Biography of George Wilhelm
FROM: History of Livingston County, New York
By James H. Smith
Assisted by Hume H. Cole
Published By D. Mason & Co. 1881


Among the early settlers of this county the Wi!helm family deserve special mention, and are of German origin. Three brothers came over from Germany about the year 1700, and settled one each in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. John, the father of George and progenitor of this family, was born in New Jersey. He was the father of eight children-six Sons and two daughters. Jacob, the sole surviving member of the family, lives in Woodhull, Steuben county, N. Y. George, the subject of this brief memoir, was born September 2, 1791, and December 25, 1815, was married to Sarah Bailey, of Yates county, N. Y., by whom he had ten children, viz: Ursula, John, Jonathan, Benjamin F., William B., George, Elsie Ann, James G., Rhoda, and Phillip C.

March 22, 1828, he moved to the town of Sparta, taking his goods on sleighs. Here he purchased one hundred and forty-three acres of land, on which only fifteen acres had been partly cleared, and built a frame barn, in 1835 he erected a frame building on the place previously occupied by a rude log hut, and by his sturdy will and industry made a clearing on what is now a finely cultivated farm. He held the position of road commissioner several terms, and he never sought political preferment, but was satisfied to devote his energies to the task he had undertaken -that of clearing and making a comfortable home for his family out of the wilderness he had selected as a foundation. Three of his children are now living-John and William, who occupy farms in Conesus, and Jonathan, in Springwater. He died March 7, 1855, and his wife October 20, 1875.

As an individual member of this family, John is, perhaps, the most prominent and successful. He is the second child, was born September 14, 1818, and April 23, 1843, was married to Leora, daughter of Ozias Humphrey, of Springwater. They had eight children, six of whom are now living, as follows -Emily A., Sidney S., Elsie J., Solon H., Eugene B. and Martha V. His first business venture was in a saw-mill, which he ran in connection with his father about four years. His first purchase of land was one hundred and eighteen acres, to which he has added at different times, until he is now the owner of about four hundred acres, including the old homestead. He deals extensively in cattle and shçep. On one of his trips through the Western States he stopped at the town of Muford, Oakland county, Michigan, where, there being no bank and the business needing one, he became one of the originators of an exchange bank. The increasing population, however, demanded a national bank and they changed the Exchange bank to the National bank of Milford, of which Mr. Withelm is vice-president. Two of his sons, Sidney S. and Solon H., seem to have inherited their father's business qualifications and hold responsible positions. Sidney S. was elected Supervisor of Holly, Mich., in April, 1818, and is cashier of the Merchant's National bank there, to which position he was appointed at the early age of twenty-one years, and Solon H. is the cashier of the National bank of Milford. The two brothers are extensive dealers in lumber, their transactions amounting to millions of feet of the same each year. Of the family all are married, excepting Martha and Eugene who reside at home, the latter assisting in the management of the large farm which he occupies with his father, and which is a very productive one, the soil being a loam and clay subsoiL

In his domestic relations, Mr. Wilhelm is a kind and loving father, teaching his children by an upright life the value and importance of virtue, and inspiring them with worthy ambitions to be true men and women in the loftiest sense of the word. His teachings are not forgotten, but are fully exemplified in the lives of his children.

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