Ruth Elinor Wilson


Written by Mark Mueller. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”



Alice (Ruth’s sister) first recollection is of standing on a small makeshift stage bowing after putting on a little play.  Ruth was surprised that Alice remembered because she was only two years old, even Ruth, four at the time, doesn’t remember what the play was or what it was for.  She does recall nudging Alice, who was just standing and staring at the audience, to bow.  Ruth described Alice as “a little angel” with a radiant smile.  A love between sisters that would endure the trails of time.

Another early memory was the thrill of jumping from a hay loft into a stack of hay.  Alice said it probably seemed like a longer fall then it was because it was a small barn.  Both of these incidents occurred in Trinidad, Colorado.  They also recalled fondly visiting the farm if the Collier family near town.

The Wilson family had moved back to Colorado from Illinois before Alice was six months of age.  Ruth and Alice were born in Collinsville, Illinois (Ruth on March 1, 1914, and Alice on December 14, 1916), but both considered Trinidad their place of origin and place of fond memories.

Ruth became a noted writer under the name of Elinor Wilson.  She wrote on many topics, including more than 50 children’s stories; revision of college textbook, O.W. Wilson’s Police Administration; articles on western history and on criminology (she had a B.A. in Criminology from the University of California  Berkeley).  Her major historical work is Jim Beckwourth, Back Mountain Man and War Chief of the Crows (University of Oklahoma Press, 1972).  It was being considered for submission for a Pulitzer.  The book flap described “Elinor Wilson” as growing “up in Trinidad, Colorado,’ at the foot of the equestrian statue of Kit Carson.”  Ruth considered herself a “natural born” Westerner, having grown up in Colorado.  (Brand Book Number Five–San Diego Corral of the Westerner, 1978).

Ruth first married John Westley Evans M.D., a noted psychiatrist, who published a series of papers in psychiatric aspects of crime, in 1937.  Secondly she married at Berkeley, California, on November 22, 1950 Orlando Wilson, who as university dean was asked by Mayor Daley to head the Chicago Police Department and clean it up.  He published Police Records, Police Administration, and Police Planning.  O.W. Wilson died on October 18, 1972, Poway, California.  Ruth died on October 10, 1983 in San Diego, California.

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