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John Wilbur

1774-1856. Quaker preacher. A native of Rhode Island, descended from Samuel Wilbur, he taught in the public schools of Rhode Island, was recorded a minister of the Society of Friends in 1812, and became known as a rugged, effective speaker. On a preaching tour of the British Isles (1831- 33) he zealously opposed the evangelical movement's entering Quakerism under the leadership of Joseph Gurney, Elizabeth Fry's brother. He published letters written to George Crosfield defending the old Quaker position on the Inner Light, and attacking “dangerous innovations” (1832). When Gurney preached in America (1837-38), Wilbur opposed him and was expelled (1843), becoming leader in 1845 of five hundred separatists known as “Wilburites” (officially the “New England Yearly Meeting of Friends”). Other groups supported him in New York, Ohio, and Philadelphia. He preached again in England during 1853-54.