Note: the following is the entire text of the memorial for William Wilson.
He was born in Kent County, on Delaware, in the year 1739, and was received into membership with Friends at Duck Creek Monthly Meeting, where he continued until the year 1781, when he removed and settled with his family within the verge of a meeting held at Westland, being the only one then held west of the Alleghany mountains. He was, by certificate, well recommended to Hopewell Monthly Meeting, and a few years after, by that meeting appointed to the station of an Elder, in which he was preserved an example of plainness and humility.
He manifested a religious care for the support of good order among the few Friends then settled in these parts, and after meetings for Discipline were established, he was very serviceable in them, which, with other meetings, he diligently attended, a good example in bringing his family with him, careful not to let his outward affairs hinder him from what he believed to be his religious duty, yet was industrious and careful in providing for the necessary support of his family.
Toward the latter end of the 6th mo. 1795, he was taken ill of a nervous disorder, and on the 26th of the same month (though through difficulty), he attended Redstone Monthly Meeting, where he earnestly recommended Friends to faithfulness in the support of our Christian Discipline.
The like concern accompanied his mind the day following, at our own Monthly Meeting, which he was favoured to sit, until the close, and was the last meeting he was enabled to attend, being soon after confined to his room.
To a few Friends who came to see him on the 5th of the 7th Month, he expressed himself to the following import:
Whether I am to be taken from you at this time, or not, I cannot tell; nor is it any concern to me; all seems quiet and easy, unless I am deceived; and I hope my Master will be so kind as not to let me be deceived. As I have passed some of the late wearisome nights, I have been looking over some of the past actions of my life, and the situation of many of my friends, and I think I have been favoured to see the states of some more clear than ever I did in all my life; and Oh! the world seems to have the greatest hold on our Society than any thing else; the unprofitable pursuit and desire after its wealth and treasures, does sorrowfully obstruct the growth and progress of true religion in some, especially those who are favoured with the brightest talents.
Some time after, several others coming in, his son asked him whether he thought so much company hurt him; he replied, "I don't know thati t does much, if Friends keep still and quiet, according to the nature of the occasion; I have often thought how careful Friends ought to be in such cases, yet there is a use to the poor afflicted spirit, in Friends going to see one another in their afflictions." He was preserved in great composure and quietude of mind, plainly evidencing that the thoughts of death, which he apprehended was approaching, was no terror to him, being often favoured to communicate suitable advice and counsel to those who visited him, shewing that the ardor of his mind for the welfare of his fellow creatures was unabated in this awful season.
On the 8th of the aforesaid month, he appeared particularly concerned for his children, and towards evening, having them collected, had a solid opportunity with them, earnestly desiring that they might be preserved within the bounds of true moderation and plainness, submitting to the gospel order of our Society, as Truth requires; with much suitable advice for their present and future welfare; at the close taking a solemn farewell : - and then said to an affectionate sister who attended him: "I have done - done with this world, and feel perfectly easy."
The night following, through the severity of the disorder, he became somewhat delirious, and growing gradually weaker, continued much in a childlike state until the morning of the 15th, when he quietly departed this life, in the 56th year of his age, and on the 16th was interred in Friends' burying ground at Westland.
Given forth by our aforesaid Meeting, held the 22d of the 8th month, 1795, and signed on behalf thereof, by Thomas Farquhar, Clk.
The above Memorial being produced to Fairfax Quarterly Meeting, held the 5th of the 10th month, 1795, was read, and upon deliberation, was approved and directed to be signed on behalf of said meeting, and forwarded [to Baltimore YM]. James Moore, Clk.