When Forsyth County was created in 1849, only one person that we know of, lawyer Thomas J. Wilson, was living within the original boundaries of the town that would become known as Winston. One of the first to move there from elsewhere was Peter A. Wilson, a merchant tailor, who had been doing business in Germanton. Peter would become one of the legendary founders of the town, so much so that when he died in 1892, the newspapers uncharacteristically played the story big.


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Wilson was the second mayor of the town of Winston, serving from 1860-61 and a later term from 1882-83. He also served nine terms as a town commissioner, and one term each as a state representative from Forsyth and a state senator from Forsyth/Stokes Counties. In 1870, he and Hamilton Scales founded a small plug tobacco manufacturing operation, the first in the town of Winston. And, of course, his Wilson Hotel and “place of entertainment” became the best known establishment in the city.


Fourth & Liberty Streets, mid-1890s…Peter Wilson retired for health reasons in the late 1880s and his establishment at Liberty & Third was used in many ways afterward…in 1893, local newspapers reported that his old complex had been burned to the ground, which was not necessarily true…the owners were able to rebuild within the original brick central section…at the time of this photo, the buildings were being used once again as a tailor shop and residence, with the former hotel portion fronting on Liberty Street as the largest beer saloon in town…