Pil(L)More (Also Spelled Pilmoorjoseph, Dd
Pil(l)more (also spelled Pilmoor), Joseph, D.D.
an early Episcopal minister in America, was born at Tadmouth, Yorkshire, England, about 1734, and was educated at Kingswood, the school of John Wesley, under whom he had been previously converted. On completing his studies, Pilmore became a lay helper in the Methodist itinerant ministry, and labored' in this way for many years through England, Scotland, and Wales. His ministerial certificate from Mr. Wesley represents him as "having grace, gifts, and success or fruit in the work." His word was blessed everywhere. His appearance and preaching were impressive. Mr. Pilmore's manly form, tall and erect, his sympathizing spirit, earnest zeal and prayers, all united to make strong and lasting impressions. In 1769 he came to America, and preached throughout the colonies. Stevens says Pilmore had many hair-breadth escapes of life and limb in his wide journeys. At Charleston, S. C., he could find no place to use for preaching except the theatre, and while earnestly delivering a sermon, suddenly the table used for a pulpit, with the chair he occupied, all at once disappeared through a trap-door to the cellar. This was a wicked contrivance of the "baser sort." Nothing discouraged, however, the preacher, springing upon the stage, with the table, invited the audience to the adjoining yard, adding pleasantly, "Come on, my friends, we will, by the grace of God, defeat the devil this time, and not be beat by him from our work," and then quietly finished his discourse. The fruits of his Christian labors appeared in the conversion of many souls. Wherever he appeared large crowds attended his ministry, and listened to his Master's message. With the Wesleyan preachers generally, Pilmore retired from his ministerial work during the troublesome times of the American Revolution. In 1783 he joined the Protestant Episcopal Church, and was soon after ordained. He now became rector of Trinity (Oxford), All Saints (Lower Dublin), and St. Thomas (Whitemarsh). After the establishment of peace in this year he returned to America, and next served St. Paul's, Philadelphia, and thence removed to Christ Church, New York, of which he was chosen rector in 1804. Notwithstanding the interdiction of "Old Trinity," he preached with great acceptance and usefulness during ten years, and then was chosen rector of St. Paul's, Philadelphia, in 1814. Mr. Pilmore's congregation in New York became well known for its evangelical piety, and some of its communicants were on terms of intimate friendship with the members of the old John Street Methodist Episcopal Church. During the year 1821 this faithful and aged minister's mental powers exhibited evidences of failure, and this, with bodily indisposition, made it necessary for him to have an assistant. The Rev. Mr. Benjamin was chosen. Continuing gradually to fail, Pilmore departed this life July 24, 1825. Dr. Pilmore was a faithful minister of God, and wherever he preached gathered a large body of communicants.
He left many bequests for charitable purposes. He is the author of a Narrative of Labors in South Wales (1825), and of a Description of Travels and Trials and Preaching in the Colonies of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which was never published. See Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, v, 266; Disosway, in the N. Y. Methodist, No. 178; Lives of 'Eminent Philadelphians (1859). p. 801. (J. H. W.)