Joseph T. Wilson was well known as a building contractor who constructed some of the finest mansions on the North Shore, including that of Henry Clay Frick at Prides Crossing. However, Wilson was more than a builder. Originally from Maine, Wilson eventually made Nahant his home, holding more public office positions than seemed humanly possible. He was the chairman of the school board for twenty years, a trustee of the public library for twenty-five years, and a well respected judge. He was a member of the boards of selectmen, assessors, and health for thirty years and chaired those boards for 29 of those years.
Supposedly he was up for election to public office more than a hundred times and was never defeated, all the while never soliciting votes for himself. It was long rumored that he was instrumental in securing the party nomination and ultimate Senate victory for Henry Cabot Lodge, a longtime friend of Wilson’s.
Wilson was a 33rd degree Mason. He and his wife, Sophlia, who was also from Maine, had three children. His son entered into the contracting business and became a partner of the company which was renamed J.T. Wilson & Son.