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James Wilson's Geni Profile

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James Wilson

Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Ireland
Death: October 17, 1850 (63)
Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, United States
Place of Burial: Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Wilson and Agnes Henderson
Husband of Mary Anne Wilson
Father of William Duane Wilson; Mary Jane Larimore; Joseph Ruggles Wilson, Sr., Rev.; Thomas Wilson and Edwin Clinton Wilson, Gen
Brother of John Wilson and Thomas Wilson

Managed by: Private User
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About James Wilson

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Judge James Wilson (1787-1850), Woodrow Wilson’s (the 28th President of the United States) paternal grandfather

The president’s grandfather, James Wilson of Steubenville, Ohio, was born on 20 February 1787 and died on 17 October 1850.He was a newspaper publisher, Whig politician, successful businessman, and abolitionist. His wife, Ann (Adams) Wilson, born on 29 December 1791, died at her daughter Elizabeth Begges’s home in Cleveland, Ohio, on 6 September 1863.

Three James Wilsons were naturalized in Philadelphia between 1808 and 1816.36 Two handwriting experts compared the applicants’ signatures with those on ten letters from the Steubenville newspaper publisher. They agree that the letter-writer signed a naturalization petition on 21 September 1808. Naturalized seven months after his twenty-first birthday, James said he had lived in the United States more than six years and in Pennsylvania more than two. He had therefore arrived in America before 1802, consistent with Duane’s 1815 statement that he had known James for almost eighteen years. A later Philadelphia naturalization record may explain misstatements regarding James’s immigration and origin. On 16 January 1811 another James Wilson filed his declaration of intention in Philadelphia. He said he “migrated from Londonderry to the United States, and arrived at the Port of New York on or about the Twenty sixth Day of June A.D. 1807” and that he was born in County Tyrone on or about 4 November 1784. His birth date, handwriting, and signature differ from those of President Wilson’s grandfather.

Conclusion President Woodrow Wilson’s grandfather, James Wilson, immigrated to the United States by 1797, at least ten years earlier than the date presidential biographers have claimed for more than a century. James likely immigrated with his mother, Margaretta, who was born in 1757–58 and died in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1820. James, perhaps with Margaretta, came to Philadelphia before 1806. President Wilson’s grandmother, Ann (Adams) Wilson, likely immigrated with her parents, John—not David—and Mary Adams, also by 1797. James, an infant in 1787, was not apprenticed that year in Strabane. Discounting Strabane, in county Tyrone, adds credibility to the family’s repeated, though inconsistent, reports of origin in county Down.

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James Wilson's Timeline

February 20, 1787
September 21, 1809
Age 22
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
October 3, 1811
Age 24
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
February 16, 1820
Age 32
Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, United States
February 28, 1822
Age 35
Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio, USA
Age 42
October 17, 1850
Age 63
Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, United States
Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, United States