A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/Wilkinson

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WILKINSON, Jemina, an American female of some notoriety in the last century. It is said that she asserted, that in 1776, she was taken sick and actually died, and her soul went to reside in heaven. Soon after, her body was reanimated with the spirit and power of Christ, upon which she set up as a public teacher; and declared she had an immediate revelation for all she delivered, and was arrived to a state of absolute perfection. It is also said she pretended to foretell future events, to discern the secrets of the heart, and to have the power of healing diseases; and if any persons, who had made application to her, were not healed, she attributed it to their want of faith. She acknowledged no other name but that of Universal Friend. She made some converts in. New York,[1] and in Rhode Island; but chiefly in the Gennessee country.

An ingenious young gentleman, in his tour to the falls of Niagara, Montreal, and Quebec in 1812, was introduced to Jemina Wilkinson, and has given a very entertaining account of the interview. Among other things he says, "Her command of the contents of the bible, and her readiness in the use of scripture language was surprising." He supposed that "like most of the false pretenders to religious superiority, she made her claims to uncommon inspiration with sincerity." He, however, describes her as an ambitious and selfish woman; whose mental powers were vigorous, who was acute and cunning, and must, he says, be skilled in human nature to have gained such an ascendency over so many minds. She amassed a large fortune by the donations of her followers, and lived in a luxurious and expensive manner."[2]

Original footnotes[edit]

  1. The Duke de Rochefoucault, in his travels in American in 1796, met with Jeminia Wilkinson in the sate of New York, and described her as a personable but arful woman.
  2. See Extract from a Journal of a tour of Niagara Falls, in the spring and summer of 1812, in the Christians Disciple, September 1817.