James Charles Wilson, senator, was born in Yorkshire, England, on August 24, 1816. He attended Oxford University before he moved to Texas in 1837. He joined Charles K. Reese's company for the Somervell expedition in 1842 and became a private in Company E on the Mier expedition under William S. Fisher. Captured with that expedition, he refused the proffered help of the British government on the grounds that he was an English citizen and remained in prison until he managed to escape on July 30, 1843. Back in Texas he lived in Brazoria, where he became district clerk on March 1, 1845. He represented Calhoun, Jackson, Matagorda, and Wharton counties in the House of the Third Legislature. From November 1851 to February 1852 he was a member of the Fourth Legislature and served again in the special session of the Fourth Legislature to February 7, 1853. In 1856 Wilson was elected commissioner of the court of claims. In addition to his legal career he was an itinerant minister in the Methodist Church. Wilson County, established in 1860, was named for him. Wilson died at Gonzales on February 7, 1861, and was buried in the Askey Cemetery. In 1936 he was reinterred in the State Cemetery in Austin.
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Zachary T. Fulmore, History and Geography of Texas As Told in County Names (Austin: Steck, 1915; facsimile, 1935). Hobart Huson, District Judges of Refugio County (Refugio, Texas: Refugio Timely Remarks, 1941). Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Politics and Government
Third Legislature (1849-1850)
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Wilson, James Charles,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
September 1, 1995