Wilson, James (Congressman)

Born: 1797-03-18 Peterborough, New Hampshire

Died: 1881-05-29 Keene, New Hampshire

Wilson attended academies at New Ipswich, Atkinson, and Exeter. He moved with his parents to Keene, New Hampshire in 1815. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1820. He served in the New Hampshire state militia in 1820-1840 and earned promotions to captain and to major general. He studied law and earned admittance to the bar in 1823 and started a practice in Keene. Wilson served as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1825-1837, 1840, and 1846. He served as speaker in 1828. He ran unsuccessfully for governor of New Hampshire in 1835 and 1838. He served as a delegate to the Whig National Convention in 1839. He worked as surveyor general of public lands in the territories of Wisconsin and Iowa in 1841-1845. In 1846, Wilson won election, as a Whig, to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1847 until his resignation in 1850. He earned appointment as commissioner to settle private land claims in California in 1851-1853. Wilson was offered a brigadier general's commission in the Army by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, but declined on account of his age.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1961 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1961), 1831; Gravestone, Woodland Cemetery, Keene, NH.