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Charles Dana Wilber

Founder of the town of Wilber, Nebraska in 1873, Prof C.D. Wilber was an author, educator, geologist and entrepreneur who helped pioneer the West. Born in 1830 and raised on a farm in Auburn Township, Geauga County, Ohio, he taught at what is now Hiram College, Ohio, then graduated in 1856 from Williams College, Massachusetts, where he was a close friend of James A. Garfield, later the 20th President of the United States. While assaying land for mining companies and railroads, he helped organize the Illinois Natural History Society, and was the first curator of the museum that was a forerunner of the Illinois State Museum. As an advance man for the Burlington Railroad and scientific promoter of Nebraska, he co-authored "Agriculture- Beyond the 100th Meridian," one of the significant documents in the history of Nebraska and the West. He was in 1878 a founding board of director of the Nebraska State Historical Society, and recipient in 1880 of an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Nebraska. He resided part-time in Wilber, Nebraska for a decade, but was based in Aurora, Illinois, where he died in 1891. His ancestors were founders of communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and variations of the family name include Wilbar, Wilbor, Wilbour and Wilbur.

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