William Dillwyn (1743-1824) was a Quaker born in Philadelphia in 1743 to John and Susanna Painter Dillwyn. On May 19 1768 at Burlington, N.J. Dillwyn married Sarah Logan Smith, daughter of John Smith of Burlington. Sarah Dillwyn died after giving birth to the couple’s only child, Susanna, in 1769. Susanna (1769-1819) would go on to marry Samuel Emlen (1766-1783).
Dillwyn was educated at the Public School; Philadelphia (later the William Penn Charter School) by Anthony Benezet, a Quaker abolitionist. In 1772, Dillwyn traveled, with letters of recommendation from Benezet, to Carolina to study slavery. In 1773, Dillwyn, Richard Smith, and Daniel Wells wrote Brief considerations on slavery, and the expediency of its abolition: with some hints on the means whereby it may be gradually effected.
Dillwyn moved to England in 1774, and he married Sarah Weston in 1777. The couple had eight children:
Lewis Weston, 21 August 1778
John Crook, 18 July 1780
Judith Nichols, 26 August 1781
Ann, 11 September 1783
Lydia, 11 April 1785
George, 1 February 1787
Sarah Musgrave 14 March 1790
Gulielma 16 August 1792
In England, Dillwyn remained involved in the anti-slave trade and anti-slavery movement. Dillwyn was a member of the Meeting for Sufferings Committee on the Slave Trade, and was one of the original members of the London Abolition Committee in 1787.
William Dillwyn died on 28 September, 1824, and was buried at Tottenham, Middlesex.