A successful merchant of Mt. Carroll, is highly esteemed for his many good qualities as a citizen and as a veteran of the Civil War who made a good record in his service. He was born in Springville, Erie county, N. Y., April 18, 1830, a son of Griffin and Emily Wildey, his father being a farmer. Mr. Wildey lived In Erie county, N. Y., and in Buffalo until his sixteenth year, and in 1855 came went to Chicago, Ill. He spent two years with W. E. Reynolds in the drug business and two years in the grocery trade, after which he worked for the same length of time for a mechanical bakery. In 1861 he enlisted in the Nineteenth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry for service during the Civil War, and was employed as scout, his headquarters for eighteen months being General Turchln’s camp. He was severely wounded at the battle of Stone River, and received a commission for the rank of first lieutenant from President Lincoln and after the Battle of Nashville, in which be participated, be was promoted to the rank of captain. Mr. Wildey participated in many minor engagements and skirmishes and his service covered a period of four yearn and nine months.
Soon after the war Mr. Wildey came to Mt. Carroll and February 17, 1800, he established himself in a business, which he has since conducted. He is the oldest merchant in continuous business in this part of Illinois and is well known through- out the region, and has served as supervisor and also as alderman, being an active Republican. He is now commander of Nase Post No. 80, G. A. R., of which he served as its first commander. Serving as vice-president of the First National Bank of Mt. Carroll and as a stock-bolder in various other banks and enterprises. Mr. Wildey Is an able and successful business man and his integrity and reliability are generally recognized. He is hale and active and looks on the bright side of things, being noted for his cheerfulness and progressive ideas. He was for many years interested in farming and has had a variety of experience in a business way.
On April 24, 1867, Mr. Wildey was married to Emily Vale, of Chicago, who was born in England, April 20, 1843, and they became parents of four children, namely: Emily May, Alice Vale, Edith Grace and Harry Farmer. Alice Vale married John Turnbaugh, and Mrs. Turnbauhh bore one child, Emily.

Contributed by Carol Parrish from the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and the History of Carroll County,


In writing the history of our business men, it is fitting, and would not be history, if we did not mention Capt. W. H. Wildey first. No man has done more toward making Mt. Carroll than he has. Capt. Wildey served during the civil war, and made a great record there, thea came to Mt. Carroll, married and settled down to business life. He associated himself with James Strong and started in the grocery business next to where his store now is, on the west, as Strong & Wildey, and continued there until the brick store he now occupies was finished. Since that time he has continually occupied the premises. He and Strong for a number of years in addition to their grocery business, manufactured lime, and most of the foundation rocks and brick of the business buildings here are held in place by lime they made for mortar. He has always been one of the foremost, wide-awake business men in the city. Has always been at the head, started the first delivery wagon on ever run in the city, purchased the first car load of salt, which made his competitors think he had gone wild. The mud on Market street was deep in springtime and in summer the dust was deep. Capt. Wildey was elected Alderman of the city and under his administration that street was macadamized, the men breaking the rock by hand.

He was one of the first men to put his money into tho electric light company. He was an ardent advocate of water works and of a fire company. His purse was always open, and his ideas and arguments always sound. The Captain has grown old in the business and has seen Mt. Carroll advance from a small village to a city. He has done his share at all times in making the history of the town and without his acts and deeds, there would not be much of what is history. His body is not as strong as it once was, he probably could not throw himself upon a horse as he did when out on scout duty in the sixties, but his mind is as bright as ever and he is as full of pep as in the days of yore, when he was at the head of every enterprise in the city. Captain Wildey's name will always be associated with those who made Mt. Carroll. He is still at his place of business every day, the directing hand. He has one of the most popular wives and families in Mt. Carroll. He is at the head of the G. A. R. and always has been. He is an honored, upright citizen who has and is helping make Mt. Carroll what it is in 1922. Long live Capt. Wildey.

Mirror Democrat - History Of Carroll in the Now Nov 24, 1922

William H. Wildey Reaches 100th Birthday
Recalls the Civil War days

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