William was born on 4 September 1838 at Leeds, Yorkshire, to parents Henry McPhail, a wire worker (1841),, and Senida Hattersley. He was baptised on 4 October 1838 at St Peter, Leeds.
In 1851, William was an apprentice spring knife cutler in Sheffield. The 1871 census return records William as an independent minister of Pickwick Road Chapel, Corsham, Wiltshire. In 1881 he is at Upleatham, Yorkshire “without cure of souls.” The 1891 census records William as a clerk in holy orders at Formby, Lancashire.
He married Mary Jane Shiel (1838-1906) in early 1866 at Stockton on Tees, Co. Durham. Census returns identify three children.
- Amy Wilhelmina (1868-1942) – running a private school (1911)
- William Ernest (1870-1928) – no occupation recorded in census returns
- Gertrude Mary (1871-1950) – a school assistant (1911)
William died in the summer of 1893 in the Ormskirk Registration District, Lancashire.
- 1860 Berwick
- 1861 Barnard Castle
- 1862 disappears
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers