• William Taylor Adams

    1822 - 1897

    William Taylor Adams (1822 - 1897)

    Author. He gained popularity in the 19th century for his works for young boys and girls written under the pseudonym “Oliver Optic”. He published 126 books and over 1,000 short stories under the alias.  Family links:  Children:  Emma Louisa Adams White (1857 – 1884)* *Calculated relationship

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  • William Thomas Grant

    1876 - 1972

    William Thomas Grant (1876 - 1972)

    Businessman. He founded the W.T. Grant Department Store chain, which at its height included over 1,200 locations. Started in 1906 in Lynn, Massachusetts with a 25 cent ceiling on prices, it grew to a business empire after World War I. After his death, though, the empire collapse in what is to date the largest retail […]

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  • William Thomas Piper, Sr

    1881 - 1970

    William Thomas Piper, Sr (1881 - 1970)

    Aviation Pioneer. Often referred to as “the Henry Ford of Aviation”.  A 1903 graduate of Harvard University, he worked as a construction superintendent until 1914.  He served with the U.S. Army’s Corp of Engineers during WWI attaining the rank of Captain. He also worked the Pennsylvania Oil fields in the Bradford area after that time […]

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  • William Vincent Allen

    1847 - 1924

    William Vincent Allen (1847 - 1924)

    William Vincent Allen was born in Midway, Ohio. He moved with his parents to Iowa in 1857, where he attended the common schools and Upper Iowa University at Fayette, Iowa. He served as a private with the 32nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. He then studied law at West Union, Iowa and was admitted […]

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  • William W. Averell

    1832 - 1900

    William W. Averell (1832 - 1900)

    Averell was born in Cameron, New York. As a boy he worked as a drugstore clerk in the nearby town of Bath, New York. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1855 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Mounted Rifles. His early assignments included garrison duty […]

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  • William Wallace Denslow

    1856 - 1915

    William Wallace Denslow (1856 - 1915)

    Illustrator. Among his best known pictures are ‘What’s the Use?’ and ‘Victory.’ He illustrated the book ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,’ and also designed the costumes and scenery for plays such as ‘Wizard of Oz’ and ‘The Pearl and the Pumpkin.’ (bio by: Laurie)

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  • William Wallace Kimball

    1828 - 1904

    William Wallace Kimball (1828 - 1904)

    Businessman. William Wallace Kimball was the founder of the W.W. Kimball and Company that manufactured pianos and organs from the late 19th century until February 1996. He moved from Maine to Decorah, Iowa while in his mid-20s and became a real estate broker. He liquidated his investments just before the Panic of 1857 and moved […]

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  • William Wallace Smith

    1970 - 1970

    William Wallace Smith (1970 - 1970)

    Business Magnate. He and brother Andrew Smith took over restaurant and cough drop business in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1866 when their father, James Smith, the founder died. Later, to distinguish their brand from other imitations they registered their pictures as trademarks and positioned same on their product packaging above words trade and mark. William […]

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  • William Wallace Wilshire

    1830 - 1888

    William Wallace Wilshire (1830 - 1888)

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice,  Chief Justice, 1868-71; US Representative from Arkansas, 1873-74; 1875-77. His influence with President Grant brought about presidential intervention in the Brooks-Baxter War.  Family links:  Spouse:  Catherine A. Reynolds Wilshire (1832 – 1900)*  Children:  Mary Ellen Wilshire Rightsell (1851 – 1903)*  Emma Wilshire Kelsey (1857 – 1887)*  William Wallace Wilshire (1859 – […]

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  • William Warren Scranton

    1917 - 2013

    William Warren Scranton (1917 - 2013)

    William Scranton was born while the Scranton family was on vacation at a cottage in Madison, Connecticut. He was the son of Worthington Scranton, a wealthy Pennsylvania businessman, and Marion Margery Scranton, a member of the Republican National Committee for over two decades. Despite her own involvement in politics, his mother tried to dissuade him […]

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  • William Webbe

    1970 - 1970

    William Webbe (1970 - 1970)

    Fellow of the College and nephew of the aster, Dr. William Branthwaite, a noted Puritan. (bio by: David Conway)

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  • William Wells Brown

    1814 - 1884

    William Wells Brown (1814 - 1884)

    William Wells Brown (circa 1814 – November 6, 1884) was a prominent African-American abolitionist lecturer, novelist, playwright, and historian in the United States. Born into slavery in Montgomery County, Kentucky, near the town of Mount Sterling, Brown escaped to Ohio in 1834 at the age of 20. He settled in Boston, where he worked for […]

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  • William Windom

    1923 - 2012

    William Windom (1923 - 2012)

    Windom was born on September 28, 1923, in New York City. He was the son of Isobel Wells (née Peckham) and Paul Windom, an architect. He was the great-grandson of the United States Secretary of the Treasury of the same name. He served in the United States Army in the European Theater of Operations in […]

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  • William Wirt

    1772 - 1834

    William Wirt (1772 - 1834)

    US Attorney General. As a young orphaned boy, he was educated in several classical schools, including one kept by the Reverend James Hunt of Montgomery Co. Maryland. He received the largest part of his education during a four year period in Hunt’s school. At the age of fifteen he went to reside with the Benjamin […]

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  • William Wood Finney

    1829 - 1910

    William Wood Finney (1829 - 1910)

    Pony Express Co-Founder, Civil War Confederate Army Officer. Born at “Prospect Hill.” Graduated Virginia Military Institute. Served as assistant principal of Warrenton Male Academy in North Carolina until 1850 when he went west for gold. He took up engineering and surveyed for the railroad in Vera Cruz, Mexico. In 1858 he returned to the United […]

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  • William Wordsworth

    1770 - 1850

    William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)

    The second of five children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson, William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, Cumberland, part of the scenic region in northwestern England known as the Lake District. His sister, the poet and diarist Dorothy Wordsworth, to whom he was close all his life, […]

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  • William Wrigley, Jr

    1861 - 1932

    William Wrigley, Jr (1861 - 1932)

    Industrialist, Entrepreneur.  The Philadelphia born youngster was put to work in his father’s soap factory after being expelled from grammar school doing menial labor. At age thirteen William left home and sold his father’s soap door-to-door from a two horse wagon in rural Pennsylvania, New York and New England.   After years of giving away […]

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  • William Wyler

    1902 - 1981

    William Wyler (1902 - 1981)

    William Wyler was born to a Jewish family in Mulhouse, Alsace (then part of the German Empire). His Swiss father, Leopold, started as a traveling salesman which he later turned into a thriving haberdashery business in Mulhouse. His mother, Melanie (née Auerbach; died February 13, 1955, Los Angeles, aged 77), was German, and a cousin […]

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  • William-Henry Atherton

    1867 - 1950

    William-Henry Atherton (1867 - 1950)

    Canadian historian. Born on November 15, 1867, in England. In his childhood, he expressed a great interest for archives and History. So he studied in those fields and began to teach the classic authors and diction while getting interested in theatre. After having obtained a considerable success in teaching in England, he emigrated to Canada […]

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  • Willie Best

    1916 - 1962

    Willie Best (1916 - 1962)

    Actor. Along with Stepin Fetchit and Mantan Moreland, he typified Hollywood’s racist views of African Americans during the 1930s and 1940s. For years he was known only by the name of the character he played, Sleep ‘n Eat, a lazy, easily-frightened nitwit. Best was eventually billed under his own name but his roles never rose […]

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  • Willie Bobo

    1934 - 1983

    Willie Bobo (1934 - 1983)

    Musician. Respected jazz musician/composer and part-time actor. Father of rapper Eric Correa (Bobo) of Cypress Hill. (bio by: A.J. Marik)

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  • Willie Pep

    1922 - 2006

    Willie Pep (1922 - 2006)

    Willie Pep American professional boxer, world featherweight (126 pounds) champion during the 1940s. Pep specialized in finesse rather than slugging prowess and competed successfully in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s. His rivalry with American Sandy Saddler is considered one of the greatest of 20th-century American pugilism. Pep began his professional boxing career in 1940. He […]

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  • Willie Williams

    1956 - 2005

    Willie Williams (1956 - 2005)

    William James “Flip” Williams, Jr. (November 9, 1956 – October 25, 2005) was a mass murderer executed by lethal injection. He was convicted of the September 2, 1991 murders of three rival drug dealers and a visitor to their Youngstown, Ohio home.  Williams had returned to the neighborhood after a long absence to find that […]

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  • Willis Bouchey

    1907 - 1977

    Willis Bouchey (1907 - 1977)

    Willis Ben Bouchey (May 24, 1907 – September 27, 1977) was an American character actor who appeared in almost 150 films and television shows. He was born in Vernon, Michigan, but reared by his mother and stepfather in Washington State. Bouchey may be best known for his movie appearances in The Horse Soldiers, The Long Gray […]

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  • Willis Hall

    1929 - 2005

    Willis Hall (1929 - 2005)

    Born in Hunslet, Leeds, Willis Hall was the only son and elder child of Walter Hall, an engineer’s fitter, and his wife, Gladys (née Gibbon). He attended local council schools as well as Cockburn High School. After graduation, Hall worked in a variety of positions including factory worker, trawler hand, and amusement park attendant. Upon […]

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  • Willis Haviland Carrier

    1876 - 1950

    Willis Haviland Carrier (1876 - 1950)

    Businessman, Inventor. Born in Angola, New York, he was engineer, most noted for inventing modern air conditioning. Educated at Cornell University, he started working at  the Buffalo Forge Company in 1901. In 1902, he designed the first system to control temperature and humidity. His “Rational Psychrometric Formulae” introduced in 1911, initiated scientific air-conditioning design for […]

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  • Willoughby Gray

    1916 - 1993

    Willoughby Gray (1916 - 1993)

    Willoughby was born in London, his mother Mary Henderson had married John Gray, who was killed in action in Iraq soon after his birth. (Though several sources suggest he was born in Aberdeen, Scotland). In 1918 Mary re married and Willoughby became the stepson of Lieutenant General Henry Pownall.  He achieved popularity in the mid-1950s […]

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  • Willy Birgel

    1891 - 1973

    Willy Birgel (1891 - 1973)

    Willy Birgel began his acting career before World War I on the stage in his native city of Cologne, and came to movies rather late. He was about 43 years old before he got his first major film role as the English Camp Commandant in Paul Wegener’s Ein Mann will nach Deutschland (roughly translated A […]

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  • Willy Fritsch

    1901 - 1973

    Willy Fritsch (1901 - 1973)

    Actor. Born Wilhelm Egon Fritz Fritsch, he was a popular German leading man in theatre and motion-pictures. In the early 1900s, he was performing drama at the Deutsches Theater and made his feature debut in films as a supporting player in “Miss Venus” (1921). Over the coarse of the next five decades, he appeared in […]

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  • Wilma Mankiller

    1945 - 2010

    Wilma Mankiller (1945 - 2010)

    Wilma Pearl Mankiller was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the sixth of eleven children, to Charley Mankiller (November 15, 1914 – February 20, 1971) and Clara Irene Sitton (born September 18, 1921). Her father was a full-blooded Cherokee and her mother was a Caucasian woman of Dutch and Irish descent who acculturated herself to Cherokee life. […]

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