after a heated exchange of words during some political argument; James Charles
Wilson was called a foreigner and not a Texan; the proud reply from Mr. Wilson
was, “You my dear sir, are only a Texan by the accident of birth, I am one from
men described Wilson as, “A prince among men, talented, brilliant, witty, and
unequaled for oratory. Of magnificent physique, a perfect Apollo.”
was J.C. Wilson? An article in a 1908 issue of the Inquirer revealed some very
interesting facts about the man — a story about an individual who was born in
England and became, “by choice,” a Texan and patriot from Gonzales County.
Wilson was a lawyer and member of the Texas Senate. Later in life, he was a Methodist
preacher and when he died — a Confederate soldier.
The following (edited)
letter was written by James Wilson’s son and appeared in the Inquirer on May 8,
1908. It tells the rest of the story.
The Gonzales Inquirer • Friday,
May 8, 1908 —
My father, James Charles Wilson, was born in August, 1819,
in Yorkshire, England, at his father’s country home, and was graduated from Eaton
College and Oxford University, England, at about the age of 18 years.
read a good deal about the struggle of the young Republic of Texas to free itself
from the tyrannical bondage of Mexican oppression and cruelty, he became seized
with a desire to go and assist in breaking the chain of tyranny and came immediately
to Texas landing at Galveston
in the month of June, 1836.
Soon thereafter he went to Brazoria County,
where he remained teaching school and studying law under the direction of the
firm of Harris & Pease, composed of the late Judge Andrew J. Harris and ex-Governor
Elisha M. Pease, who were then practicing law at Brazoria.
expedition,” which he joined and was one of the number who were captured by
the Mexicans and carried as prisoners, with much cruelty by the Mexican soldiers,
to the City of Mexico and there incarcerated in the dungeons of Perote Castle;
some time later making his escape with two other prisoners.
He began the
practice of law at Wharton, Texas,
about the year 1846 or 1847 in partnership with the late Judge George Quinan;
afterwards, about the year 1849 or 1850, moving to Matagorda,
Texas, where he practiced law until about 1854. During these years he was
a member of the Legislature as also of the State Senate.
latter part of 1854 he moved to San
Antonio and practiced law in partnership with General T.N. Waul, until in
1856 when he was appointed to the position of commissioner of the court of claims
and at once moved to Austin. Owing to
the failure of his health at Austin
he resigned his position.
Early in the spring of 1857 he moved to Gonzales,
soon after purchasing the place then known as “Bateman farm,” which is situated
about five miles south of Gonzales,
and is now owned by the heirs of H. Askey.
In 1858 he entered the ministry of the Methodist church, and was stationed at
Gonzales, where he preached
continuously until the time of his death. During this time he was earnestly and
persistently urged by great numbers of the most prominent and influential citizens
all over the state to announce himself for United States senator.
was given assurance by a large number of both houses of the State Legislature
that if he would consent they would elect him to that place. But he, without hesitation
declined, assuring his friends who importuned him, that he esteemed his calling
and position of a Methodist minister by far the highest and most responsible position
any man could hold.
When secession began to be discussed he became very
enthusiastic in his interest in the agitation, espousing the cause of the South,
which in his judgment was the interest of Texas,
and took a prominent part in the discussion of the question.
and organized a regiment of cavalry which was thoroughly drilled, preparatory
to entering the active service of the war; before he could consummate his purpose
he was stricken with typhoid pneumonia. He suffered severely for about four weeks
and died on the 7th day of February, 1861.
He was buried on his farm at
a place which he had before selected for his final resting place, and where his
sacred ashes now repose awaiting the resurrection of the just.
17 , 2012 column
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