Biography of William J. Wiley
Oneida County, NY Biographies





There are many notable institutions in the great state of New York for the care of the unfortunate or for the comfort and convenience of those who have no permanent residence, but it is doubtful whether any institution in the state more perfectly represents the spirit of helpfulness than the Masonic Home at Utica. Its present high standing is largely due to the efficiency of its superintendent, William James Wiley, and no record of Oneida county would be complete without proper mention of him and his work. He was born at New York city, March 1, 1862, a son of James and Sarah (Hill) Wiley. He received his preliminary education in the public schools and at the age of fourteen entered the office of the publishing house of the Randolph Company, New York and Chicago. He applied himself diligently and faithfully and advanced through various positions until, in 1890, he was made secretary of the company, a position he filled for five years. On the 10th of September, 1905, he was appointed superintendent of the Masonic Home at Utica and it is the consensus of opinion that no better selection for this important office could have been made.

He is a member of Copestone Lodge, No. 641, F. & A. M.; Union Chapter, No. 180, R. A. M.; York Commander, No. 55, K. T.; and Mecca Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S., all of New York city, being also a member of the Scottish Rite bodies of that city.

The Masonic Home had its origin in a resolution passed in 1842 and officially brought before the grand lodge of the state in 1843. In May, 1888, nearly half a century later, Utica was selected as the site and the cornerstone was laid May 21, 1891, the building being formally dedicated October 5, 1892. The plans originally contemplated a structure to cost no more than one hundred thousand dollars, but in 1890 this sum was increased to one hundred and fifty thousand. The final cost of the home was about one hundred and seventy five thousand. There was a great gathering of the Masonic fraternity at the time of the dedication, more than eight thousand five hundred Master Masons taking part in the proceedings. Thirteen commanderies and seventy three chapters of Royal Arch Masons with their officers also participated in the procession and the ceremonies of the day. It was a notable event in the history of Free Masonry in the state of New York. The home is intended as an asylum "for the aged and infirm brother, the destitute widow and helpless orphan." This purpose it has filled and the institution ever since it was firmly established has been a model upon which many others of a similar character in various parts of the United States have been founded.

On the 6th of June, 1883, Mr. Wiley was united in marriage, at New York city, to Miss Veturia Isabel Emlich, a daughter of James Norris Emlich. One daughter, Veturia Isabel, has been born to this union. Mr. Wiley possesses special qualifications for the position he fills. A man of fine business ability, he is genial in manner and readily inspires confidence in all with whom he comes into contact, and the philanthropic and educational work he has done reflects high credit upon his judgment and good sense His advice is often sought by managers of similar institutions and has been found practical and worthy of most careful consideration. As a patriotic and public spirited citizen he is greatly esteemed by the people of Utica.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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