Wilson County was created in 1799 from a portion of Sumner County and was named after former Major David Wilson. Wilson was a Revolutionary War veteran and statesman. The county was the site of an important saltpeter mine. Saltpeter is the main ingredient of gunpowder and was obtained by leaching the earth from Valley Cave. The county today has a total area of 583 square miles with a population count of 144,657 residents.