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History of the Upper Ohio Valley
Brant & Fuller, 1890; Vol. II, pages 614-615.

     JAMES WILSON, president of the Bellaire Nail company, and one of the most prominent and useful citizens of Bellaire, was born in Ireland, county Antrim, in 1820. He is the son of John and Jane Wilson, the father was a farmer in Ireland, following this occupation until his death, which occurred in 1860. He was the father of ten children, seven of whom are still living, six of them in Ireland. James received only a limited education before coming to this country. He worked on a farm until his emigration to the United States in 1841. He came direct to Belmont county, Ohio, making his home with Alexander Branum, who resided near Bridgeport. During the seven years he remained with Mr. Branum he learned the carpenter's trade. He continued working at his trade for about twenty years, the greater portion of which time was spent in Wheeling, W. Va. Upon the outbreak of the rebellion, Mr. Wilson enlisted in Company D, First Virginia infantry, for three years, or until the war should close. He was soon made a first lieutenant and participated in the battles of Slaughter Mountain, the second battle of Bull Run, and several other important engagements. He remained with the regiment until 1863, when he resigned and returned home. After returning to Wheeling he entered the employ of Joseph Bell & Co., who were in the foundry business, he remained with them for four years, at the expiration of which time the Bellaire Nail company was organized, with the following officers: B. R. Cowan, president; D. J. Smith, secretary, and James Wilson, traveling agent. Mr. Wilson held this position until 1887, when he was elected to the office of president. The company when first started had but twenty-five machines. A blast furnace was added and in 1884 a steel department was establiished, by the erection of a steel plant. It is now one of the largest industries in the Ohio valley, and its success is due in great part to the wise efforts of James Wilson. Mr. Wilson changed his residence from Wheeling to Bellaire when he became connected with the nail company, and has since resided there. In 1847 he was married to Miss Thoburn, a resident of Belmont county. One child is the issue of this marriage, she is now the wife of Prof. Nelson, of Delaware, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are active members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Wilson has always been prominently identified with politics, having been one of the organizers of the republican party in the state of West Virginia. He was a delegate to the convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln for president of the United States.