Biography of George A. Willson
Franklin County, NY Biographies

George Abel Willson, who died at Malone on June 23, 1929, was one of Malone's most prominent citizens and a member of one of the oldest and most honored pioneer families of Franklin County. He was born at Malone, July 15, 1858, the son of George Grandison and Olive G. (Huntington) Willson.

George Grandison Willson was born at Malone, March 27, 1814, and died Nov. 8, 1893. He is buried in Morningside Cemetery, Malone. He was the son of Abel Willson, who was born at Keene, N. H, April 7, 1786, and came to Franklin County about 1813. It is recorded that he was a soldier in the War of 1812. He became a merchant in Malone and took an active part in early local politics, being supervisor of the town of Malone for some years and county clerk of Franklin County in 1829, which office he held for several terms. He was married before coming to Franklin County to Miss Lucinda Shirtleff. To them were born a son and two daughters. Their son, George Grandison Willson, was educated in the schools of Malone, and Franklin Academy. He later took a course in accounting and bookkeeping and became very proficient in that particular profession. For many years he was connected with one of Malone's banking institutions. In 1825 Abel Willson had built a home at 147 Duane Street, which he occupied during the greater part of his life, and it was in turn inherited by his son, George Grandison Willson, who occupied it and later by his son, George Abel Willson. It is at the present time being occupied by the great grandson of the builder, Lawrence H. Willson, the title of the property having remained in the family for more than 100 years.

George Grandison Willson was married on Jan. 10, 1855, to Miss Olive G. Huntington, the daughter of Dr. Daniel Huntington, a prominent physician of Rochester, Vt. To them were born two children who reached maturity: 1. Harriet S., born Aug. 10, 1856, died Jan. 27, 1880, buried in Morningside Cemetery, Malone. 2. George Abel, the subject of this sketch.

George Abel Willson was educated in the public schools of Malone village and attended Franklin Academy. After leaving school he entered the employ of the McMillan Woollen Mills, of Malone, with whom he spent many years. Later, he was active in the reorganization of the J. O. Ballard & Company Mills, and assisted greatly in the building up of that important organization. He served as superintendent of the company until 1910, when he retired from business and accepted the appointment of superintendent of the Malone village water works. He held that office at the time of his retirement in 1923.

On Sept. 19, 1885, Mr. Willson was united in marriage with Miss Seraph Jeanette Harris, the daughter of Enoch and Lura Harris, of Brushton, N. Y. To them were born five children: 1. Lawrence Huntington, born July 1, 1887, a graduate of Franklin Academy and Clarkson School of Technology, class of 1910. He is a veteran of the World War, having served in the U. S. Navy with the rank of lieutenant. 2. Laura Frances, born March 19, 1889, a graduate of Franklin Academy, class of 1909, later attended Northwestern University. She is the wife of Charles E. Daily, of Malone, and they have three children: Willson, Jane and Alyson. 3. Antoinette Harris, born Feb. 20, 1899, a graduate of Franklin Academy, class of 1917, and attended Syracuse University. She is the wife of Dr. LeRoy Earle, dentist, lives at Plattsburg, N. Y. Seraph Jeanette (Harris) Willson died on July 9, 1921, and is buried in Morningside Cemetery, Malone.

Mr. Willson was married (second) on Aug. 16, 1924, to Mrs. Harriet (Havens) McCoy, the widow of William McCoy, of Boston, Mass., and the daughter of Henry Harrison and Sarah (Edwards) Havens.

Mr. Willson was a life long Republican. He was a staunch member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, and was a 32nd degree Mason and member of Karnak Temple of the Mystic Shrine.


The North Country
A History, Embracing
Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Lewis
and Franklin Counties, New York.
By: Harry F. Landon
Historical Publishing Company
Indianopolis, Indiana 1932

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