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David Willson and Ebenezer Doan

David Willson sitting taken in the year 1860.

Sitting portrait of David Willson, c. 1850.

David Willson 1778 – 1866, was the leader and visionary behind the Children of Peace. Born in New York State, he came to Canada in 1801 with his extended family. He joined the Yonge Street Friends (Quaker) Meeting in 1804. His ministry was rejected following his preaching about the War of 1812. David Willson’s disownment by the Quakers led him to create a new community, the Children of Peace. Many other Quakers joined him, including Ebenezer Doan, master builder of the Temple. Willson found that he did not have the same distrust of worship through music as the Quakers.

Willson became known for his visionary writings, including Letters to the Jews; Hymns of Praise, Containing Doctrine and Prayer; Impressions of the Mind; and A Friend to Britain. He passed away in 1866 at age 87. He is buried in the town of Sharon.
Ebenezer Doan, the Master Builder of the Sharon Temple.

Portrait of Ebenezer Doan, c. 1850.

Ebenezer Doan 1772-1866, was a skilled master builder. He oversaw the construction of  buildings inspired by Willson’s visionary teachings.  Born in 1772 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, he and his family made the six-week trip to Upper Canada in 1808.  The two-storey house they built on their farm in 1819 is now preserved on the Temple grounds. Before moving to Upper Canada, he built and designed with his brother Jonathan Doan the first New Jersey State House 1791-1792, and the New Jersey State Prison 1797–1799. He left the Children of Peace in 1840 and passed away in 1866 at age 93 in Sharon.