Saturday, September 19, 2015

This Week in Texas Methodist History   September 20

Rev. James C. Wilson Reburied at Texas State Cemetery, September 21, 1936

James C. Wilson was born in Yorkshire, England in 1816, and became the only Texas preacher I’ve found who attended Oxford University, as did Charles and John Wesley.  While still a young man, he became enthusiastic for the cause of Texas independence and decided to come as an immigrant.  He arrived in 1837, too late for the Revolution, but not too late to participate in the Somervell Expedition and its disastrous sequel, the Mier Expedition.  

  As you will recall, the 176 prisoners of the Mier Expedition were forced to draw from a jar of beans—white meant life and a black bean meant execution.

Wilson drew a white bean and was thus in the part of prisoners taken further into Mexico to the dungeons of Perote Castle.  He was told that he could be released by asserting his British citizenship, but stayed loyal to the Lone Star Republic and remained with his fellow prisoners.

He eventually escaped and made his way back to Wharton where he practiced law. He later moved to Matagorda.  The practice of law led to politics.  He was elected to the Congress of the Republic of Texas, and when Texas joined the Union became a member of the Texas State Senate.  In 1854 he moved to San Antonio, and then to Austin where he was appointed commissioner for the Court of Claims.  

He did not stay in that position long but moved to a farm near Gonzales in the spring of 1857.  In the fall of that same year he joined the Texas Annual Conference meeting in Waco and was appointed to Gonzales.

As storm clouds gathered, Wilson became an ardent secessionist and even raised a cavalry regiment.    Typhoid struck before he could lead that regiment into battle, and he died in 1861.His reburial in the Texas State Cemetery occurred on September 21, 1936 as Texans were celebrating the centennial of Texas Independence.


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