The Wilson family moved to the area in 1867 to settle and work the land. They immediately fell in love with the mountain area with it’s virgin forest and abundant wildlife. Their hopes of family, friends and visitors enjoying this beautiful and tranquil outdoors would eventually become a reality.
Originally known as Laureldale; around 1872 the area would take on the name of Promised Land (re: Beers map of 1872). As early as 1793 through 1908 persons desiring to own and work the land in the area would apply to the State of Pennsylvania. Land parcels granted (known as a warranty) averaged around 400 acres. The properties to be lumbered and developed under the warranty program originally comprised most of the Promised Land area.
In the beginning, timbering of the parcels yielded a decent income. Later lands were not well managed or developed to prosper for owners. Many struggled to stay afloat; lands now costing expenses and taxes with no return. Warranty owners started selling their parcels to others, including Edgar and Mary Wilson.
The Wilsons would develop the area, including a retail store with goods from socks to teams of horses. The store, sawmill and first residence were constructed on the Lower lake road. Edgar Wilson was also a blacksmith and later operated a birch distillery.
As lands continued to be sold to others, the State decided to purchase back some acreage, including from Wilson. Edgar Wilson was selected to be caretaker of lands for the State. When it was decided to use the lands for a Park, Edgar Wilson would become the first Park Ranger for Promised Land State Park. Edgar and Mary’s hopes of many enjoying this beautiful area is happening.
Edgar and Mary’s sons, Grant and Robert Wilson would continue to work and develop the remaining family lands to prosper for others to enjoy. Edgar’s son Grant with his wife Clemence (Olsomner) would carry on the family legacy of timbering, farming, retail business and a small sawmill. The construction of wooden rowboats for Promised Land Lake would now be added to their many endeavors.
Grant and Clemence had four children, Esther, Edith, Edgar and Evelyn. Their son Edgar, grandson to Edgar Wilson realized the love of the area by many including those visiting the Park. Many folks wanting to spend more and more time in the area didn’t have the available funds to purchase a cottage or vacation home. Families would rent campsites at the Park; but lengths of stay were limited.
Edgar Wilson recognized the needs of visitors wanting to spend more time in the area, so in 1966 he developed Wilson Campground. He carried on his family’s legacy of providing an opportunity for folks to experience and enjoy the beautiful and tranquil outdoors of Promised Land.