Wilson lived in North Pigeon, Iowa from 1849 to 1852. In the 1850 federal census his given name is spelled "Wilston." He also appears in the 1852 Iowa Territorial census (taken before July). The first evidence to place him in Utah is the 1856 Territorial census. The 1860 federal census gives his birth date as ca. 1819. The obituary of his son William Alexander Hunt states that he came to Utah with his parents in 1852.