A Visit to the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky

John Wilson

A Visit to the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky. Titlepage. Public Domain.
Portrait of John Wilson (1800–1849), 1830 by Sir Daniel Macnee (*1806-✝1882). Public Domain.

John Wilson (1800–1849) was a Scottish singer born in Edinburgh. He took up music, studied under John Mather and Benjamin Gleadhill. He was a member of the choir of Duddingston parish church during the ministry of John Thomson. Then hw was precentor of Roxburgh Place relief church, Edinburgh, where his tenor voice drew great crowds. From 1825 to 1830 he precentor at St. Mary's Church, Edinburgh. At the age of 30 he concentrated on music teaching and concerts, and was engaged in operas. But his acting was stiff and he abandoned the stage to become an exponent of Scottish song.

From 1838 to 1840 he was in America on tour and visited Mammoth Cave. His description of the cave was first published in a Scottish newspaper, later as a booklet. Wilson's Scottish song entertainments, on both sides of the Atlantic, were financially successful.

He died of cholera on 08-JUL-1849 in Quebec. He is buried in the Mount Vernon Cemetery in Quebec.


  • John Wilson (1825): A Selection of Psalm Tunes, for the use of the Congregation of St. Mary's Church, Edinburgh (1825)
  • John Wilson (1842): The Songs of Scotland, as sung by him at his Entertainments on Scottish Music and Song, London, 1842, 3 vols.;
  • John Wilson (1849): A Visit to the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, The Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, Scotland (20-AUG-1849), p. 4.