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Hon. George Emmet Wilson. Senator Wilson came into the Oklahoma Senate with a distinction that made him an object of immediate interest among his colleagues in that body, since he was the first socialist to be chosen a senator in Oklahoma. Senator Wilson is from the Second Senatorial District, and his home is at Cestos. He has been a member of the socialist party for twenty years and is secretary of the Cestos local of his party and represents a strong contingent of socialists over Dewey, Ellis, Beckham and Roger Mills counties, which constitute his district. In the campaign which resulted in his election he won over his democratic opponent by about 150 votes.
In the Senate he was a member of seven committees, but his chief interest centered in legislation affecting the working class. Senator Wilson introduced a bill proposing a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote in Oklahoma. Another amendment proposed by him would deny to the governor the right to veto measures adopted by the people under the initiative and referendum laws. Still another measure advocated by him was one for the amendment of the initiative and referendum so as to simplify and strengthen those laws.
George Emmet Wilson is a man of the people and his own career and experience have given him a ready sympathy with those who must acquire their right to live through hard work. Thrown out into the world on his own resources at the age of eleven, he early acquired fellowship with toil, and to a considerable degree has been a successful business man. He is a strenuous worker, has made a close study of economics and is a devoted disciple of the fundamental principles of socialism.
George Emmet Wilson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1867, a son of George C. and Mary Jane (Boyd) Wilson. His father, who was born in New York City, was a bookbinder, and at the Centennial Exposition of 1876 was awarded the premium by the Methodist Book Concern for the best bound Bible on display. George C. Wilson also reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Fifteenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in the Union Army during the Civil war. Mary Jane Boyd, who was of Scotch descent, was a woman of social charm and of unusual vitality, as is well illustrated by the fact that at the age of seventy-four she danced the Highland Fling during a social function given in Cincinnati.
Senator Wilson attended the public schools of Cincinnati until completing the fourth grade, and after that had only two more terms of regular schooling. He began earning his own living at the age of eleven, and some years later studied telegraphy and from 1882 to 1884 was in the employ of the metropolitan line of the C. & A. Railroad in Chicago. He learned the printer’s trade, and in 1889 engaged in the printing business in Chicago and continued there until 1893, beginning under the title of G. E. Wilson and later as the Wilson Publishing Company. His publications consisted largely of pamphlets and books of a liberal nature.
As a result of failing health in 1899 Mr. Wilson went South and was engaged in the timber and lumber business at Handsboro, Mississippi. In 1911 he became an organizer in Mississippi for the American Federation of Labor. Formerly he had held a card in the car workers union. He engaged in the fight against a road law in Mississippi, which he charged disfranchised laborers and sentenced men to jail for non-payment of poll tax without a trial. The fight became bitter and a special justice of the State Supreme Court was selected to pass upon the constitutionality of the law. It was held constitutional, but the following Legislature passed an act discharging the justice.
In 1912 Mr. Wilson came to Oklahoma and settled on a farm near Cestos, and farming has since been his chief business in the state. In the same year of his coming to Oklahoma he married May C. Guth of Chicago. They have one daughter, named Militant. Senator Wilson had a brother, Fred Wilson, who was recruited for service in the United States army and was sent to join the forces in the West shortly before the Custer massacre, and was a victim in that national tragedy.