William L. Wolcott—1818–1890

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Hillsdale Co., MI , 1888, p. 477.

"William L. WOLCOTT, a highly respected citizen of Jonesville, has led an active, useful life, and for many years has been a minister in the United Brethren Church. He also has been actively engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was born in Leroy, Genesee Co., NY, Oct. 13, 1818. His parents, William and Susan (FORDHAM) Wolcott, were natives respectively of Dutchess Co., NY and of VT. After marriage they settled in Leroy, removed from there to Chautauqua Co., NY, and thence to Sandusky Co., OH. There Mr. Wolcott was occupied as a farmer, remaining a resident until his death in 1847. His wife survived him by many years, her death not occurring until 1879. They were honest, industrious, frugal people, well meriting the respect in which they were held. They had eleven children, seven sons and four daughters.

Portrait: William L. Wolcott

Our subject was the fifth child born to his parents. His early life was spent on the farm where he gained from his father a practical knowledge of farming which lead him to great success in later life. He attended district schools and completed a course of study at Westfield Academy, NY, although he did not graduate from that institution. He was 17 years old when his parents moved to Sandusky Co., OH, and there he taught school until he was 24 when he came to believe he had a still higher calling. He had been studying for the ministry for three or four years and at the age of 24 began to preach from the pulpit of the United Brethren Church. He continued in that profession, while at the same time also farming, as long as he resided in Ohio. In 1847 he removed to Hillsdale Co., settling in Scipio Twp. where he purchased a farm which he cultivated while occasionally occupying the pulpit for many years. In the fall of 1873 he came to Jonesville.

Mr. Wolcott has been twice married. His first wife, to whom he was wed in Fremont, OH, on Aug. 19, 1838, was Sara STORMS. She was the daughter of Isaac and Martha (HILTON) Storms, who were probably both natives of NY. The father died in Sandusky Co., OH, and the mother in Hardin Co., IA. They had a family of eight children, Mrs. Wolcott being the sixth. She was born in Redfield, Oswego Co., NY, Nov. 19, 1820. Her union with our subject was blessed by five children: Myron H., b. Sandusky Co., Sept. 30, 1839; David A., b. Sandusky Co., Aug. 1, 1842; Adelaide and Jane who died in infancy, and Nettie, b. in Hillsdale Co., Feb. 4, 1859. Nettie is the wife of Charles W. JORDAN who was born in Fayette Twp., Hillsdale Co., May 25, 1857, and is the son of John W. Jordan; they have three children: Earl W., Henry L. and Charles R. Myron H. married Miss Phebe JONES who was born in Litchfield Twp., Hillsdale County.

Mr. Wolcott married his second wife, Dotha Ann Jennings, on April 9, 1865 in Scipio Twp. She was the daughter of Dr. Noah and Rachel (INMAN) JENNINGS, born respectively in CT and Philadelphia, PA. The Doctor and his wife settled in Fremont, OH, after their marriage, where she died. He afterward removed to Jonesville, this county, which remained his home until he died. They had six daughters and one son. Mrs. Wolcott was the third child in the family and was born in Scott Twp., Sandusky Co., Jan 10, 1839. She and Mr Wolcott had two children, Willie L., who died at 10 months of age and Cora Maud, born Mar. 17, 1871.

Wolcott Stone

While in the ministry, our subject's piety, earnestness and learning made him a power in the pulpit and enabled him to do much good in his beloved work. He has always taken a deep interest in public affairs and has held several offices. He was commissioned to be Captain in the old State Militia of Ohio, a position he held for several years. Also in Ohio, he was elected to the position of Clerk of Madison Twp. In Hillsdale Co., he served as County Coroner for a long term of years, was Inspector of Schools in Scipio Twp. and was formerly a Justice of the Peace. Early in life he was, politically, a Whig, later becoming an ardent supporter of the Republican party. As a man and citizen he is above reproach. He has long been identified with Hillsdale Co. and has made many friends and few enemies during his residence here of over forty years."

William L. Wolcott died June 9, 1890 in Jonesville and is buried at Sunset View Cemetery in Hillsdale County, Michigan.

Note about Ann Jennings: Ann Jennings lived with William and Sarah as a young girl, probably helping take care of Nettie and Sarah before she died. Ann was the same age as William and Sarah's oldest son, Myron. Ann married William in 1865 about a year or so after Sarah's death. When William died, Ann must have been the one to create the monument to William, which included adding the names of Sarah and Adelaide. The stone is surrounded by a number of small stones for different family members.

Updated June 12, 2008

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