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William Wilson

Previous Illinois Supreme Court Justice


William Wilson was born on April 27, 1794 in Loudon County, Virginia. He moved to Kentucky and then to White County, Illinois, and was admitted to the bar in 1817. In 1819, the general assembly elected Wilson to the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the vacancy of William P. Foster, and in 1825, the general assembly elected him the court’s chief justice. In 1841, when the new constitution divided Illinois into nine judicial circuits, with each state supreme court justice presiding over a circuit, Wilson was responsible for the Fourth Judicial Circuit. He retired from the bench after the passage of a new state constitution in 1848. He was a member of the Whig party but was never politically active. Wilson returned to the practice of law in Carmi, Illinois, where he died on April 29, 1857. Judge Wilson held the longest consecutive term as Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice, serving 24 years in the post.