Wilson, Jesse Francis(born: 1870 - died: 1937)
Reverend J. Francis Wilson, born in Harrodsburg, KY, was an active member of the African American Baptist in Kentucky, and the Kentucky Negro Educational Association. He served as the state organizer for the Kentucky (colored) Baptist Young People's Union (BYPU) for 30 years and organized BYPU chapters around the state [sources: Hamilton Journal---The Daily News, 11/04/1937, p.12, columns 6-7; and The American Baptist Year-Book, 1919, p.79]. He traveled to other states to share news about the Kentucky BYPU model.
The BYPU was not unique to Kentucky or the colored Baptist; BYPU was started by the Baptist Church in 1891 according to the History of the Baptist Young People's Union of America by J. W. Conley. The BYPU for the Kentucky colored Baptist was organized in Versailles, KY in 1901 according to the Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky edited by Rev. C. H. Parrish, p.85. Rev. J. Francis Wilson had been a member of the Baptist Church long before the BYPU was organized; he became an ordained minister in August of 1897 [source: Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky edited by Rev. C. H. Parrish, pp.239-240]. He was first a pastor in Flemingsburg and Falmouth, both in Kentucky, and he resigned from both churches in order to establish a church in Cape Colony, Africa.
Rev. Wilson was recognized as one of the early African American missionaries in the Cape Colony of South Africa (British) [source: The Paducah Evening Sun, 05/24/1907, p.5, column 2]. He returned to the United States after two years, bringing three African children with him. The children were enrolled in State University [Simmons College, KY]. Rev. Wilson returned to preaching and he was editor of the Lexington Standard newspaper for 5 years.
In 1904, Rev. Wilson was located in Richmond, KY, where he was District Missionary of the Consolidated Association, a position he held for 7 years [source: American Baptist (newspaper), 12/02/1904, p.2, column 5; and Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky edited by Rev. C. H. Parrish, pp.239-240]. He was also commissioned as the State Missionary of Sunday Schools. In 1914, Rev. Wilson was the first pastor of the Loving Springs Baptist Church in Glasgow, (Barren County), KY [source: The Jubilee History and Biographical Sketches of Liberty Association by Times Publishing Company of Smiths Grove, KY, 1916]. Rev. Wilson also served as an agent for the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children in Louisville, KY [source: Kentucky Directory for the use of Courts, State, and County Officials and General Assembly of the State of Kentucky, 1922, p.162].
Rev. Wilson last lived in Maceo, KY and he served as chairman of the KNEA Necrology Committee from 1934 until his death in 1937 [sources: Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, v.5, no.1, October-November, 1934, pp.14-15; up to v.9, no.1, January-February 1938, p.36]. The Necrology Committee recognized African American educators in Kentucky who had died.
Rev. J. Francis Wilson died November 1, 1937 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death, Primary Registration District No.4943]. The name on his death certificate is "Reverend Francis Wilson." His funeral service was held in Louisville and he was buried in Harrodsburg, KY [source: Hamilton Journal---The Daily News, 11/04/1937, p.12, columns 6-7]. Rev. J. Francis Wilson was born October 21, 1870 to Rev. Joseph Wilson and Didamy Francis Wilson. He was the husband of Dollye Woodfork Wilson.