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Dear America Wiki

"They were gone–all of them–just like that. People say I was lucky because I was just stunned when the lightning hit and because I didn't open my eyes until the next morning."
—William writes about his family.[3]

William "Will" Thomas Emerson (born c. 1762) was an employee of Elizabeth Thompson at her Seven Stars Tavern. His parents and younger sister passed away during a thunderstorm in 1772. He was best friends with Henry Moody.


Early life[]

William was born in the winter of 1762.[1][2] He lived with his parents and younger sister in the small village of Menotomy. In 1772, William's parents and sister were struck by lightning and died instantly. William survived the incident and spent the following two years with the Marsh family.

1774 – 1775[]

In 1774, William ran away after repeated beatings by Mr. Marsh over two years. He was found on the side of the road by Mr. Wilson and brought to the Seven Stars Tavern. Mrs. Thompson, the owner, allowed him to stay as long as he worked for his keep.

At the tavern, William cleaned, waited on customers, took care of Mrs. Thompson's daughter Becca and dog Queen George, among other things. Meanwhile, Mr. Wilson, leader of a resistance against the Brits, gave William an assignment to aid a deserted British soldier to safety. A few days later, Will discovered a coded message sent to Mr. Palmer, which William showed to Mr. Wilson.

Their suspicions about Mr. Palmer being a spy were confirmed during William's second assignment. After the death of William's friend Henry Moody, Mr. Wilson instructed William to follow Mr. Palmer to Roxbury. William was caught spying by a British soldier and forced to protect himself. As more Brits occupy Boston, many patriots leave, including Mr. Wilson. However, William decided to stay at the tavern with Mrs. Thompson.

Later life[]

William continued working at the Seven Stars Tavern during the year-long Siege of Boston. After the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, Mrs. Thompson's tavern became a popular spot, thanks in part to Will. At age twenty-eight, Will married Rebecca "Becca" Thompson. They had two children, Henry and Ben Emerson.

Personality and traits[]

William enjoyed being around people and always having something to do. He was loyal to his friends, especially Mrs. Thompson and Henry Moody. William was also devoted to the patriot cause and helped Mr. Wilson spy on the traitor, Mr. Palmer.

He was also smart and learned several useful skills at a young age. His math skills also came in handy at the tavern, where he kept track of the accounts.

Family tree[]

The Emerson Family Tree
Elizabeth Thompson
William Emerson
(d. 1772)
Mrs. Emerson
(d. 1772)
Rebecca Thompson
(b. 1772)
William Emerson
(b. 1762)
Rebecca Emerson
Henry Emerson
Ben Emerson

Behind the scenes[]



See also[]