Rachel Bird Wilson
Wife of James Wilson, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
1750 – 1786 A.D.
Rachael Bird, the youngest daughter of William Bird of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, proprietor of the fine county seat and iron works on the Schuylkill River, known as Birdsborough, became, in 1771 or 1772, the first wife of James Wilson.
He was a young lawyer at the time, having but recently admitted to the practice of law after completing his studies in the office of John Dickinson, one of the most celebrated barristers of his day. Wilson was a highly educated young Englishman who had come to this country in 1766, with letters of introduction to some of the most prominent men of New York and Philadelphia. After being admitted to the bar he practised [sic] for two or three years in Reading and Carlisle and in Annapolis, after which he took up his permanent residence in Philadelphia. Very early in his legal career, he became a strong adherent of the American cause, and during the remainder of his life much of his time and great abilities were devoted to public affairs, either in the State of his adoption or under the new national government. He died suddenly in 1798, in North Carolina, at Edenton, where he was presiding at a session of the federal court to which he had been appointed by President Washington.
His wife, Rachael Bird, had died twelve years before, in 1786, leaving behind five children.
Reference: The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.