The very first Wilson School was known as the Blackstone Street School, built in 1852 on the corner of Blackstone Street and Morrell Street. In 1898 a new elementary school was built on the same location and renamed T.A. Wilson School.


    wilson 1  

    T. A. Wilson School and students - 1898 

    Thomas A. Wilson loved learning, so it is fitting that his name ended up on a school building. T. A. Wilson Elementary School, 310 W. Morrell Street was named after the Jackson attorney whose life reflected the value of a good education.

    Wilson was born April 22, 1836, in New York’s Hamilton County. At two months old, he joined his parents, Thomas and Henrietta, on a pioneer trek that led to Spring Arbor Township. The senior Wilson was originally a weaver but abandoned the trade to try farming.

    Wilson grew up a typical farm boy, doing the cores, working the fields, and attending the local public school when the season fit. He loved to study, and reading became one of his passions.

    At age 18, Wilson switched roles from student to teacher, a job he held for three years before venturing on a two-year trip out west.

    On his return to Jackson, Wilson again took a turn at farming. But his yearning for learning continued, so he began studying law in the office of Jackson attorney John D. Connelly. He left to attend the Chicago Law School and later passed the bar exams in Illinois and Michigan.

    After the Civil War, he practiced in Saginaw for one year before returning to Jackson. He practiced law here for almost fifty years.

    wilson 2  

    He resided in Liberty Township and was elected its treasurer for two years. He also served as the area’s justice of the peace. He served two terms as city recorder from 1869-70 and a year later worked as the county’s district attorney. He continued his public-service stint, working as city attorney from 1874-76.

    Wilson was politically independent most of the time. But he did join the Democratic Party on many occasions. In 1866, he was elected County Chairman, a position he also held 1876.

    Schools benefited the most from his service. He was elected in 1880 to the District No. 1 school board, in an era when it was considered the city’s most prestigious board. He held the spot for more than two decades.

    The district’s second Blackstone Street School was built in 1898 and renamed to honor Wilson. The current school built in 1951, continues to do the same.

    Wilson also contributed as a hospital trustee for twelve years, a Union Bank director and vice president of the Jackson Patriot newspaper.

    Wilson died of pneumonia at age 81 at his home, 807 First Street.

    By: Susanne Weible, Jackson Citizen Patriot

    wilson 4
    T. A. Wilson Elementary - 1952

    In 1951 the Jackson Union School district built the current building located at the corner of Morrell Street and Blackstone Street. An addition was added to the school in January 1952. T.A. Wilson Academy was an elementary school prior to the Alternative High School and GED Programs moving into the building in January of 2009 from their former location at Tomlinson School.  All of the classrooms, computer labs, cafeteria and other areas of the building were renovated in the summer and fall of 2008.  There are twelve classrooms in the main building and three in the annex, including four computer labs.