In the 1881 Canadian census the Wilson family was living on Howe Island in Frontenac, Ontario. At the time, John was 7 years old, living with his parents, his sisters Annie (17), Eliza (15), and brother Hugh (9). A married sister, Rose Mary Beaubien, was living on Amherst Island with her husband and baby. By 1891, all the sisters were married and their father had died in 1889. Hugh was now a farmer and the head of household at aged 20. His mother, brother John (17), and a servant John Breene (21) were also living there.
On November 1, 1898, John married Mary Agnes Thompson (1872-1940) in Deseronto, Hastings, Ontario. At the time, John was living on Howe Island and was a farmer, while Mary lived in Deseronto.
In the 1901 census, John, Mary, and their 1-year-old daughter Annie Maud were living with John’s mother on Howe Island. There was also a farm laborer named Matthew Farrell living with them. On March 9, 1902, John and Mary’s son Hugh was born on Howe Island. In 1902/1903, John bought a farm property on Highway 2 in Pittsburg Township, east of Kingston and across the river from Howe Island. There, son Cecil was born on March 19, 1903. Over the next five years, five more children were born including John (1905), Marjorie (1906), Charles (1907), William (1908), and Theresa (1909). In the 1911 census, the family was still farming in Pittsburg Township and John’s mother was living with them. However, their daughter Annie Maud had died in 1904.
John and Mary had two more sons: Clarence Stuart (1914) and Earle Sanford (1916). In the 1921 census, John’s mother was still living with the family in Pittsburg Twp. and the Hugh had moved out work across the river in Syracuse, New York. Throughout the 1920s, many of the Wilson sons would go to either New York or Detroit, Michigan for work. John’s mother Mary Ann died in September 1923 after a broken hip and pneumonia.
John died of carcinoma of the stomach on November 25, 1930 at home. He had had cancer for 7 months and on May 13, 1930 he had an operation to prevent a stomach obstruction. He was buried November 27th in Willowbank Cemetery in Gananoque. His wife Mary died April 29, 1940. Their son John was living in Detroit with his pregnant wife at the time. His son, also named John, was born in Detroit on May 16, 1940. After this they returned to Pittsburg Township to run the farm.