Willson, William H., was born in Ithaca, November 12, 1840, the oldest son of seven children of William H. Willson,
sr. The father was a native of New York city, born in 1810, and settled in Ithaca, in company with M. Hawkins.
He was employed in the manufactory for a few years and then returned to New York, where he remained, and shortly
atter settled in Ithaca. Here he followed the hatmaker's trade until 1860. That year he went to Lockport where
he spent four years, and then to Hornellsville where he was in business for four years, and then spent five years
in the same business; he then returned to Ithaca, where he spent the balance of his days. He died in August, 1892.
In politics a staunch Democrat, he filled the office of town collector. He was a member of the Episcopal church.
The mother of our subject, Rachael Ann Bradford, was also a native of New York city. She died in 1887, at seventy
six years of age. The early life of our subject was spent in Ithaca, where he was educated in the common schools
and in 1861 went to Lockport, remaining but a year, when he was burned out. From there he went to Buffalo where
for four years he acted as a commercial traveler for a wholesale firm. He was five years with a New York firm and
then returned to his native town, where he established the hat and fur store, which he has ever since conducted,
on the south side of State street. He carries a full line of hats, furs, robes, blankets, trunks, umbrellas, etc.
Mr. Willson is a Democrat, and has been a hard worker for his party. He has been appointed member of the Health
Board, city collector, and school collector. He has also been a delegate to numerous State conventions and a member
of the county committee for fifteen years, of which he has been secretary part of the time. He is a member of the
First Presbyterian church. Mr. Willson owns a summer cottage at McKinneys, where he spends his vacation. He married,
July 11, 1860, Ellen M., daughter of the late Joseph C. Eurritt, and they have two sons.
Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
Including a History of Cornell University
Edited by: John H. Selkreg
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1894
Tompkins County, NY
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