Thomas S. Wilson (1838 - 1847)
Served on the Iowa
Supreme Court from the formation of Iowa Territory in 1838 until he resigned in
Born October 13, 1813, at
Steubenville, Ohio. He was graduated from Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, in
1836, and was a boyhood friend and neighbor of Edwin M. Stanton, later
Secretary of War. Justice Wilson was but twenty-five years of age when
appointed to the Supreme Court.
The first court session
held in Iowa Territory was conducted on September 11, 1838, by Justice Wilson
at Prairie La Porte (now Guttenberg) in Clayton County. This was a session of
the District Court, presided over by a justice of the Supreme Court.
As a practicing lawyer,
he was instrumental in extinguishing the Spanish land grant titles in Iowa,
thus securing to the early settlers, in Iowa Territory, their homes against
ouster at the hands of land speculators. He was a member of the Eleventh and
Twelfth General Assemblies. He served later on the District Bench. He had
missed by one vote becoming the first United States Senator from Iowa.
Justice Wilson died in
Dubuque May 16, 1894.