Wilson, Charles Lush

Charles L. Wilson was an influential Chicago newspaper publisher who famously nominated Abraham Lincoln in 1858 as the "first, last, and only choice" of the Illinois Republican Party to run for the Senate seat then held by Stephen Douglas. He was born in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1818 the son of a prominent New York City lawyer and Connecticut judge. He arrived in Chicago in 1835 and he and his two brothers entered the newspaper business. By 1848 Charles was the editor and owner of the Evening Journal, which became the leading voice of the Whig Party in Illinois. He attended the first Republican State Convention in 1854 and in 1858 was deeply involved in Lincoln's effort against Douglas, perhaps even being the one to first propose what were to become the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. Although he took the post of Secretary of Legation in London between 1861 and 1864, he always preferred Chicago and his newspaper, which was run as a tight and efficient family business for more than forty years. He married late in life Caroline F. Farrar, the sister of one of his business partners, and the couple had two children. Cheerful and a good companion, he was addicted to hunting and fishing, and accompanied General Sherman on his famous hunting expeditions in the West. His health broke down, however, and he died, not yet sixty years old, in San Antonio, Texas in March 1878. He left the Evening Journal to his wife and infant daughter. (By J. Osborne)
Life Span
    Full name
    Charles Lush Wilson
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Free State
    No. of Spouses
    No. of Children
    John Quintard Wilson (father), Mary Lush Wilson (mother), Caroline F. Farrar (wife)
    Relation to Slavery
    White non-slaveholder
    Political Parties
    Lincoln Administration (1861-65)

    Charles Lush Wilson (Bateman, 1907)

    WILSON, Charles Lush, journalist, was born in Fairfield County, Conn., Oct. 10, 1818, educated in the common schools and at an academy in his native State, and, in 1835, removed to Chicago, entering the employment of his older brothers, who were connected with the construction of the Illinois & Michigan Canal at Joliet. His brother, Richard L., having assumed charge of "The Chicago Daily Journal" (the successor of "The Chicago American"), in 1844, Charles L. took a position in the office, ultimately securing a partnership, which continued until the death of his brother in 1856, when he succeeded to the ownership of the paper. Mr. Wilson was an ardent friend and supporter of Abraham Lincoln for the United States Senate in 1858, but, in I860, favored the nomination of Mr. Seward for the Presidency, though earnestly supporting Mr. Lincoln after his nomination. In 1861 he was appointed Secretary of the American Legation at London, serving with the late Minister Charles Francis Adams, until 1864, when he resigned and resumed his connection with "The Journal." In 1875 his health began to fail, and three years later, having gone to San Antonio, Tex., in the hope of receiving benefit from a change of climate, he died in that city, March 9, 1878.
    Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois (Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company, 1915), 592-593.
    How to Cite This Page: "Wilson, Charles Lush," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/24052.