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The dark side of James Wilson
BY NATALIE WEXLER, L’83
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At this point poor, maligned Hannah, who could have chosen to run home to Boston, decided to accompany Iredell on his return journey and join her husband. Travel in the 18th century was no easy matter, especially in the winter: roads were rough, rivers frozen. And the James Wilson that Hannah found when she arrived bore little resemblance to the man she had married: his clothes were in tatters, his health failing, and his mind increasingly losing touch with reality. Wilson was stubbornly refusing to come to terms with his creditors, and even trying to raise money to buy more land. Yet Hannah stayed by his side through the spring and summer, when Wilson contracted what was probably malaria. In August, he finally succumbed. “I had not my cloaths off, for three days and nights,” Hannah wrote to her stepson, “nor left him till the evening of his death, when I could not bear the scene any longer.”
 
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