Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Governor's Pardon for William B. Wilson

The last time I was doing genealogical research at the Texas State Archives in Austin, I decided to check the index of the Governor's Pardons for all of my Texas surnames.  I found a few more surprises than I expected.  William B. Wilson is my 2nd great-grandfather.  Click here to see a photo of William B. Wilson and here to see information on his family. 

On 20 Feb 1888, W. B. Wilson was convicted of Horse Theft (a serious crime in Texas) in Collin County, Texas and sentenced to five (5) years in the Texas State Penitentiary.  He was incarcerated in Rusk Penitentiary.

An application for pardon was started in behalf of W. B. Wilson in the spring of 1889.  There were numerous letters requesting a pardon -- from the sheriff, judge, county attorney, etc.  Also a petition signed by over 200 residents of Collin.

The application states a hardship case for William B. Wilson's family.  His wife, Polly, was blind and had a large family to care for.  He also had an aged father to help care for.  One of the documents in the pardon stated that W. B. Wilson was a resident of the Chickasaw Nation in Indian Territory.  Maybe that is why I have not been able to find the William Wilson family in census records for 1860-1870-1880.

The following petition for pardon had four sheets of signatures.
Over 200 men in Collin County signed the petition. 
Only the first sheet is shown.

Take note of the notation at the bottom of the following sheet.  I am not sure if our Grandpa Wilson thought he had received the pardon and left, or if he was tired of waiting for the pardon to go through, or just what!?!  But, whatever the reason, he left in January 1890 before the pardon was granted in May of 1890 and it was considered an "escape" from prison.


Wilson descendant said...

Great story! Leave it to a Wilson to escape just before he was pardoned. Not too smart.

Randy Wilson said...

Wife Mary Polly & children William, James & Laura are found in the grandparent's household (James & Martha Wilson) in the 1870 census in Weston, Collin, Texas. I believe the family was living in Indian Territory in 1880 through 1890. Laura married there in 1890.