In 1730 he married Deborah Read, in whose father's house he had lived when he had first come to Philadelphia, to whom he had been engaged before his first departure from Philadelphia for London, and who in his absence had married a ne'er-do-well, one Rogers, who had deserted her.
An affectionate son, and ever ready to give of his hard-earned income to more than one ne'er-do-well brother, he maintained that natural relationship had no claim on man, nor was gratitude to parents or benefactors any part of justice or virtue.
His later years were clouded with many sorrows and disappointments; his relations with Governor Joseph Dudley were unfriendly; he lost much of his former prestige in the Church - his own congregation dwindled - and in the college; his uncle John Cotton was expelled from his 8 8 4 _ Mather, Increase charge in the Plymouth Church; his son Increase turned out a ne'er-do-well; four of his children and his second wife died in November 1713; his wife's brothers and the husbands of his sisters were ungodly and violent men; his favourite daughter Katherine, who "understood Latin and read Hebrew fluently," died in 1716; his third wife went mad in 1719; his personal enemies circulated incredible scandals about him; and in 1724-1725 he saw a Liberal once more preferred to him as a new president of Harvard.
He was a well-known ne'er-do-well among the Italian colony.
Billy turns down a job from Mr Snow because his pride won't allow it, and he befriends the local ne'er-do-well Jigger Craigin.