Wilson, Lorenzo Jackson (1814–1868)


By: Lindsay Brown

Type: Biography

Published: April 28, 2022

Updated: April 28, 2022


Lorenzo Jackson Wilson, Texas legislator and Civil War captain, son of Ezra Wilson and Nancy Ann (Hamilton) Wilson, was born in Barren County, Kentucky, on June 22, 1814. His parents were born in Virginia and married in Kentucky. Wilson had at least eight siblings–three older sisters, two younger sisters, and three younger brothers. The family moved to Arkansas in the 1820s and to Missouri around 1840.

In the 1840s Wilson moved to Rusk County, Texas. On May 23, 1846, at Sand Hill in Rusk County, just after the start of the Mexican War, he joined Capt. Ashton Ferguson’s volunteer cavalry company, which became part of the Second Regiment of Texas Mounted Volunteers under the command of Col. George Tyler Wood. In late July the regiment joined Maj. Gen. Zachary Taylor’s march toward the city of Monterrey, Mexico. Prior to the start of the battle of Monterrey, however, Wilson fell ill and was left behind in the Mexican border town of Camargo, along with numerous other soldiers. He was mustered out of the service on October 2, 1846, before seeing any combat. After returning home to Rusk County, he married Eliza Ann Pitner on December 8, 1848.

After marrying, Wilson moved to Van Zandt County, Texas, where he worked as a salt maker. He briefly served as postmaster at Jordan’s Saline in late 1851 and early 1852. In 1852 Wilson moved to Birdville in Tarrant County. In 1853 Wilson was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. He served one term in the Fifth legislature and represented District 44, which was composed of Ellis and Tarrant counties. He was appointed to the Penitentiary and State Affairs committees. Wilson maintained a low profile during the 1853–54 session and only introduced a single bill. A major item on the legislative agenda was a bill authorizing the state to grant sixteen sections of public land to railroads for each mile of track constructed. Wilson voted with the majority in supporting the bill, which became law and remained so until the practice was banned by the Constitution of 1869. Wilson’s eldest son, Abner Thalis Wilson, was born in 1854. This was followed by the birth of his middle child, Thomas Pitner Wilson, in 1857 and his youngest son, William Erskine Wilson, in 1860.

By 1862 the Wilson family had moved to Bryan, Texas, and Wilson was listed in the Brazos County tax rolls as owning one town lot in Bryan, valued at $100; three slaves, valued at $2,000; eight cattle, valued at $160; and $100 of additional property. In March 1862 he enrolled in the Confederate Army. He was commissioned as a captain in the First Regiment of the Texas Lancers, led by George Washington Carter; the regiment was soon re-designated as the Twenty-first Texas Cavalry. Wilson was assigned command of Company I, which had been raised in Brazos County. The regiment participated in Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke’s invasion of Missouri and the Red River campaign. Wilson swore a parole of honor in June 1865, following the surrender of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith’s Army of the Trans-Mississippi.

Wilson’s taxable property in 1865 consisted of his lot in Bryan, valued at $350, and one horse, valued at $90. The total value of his property had fallen from $2,360 in 1862 to $440 following the emancipation of his slaves. In April 1867 he was elected mayor of the recently incorporated city of Bryan. However, the vote to incorporate, along with Wilson’s election, were not recognized by the Fifth Military District, created the previous month by the first Reconstruction Act, and Wilson never assumed office.

According to family records, Wilson died on December 23, 1868. His cause of death and place of burial are not recorded. He may have been interred in the Old Bryan City Cemetery, also known as the “Yellow Fever Cemetery.”

Thomas H. Kreneck, “The Neglected Regiment: East Texas Horsemen with Zachary Taylor,” East Texas Historical Journal 12 (1974). Legislative Reference Library of Texas: L. J. Wilson (https://lrl.texas.gov/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=5282), accessed April 13, 2022. Bill Page, comp., “Notes on Brazos County Politics, 1861–1889,” Texas Research Ramblers (http://www.texasresearchramblers.org/newspapers/scrapbookitems/1861-1889politics.pdf), accessed April 13, 2022.

Categories:
  • Military
  • Confederate Military
  • Soldiers
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
  • House
  • State Legislators
  • Fifth Legislature (1853-1854)
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War
  • Reconstruction
Places:
  • Central Texas
  • East Texas
  • Northeast Texas
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Lindsay Brown, “Wilson, Lorenzo Jackson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wilson-lorenzo-jackson.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 28, 2022
April 28, 2022

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: