Woman of the Century/Zara A. Wilson
WILSON, Mrs. Zara A., reformer and lawyer, born in Burnettsville, Indiana, 8th October, 1840. She was the fourth in a family of eight children. Her maiden name was Mahurin, to which ZARA A. WILSON. form it had been Americanized from the Scotch Mac Huron. Her father was of southern birth and education, a native of the Carolinas. He was twice married, his second wife being Matilda C. Freeman, the mother of Mrs. Wilson, to whom he was married near Troy, Ohio, in 1832. Mrs. Wilson's early life was spent on a farm, but she had the advantages of a seminary education in an institution founded and presided over by a half-brother, Isaac Mahurin. She had always shown a fondness for books, and during her student days mathematics was to her a fascinating study. At the age of seventeen she began to teach. After one year in Fort Wayne College, then in thriving condition, she became assistant in that school. The sudden death of her father called her home to the support of a sorrowing mother, whom she assisted, during the next year, in the settlement of a large estate. Then she resumed teaching and served with success in Lafayette and other towns of Indiana. In the former city she took her first public stand in favor of the equality of sex, refusing to accept a position as principal because the salary offered was ten dollars per month less than was paid to a man for the same work. She had already suffered from the disability custom had laid upon her sex. She had, in her earnest longing to do good, a strong desire to enter the ministry, but found that, because of sex, she would not be admitted to the Biblical Institute in Evansville, Ind. In 1867 she became the wife of Port Wilson, a merchant of Goodland, Ind. Owing to broken health, her energies were for ten years confined mostly to home duties and the care of her only child, a son. During that time she organized the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Goodland, and was corresponding secretary of that district until, her health demanding change of climate, the family home was removed to Lincoln. Neb., in 1870. She gradually improved in the climate of Nebraska. She has been an efficient member of the Nebraska Woman's Christian Temperance Union, delivering addresses and publishing state reports. She was three times elected corresponding secretary of the Nebraska body, resigning because of overwork. For four years she was a member of the national convention. She has always been active in the cause of woman's advancement and has been a warm advocate of woman's political enfranchisement, wielding a ready pen in its favor. Since her admission to the bar, in 1891, she is making the legal status of women a specialty, and she has in that line written much for the press. At present she is the State superintendent or franchise for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and district corresponding secretary of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In the fall of 1892 she was a candidate on the prohibition ticket for county attorney.