SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

James Wilson, 1789-1798

Justice James Wilson, 1789-1798
JAMES WILSON was born in Caskardy, Scotland, on September 14, 1742. He entered St. Andrews University in 1757 and emigrated to America in 1765 to take a teaching position at the College of Philadelphia. He read law with an attorney and in 1768 began a private law practice in Reading, Pennsylvania. Wilson was elected a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1775 and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He also served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. As a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Wilson was a member of the committee that produced the first draft of the Constitution. He signed the finished document on September 17, 1787, and later served as a delegate to the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention. On September 24, 1789, President George Washington nominated Wilson one of the original Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment two days later. Wilson served on the Supreme Court for eight years and died on August 21, 1798, at the age of fifty-five.