A Mind in the Making [1843-1862]
WILLIAM LYNE WILSON was born on a farm near Smithfield, Jefferson County, Virginia (now West Virginia), May 3, 1843. Smithfield was one of those unforgettable country places which derive importance from location rather than size. A mere cluster of farmhouses nestling by the roadside, it was the halfway point between Charles Town and the historic Shenandoah Valley Turnpike. Long since it had taken on the inevitable pseudonym Middleway. Nor was this all. Smithfield was one of those favored spots of earth about which legends very quickly gather. Thanks to a precious tale of the golden past that witches had once cut to shreds the clothing of lodgers while they slept at its way side inn, the drowsy village had for uncounted years borne the Sleepy- Hollowish name "Clip."1
That part of the Shenandoah Valley which gave birth to Wilson had long been historic, and the John Brown affair at Harpers Ferry, the campaigns of Lee, Jackson, and Early, and the spoliations of Northern invasion were yet to come. Founded in 1801 and named for the third President, the county so fittingly called Jefferson had been in truth at the time of its formation the land of Washington. George Washington was its largest landowner before the Revolution2 and members of Washington's immediate family, more prolific it seems than was "The Father of His Country," occupied some of its very choice acres. Charles Town, the seat of county government, was named in honor of Charles Washington, a brother of the President, who had acquired no small part of the George Washington holding and erected upon it a suitable plantation house which he named "Happy Retreat." On an extensive____________________
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Publication information: Book title: William L. Wilson and Tariff Reform, a Biography. Contributors: Festus P. Summers - Author. Publisher: Rutgers University Press. Place of publication: New Brunswick. Publication year: 1953. Page number: 3.
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