The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Wilson, Sir John Cracroft

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Wilson, Sir John Cracroft, K.C.S.I., C.B., was born at Onamore, in the Madras Presidency, on May 21st, 1808, and sent to England for his education. He returned to India in 1828, having been appointed to a subordinate position in the Indian Civil Service, but he was soon promoted to be assistant commissioner to Sir William Sleeman, with whom he greatly distinguished himself by his success in suppressing Thuggism. He was shortly afterwards made a magistrate of Cawnpore. In 1841 he was transferred to Moradabad, where he acted as magistrate and collector until 1853, He was then ordered a change of climate on medical grounds, and, obtaining leave of absence, sailed for Melbourne, on his way to Canterbury, N.Z., where he became a settler. In May 1855, his leave of absence expiring, he returned to Calcutta and resumed his office of judge at Moradabad. Of his services during the Mutiny Lord Canning, the Governor-General of India, wrote under date July 2nd, 1859, that he had "the enviable distinction of having, by his obstinate energy and perseverance, saved more Christian lives than any man in India. He did this," Lord Canning added, "at the repeatedly imminent risk of his own life." In recognition of his services he was made C.B. in 1860, and K.C.S.I. in 1872. He also received the Indian Mutiny medal. After the suppression of the Mutiny, Sir John Cracroft Wilson returned to New Zealand, where he resided in the Canterbury district and was many years a member of the Provincial Council. He also represented a Canterbury constituency in the Lower House of the General Assembly of New Zealand. He died at Cashmere, Canterbury, on May 2nd, 1881. He married in 1844, as his second wife, Jane Lorrie, daughter of James Greig, who still survives.