William Booth (10 April 1829 – 20 August 1912) was a British Methodist preacher who founded The Salvation Army and became its first General (1878–1912). The Christian movement with a quasi-military structure and government founded in 1865 has spread from London, England to many parts of the world and is known for being one of the largest distributors of humanitarian aid.
William Booth was born in Sneinton, Nottingham, England, the only son of four surviving children born to Samuel Booth and Mary Moss.
Booth's father was wealthy by the standards of the time, but during his childhood, as a result of bad investments, the family descended into poverty and his father became an alcoholic. In 1842, Samuel Booth, who by then was bankrupt, could no longer afford his son's school fees, and 13-year-old William Booth was apprenticed to a pawnbroker. Samuel Booth died later that same year.