Biographical or Historical Information
Francis Wilson (1790-1867) was a circuit-riding Methodist minister based primarily in San Augustine and Newton Counties from 1839 to 1867. He and his wife, Elizabeth Kountz, had ten children and for a few years he and his sons engaged in mercantile business in Belgrade and Sabine Pass, but their business dissolved in bankruptcy in 1856. Wilson estimated he traveled 150,000 miles throughout his career, and delivered over 7,000 sermons, preaching in circuits in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio as well as Texas. His autobiographical materials trace a journey from Texas to Petersburg, Virginia for a Southern Methodist Church conference. Though poorly educated and afflicted with a nervous disorder resembling palsy, Wilson still managed to record a wealth of personal experiences and religious philosophy.
(Smith, William E. "Wilson, Francis A." The New Handbook of Texas. Dallas: Texas State Historical Association,1996. pp. 1005-06; "Francis Wilson Papers." East Texas Research Center. Ralph W. Steen Library. Stephen F. Austin State University).