Emily Willson, a close friend to Amy Cassey, was born in Philadelphia around 1811. She was the sister of Joseph Willson, author of The Elite of Our People, an 1841 study of the wealthy African Americans of Philadelphia. Her mother was Betsy Keating, a free black woman originally from South Carolina, and her father was John Willson, a wealthy white man from Georgia. After John Willson’s death, Betsy Keating and her children moved from Augusta, Georgia, to Philadelphia when Emily Willson was about 21 years old. She was well-educated and would probably have been privately tutored. Willson was also an active member of the activist circles in which Amy Matilda Cassey was involved, including the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.

Emily B. Willson (circa 1811 – ?)