• Title
    Rachel Wilson's Journal
  • Reference
    MS VOL S 20
  • Date
  • Scope and Content
    "An account of Rachel Wilson's religious visit to Friends in America carefully transcribed from her manuscript for the information and benefit of her children and near relatives by Deborah Braithwaite [c.1827]". At the end of the journal is "A sermon preached by Rachel Wilson at Stourbridge the 1st of 9th mo. 1765", copied by Rachel Pease Junior.
  • Extent
    1 volume
  • Level of description
  • Existence and location of copies
    MS BOX W1/15 Typescript transcript of Rachel Wilson, Journal of a religious visit to America, 1768
    TEMP MSS 70/1 Typescript transcript of Rachel Wilson, Journal of a religious visit to America, 1768
  • Creator
    • Wilson, Rachel, 1720-1775
      Rachel Wilson was born in Highgate, Kendal, Westmorland on 8 April 1720. She was the daughter of John Wilson (c.1630–1752), a tanner, and Deborah (1687–1754), the daughter of a tanner of Stramongate, Kendal. By about 1739, Rachel Wilson (aged 18) was already acknowledged as a minister. On 18 February 1740, she married, in Kendal Meeting Housel, Isaac Wilson (1715–1785), who was a shearman dyer. They had 7 daughters and 3 sons. Rachel Wilson travelled widely in the British Isles. Accompanied by a friend, Jane Rowlandson, she visited many towns throughout England and Wales. After about 9 months, the 2 women returned home suddenly, possibly on hearing of an expected march southward by Charles Edward Stuart, the Jacobite Young Pretender. At all events, when his officers were passing through Kendal they were quartered at Isaac and Rachel's house. In November 1768, Rachel Wilson arrived in America. Travelling almost entirely on horseback Rachel covered nearly 2000 miles through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, North and South Carolina, New York, and New England. In the autumn of 1769, she attended Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. On rising to speak about herself, she suddenly felt compelled to address words of encouragement to John Woolman (1720-1772), who was then deeply concerned about his impending departure for the West Indies. On 20 May 1769, 51 students of Princeton University wrote to Rachel Wilson asking her to preach to them; the ensuing meeting was so crowded that many had to stand. She also visited Rhode Island and helped to settle a long-standing dispute which had brought discredit to the Society of Friends. Here, she also convinced Moses Brown (1738-1836) of Providence, Rhode Island. Rachel Wilson arrived back in England on 10 December 1769. In 1772, Woolman visited Rachel's family in Kendal during her absence, but he wrote to her on 30 August of that year. In 1774, her health began to fail although she could still attend a number of meetings. On 4 February 1775, while on a visit to London, she was taken seriously ill at the house of Richard Chester in Stoke Newington. She died there on 18 March. On 23 March a meeting was held in Devonshire House, after which she was buried at Bunhill Fields, London. ________________________ Source: Dictionary of National Biography
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