Joseph Pilmoor is a striking young man, six years older than Francis Asbury is. His above average height, stocky build and deep voice easily invites a favorable response to his life-changing message. The young man from Fadmoor, in the scenic lands of North Riding Yorkshire, has known of the Savior since the age of 16, experiencing the transformation under the preaching of John Wesley. At that time, a relationship with Wesley opens the door for Joseph to attend Wesley’s Kingswood school near Bristol.
His life hasn’t always been this advantageous. Joseph is actually an illegitimate child, the controversy prohibiting his mother from marrying until he was eleven years old.
Upon the completion of his studies at Kingswood, the young man skilled in Latin and Hebrew draws to the itinerant ministry, accepting to preach the eastern portion of the Cornwall circuit on trial. In 1766, he accepts full admission to the itinerancy, gaining the assignment to Cornwall East circuit once again. For several years, he preaches for the Wesleyan cause in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. His efforts even reaching the high society connected with Lady Selina the Countess of Huntingdon.
His early success as an itinerant works a strain on the young man, he fears, since there is literally no opposition to his message, he must not represent the true Gospel. This
misguided opinion on several occasions brings tears to the man. Eventually his resistance surfaces. Not long after he leaves England for the American Colonies, he meets with opposition, coming from an unlikely source, at the hands of another missionary sent by John Wesley.
In 1769, Pilmoor teams up with Richard Boardman to become the first English itinerants that John Wesley sends to the American colonies. From there, Joseph and Richard will center their efforts in Philadelphia at St. George’s Church and in New York at the John Street Church.
The English missionary sent by John Wesley just two years after Joseph arrives in America, the individual who will confront Joseph in Philadelphia, is FrancisAsbury.