January 25, 2011

Joseph Franklin Wilson

Joseph Franklin Wilson, US Congressman, was born in Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas, March 18, 1901. In 1913, he moved with his family to the Texas Panhandle community of Memphis, Texas in Hall County. From September 1917 to June 1918, he was enrolled at Peacock Military College in San Antonio; from September 1918 to June 1919, Wilson attended the Tennessee Military Institute; and in 1923, Wilson graduated from Baylor Law School in Waco, Texas and was admitted to the bar the same year. He then moved to Dallas and began his law practice. He married Ruby Lee Hopkins in 1926. The couple later had a son, Joseph Franklin, and a daughter, Marion Sue.

He began his political career as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1936 and later as chairman of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee (1942-1945). In the 1946 Texas Congressional election, Wilson defeated primary opponent Sarah T. Hughes by 14,000 votes, then defeated Republican L.W. Stayart in the 1946 general election. He was re-elected in 1948, 1950 and 1952, but was not a candidate for renomination in 1954.

He served as district judge of the criminal district court of Texas in 1943 and 1944, being known as Judge J. Frank Wilson. He was appointed judge of Criminal District Court No. 1, Dallas, Texas, in 1955, in which capacity he served until September 1968. During the Jack Ruby trial in Dallas, Wilson was granted a vacation so that his larger courtroom could accommodate Judge Joe B. Brown for the Ruby Trial. Wilson interrupted his vacation to fill in for the ailing Judge Brown.  He retired due to illness and died in Dallas, Texas, October 13, 1968.

GPS Coordinates
32° 52.017, -096° 46.734

Monument Garden
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery
Dallas

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