Joseph G. Wilson Biography


        Ninth representative at large in Congress from the state of Oregon -- March 4, 1873. Died before qualifying.

        Joseph G. Wilson was born at Acworth, New Hampshire, December 13, 1826, and graduated from Marietta College, Ohio, in 1846. For several years he taught school and practiced law. He came to Oregon and commenced to practice law at Salem in 1852.

        He was appointed clerk of the supreme court in 1852 and held the position three years. In 1860 he was appointed district attorney for the third judicial district. In 1862 he was appointed judge of the fifth judicial district, then comprising all of Eastern Oregon, by Governor A. C. Gibbs, and settled at The Dalles. In 1864 he was elected to that position by the people, holding that position until 1870, and as such judge was a justice of the supreme court, thus sitting upon the supreme bench 8 years.

        In 1870 he was the republican nominee for congress on the ticket along with Joel Palmer for governor, James Elkins for secretary of state, Meyer Hirsch for state treasurer and H. R. Kincaid for state printer. The whole republican state ticket was defeated and all the democrats were elected by small majorities. J. H. Slater, the democratic nominee, was elected representative in congress by 343 majority. In 1872 Judge Wilson was renominated for congress by the republicans and was elected by a majority of 850. He went to Washington, D. C., with his family and rented a house in Georgetown. He went out to Marietta, Ohio, to deliver an address at the college and died in July 1873, before he had taken his seat in congress, although his official term began March 3, 1873. He was a very bright man and was unusually jovial and pleasant as a companion.

Arthur F. Benson's Original Biography Document