WILSON, James Falconer

WILSON, James Falconer
Library of Congress


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.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Fairfield Public Library

Fairfield, IA
Papers: 60 letters and 4 scrapbooks (ca. 1865-1895) on 1 microfilm reel; commissions; certificates; speeches; and personal letters.

State Historical Society of Iowa

Des Moines, IA
Papers: 1864-1889. 1 folder. Also photographs and portrait.

State Historical Society of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
Papers: 2 letters; and 60 letters and 4 scrapbooks (ca. 1865-1895) on 1 microfilm reel of originals in Fairfield Public Library.

State Historical Society of Iowa

Clermont, IA
Papers: 2 letters in William Larrabee papers, 1893-1907.

Pierpont Morgan Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1875. 1 item.

University of Iowa Libraries
Special Collections Department

Iowa City, IA
Papers: 13 items in various collections.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Ross, Earle D. "James F. Wilson, Legalistic Free-Soiler." Annals of Iowa 32 (July 1954): 365-75.

Schlup, Leonard. "Republican Loyalist: James F. Wilson and Party Politics, 1855-1895." The Annals of Iowa 52 (Spring 1993): 123-149.

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