Mother Ann). She became very ill when she was about 20 and fell into a prolonged coma. On reviving, she maintained that she had died and her original soul had gone to heaven while her body was occupied by the
Spirit of Life,sent by God to warn the world of His impending wrath. Calling herself the
Public Universal Friend,she preached widely through Connecticut and Rhode Island. She established churches at New Milford, Conn., and at Greenwich, R.I. She aroused much hostility by advocating celibacy, and she did not restrain enthusiastic followers from representing her as the Messiah. To escape persecution she founded (c.1790) the colony of
Jerusalemin Yates co., NW N.Y. (near the present Penn Yan). Dissension later developed in Jerusalem because the
Frienddemanded gifts of her followers and instituted punishments for breaking her rules. She spent her last years in a house far from the other dwellings. After her death the community dispersed.
See D. Hudson, Memoir of Jemima Wilkinson (1824, repr. 1972); H. A. Wisbey, Pioneer Prophetess (1964).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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