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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesIowa

James Falconer WILSON

(1828-1895)
Senate Years of Service:
1883-1895
Party:
Republican

WILSON, James Falconer, a Representative and a Senator from Iowa; born in Newark, Licking County, Ohio, October 19, 1828; pursued an academic course; apprenticed to the harnessmaker’s trade; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1851 and practiced in Newark, Ohio, 1851-1853; moved to Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa, in 1853 and resumed the practice of law; member of the constitutional convention of Iowa in 1857; member, State house of representatives 1857, 1859; member, State senate 1859-1861, and was its president in 1861; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-seventh Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Samuel R. Curtis; reelected to the Thirty-eighth, Thirty-ninth, and Fortieth Congresses and served from October 8, 1861, to March 3, 1869; was not a candidate for renomination in 1868; chairman, Committee on the Judiciary (Thirty-eighth through Fortieth Congresses); one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1868 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson; was tendered the position of Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Ulysses Grant but declined; subsequently appointed by President Grant as government director of the Union Pacific Railroad and served eight years; unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for United States Senator in 1872; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1882; reelected in 1888 and served from March 4, 1883, to March 3, 1895; was not a candidate for reelection in 1894; chairman, Committee on Mines and Mining (Forty-eighth Congress), Committee on Expenditures of Public Money (Forty-eighth Congress), Committee on Revision of the Laws of the United States (Forty-ninth through Fifty-second Congresses), Committee on Education and Labor (Fifty-second Congress); died in Fairfield, Iowa, April 22, 1895; interment in Fairfield-Evergreen Cemetery.

Bibliography

American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Schlup, Leonard. “Republican Loyalist: James F. Wilson and Party Politics, 1855-1895.” The Annals of Iowa 52 (Spring 1993): 123-149.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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