James K. Wilson, civic leader, clothier, and entrepreneur, was born in Slater, Missouri, in 1891. Before 1916, when he opened his first clothing store in Dallas, Wilson worked as a railroad telegrapher in Kansas and in clothing stores in Temple, where he met his future wife. In 1914 he moved to Dallas and by 1916 was able to open his first downtown clothing store, located on the second floor of the building to save money. On December 5 of that same year he married Edna Florence Jackson in her home in Coleman, Texas. They had four children. In 1920 Wilson opened Victory-Wilson Clothing Stores with outlets in six Texas cities. In 1935 he disposed of his interests in the stores and started the James K. Wilson Clothing Company, which later merged with the Hart, Schaffner, and Marx clothing business. By 1966 there were six James K. Wilson stores in Dallas alone. At the time of his death in Dallas on April 30, 1972, he was chairman of the board. Wilson was a director of the State Fair of Texas and the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. The James K. Wilson Outstanding Professor scholarship at Southern Methodist University was named in his and his son's honor. He was a member of the Baptist church and the Kiwanis Club and was a Mason and a Shriner. He took a personal interest in helping the Boy Scouts of America and the Newsboys Club. He was a charter member and president of the National Association of the Retail Clothiers and Furnishers and president and member of the board of directors of the Dallas Retail Merchants Association.
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Dallas Morning News, December 2, 1966, May 2, 1972.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Lisa C. Maxwell,
“Wilson, James K.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
September 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: