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William Ralph Featherston was born in Montreal, Canada. Little is known about him, except that he belonged to the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Montreal.
He wrote "My Jesus, I Love Thee" reportedly when he was sixteen. However there is disagreement as to this fact. If he wrote it in 1858, as some sources state, he would have only been 12 at the time, as he was born in 1846. Or, if he wrote it at 16 years of age, it was written in 1862. However, other sources claim he was actually born in 1842, and he would have been 16, therefore, in 1858. In either case, it was clear that youth did not detract from his inspiration to express his deep love of Jesus, his Savior.