James F. Wilson as born in Newark, Ohio on October 19, 1828. A Republican, he was elected to Congress in October, 1861.
He supported Civil Rights moves and objected to President Andrew Johnson's attempts to veto the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Reconstruction Acts. He voted to impeach President Johnson in 1868.
President Ulysses S. Grant offered the post of Secretary of State to Wilson, but he declined it, serving instead as government director of the Pacific Railroad. He remained in Congress as a member of the US Senate for Iowa. He served as chairman of the Committee of Mines and Mining.
Wilson died on April 22, 1895.