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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Clara Wilson Letters

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1866-1894
Creator: Wilson, Clara (1828-unknown)
Extent: .25 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0856
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Thirty letters to one of the settlers of Algona, Iowa. Most of the letters are from her husband, J. J. Wilson, who was a businessman in Algona, owning a lumberyard and later a flour mill. J. J. Wilson was mayor of Algona during the years between 1876 and 1882 and served two terms in the state legislature. The letters are mostly about locating in Algona and their daughter's health.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


Preferred Citation: Clara Wilson Letters, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Clara Bovee Wilson was born in Amsterdam, New York. J. J. Wilson was born in Onondaga County, New York on May 5, 1828. In 1843 he moved to Walworth County, Wisconsin. In Wisconsin he married Clara and started a family. In 1870, he moved to Algona, Iowa, where he started a lumber company. His business letterhead from 1875 reads "Manufacturers & Dealers In Lumber, Lath, Shingles, Dressed Flooring & Siding, Gutters, Mouldings, Sash, Glass, Doors, Blinds, Cedar Posts, Building Paper, Lime, Cement, Stucco. Also Dealers in Grain, Pork Hides and Salt." Clara eventually joined him in Iowa. They had two children, Lenette (called Nettie) and Henry. He eventually bought a flour mill in Algona. J.J. Wilson served as mayor of Algona in 1876, 1877, 1880, and 1881. The History of Kossuth County, Iowa states that J. J. served two terms in the state legislature, but does not give the dates. This book also states, "He was greatly interested in educational work and took an active part in the building of Algona College." J.J. died in 1895; it is unknown when Clara died.

Reed, Benjamin F. The History of Kossuth County, Iowa. Chicago: S.J.. Clarke Pub. Co.

Thirty letters, one architectural drawing, and two envelopes. These appear to be the letters of Clara Bovee Wilson. They are mostly from her husband, J.J. Wilson, but there are letters from her sisters and cousins here as well. The first letters are from J.J. as he scouts out a place for them to live, probably writen to her while she stayed behind in Whitewater, Wisconsin. Most of the remainder of the letters were to her when she went to visit relatives or in one case apparently to take their daughter Lenette to seek medical treatment.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Architectural drawings
  • Envelopes
  • Letters - 1866-1894

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.