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William Piercy (1744-1819)

William Piercy was born at Bedworth near Coventry, the son of a gentleman. He matriculated at St Edmund Hall Oxford in July 1767 but failed to take a degree. Piercy was ordained soon after leaving Oxford and moved to London to assist Martin Madan at the Lock Hospital. He also preached in chapels associated with George Whitefield and established his own congregation in Woolwich.

In October 1771 he led a party of the Countess of Huntingdon's students to the Orphan House at Bethesda in Georgia, which had been left to the Countess by Whitefield. The stay was not a success and although Piercy had openly supported the colonists during the War of Independence, he was allowed to return to England in 1781. After a short time preaching for the Countess of Huntingdon, he went back to his chapel in Woolwich.

Piercy returned to the United States in 1797 and after a further spell in England, settled in South Carolina where he ended his days as a minister of the Episcopalian Church.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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