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Wiley, Ben L. | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Wiley, Ben L.

Historical Note: Ben Ladd Wiley was born in Smithfield, Ohio on March 25, 1821. In 1845 Wiley moved to Vienna, Illinois to be with his brother John where he taught school and worked as a carpenter. In 1847  Wiley enlisted in United States Army to fight in Mexico and was enlisted until 1848 when he left the service to return to Vianna. In 1849 Wiley settled in Jonesboro, Union County and worked for Winstead Davie as a clerk, worked as a carpenter, and at the Jonesboro Gazette. In 1850 he married Emily Davie, and three years later became a traveling salesman for the Davie's family. A year after that Wiley set up a real estate business with Colonel Lewis T. Ashley in Anna and began a partnership with Paul Frick, "Wiley & Frick", and sold hardware, argricultural implements, tools, etc. In 1856 Wiley ran and lost for a congressional seat on the Republican ticket, and went on to work for Lincoln in the senate election. In 1859 Wiley became a lawyer in Illinois and moved his family to a farm in Makanda and two years later he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel in the fifth Illinois Calvary Regiment, but resigned citing ill health and family issues in 1862. A year later he was able to return to his post, being discharged in 1865. After his military service, Wiley was appointed to the board to select a site for an insane asylum in Union County. In 1876 he ran again for congress, and was again defeated. He died in 1890.

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