Wilson, James, 1836–1920, American agriculturist and cabinet officer, b. Ayrshire, Scotland. He emigrated to the United States and settled (1851) in Connecticut, later moving (1855) to Tama co., Iowa, where he became a successful farmer. A member of the Republican party, he served in the state legislature (1867–73) and in the U.S. Congress (1873–77, 1883–85). Wilson was (1891–97) director of the agricultural experiment station and professor of agriculture at Iowa State (now Iowa State Univ. of Science and Technology). As Secretary of Agriculture (1897–1913) under Presidents William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft, he greatly expanded the services of the department; a number of experimental stations were set up over the country, and the aid of experts and scientists was enlisted.
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