Heritage \ Writings \

William Westover - Obituary (1827-1914)
Prominent banker in Bay city.

Biography, 1890. - Added April., 2011.

Cyclopedia of Michigan: Historical and Biographical Sketches – 1890.


Lumberman and banker. There is no name more prominent in Bay City than that which heads this sketch. In fact, there are few names in Northern Michigan better known that that of William Westover; and the name of the man, and the name of the city which has been his abiding place for many years, seem to be inseparable in the minds of the people. “William Westover of Bay City,” is the legend, the one being as well and favorably known as the other.

Mr. Westover was born in Sheffield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, November 16, 1827. His education was acquired at the common school of his native town, with a finishing touch at an academy in a neighboring city. Farm-work and a brief experience in a factory in Connecticut, – these were the only events of his boyhood life, and in this he fared as did all New England boys of that day; but the education he did secure, and the industrious habits he formed in his earlier career, fitted him for future undertakings of an important nature, and gaave him the courage and the ability to carve out for himself an enviable name. The gold-fever which swept the country, and which brought a new territory into the consideration of the American people, affected young Westover as it affected thousands of other adventurous spirits, and so we find him soon on his fame. He remained in California about two years, and met with fair success. In 1852, however, he returned to the East, and, opportunity offering, he went to Canada, and engaged in the manufacture of lumber. He continued in this business for about twelve years, and the removed to Bay City. This latter removal occurred in 1865, and thus Mr. Westover has been a resident in his present home for a quarter of a century. He has continued the business of lumbering throughout all of the period, and he has been as successful as his colleagues in similar enterprises.

It has not been the mere fact of his wealth, or the success of his business ventures, which have so associated his name with the city of his adoption. Other men have done as well in these particulars, and have secured but little praise or credit. Mr. Westover, however, has ever had the courage of his convictions, and believing firmly that a bright future was in store for Bay City, he has done his utmost to make a certainty of that future. Every enterprise which has need development; every business which has sought a helpful hand, has found in him an earnest friend and faithful coadjutor. It is for thse reasons that men like and respect William Westover. He has beautified Bay City by the erection of a splendid business block; he has given his means and time to organize a National bank, and for many years he has been its presiding officer; to every new railway project he has given generous greeting, and he has never turned any deserving applicant away empty.

“William Westover, of Bay City.” It is a proud title in in the way in which that title is recognized throughout the Saginaw Valley. It means that the man is known, and that he is loved for what he has done for others as well as himself. It is therein that such men become publican benefactors. They are self-helpful, it is true; but while benefiting themselves, others reap a similar advantage. It is not alone what Mr. Westover has accomplished, in a public way, for the community where he resides, that has given him his prominence among men; it is the ostentatious charity to the deserving poor. It is even more and better thanthis; it is the true sympathy displayed where sympathy was indeed needed.

In personal appearance William Westover is a fine example of a sound mind united to a sound body. Genial and social by nature , his life has been purely lived, and old age can gain no definite advantages of him as yet. He has hosts of friends who delight in his society; he is sought after for his business experience,and because of his sound financial views; and yet outside of the social and busniess spheres of life, his is a different nature. He has never cared for political or party honors or supremacy for himself, nor can he see any merit in his own best acts. In discussing Mr. Westover's character with a personal friend of his, the writer was made happy in having his own faith in the man corroborated by one who knew him so well; and especially was this done in the matter of the purity of his business methods. In these days of rapid advancement in wealth, the end to be gained is the important point; the means to that end are not considered. “His wealth was gained by no sharp dealing, by no oppression, by no mean advantages of others. His fiinancial success was the result o recognized business principles.”

What more honorable record could any man covet that the testimony here adduced gives to William Westover? He has been an eventful, prosperous, valuable life, and it would seem that the had earned it fairly, immunity from from further care and toll; but in spite of his diffidence, in spite of the fact that his own affairs are a sufficient burden for him, the call is always made on him to give his time in aid of public enterprises of a charitable or financial character. And to this call he has always promptly responded in the past; and so long as his vigor remains unimpaired, he will continue to be the active figure in all important affairs that he has been for so many years.

Mr. Westover was married, October 13, 1853, to Miss Mary D. Culver, of New Jersey.

1914 obituary. Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx, Apr., 2005.

The Bay City Tribune - March 16, 1914




Had Distinquished Career as Active Lumberman and Banker.

Older residents of Bay City will be pained to learn of the death of William Westover, which occurred in Alameda, Cal., March 15 at 5 a.m.

Mr. Westover was one of the pioneer residents of Bay City, coming here in 1864. For several years he was prominenly connected with the lumber industry, but later turned his attention to banking, being president of Second National Bank until he changed his residence to California. He built and owned the Westover block, which stood on the site now occupied by the Phoenix building, and which in its time was the principal business block in Bay City.

Gold Hunter in Forty-nine.

William Westover was born in Sheffield, Bershire county, Mass., in 1827, having passed his eighty-sixth birthday anniversary last November. His early life was passed on a farm. At the age of 22 he joined the argonauts who invaded the California gold fields in 1845, and devoted nearly two years to placer mining, at which he was fairly successful. Upon his return east he soon became interested in the lumber business, his first endeavors in this line being in Canada. It was at this time he met and married Mary D. Calver, of Simcoe, Ont., who, after more than 60 years of married life, still survives him.

During the early nineties Mr. Westover moved from Bay City to California, where he had prviously made large investments in redwood timber. For several years he engaged in lumbering near San Francisco and in the foothills of Mt. Shasta, but later he retired from lumbering and again took up the banking business, being at the time of his death at the head of two banks, one in Alameda and the other in Fruitvale.

Mr. Westover was the last survivor of his family generation. Besides his widow he leaves two sons, Delbert I. Westover of San Francisco, and William Westover Jr. of Alameda.

Additionl Notes.

    Annual Review of Progress (1884).

  • (Page 41.) Other importers of Holsteins were William Westover & Son, whose herd has taken first prizes at the State and Northeastern fairs, and has among it, the stock got by Sentinel, including the prize cow, Rosa Bonheur, whose milk record, in her two-year-old form, was 13,411 pounds in 364 days.

    1880 Census Bay City, Mich.

  • Westover, William, b. 1827, Mass.
  • Mary D., wife
  • William W., son.

    1881 - Marriages Bay City, Mich.

  • Date: June 21, 1881.
  • Groom: Westover, William W., age 19, born NY, farmer
  • Bride: Janet Cunningham, age 16, born Canada
  • Office: Theodore Nelso, minister
  • Witnesses: Miller Cunningham 7 William Westover.

    1893 - Directory: Bay City.

  • Second National Bank -- Phoenix Block. Incorporated 1874. Capital $250,000; surplus $100,000; undivided profits $60,000. Wm. Westover, president; D.C. Smalley, vice-president; Orrin Bump, cashier; M.M. Andrews, assistant cashier.
Notes & Related Pages

William Westover

Related Pages:
Andrews, Martin M.
Bump, Orrin
Westover Block
Westover, Luther
People Referenced
Andrews, Martin M.
Bump, Orrin
Culver, Mary D. (wife)
Cunningham, Janet
Cunningham, Wm.
Nelson, Theodore
Smalley, D.C. Westover, Delbert I
Westover, William (subject)
Westover, William W., Jr.
Subjects Referenced
Alameda, CA
Bay City, MI
Berkshire Co., MA
Gold fields in CA
Mt. Shasta, CA
New Jersey
Opera house
Phoenix block
Saginaw Valley, MI
San Francisco, CA
Second National Bank
Sheffied, MA
Simcoe, Ont., Canada
Tonawanda, NY
Westover block
Other Items on Page
The Tribune is the only daily newspaper in eastern and central Michigan, north of Detroit, that is published every day of the year.
Tribune substations where news items may be left: West Side, Perry's drug store, Knapps drug store; Salzburg, Salzburg hotel, Brunner's drug store; Essexville, Tennant's grocery, Gedschinsky's drug store; Banks, Fowley's drug store, Jean's grocery.
For the Next Census.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gonyeau, 1005 Elm Street, a daughter.
Case is Dimissed.
The case of Omar J. Morton against John DeYoung in the circuit court has been dismissed by Judge Collins without costs to either party.
Galarno Block Changes Hands.
The Galarno block, corner of Woodside avenue and Belinda street, has changed hands and is now in possession of N.E. Laporte and Roland Shafer, who, under the firm name of Laporte & Shafer, will remodel the building for the hardware and sheet metal business.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.