Willson, James Mcleod, Dd
Willson, James McLeod, D.D.
an eminent Presbyterian divine, and son of the distinguished divine Rev. James R. Willson, D.D, was born at the Forks of Yough, near Elizabeth, Allegheny Co., Pa., Nov. 17, 1809. From childhood he was apt in the acquisition of learning, and diligent in his studies. His preparatory education was prosecuted under his father's instruction. So thorough had been his previous training, and so advanced his scholarship, that on entering college he took high rank at once in the senior class. He graduated at Union College, Schenectady, N. Y., in 1829; then spent some years in teaching, first in an academy at Belair, Md., then at the village of Schodack, N. Y., and lastly as principal of the High-school in Troy, N.Y.; studied theology until 1834, when he was licensed to preach by the then Southern Presbytery; and ordained and installed pastor of a church in Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 27,1834, where he labored with great success until 1862. In' 1859 he was appointed by the Synod to a professorship in the Theological Seminary, Allegheny City, Pa., a position for which he was eminently qualified, and which he, filled with great industry and zeal for three successive sessions, while still retaining his pastoral relation to his congregation. In 1862, his pastoral relation was dissolved, and he removed to Allegheny, where he continued to perform the duties of his professorship, until the day, of his death, Aug. 31, 1866. Coincident with his pastoral and professional duties, he performed an amount of other work equal to the whole power of a man of ordinary gifts. For more than seventeen years he was sole editor of the Covenanter, as ably conducted and efficient monthly, and co-editor with Dr. Thomas Sproull for four years more after its union with the Reformed Presbyterian. He was also the author of several treatises, viz., The Deacon (1840): — Bible Magistracy: — Civil Government; also a little treatise on Psalmody. Dr. Willson was a diligent, kind, and faithful pastor; a plain, logical, and eminently instructive preacher; a successful editor and author; a distinguished theological professor. His controversial powers were of a high order; his knowledge of history was both extensive and accurate. In the Theological Seminary he was in his element. He was an "Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile." His whole life gave evidence of this. See Wilson, Presb. Hist. Almanac, 1867, p. 387.