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.