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Introduction Part 2

His was an exciting world to have been a part of.  George Follett Wilson was born less than twenty-five years after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the document which formally recognized our United States. He was less than two years old when the land area of the new nation was nearly doubled by the Louisiana Purchase. The War of 1812, our second war with England, had ended in a victory that created a great wave of national pride and emotional independence.  The nation sensed its destiny. The first great struggle over the question of slavery had been quelled by the achievement of the uneasy peace known as the Missouri Compromise. History records in detail the momentous events and the names fo the great actors in the drama of the times.

Less carefully were the records preserved of those who played small supporting roles. It is of special interest, therefore, that we read the comments in the Journal on the issues of slavery, the involvement of the government in internal improvements in the new lands, on the establishment of a Bank of the United States, and the issuance of paper money. Especially timely was his observation that Congress was "wasting the taxpayer's money" by building the City of Washington for, he said, the center of the government will in twenty years be located on the banks of the Mississippi River. It was a prevalent view at that time.

Dr. Wilson continued throughout his life to be interested in community affairs. When the North Carolina Legislature designated Bethania a town in 1839, his name was first on the list of original councilmen. After the formation of Yadkin County and his removal to Yadkinville in 1853, he was a member of the commission appointed to plan for the improvement of the roads of the County.

There are two distinct styles of writing in the Journal. The first part relating the events of the journey from his home in New York to Bethania was actually recorded about nine years after the events. The entry for May 8, 1828 is somewhat more studied than the rest of the Journal because it is more carefully written from notes. In the latter part of the Journal even the handwriting changes. It is larger, almost a scrawl as he writes more spontaneously.

There is evidence that the Journal was written on sheets of paper which were later bound into a book. A letter written by him dated 10 November 1835 was among some old letters in Sadie Wilson's files. It supports that theory; written on the same paper, bearing the watermark of the Shober paperworks of Salem, it is folded to the same size as the pages of the Journal. The entry quoted above would actually have been written in 1837. The paper on which the Journal was written is probably the same paper he used for all his writing and record keeping.