Biography of William Winslow
Erie County, OH Biographies





WILLIAM WINSLOW. It was by many active relations that the late William Winslow was identified with Erie County, and particularly with the charming little City of Milan. The handsome brick home on Front Street in which he died October 15, 1893, is still occupied by Mrs. Winslow, who lives there with her niece, Miss Hardy This home, a large and attractive thirteen room house and bought by Mr. and Mrs. Winslow when they came to Milan, is in many ways reminiscent of the fine old Virginia home in which Mrs. Winslow was born and spent some of her early years, near Winchester, Virginia.

While Mrs. Winslow comes of old Virginia stock, and of the real F. F. V.'s, the late William Winslow was of New England and of some of the oldest ancestry found in Massachusetts. He was born at Pittston, Vermont, in September, 1811. He was directly descended from the colonial governor, Everett Winslow, who was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The mother of William Winslow was a Miss Spencer. As William Winslow was a boy of only twelve or thirteen years when both his paretns died, there is very little knowledge concerning his immediate ancestry. The parents died on their little farm near Old Pittsou, Vermont. They were survived by seven children, all sons, and it is noteworthy that all of these attained great length of years, except ones who was accidentally killed by the kick of a horse when a young man. Of these sons, Alnathan died when past seventy two; Loyal was the youth who was accidentally killed at the age of seventeen; Horace died when eighty four; William was eighty two when he passed away at Milan; Franklin attained the venerable age of ninety one; Corydon died when past the age of three score and ten; and Charles at the age of ninety one. Charles, the youngest, was only an infant when his parents died, and the oldest was nineteen years old. They clung together until they were old enough to go out in the world and earn their own living, and all the sons who reached maturity subsequently became heads of families and enjoyed worthy positions in the world.

When twenty six years of age William Winslow and his brother, Horace, moved to Hartford, Licking County, Ohio. William engaged in the general merchandise business, after the manner of the early merchants in the Middle West, having a stock of goods comprising practically everything needed in the home and on the farm, though it not infrequently happened that he was out of a certain line of goods for days at a time, since it required a week or more to get goods from New York City, which was then the general supply point for all western merchants. While William thus engaged as a merchant, his brother Horace went three miles into the country and bought a new tract of land and cleared it up from the wild woods, and spent his life there as a farmer.

From the start William Winslow prospered as a general merchant in Licking County and from that beginning his operations and investments covered a wider scope. Some years after moving to Licking County he invested $1,000 with his brother in law, Zenas King, who became head of the well known King Bridge Company. In this company Mr. Winslow had many responsibilities as superintendent of bridge construction, and this obliged him eventually to sell out his store in Hartford, and he then identified himself actively with the bridge concern. In order to look after these business interests he moved to Milan, locating in that city a year or so after the close of the Civil war. While this was his home he spent much of the time on the road traveling as superintendent of bridge construction, and after leaving that firm he spent most of his time in retirement, although he had milling interests at Milan which required some supervision.

Throughout his active carer Mr. Winslow was a stanch republican in politics, and for many years was interested in every movement for the advancement of the town and county. Perhaps he rendered his greatest public service as chairman of the old Normal School Institute at Milan, which in its day was one of the best schools of the class in Ohio, and a great many successful men and women received part of their education there. He was also chairman of the old Milan and Huron Canal Committee, which canal in its day was one of the busiest waterways in the United States, and upon its waters floated vast cargoes of wheat and alt kinds of grains between Milan, which was the concentration point, and Huron, where the grain was loaded on to the lake vessels and carried to the larger markets of the world. Many years ago Milan was regarded as the greatest grain port in the United States, if not the greatest in the world, with the possible exception of Riga, Russia. In the early days Milan occupied about the same position in the grain industry as the City of Duluth, Minnesota, now has. While never a seeker for political honors himself, Mr. Winslow was always ready to work and use his influence in behalf of his friends. He was an active member of the Presbyterian Church, and did much for its support and upbuilding at Milan.

The late Mr. Winslow was three times married. The only daughter of his first wife, Josephine, died when a promising young woman at the age of eighteen. He married his second wife at Hartford, Ohio, Miss Fannie B. Wheelock, who died in young womanhood and without children.

In Champaign, Illinois, in January, 1875, Mr. Winslow married Miss Anna C. Renner. Mrs. Winslow was born in Old Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley near the City of Winchester, February 29, 1828. She was carefully reared and educated, attended young ladies' schools in Virginia, the Hanford Academy and the Granville Seminary, and after her parents removed to Champaign, Illinois, she followed teaching for some time. Her parents were Henry and Mary (Wiley) Renner, both of whom represented the fine old colonial stock of Virginia. Her maternal grandfather, Rev. Bernhard Wiley, was a prominent preacher in the Reformed Church, and carried the gospel mission all up and down the Shenandoah Valley until his death, at his home in Woodstock, Virginia. In 1852 Mr. Renner left Virginia and moved to Champaign, Illinois. In Virginia he had been a farmer, but lived retired in Champaign and died there in his eighty sixth year, while his wife was seventy when she passed away. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Winslow is one of the lovely characters in Milan society, a woman of the highest ideals, and her life has been a benediction to all who came within the radius of her influence. She was one of the prime Movers and organizers of the old Public Library Association of Milan, which was turned over to the township and which was the nucleus of the present beautiful library and for which others receive the honor. But it was really she, by her untiring efforts, who did more than any one other to start and continue to build this library. She is one of the active members and still a regular attendant of the Presbyterian Church at Milan. Her niece, Julia M. Hardy, was educated at Milan and in Oberlin College, and is also a woman of thorough culture and together they maintain the fine Winslow home which has stood for so much in Milan ever since it was occupied by the Winslow family.

From:
A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1916


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