WILSON, James, a Delegate from Pennsylvania; born in Carskerdo, near St. Andrews, Scotland, September 14, 1742; attended the Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Edinburgh; immigrated to the United States in 1765; resided in New York City until 1766, when he moved to Philadelphia, Pa.; tutor in the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania); studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1767; practiced in Reading and Carlisle, Pa., and for a short time, during Howe’s occupation of Philadelphia, in Annapolis, Md.; also engaged in literary pursuits; member of the Provincial Convention of Pennsylvania in 1774; Member of the Continental Congress 1775-1777, 1783, and 1785-1786; chosen colonel of the Fourth Battalion of Associators in 1775; advocate general for France in America and guided that country’s legal relations to the Confederation; member of the board of war; brigadier general of the State militia; a signer of the Declaration of Independence; a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Federal Convention in 1787 and a delegate to the State ratification convention; settled in Philadelphia in 1778 and resumed the practice of law; Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court 1789-1798; first professor of law in the College of Philadelphia in 1790 and in the University of Pennsylvania when they were united in 1791; died in Edenton, N.C., August 21, 1798; interment in the Johnston burial ground on the Hayes plantation near Edenton, N.C.; reinterment in Christ Churchyard, Philadelphia, Pa., in 1906.
BibliographySmith, Charles Page. James Wilson, Founding Father, 1742-1798. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1956.
Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present