John Wesley Wilson was born in 1799, married Elizabeth Porter on April 5, 1827, and died in 1866. He owned and operated a store named Columbia for the years 1825-1828 which was located east of Robbstown on the main travelled east and west road, presumably named after the town Columbia in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He kept an account ledger for 1826-1853 and the accounts at the Columbia store cover the first three-quarters of the account book. When he moved to Ohio, he used the account book for his accounts in connection with his saw mill and farm and later recorded a number of Illinois accounts after his move.
David Gorsuch Wilson was born in 1836 as the youngest son of John Wesley Wilson. He volunteered as a corporal in Company B, 93rd Illinois Infantry Regiment, in Bureau County, Illinois, on August 12, 1862. After the Civil War he owned and operated a store in northeastern Kansas for which he kept an account ledger for 1869-1885. David Gorsuch Wilson died in 1921.
Two account ledgers are included in this collection, the first kept by John Wesley Wilson and the second by his youngest son, David Gorsuch Wilson. Neither of the books are recorded in chronological order. A number of pages have been cut or torn out of the book for the use of letter-writing paper or paper of good quality for some particular purpose.
The first account ledger (1826-1853) is 8 x 12 inches, leather-backed, with cardboard covers and the paper is ruled for use as a simple account book. It displays, in detail, changes in prices and popularity of products bought and sold in John Wilson's store, Columbia. Many pages have been removed or used for personal letters and notes. The book also contains Wilson's own insight on life expressed throughout the ledger, such as, "Lo meet- to love & then to part- is the fate of most schoolmates"
The second account ledger (1869-1885) contains records of the store David Gorsuch Wilson kept in northeastern Kansas after the Civil War. It records items bought and sold through his store and lists names of people who did business with him. The ledger also shows sales of hogs and hay between 1878 and 1880.