard of the community. He is affiliated with the local organizations of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America.
At Hugoton, Stevens County, Kansas, on the 13th of April, 1890, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Wilson to Miss Ella D. Calvert, who was born at Centerville, Iowa, on the 20th of October, 1876, and whose parents, James W. and Sarah C. (Michael) Calvert, were born in Ohio, whence they removed to Iowa in an early day, later becoming residents of Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson become the parents of three sons and four daughters: Frank Calvert was born May 28, 1894; Sarah Eunice, the second child, died in infancy; Charles Russell was born November 2, 1896; Lizzie died in infancy; Mary Lois was born in 1902; Frances Willard was born March 1, 1906; and Clifton Luther was born November 16, 1907. All of the children are living except the two daughters who died in infancy and all of the surviving children are residents of Oklahoma.