John Wilson

1759 - 1821

Printer and publisher. Born in Kilmarnock (East Ayrshire), Wilson is best remembered as the printer of the first edition of the poems of Robert Burns (1759-96). In 1786 Wilson printed 612 copies of the work, many of which had already been sold by advance subscription. Despite the success, Wilson was too cautious to print a second edition and Burns went to an Edinburgh printer. With his brother Peter, Wilson also founded and published the first Ayrshire newspaper, the Ayr Advertiser.

Wilson was a successful printer and became a magistrate in Kilmarnock. He lies buried in graveyard of the Old High Kirk in Kilmarnock but left an endowment which provided bursaries for poor children in the town. He is remembered by a statue at Kilmarnock Cross.

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