Early Life

Born in the small town of Brady, Texas, on July 20, 1892, Wilson was the second of five sons born of Horace Ernest Wilson and Stella Jane Graham.  The family relocated to Junction, Texas, and it is here that Wilson graduated high school.

Wilson Family 1901
Horace, Stella, Arthur and brothers 1901

Wilson’s mother, Stella Jane Graham  is a difficult and complex woman to write about.  Few direct observations are available to aid in understanding her; nonetheless, she arouses strong feelings of admiration and sympathy. By sheer force of personality, she left a strong legacy behind, transmitted behaviorally through her sons, perhaps genetically, as well. She was born in San Saba Presidio on Christmas Eve 1869 during a hostile Indian raid.

Wilson’s father, Horace Ernest Wilson was an enterprising young man.  At age 19, he came to the United States in 1885 from England on a tramp steamer to New Orleans, and made the journey to San Antonio by wagon.  Horace was admitted as an Attorney and Counselor of the Supreme Court of the State of Texas on March 18, 1898 in Austin, Texas.

Horace and Stella are pictured below:

An article in a San Antonio newspaper of November 19, 1928, features Horace and his son Robert as successful law-firm partners.  The story declares that he arrived penniless in San Antonio and walked some 50 miles to Bandera where, full of optimism, he took a job herding sheep.  His son Francis says he earned $10 per month in that capacity.

Horace and Stella
Horace and Stella (1890’s Texas)

Horace and Stella had five sons.  Ernest, the oldest, became an attorney in Abilene after graduating Baylor University School of Law in 1925.  Ernest was the founder of what is now known as Buffalo Gap Historic Village. Three younger brothers were Robert, Francis and Baten.  Robert attended the University of Texas, and started practicing law in 1919, in Junction as a county attorney.  Francis graduated from the University of Texas in 1923, and received his graduate degree there, in 1924, and finally earning a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1928.  Francis authored 9 books focused primarily on political science, and was the Chairman of the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois prior to retirement.  The youngest son, Baten, became a rancher in Texas.  Enduring adversity in business, love and health, Baten suffered a difficult life.

Ernest, Robert, Francis and Baten Wilson

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