He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1815 and came to Halton County, Upper Canada in 1830 to work with his uncle. In 1834, he moved to Toronto where he studied law Robert Baldwin Sullivan and was called to the bar in 1839. In 1850, he became Queen's Counsel. Wilson was elected to Toronto city council in 1855, later serving two terms as mayor. In 1856, he was named to a commission whose work formed the basis for the l Statutes of the Province of Canada. He was elected to the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada in an 1860 by-election in the North riding of York; he was re-elected in ral for Canada West in the Executive Council. He resigned from politics in 1863 and was named judge in the Court of Queen's Bench. He served on the Ontario Law Reform Commission. In 1878, Wilson became chief justice in the Court of Common Pleas and, in 1884, was named to the same function in the Court of Queen's Bench. He was also a member of the Orange Order in Canada. In 1887, he was retired and was knighted. He died in Toronto on December 28, 1891.